portrait lens

VectorASU23

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hello. I have a nikon D80 camera and was wondering was a good lens for taking portraits?
 

NS: Nikon Shooter

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Just about any lens is a portrait lens… it all has to do with the distance to the sub-
ject and its granted real estate ratio in the composed frame at SR.

— A wider angle is ok to set a full figure subject in a space. < 40 mm.
— A "normal" focal length will do fine for a tighter frame half figure. 40 to 70 mm.
— Longer lenses are great for tightest frames. > 85 mm.

These focal length are expressed in FX terms.

Have a good time! :)
 
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Space Face

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Sigma 105mm f1.4 DG HSM Art. If you can afford one :)

 

jcdeboever

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Nikkor AF-D 50mm 1.8 on a budget.

Nikkor AF-D 85mm 1.8

Nikkor AF ED 180mm 2.8
 

Trever1t

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You are more limited by the sensor than the lens in this instance. A good "portrait" lens in my opinion is one with a moderate focal length of between 85-135mm and fast as you can afford with apertures in the low f2 range.

I shoot a full frame and will choose a lens according to spatial limits. Obviously I cannot shoot 135mm indoors or would I want to shoot 35mm outdoors unless I wanted a specific distortion effect.

Nikon 24-70 indoor smaller spaces. 70-200 outdoors and after you have those 2 expensive lenses you can think about Primes like the 85f1.4 and 105f2. I have a 135f2 oldy that is spectacular.

With Nikon, any good FX lens you buy will work on the DX AND last you longer than any camera body so consider buying the very best glass you can.
 

idle

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Just about any lens is a portrait lens… it all has to do with the distance to the sub-
ject and its granted real estate ratio in the composed frame at SR.

— A wider angle is ok to set a full figure subject in a space. < 40 mm.
— A "normal" focal length will do fine for a tighter frame half figure. 40 to 70 mm.
— Longer lenses are great for tightest frames. > 85 mm.

These focal length are expressed in FX terms.

Have a good time! :)

Good advice. You should always learn how to do it correctly first but then it can be interesting to break the rules. the shot below is using a Bronica ETRSi medium format film camera with a 40mm wide angle lens (roughly the same as a 24mm on a full frame digital). To prevent the subjects nose looking too long and the hands looking too big, you have to compose carefully but it can work out well: Sarah B&amp;W by Michael J Breen, on Flickr
 

NS: Nikon Shooter

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Good advice. You should always learn how to do it correctly first but then it can be interesting to break the rules.
Technically, at the beginning to base one's learning process, go by the rules.
Artistically, it is one's privilege to throw it all overboard and explore.
 

ac12

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i have AF NIKKOR 35-70 MM 1:3.3-4.5 and NIKON DX AF-S NIKKOR 18-135 1:3.5-5.6G ED

You are fine with what you have.
With the Nikon 18-140 (the 18-135 is a Canon lens), you are set up for everything from a large family/group portrait, to a TIGHT head shot.
That is the lens that I use.

Here is the other angle that I hinted above.
WHAT is YOUR definition of a portrait picture?
The reason is this affects the lens choice:
- Single person
- - A TIGHT head shot
- - A head and shoulder shot.
- - A waist up shot.
- - A 3/4 length shot.
- - A full length shot.
- A 2nd person in the shot/couple shot
- - Head and shoulder
- - Waist up
- - 3/4 length
- - Full length
- Multi-person/family pic
etc. etc. etc.

There is NO ONE definition of a portrait.
The closest is the traditional head and shoulder shot.
But what about a wedding couple's shot, isn't that also a portrait? What about your daughter at her piano, that is an environmental portait. See what I mean.

The next factor is the distance from the camera to the subject.
Example1, I do not have the space of the old traditional portrait studio, so I cannot back up as far. So for a full length or group pic, I would have to use a wider lens than if I had more space. I've shot indoor group pics where my back was literally up against the wall, I could NOT back up any further.
Example2. If you are shooting an "environmental portrait," such as your daughter at her piano, you may be even more space constrained, and have to go to a wider lens, or a tighter composition.

Each of the above shots call for a different lens, to capture the desired image.
Today a zoom (or two) is often used rather than a set of prime lenses, that was used in the past.
- In the FX world, it would probably be the 24-70/2.8 + 70-200/2.8, or Tamron 35-150
- in the DX world, it would be the 16-80/2.8-4, or similar (18-70, 18-105, 18-140).

Now, as for primes:

The 50/1.8 is often advertised as a DX portrait lens. But if you look at that list of shots above, and compare the 50 to a 16-80 zoom, you will see that it is a rather limited lens.
The 50 on a DX camera is equivalent to a 75 on a FX camera, and this is shorter than the film era portrait lens, the 105/2.5.
Back in the film days, the Nikon 105/2.5 was considered "the" portrait lens for Nikon 35mm camera.
But like the 50/1.8 on a DX camera, it is limited to only a few of the shots in the list.

IF that is primarily what you shoot, then a prime of the appropriate focal length is fine.
But if you are like most of us, shooting everything from head and shoulders to full length, a zoom is more practical.
 

mrca

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Historically, a common group of lenses was 35, 85 and 135, a 50 mm spacing. Maybe the 1.8 50 that came with the camera as well. These days, with 46 mp, I no longer need to be burdened with a heavy 70-200 2.8, a 135 can be cropped down with plenty of mp to spare. I have that about same 3 lens equivalent in my MF Mamiya.
 

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