Starter Portraiture advice


TPF Noob!
Jun 3, 2013
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Pittsburgh PA
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I asked a few weeks ago for advice on a first DSLR camera from all of you. After much consideration, (I'm currently enrolled to start school minoring in photography, majoring in business) I decided the Nikon D-700 would be a good start DSLR. I ordered it today!

Now I'm eyeing lens, trying to make some starter decisions yet again. My main subjects will be children, babies, family, senior etc. as I mentioned earlier, I'm first year student, but I'm committed to making a career out of photography. That said, I'm not shooting any gigs anytime soon, but will be building a portfolio in the areas I mentioned, so I want a lens that will do me justice, or lens collection rather (because one lens doesn't truly do it all)

So, please, suggestions! I appreciate all of your expertise!
How much do you want to spend? If your pockets are deep enough, the 24-70 f2.8 is, IMO, the BEST Nikon GP lens going, but it's not cheap, running around $1700 new.
Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8 AF-D for $300 used. Then a 24mm f/2.8 AF-D prime for wide stuff. For a telephoto...any number of 85mm lenses, or the older but still excellent 105mm f/2.5 Ai or Ai-S.

The 24-70 is HUGE, and heavy, and expensive. The 35-70 weighs like 23 ounces...basically, a pound and a half. The D700's 12 MP sensor cannot really "leverage" ultra-high-performance does not have enough resolution to leverage high-end glass. It's still a fine imager, but there's little real,pressing need to spend $1700 on one lens when the camera is not really up to it.
You didn't mention a budget nor prior experience/prefered distance to subject so let's go with filling out a basic kit.

1) A fifty. A $125 50mm f1.8 AF-D is fine here and usable on most Nikons that you're likely to be using (including film cameras which at some point you're going to dabble in). The AF-S may be a little better and you might want the 1.4 but you can put the 1.8 AF-D in your pocket and move along with your day.

2) A 70/80-200mm f2.8. The 70-200mm Vll is a spectacular lens and you can shoot everything to portraits to some sports with this. I don't use mine nearly as much as I thought when I bought it but you do have to have one in your kit or you'll be turning down business -as Peace would say, "Bad, Not Good!".*

3) Something wide, how wide is up to you as is how much you're willing to schlep around. I have a Tokina 17-35 that I'm fond of but again beyond having the ability the means is up to you.

4) A medium telephoto. You can use the long end of a medium zoom or get an 85mm or a 105mm. F2.8 should be the least you should get here.

That's about it, you can do most of what you'll do with these. If you go with primes then just get a better pair of shoes- and you're going to need a pretty good pair to start with.

Good luck

*Ralph Bakshi's Wizards
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