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Thread: Is a 50mm lens good for taking portraits?

  1. #1
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    Default Is a 50mm lens good for taking portraits?

    Hi everybody,

    I am thinking of getting a 50mm lens for taking human pix / portraits during CNY.

    Thinking of the Canon 50mm Mark II if can get at 130 or so...

    what do u guys think?

    Saw some sample postings here of the lens, very tempted.

    thank you

  2. #2

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    By theory its sufficient.

    Unless its street photography, maybe u wana use a longer zoom lens to avoid people staring and waving their fists at you....or worse...run from view...which leaves you nothing to shoot at all.
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  3. #3

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    Generally, it shld be good enough unless space constraint limit your movement.

    Look ard in the Buy & Sell forums, there could be someone selling this fantastic len!

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    I think 50mm is good enough for full-body shot. However, if you intend to take head-and-shoulder shot, the perspective distortion will be quite noticable, and that will not compliment your model.

    For head-and-shoudler shots, my preference is to use 100mm or higher.
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

  5. #5

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    Well, if you're using a D30, the 50mm is actually an 80mm, which makes it a very nice portrait lens indeed.

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    Originally posted by StreetShooter
    Well, if you're using a D30, the 50mm is actually an 80mm, which makes it a very nice portrait lens indeed.
    D30? only in my wildress dream.. haha

  7. #7
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    yah, that's true.. space contrainst amidst other little issues as such subject's distance could prove a problem...

    but to get a 100mm F1.8 could be really expensive.. and over my budget.. any idea how much that cost?

    Anyway, thanks everybody for the expert's advice...

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by Michael Ang
    yah, that's true.. space contrainst amidst other little issues as such subject's distance could prove a problem...

    but to get a 100mm F1.8 could be really expensive.. and over my budget.. any idea how much that cost?

    Anyway, thanks everybody for the expert's advice...
    Nikon has a 85mm f1.8 which sells for around $600 odd or about $400 used. I am sure there's a Canon equivalent of that. It makes a pretty good portriat lens too.

    Regards
    CK

  9. #9

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    Originally posted by StreetShooter
    Well, if you're using a D30, the 50mm is actually an 80mm, which makes it a very nice portrait lens indeed.
    the cropping would be that of an 80mm

    BUT

    the DOF and the pespective would be different of that of an 80mm
    (if you keep the object at the same size in the viewfinder)
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  10. #10

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    Originally posted by Michael Ang
    yah, that's true.. space contrainst amidst other little issues as such subject's distance could prove a problem...

    but to get a 100mm F1.8 could be really expensive.. and over my budget.. any idea how much that cost?

    Anyway, thanks everybody for the expert's advice...
    I think that Adam have the ans to your question abt the 100mm len.

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by Bluestrike

    I think that Adam have the ans to your question abt the 100mm len.
    A brand new EF 100mm f/2.8 should cost at least $1k...a hefty price to pay but it a damn solid lens! Excellent for portraiture and macro photography!

  12. #12

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    Canon EF 85mm 1.8 = $645
    Canon EF 100mm 2.0 = $745

    Prices quoted by AP for regular customer.
    Both are non-L lenses, but have good reviews.

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    Originally posted by StreetShooter
    Canon EF 85mm 1.8 = $645
    Canon EF 100mm 2.0 = $745

    Prices quoted by AP for regular customer.
    Both are non-L lenses, but have good reviews.

    Thanks for the price indications... looks like they are out of my budget at the moment


  14. #14

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    It depands where you forcusing and how far between you and the subject.

    Perspective is determined by camera-to-subject distance. Whether you have a normal, wide-angle, or telephot lens, perspective is the same if the camera-to-subject distance remains the same. When you get close to a subject, as you might with a wild-angle lens, nearby objects look unusally LARGE, and distant objects look small and far away. This is because the distance between the near and far subjects is great compared to the distance from the camera to the near subject. The wild-angle lens exaggerates space relationships by expanding the appearent distance between nearby and distant objects. You'll increase the feeling of vastness in scenic pictures by using wild-angle lens and including a nearby foreground object, such as a person, tree, or automobile, for size comparison.

    For the same reason-exaggerated perspective-a close up picture of a person's face made with a wild-angle lens gives the features a DISTORTED APPEARANCE. The nose, because it is close to the camera, look bulbous, while the more distant ears look exceptionally small. IF you use a wild-angle lens to take a picture of an automobile from a front angle, it will look especially LONG and SLEEK. A welcoming hand stretched toward a wild-angle lens looks as large as or larger than the head of the person offering the greeting.

  15. #15

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    Hi, If you want to take portraits with a 50 mm lens, you must be prepared to move closer to the subject for head and shoulders type and make sure that the lens is parallel to the subject vertically. I have take some good portraits like that but have to admit that the longer lens are better for these types of shots. But a 50 mm is good for group portraits during CNY and also for doing kid photos, just be prepared to move in or out to get the right prespective, and use an aperture in the lower range like 5.6 or less to blur the background and yet get the subject in focus. Jus my 2 cents.

  16. #16

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    unless you're looking for killer sharpness, nothing wrong with a $550 Sigma 28-70EX f2.8. I've taken loads of sharp (indistinguishable from primes on a 4R Fuji Frontier print) portraits with it.

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    portrait with no distortion is around 100mm... which is why most cams come with 3x zoom... it's not for u to zoom into neighbours courtyard but to allow a distortion free portrait...
    "I'm... dreaming... of a wide... angle~
    Just like the ones I used to know~"

  18. #18

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    50mm is fine for portraits, especially if you want to show more than 1/2 body shots. The distortion problem may limit the way the subject poses, but to me, the simpler the pose the better, and simple poses work fine for a 50mm lens.

    Take a look at this chaps portraits, especially those with a 50mm lens... I agree entirely with his philosophy that natural light is the best

    http://www.photo.net/shared/communit...?user_id=97707

    p.s. i really don't think digicams have 3x zooms for portraits... simply because the f-stop at 3x zoom is obviously not small enough for isolating the subject.

    Actually, I think that digicams have big zooms because some consumers are TOO LAZY to make the effort to get closer to the subject. To these people, composing a shot means standing at one fixed point and zooming in and out the lens.

  19. #19
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    Originally posted by rueyloon


    the cropping would be that of an 80mm

    BUT

    the DOF and the pespective would be different of that of an 80mm
    (if you keep the object at the same size in the viewfinder)
    this is true if u use both the 50mm and the 80mm on the D30.

    But, to keep the object the same size in the viewfinder with a 50mm lens on a D30 and a 80mm lens on a film SLR, since the field of view would be the same, the camera to subject distance would also be similar.

    Therefore, at the same camera to subject distance, the perspective is the same for a D30 with 50mm lens, and a film SLR with a 80mm lens. DOF should be the same too if the same aperture was used.

    am i missing something?
    David Teo
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    yup erwinx the 50 mm got distortion in the link u posted... the third pix... but of cos done tastefully... I was thinking of those gatherings shots... hehehe
    "I'm... dreaming... of a wide... angle~
    Just like the ones I used to know~"

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