If you had to choose one lens...

TylerF

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So I am upgrading to FF soon so my current DX lenses (18-135mm + 35mm 1.8) won't work anymore. I can really only afford one lens off the bat and I have no idea what I want to do. I shoot portraits primarily but also like to take the camera with me on travel. I'm torn between 3 lenses. If you had to choose, what would be your go-to lens if you could only have one? Thanks in advance

24-70mm f/2.8 (nikon or tamron g2)- I think this would be a great all around lens that can handle both my travel stuff and portraits but I am being told that 70mm isn't long enough for portraits. Which confuses me because so many people recommend the 50 which even on a cropped sensor is 75mm.

85mm f/1.4- Have heard nothing but good things about this for portrait work but might be only good for portrait work and not much else?

135mm f/1.8 (sigma art)- same as the 85mm
 

Garasaki

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I shot with only an 85 for a while.

It's great for anything that's people focused. Lots of pics of my kids, and I shot some mountain bike stuff and trail runs with it. Flowers. Loved it for all those reasons.

Was completely wrong for anything that's like a landscape setting, urban, buildings, etc. And sometimes was not possible to shoot people because of close quarters. For instance, I borrowed a 35mm lens to go shoot at an indoor bike park - got some nice pics with it. Could not have shot it with it (like I wanted) with the 85 due to the field of view (would have been able to capture only the rider in the air, versus the rider and the ramp with the 35).

So depending on what you want to capture, I think the 85 is probably not great for travel.

I like prime lenses. My current collection is the 85 (1.8), with a 24 and a 14 fisheye to compliment it (on a crop sensor camera). The only thing I'd like to add is a long distance zoom for wildlife pics or sports shooting from the stands. Unlikely I'll ever get that for though. Anyway, you can probably see my logic for that collection.

I don't know why your DX lenses won't work anymore? I might be showing my ignorance there.

(My short answer to your question is "I'd choose two lenses!")
 

jaomul

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jaomul

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What camera are you buying, as a 24-120 f4 Nikon is a good standard lens that covers a lot. F4 on fullframe is often plenty to get seperation for portraits.

70 is enough for portraits, but 85 is often better
 
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TylerF

TylerF

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I shot with only an 85 for a while.

It's great for anything that's people focused. Lots of pics of my kids, and I shot some mountain bike stuff and trail runs with it. Flowers. Loved it for all those reasons.

Was completely wrong for anything that's like a landscape setting, urban, buildings, etc. And sometimes was not possible to shoot people because of close quarters. For instance, I borrowed a 35mm lens to go shoot at an indoor bike park - got some nice pics with it. Could not have shot it with it (like I wanted) with the 85 due to the field of view (would have been able to capture only the rider in the air, versus the rider and the ramp with the 35).

So depending on what you want to capture, I think the 85 is probably not great for travel.

I like prime lenses. My current collection is the 85 (1.8), with a 24 and a 14 fisheye to compliment it (on a crop sensor camera). The only thing I'd like to add is a long distance zoom for wildlife pics or sports shooting from the stands. Unlikely I'll ever get that for though. Anyway, you can probably see my logic for that collection.

I don't know why your DX lenses won't work anymore? I might be showing my ignorance there.

(My short answer to your question is "I'd choose two lenses!")

Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately I don't have the money to get 2 lenses right away. I will eventually add more but for now I just can't, which is partly why I'm leaning towards the 24-70 then adding a dedicated portrait lens at a later time. The DX lenses will mount up but putting them on a full frame body will, from my understanding, leave a dark ring around the image because they aren't made for full frame.
 
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TylerF

TylerF

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What camera are you buying, as a 24-120 f4 Nikon is a good standard lens that covers a lot. F4 on fullframe is often plenty to get seperation for portraits.

70 is enough for portraits, but 85 is often better

Will be getting a d800/d800e here pretty soon. I'll look into that lens for sure. Thank you
 

jaomul

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A lot like the f2.8 zooms but they are big expensive and heavy. Often with newer cameras and their high iso abilities, I think f2.8 is not as critical.

It's down to each person, but I'd rather a 24-120f4 and keep the money for an 85f1.8
 
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TylerF

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A lot like the f2.8 zooms but they are big expensive and heavy. Often with newer cameras and their high iso abilities, I think f2.8 is not as critical.

