Portrait Lens

sarah_19_nz

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BEST portrait lens EVER...annnnnd GO!...

(include stats and why)
 

table1349

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The one that gets the job done. End of discussion.
 

table1349

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Chevy or Ford? Windows or OSX? Canon or Nikon? Thin Crust or Deep Dish?
 

Derrel

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No such thing really. There are a number of very good lenses for people photos however. Portraits are something I like to shoot when I get the chance. The format of the camera determines what lenses FIT on it. So, there can be no one, single lens. But, I know where you're coming from, I think. SO, here are some of the favorites I have had at one time or another.

So...for environmental portraits, shorter lenses normally. Like 35mm f/2 O.C. Nikkor (late 1960's to mid-1970's). Canon 50mm f/1.4 EF USM. Nikkor 85/1.4 AF-D-great bokeh, sharp center, softer edged, often called "The Cream Machine". Flares somewhat when shot right into the light.

105mm f/2 AF-D Defocus Control Nikkor. Really a lovely rendering lens, and good when shot towards strong light. Very flare-resistant, probably due to the simple optical design. 105mm f/2.5 Ai-S; bokeh not nearly as good as the 85 1.4-D or 105mm D.C., BUT much smaller,lighter, and VERY,very,very easy to focus manually. This is all good because the lens is compact, and only 52mm filter diameter, so it is not so "invasive" to camera shy people. The one-oh-five two-five is the lens that Nikon earned much of its fame on in the 1970's.

135mm f/2 AF-D Defocus or Canon 135mm f/2-L. Lovely "look" to the images. The lenses now are longer, and they magnify the background more, and bring the background visually closer, and also larger; the DOF also is narrower, and falls out of focus very fast, in a short distance that gives avery sharp focus zone, then a very brief defocused zone.

70-200 VR I: one of the nicest zoom lenses for bokeh. Really,really lovely defocus quality. Lots of range.

200mm f/2 AF-S VR-G. Big, heavy, and badly balanced. ULTRA-HIGH sharpness and acuity. Balanced oddly, it needs a 4-lb pro Nikon behind it, and a monopod. Weighs about 7lbs, but is so fat and squat that it's much harder to handle than the 300 f/2.8 when both are used hand-held. Image quality stopped down to f/2.2 or f/2.4 is astounding edge-to-edge. Scares the Bejeebers out of normal people. Absolutely staggeringly beautiful out of focus background renderings, this lens is an optical gem. But a regal PITA.
 

table1349

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Another problem with something like "BEST portrait lens EVER...annnnnd GO!..."

Are we talking Classic, Formal, Informal, or the ever changing style that many young photographers are experimenting with to "define themselves.?"

Also are we talking about single, couple, small group, large group, business/professional, social/relational?

The best piece of equipment to have and use is the one that gets the job done while providing the desired and acceptable results. After that what is there?
 

tirediron

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Best? Whichever one you actually have and like best. My favorite? 85mm f1.4D. Built like a tank, sharp as a tack, great colour rendition...
 

Trever1t

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There's no the "best" anything. I recommend a fast lens (f2.8 or faster) and anywhere between 85mm-135mm on a full frame body.
 
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sarah_19_nz

sarah_19_nz

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Riiiighty ho!.... so when I say "best" I should have said "What is your opinion on the BEST portrait lens? What is YOUR favourite portrait lens?... annnnd GO!"... not the same 'ring' to it as "best portrait lens ever annnnd GO!!!" right???

So Thanks for the answers guys! Derrel as usual you comment is the most useful! ;)

I was reading up on lenses today and realised that my 50mm which I thought was ideal for portraits/headshots in fact is rather 'distorting' ??? I then read on to find that most photographers prefer a 105-135mm lens (focal length) works better as a headshot/portrait kens. Would you all concur?

Reason I am asking is because I want to add another lens to the collection. All I have is a 50mm 1.8 and a standard zoom 18-105mm lens. I would LOVE the Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 but **** that is $3000 where I'm from! So what would be the next best lens/equivalent? Looking at the 70-200mm f 4 but am I going to be pissed off that I didn't just invest a bit more and get the 2.8?


p.s: Deep dish ALLLLL the way! ;)
 

cptkid

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For the 70-200 f/4 or 2.8 you just need to decide whether that one stop difference is going to matter to you.

If you body allows you to user higher ISO without much noise, or you are going to be using the lens in partnership with flash/strobes then the f4 should be plenty good enough.

My fav portrait lens is the 85mm 1.8d.

I wish I could have a 70-200 2.8 though, I used one recently and I absolutely loved it, yet, really cannot afford it.
 

cgipson1

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Riiiighty ho!.... so when I say "best" I should have said "What is your opinion on the BEST portrait lens? What is YOUR favourite portrait lens?... annnnd GO!"... not the same 'ring' to it as "best portrait lens ever annnnd GO!!!" right???

So Thanks for the answers guys! Derrel as usual you comment is the most useful! ;)

I was reading up on lenses today and realised that my 50mm which I thought was ideal for portraits/headshots in fact is rather 'distorting' ??? I then read on to find that most photographers prefer a 105-135mm lens (focal length) works better as a headshot/portrait kens. Would you all concur?

Reason I am asking is because I want to add another lens to the collection. All I have is a 50mm 1.8 and a standard zoom 18-105mm lens. I would LOVE the Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 but **** that is $3000 where I'm from! So what would be the next best lens/equivalent? Looking at the 70-200mm f 4 but am I going to be pissed off that I didn't just invest a bit more and get the 2.8?


p.s: Deep dish ALLLLL the way! ;)

The 70-200 VRII is wonderful lens, and obviously the larger aperture has it advantages (not to mention the AF speed). It depends on what you need, and what you can afford. Another possible excellent choice would be the 85mm 1.8 G... it is terrific lens for portraiture... as is the 85mm 1.4 (love that one!)
 

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