Portrait lenses

curly

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Hi all,

I know that many people recommend the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 lens for portraits, but are there other recommended ones?

I currently own the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 and know this is not recommended for portraits, particularly close ups, because of the distortion (although I know this can be corrected in Lightroom).

Is the Nikon 50mm suitable for portraits?
 

pixmedic

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depending on how much room i have, other than my 85mm, i sometimes use my 28-75 f/2.8 or 70-200 f/2.8 for portraits. a 50mm is perfectly fine for portraits if you are in a more confined space.
 

tirediron

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Pretty much any good lens over 70mm is suitable. 85, 105, and 135 are probably the "classic" portrait focal lengths, but as Jason mentions, the 70-200 is used by a lot of photographers for the flexibility.
 

AKUK

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I use the Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR. Great for portraits and macro, so quite versatile. Very sharp, has vibration reduction and gives lovely compression to the face. Anything from 70mm onwards will give you better results in this respect and greater separation with the background too.

I have used the 50mm in the past, but mainly on the D90. Now I only reserve it for kids on the D800. The distorting effects of the lens on the face are less apparent on an APS-C sensor than full frame. You can see the different effects various focal lengths have on the face at portrait crops in my article on lens compression. For environmental portraiture, your 35mm, even a 28mm is fine because you aren't filling the frame and making them the sole emphasis of the image. The warping to the face is therefore much less apparent.
 

Scoody

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One have been having truly great results with when I take sports portraits is my Tokina 11-16mm 2.8.
 

goodguy

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Used to own the Nikon 85mm 1.8G, awesome lens!!! used it mostly for portraits.
Since I got my Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 VC I stopped using the 85mm lens because the 70-200mm is just a super sharp and flexible lens, didnt see the need to use a prime lens when a zoom lens gave me the results and flexibility I needed.
 

Trever1t

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as mentioned most lenses over 70mm are standard for portraiture. Not that you couldn't use 17mm for a wild look but generally speaking. The "faster" lenses are going to offer a richer bokeh and be able to give amazing separation of subject from background. Personally I find the 85f1.4 (1.8 is great) to be about perfect in most circumstance. Now I'm using an older 135DC f2 for fun and loving it's very soft backgrounds and wonderful color rendition.
 

photoguy99

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In general you cannot correct the distortion caused by using a short lens up close. In lightroom or otherwise.

There are probably some very computationally expensive methods that would use multiple shots from multiple angles, but these are not widely available as far as I know.
 

Forkie

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The 105mm f/2.8 macro is my go-to lens for headshots.

One have been having truly great results with when I take sports portraits is my Tokina 11-16mm 2.8.

11-16mm for portraits?

What's a sports portrait? Do you mean people running on a football field? Does that count as a portrait?
 

TheFantasticG

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I really want the Tamron 70-200 VC for general use and portraits. Right now I'm mostly using my 50mm on my D7k. Haven't had a problem with distortion.


Sent from my iPhone using Telekenisisisisis
 

qleak

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For crop sensor between 50mm and 85mm is just about ideal.

For full frame sensor the range is between 70mm and 135mm.

So it really depends on what your camera back what the best lens for portraits is.

Personally I prefer the equivalent of about 100mm on full frame, which is about 70mm on crop. This is unfortunately not a prime lens option. So I'm looking at the fast 70-200mm lenses because they will remain good for portrait even if I decide to upgrade to FF.
 

nerwin

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Any lens can be a portrait lens. I've done portraits with my 50mm on my full frame camera with excellent results. The only downside is that you have to get closer and sometimes your subjects don't like a camera in their face.

I've done some portraits using a ultra wide angle before but those were environmental portraits.

But I'd say for your typical portraiture work is between 85mm and 135mm.

I use to own the 85 1.8G and man did I love that lens, extremely sharp and the bokeh it produced was amazing. You can bet the 105/135 DC are even better!!
 

ruifo

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For creative wide/ultra-wide portraits and/or group of people:
  • Nikkor AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
  • Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
  • Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
  • Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
  • Nikkor AF-S 20mm f/1.8G ED
  • Nikkor AF-S 24mm f/1.4G ED
For portraits with some background and/or half body/bust compositions:
  • Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.4G
  • Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.8G ED
  • Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art Series
  • Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
  • Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G
  • Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S
  • Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Series
  • Nikkor AF-S 58mm f/1.4G
  • Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
  • Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
For traditional head shot portraits:
  • Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.8G
  • Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.4G
  • Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.4D
  • Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
  • Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
  • Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
  • Nikkor AF 135mm f/2D DC
  • Nikkor AF-S 200mm f/2G ED VR II
  • Nikkor AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR
 

Scoody

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11-16mm for portraits?

What's a sports portrait? Do you mean people running on a football field? Does that count as a portrait?

I am talking about the individual portraits that athletes take on picture day. I usually do a team photo and then take individual photos of each team member. The photos are usually full or half body. A couple of weeks ago I did the local volleyball league. 22 teams, close to 300 girls. All the parents practically throwing money at me for packages.

Tomorrow I am doing the Boys and Girls Club Basketball League. 12 teams, 150 athletes and a bunch of parents wanting me to separate them from their money.

I will be taking all the photos with my 11-16mm Tokina 2.8

 

Forkie

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11-16mm for portraits?

What's a sports portrait? Do you mean people running on a football field? Does that count as a portrait?

I am talking about the individual portraits that athletes take on picture day. I usually do a team photo and then take individual photos of each team member. The photos are usually full or half body. A couple of weeks ago I did the local volleyball league. 22 teams, close to 300 girls. All the parents practically throwing money at me for packages.

Tomorrow I am doing the Boys and Girls Club Basketball League. 12 teams, 150 athletes and a bunch of parents wanting me to separate them from their money.

I will be taking all the photos with my 11-16mm Tokina 2.8

Cool. Sounds like you have a good thing going on. Do you need to correct the distortion in post, then? I haven't seen portraits done that wide unless it's a novelty or particularly stylised portrait, up close and exaggerating facial or bodily features.
 

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