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Thread: Portrait Lens

  1. #1

    Default Portrait Lens

    I'm a newbie who spends most of the time taking portrait pics of the family both indoors and outdoors.

    My camera is a D80 with a 18 - 135mm lens

    I was considering getting a prime lens for low light indoor photos and was hoping to get some advise.

    I knwo the Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM is a good lens but I feel it may be an over kill for a newbie?

    Alternatives could be a 2nd hand Nikon 50mm F2.0?

    Do you think a newbie will be able to tell the diff between an F1.4, 1.8 and 2.0?
    Should I just go with a cheap 2nd hand lens 1st?

    Also I saw a thread saying that 50mm prime lenses are the most common, but with the crop factor a 30mm lens becomes nearly 50mm, so why arent people buying these?

    What would you recommend?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    One test - stick your 18-135mm in 30mm and dont touch the zoom lens further. Go around and take your indoor family shots at the distances you normally shoot at. Use AP mode, and open up the aperture, pump up the ISO if necessary to get the proper shutter speeds. If you notice, u prob can take half body shots or maybe full body shots if you have a big enough house. Of course you can go closer but observe the reaction from your family members closely when you do so. Also, look at how certain features like the nose might get a bit distorted.

    Move on to 50mm and try it out again. You will probably find that you can do head and shoulders or even face only shots.

    Which shots do you like better? Once you have tried these out, nothing to stop you from getting a 50mm f1.8 (cheap and good choice) or a 35mm f2. 50mm f2 could be a manual lens. If you find that you are shooting too close at 50mm, try a 85mm f1.8. The difference between f1.8 and f1.4 is half a fstop i think but the price difference is pretty great. Most pp will swear the bokeh (background blur) from the f1.4 is much better than the f1.8, you can check out the numerous comparisons on Pbase and other sites.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    Thanks for the advice, I try those tests over the weekend.

  4. #4
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    As mentioned, just shoot a bunch of portraits at various focal lenghts. Then use a tool to check which is your favoured focal lenghts in the collection of photos. There is a program which tabulates your focal lengths, aperture, shutter speed and even ISO. I'm not at home at the moment so can't give the name. Will check back on the thread and add on later.

  5. #5
    Senior Member xunjas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    u should walk into the shop and try out those lenses to find what u like, and how the field of view look like with your cam.. take the 1st step to try them out first before deciding.. =)

  6. #6

    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    Ok a little OT, but how may of you here actually read an MTF chart when considering a lens ?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    i think a zoom lens is alright for portraits but the thing i like best about my 50mm prime is the aperture. it gets you handshake-free shots in pretty low light. you should get a 50mm prime to shoot in low light conditions where flash just isnt possible.

  8. #8
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    The program is called Exposure Plot.

    and to eric.appleguy,

    Nope... never bothered with those. What matters is that it can take good decent photos for me in my hands.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by eric.appleguy View Post
    Ok a little OT, but how may of you here actually read an MTF chart when considering a lens ?
    i usually look for reviews and comments in forums... mtf chart does not tell you if there are other problems like FF, BF

  10. #10
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by eric.appleguy View Post
    Ok a little OT, but how may of you here actually read an MTF chart when considering a lens ?
    don't be to concern about this, get a lens is popular in most professional and advance amateur won't go wrong to far, what matters most is you skills.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  11. #11
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by pommie View Post
    I'm a newbie who spends most of the time taking portrait pics of the family both indoors and outdoors.

    My camera is a D80 with a 18 - 135mm lens

    I was considering getting a prime lens for low light indoor photos and was hoping to get some advise.

    I knwo the Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM is a good lens but I feel it may be an over kill for a newbie?

    Alternatives could be a 2nd hand Nikon 50mm F2.0?

    Do you think a newbie will be able to tell the diff between an F1.4, 1.8 and 2.0?
    Should I just go with a cheap 2nd hand lens 1st?

    Also I saw a thread saying that 50mm prime lenses are the most common, but with the crop factor a 30mm lens becomes nearly 50mm, so why arent people buying these?

    What would you recommend?

    Thanks
    low light portrait it is not easy to shoot, even you have the right lens does not mean you can shoot with ease, with prime lens, you need to move alot, to get your framing right.
    try use your zoom lens fix at one focal length and see, if you don't like the way you need to work, than you can forget about it.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
    www.benjaminloo.com | iStock portfolio

  12. #12

    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by lizzy View Post
    i usually look for reviews and comments in forums... mtf chart does not tell you if there are other problems like FF, BF
    FF and BF is what thing ah ?

  13. #13
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by eric.appleguy View Post
    FF and BF is what thing ah ?
    FF = front focusing
    BF = back focusing

  14. #14

    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    nikkor 50mm 1.8D, cheap n gud for newbie like me..

  15. #15
    Senior Member xunjas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by eric.appleguy View Post
    Ok a little OT, but how may of you here actually read an MTF chart when considering a lens ?
    i dun read.. i read reviews and know wad i want to shoot and get the lens that i need to shoot.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    it is good to read to find out which are the sweet spots to use though

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Portrait Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by pommie View Post
    Also I saw a thread saying that 50mm prime lenses are the most common, but with the crop factor a 30mm lens becomes nearly 50mm, so why arent people buying these?

    What would you recommend?

    Thanks
    in a way, what u wrote is rite . u know why the 35mm f2 lens, although abt 50mm with the crop factor isnt so popular?
    Because of $$$$$ lor.

    50mm f1.8 ~ $180
    50mmf1.4 ~ $430
    35mmf2 ~ $500

    most ppl tend to favor the bigger apeture and lower price, thus thats why the 50mm is most widely used by ppl here and elsewhere...
    09 Oct 09 officially marks the date I become a canon convert.

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