It's down to each person, but I'd rather a 24-120f4 and keep the money for an 85f1.8
For sure, I'm gonna look into it. Thank you. Ideally I want to have an all around lens and then a "work/portrait" lens but that will be down the road lol
 

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Your portfolio had a lot of portraiture. I can’t imagine doing that without my 85mm f1.8.

Since your budget is tight, I would bet you could pick up a used 24-70G from Tamron and a 85mm f1.8 for the same price as just the 85mm f1.4.


That’d be my vote.
 
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TylerF

TylerF

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Your portfolio had a lot of portraiture. I can’t imagine doing that without my 85mm f1.8.

Since your budget is tight, I would bet you could pick up a used 24-70G from Tamron and a 85mm f1.8 for the same price as just the 85mm f1.4.


That’d be my vote.
Thank you for the input. My current portfolio has been shot almost all with the 35mm 1.8 maybe a few shots with the 18-135 zoomed in a bit. But not many. I am certainly not opposed to buying 3rd party lenses or even used gear if I can get both for a solid price haha.
 

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Here's a discussion on portrait lenses: Undecided with Lens...need a little help here!!!. (It's about Canon lenses, but the principles are the same.)

Again, Canon, cuz that's what I use, but there is a Canon 18-135mm lens for APS-C cameras that's said the be the ideal all-around lens. That would be equivalent to 28-216mm full-frame. If Nikon or Tamron has something like that, that might be a good way to go.

I have a 17-85mm for my camera, but, when we go go Europe, sometime this year, I plan to obtain one of those 18-135mm lenses for the trip, and take just that.
 

Designer

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So I am upgrading to FF soon so my current DX lenses (18-135mm + 35mm 1.8) won't work anymore.
Who told you they won't work anymore? Your camera will record only the DX portion of the image, but other than that, I see no reason why you can't continue to use them.
I shoot portraits primarily ..
Then choose a lens that will perform exceptionally for portraiture. Like the..
85mm f/1.4- Have heard nothing but good things about this for portrait work but might be only good for portrait work and not much else?
That one.
I am being told that 70mm isn't long enough for portraits. Which confuses me because so many people recommend the 50 which even on a cropped sensor is 75mm.
I'd say 70mm is just on the edge of being too short for a FX-size sensor. It will work, just like the 50mm will work on a DX, but neither are ideal.
135mm f/1.8 (sigma art)- same as the 85mm
No.

Just no.
 
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TylerF

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So I am upgrading to FF soon so my current DX lenses (18-135mm + 35mm 1.8) won't work anymore.
Who told you they won't work anymore? Your camera will record only the DX portion of the image, but other than that, I see no reason why you can't continue to use them.
I shoot portraits primarily ..
Then choose a lens that will perform exceptionally for portraiture. Like the..
85mm f/1.4- Have heard nothing but good things about this for portrait work but might be only good for portrait work and not much else?
That one.
I am being told that 70mm isn't long enough for portraits. Which confuses me because so many people recommend the 50 which even on a cropped sensor is 75mm.
I'd say 70mm is just on the edge of being too short for a FX-size sensor. It will work, just like the 50mm will work on a DX, but neither are ideal.
135mm f/1.8 (sigma art)- same as the 85mm
No.

Just no.

IMO recording the DX portion of the image is the same as not working. Why would I want to do that after buying a FX camera? And like I said, I do portraits but I also want to be able to take it out of the house and shoot other things like when I go on trips or walks. I've heard pretty good things about the sigma 135?

I'm almost thinking getting a decent wide/standard zoom for the all-around stuff and then the 85 for portrait work.
 

KmH

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IMO recording the DX portion of the image is the same as not working. Why would I want to do that after buying a FX camera?
Because the FF pixels are bigger and have a better SNR (signal to noise ratio).

35 mm and 50 mm prime lens are often recommended on online forums mainly because they are relatively inexpensive and lots of people have them.
So confirmation bias kicks in and people recommend what they or their buddy have.

For my portrait business I rarely used a focal length of less than 85 mm. I mostly used a 200 mm f/2 prime lens but also often used a 105 mm f/2 DC or a 135 mm f/2 DC (Defocus Control).
From groups of more than 6 I usually used a 300 mm f/2.8.
I only used 50 mm when there was not enough space for me to back away from a subject.
But, fast telephoto lenses are not inexpensive.

By using longer focal lengths the photographer is further outside a subjects 'personal space', which generally makes subjects more relaxed, and hence, more photogenic.
 

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