what next? nikon lenses for portraits

jamiebonline

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Hi all,

I recently got into photography again. I got my first DSLR about six months ago. Prior to that I had a bridge camera many years ago. Taking landscapes.
My new camera is a Nikon D7000. I bought it second hand with a kit lens (nikkor 55-200 vr) I am now principally interested in portrait photos. The lens works fine for portraits but I would like to get something better so I am looking into getting a prime lens for portraits. I have seen nikon do 85mm lenses for under 400 euro. I know very little about lenses. Could someone advise me on a good lens to get me out of the kit lens world and into a higher level of portrait lens photography? I don't have a lot of money and in fact that 400 price I saw (new on ebay - I don't remember the exact lens.) is a bit steep but I am sure you can spend a fortune on lenses. Thanks a lot!!

J.
 

spicyTuna

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For a d7000 which is a DX sensor I'd go with a 50mm f1.4. It will give you a similar field of view as an 85mm. If you're on a budget opt for the f1.8.
 

Derrel

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The new Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-S G is one of the VERY-sharpest lenses available today in Nikon mount...it's an extraordinarily high-performance lens in fact. But sharpness is an overrated quality to portraiture. What the 85/1.8 G Nikkor has is high sharpness, across almost the entire field of view, even at wide f/stops. It performs better than $1,200 to $1,800 85mm lenses, including Zeiss, Canon, etc. It's just an amazing lens, in a lightweight,modern polycarbonate barrel. I own one. It's performance would be what you'd expect to pay $1,799 for. On your D7000, it will be a longer, more narrow-angle telephoto than on a full-field camera, but still, when you buy it, you are getting an AMAZING-quality optic.

The 50mm 1.4 AF-S G and the 50mm 1.8 AF-S G Nikkor lenses are almost a wash, quality-wise. The 1.4 focuses more-slowly, which makes no sense. The 1.8 model has aspherical optics, and is less-expensive and also pretty darned good...some say just slightly better overall, than the 1.4. I went with the 50 1,8 AF-S G as my "new fifty". It's a good prime lens, lightweight, same polycarbonate barrel as the 85 1.8 G.
I do not think the 50/1.4 is worth the extra money.
 
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jamiebonline

jamiebonline

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This is interesting. Thanks guys. I never thought of using a 50mm prime for portraits. I thought that 50mm distorts the image in some way? I read that somewhere. So I was trying for 85. I looked at the 85mm you mentioned and it is considerably more expensive than the 50mm especially the 1.8 so it would be great for my budget to get the 50mm 1.8 AF-S G Nikkor.
There seems to be a lot of talk online about portraiture being best with 85mm plus. What are your thoughts? Thanks again!
 

shadowlands

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I sold my 50mm F1.4G and brought back my former 50mm F1.8D. I don't miss the 1.4G at all.
 

JaronRH

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If you're shooting inside with limited space, I would recommend a 50mm (1.8G). However, if you have the space or are shooting outside, I would recommend either the Nikon 85mm 1.8 or Sigma 85 1.4.

I used the 50mm 1.8D on my D90 (D7000's predecessor) and it felt either too long or too short for my style and it was soft until ~f/2.8 while not having the best bokeh. I really like my Sigma 85mm 1.4 for portrait work (both on FX and DX). My only complaints with it are the CA's wide open and its size/weight.
 

supercool2

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I have a 85mm 1.8 for my D7100 and it is my nicest sharpest lens. I LOVE it. And I bought/won it off Ebay for $305. plus shipping . It's an older lens but since my camera has a focusing motor,it auto focus's and is very fast.
 

cowleystjames

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I have the nikon 85mm 1.4 and am enjoying it's low light capability. It produces the most wonderful bokeh and is simply amazing inside buildings where flash would be obtrusive. Used it yesterday at a friends wedding and it was unnecessary to use flash at all. I do however use it on either a D800e or D4 which are full frame and have thought in the past that the 85mm is too long for portraiture on a DX.
 

ScottMac

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Given your existing equipment, I would suggest that the 50mm f1.8g would be your best budget option. It is generally as fast to focus and as sharp across the range, and substantially cheaper than the f1.4g. The 1.4g will give you a little extra flexibility to use a 1.4 aperture over the minimum of 1.8 on the other lens, but aside from that, not much else.

An 85mm lens is considered to be a better focal length for portraits, but that is on a full frame camera, so as to avoid the "depth-distortion" often caused by using a 50mm lens on full frame. On a DX camera, you are only likely to get this "distortion" with a 50mm lens IF you are TOO CLOSE to your subject. To avoid this, simply take a few paces backwards, and crop you image slightly. An 85mm lens on a DX camera will probably be too restrictive indoors, give the space you may require....

Of course, the alternate, if you have no budget issues, is to go purchase an 85mm f1.4, and attach it to a D800, with all the necessary gizmo's and gadgets, tripods, light-boxes, etc
 

shadowlands

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I sold my 50mm F1.4G and brought back my former 50mm F1.8D. I don't miss the 1.4G at all.

I was about to get the 1.4 G can you tell me why?
My copy of the Nikon AF-S 50mm F1.4G just wasn't sharp wide open. I know they're not super sharp wide open, but my former 50mm F1.8D was more sharp wide open.
And at $100.00 vs. $400.00, I opted to get my money back and return to the "nifty fifty" that never let me down, for only $100.00.
 

ranson

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My copy of the Nikon AF-S 50mm F1.4G just wasn't sharp wide open. I know they're not super sharp wide open, but my former 50mm F1.8D was more sharp wide open.
And at $100.00 vs. $400.00, I opted to get my money back and return to the "nifty fifty" that never let me down, for only $100.00.

What do you find better the D or the G?
 

Mach0

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What do you find better the D or the G?

The 1.8g is better but it cost more. You can get a good deal on them now so they are only about $75 bucks more. I chose the G for better flare control and it was sharper wide open. My G is pretty sharp wide open.
 

shadowlands

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My copy of the Nikon AF-S 50mm F1.4G just wasn't sharp wide open. I know they're not super sharp wide open, but my former 50mm F1.8D was more sharp wide open.
And at $100.00 vs. $400.00, I opted to get my money back and return to the "nifty fifty" that never let me down, for only $100.00.

What do you find better the D or the G?

I'm sure the G is a little better. It's more modern. But I have the AF motor in my camera so I don't need the G model.
I paid $99.00 for my 50mm F1.8D and I'm still all smiles.
 

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