portrait photography lenses


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Sep 24, 2010
Reaction score
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
so what ive read is that an 85mm lens is a good distance for portrait headyshot and head and shoulders type shots. my question is does this change from when working with full frame versus working on a crop sensor. ive read somewhere that if you not using a full frame camera you have to adjust for you camera. so in that case a 50mm would be roughly your 85mm equvelent. is this true. i just didnt think the full frame versus cropped would make a diffrence. maybe im wrong.
Before you worry too much about which lens is best it might be wise to read and learn about Aperture, DOF and what exact role sensor size has to play in the equation. Simply put, a 'faster' lens, one that has a smaller fractional "F" number is going to have a larger Aperture and allow for more control of DOF. Depending on which camera you have that crop factor will give you a smaller FOV. Nikon crop is 1.5 so a 50mm lens will have the FOV of a 75mm lens, not magnification.

It's really not all that complicated, relax and read on!
well my main reasoning wasn't for dof issues, it was more then ive read over and over that going with a smaller lens range, say in the 35mm range or any wide angle type of range is that it will distort the features such as the nose making the person not look as good. where as when you get to the higher range 50mm and up. this issue doesnt seem to happen. so that was my reason more for the questioning. because if you have to account for that crop factor a 35mm nikon is really more like a 50mm. so does this mean you won't have that same type of distortion on facial features. or does the crop factor not really take that into account? well from what i had thought i read about the crop sensor deal. i thought that your magnification was the same but your just seeing a smaller portion of it. correct me if im wrong on that.
no, that's correct, mm=mm only FOV is the difference. A shorter focal lengths will force you to get closer to fill the frame and the distance between elements in the frame are more apparent than longer focal lengths.
just get a 50mm
Shorter focal length lenses, (wider field of view), exaggerate the size differences cause by perspective. Meaning objects close to the camera will seem disproportionately larger than objects far away. This is why wide lenses distort facial features. A long lens has the opposite effect, resulting in a shot that looks "straighter", front to back, with less perspective. This tends to be more pleasing for portraits.

So, an 85mm will get you this effect better than a 50. (it also gets you shallower depth of field at the same aperture, which is nice). Technically, the field of view from a 50 on a crop camera is close to what an 85 would look like on full frame, but they're both great choices on crop. A 135 is a popular portrait lens on full frame which corresponds to the 85 on crop.

Since you have some other lenses and have pretty much got the range covered, I'd probably go for the 85 as a specialized portrait lens. The only reason I'd chose 50 is if you really want 1.4 instead of 1.8, because a 50 1.4 is about the same price as an 85 1.8, and an 85 1.4 gets pricey.

Most reactions