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Thread: What is a good portrait lens?

  1. #1

    Default What is a good portrait lens?

    I had brand new (2-month) Nikon D90 cam, with 35-105mm lens. I planned to get a new Portrait lens. I tried out a 35mm 1:1.8 lens from my cousin. I'm impressed by it.

    I read from one of the website that said this lens would be great for A fast, light, inexpensive normal lens for Nikon's DX cameras, especially for use in low-light without flash. But for Film or FX cameras. For larger DX cameras with built-in autofocus motors like the D50, D80, D90 and D300, getting a 35mm f/2 AF-D instead will also work on FX cameras should you upgrade later.

    Because this is a new hobby, not sure how long it will last me. I'm willing to spend maximum S$400 for a new portrait lens. With this amount, what brand/model can I get?

  2. #2

    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by NisyCats View Post
    Because this is a new hobby, not sure how long it will last me. I'm willing to spend maximum S$400 for a new portrait lens. With this amount, what brand/model can I get?
    Look in the priceguides section....
    Alpha

  3. #3
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    The 35mm f1.8 received great reviews from folks like Bjorn Rorslett, photozone.de. Fortunately it is not terribly expensive investment compared to many other lenses, u might have great use for it till u upgrade to an FX. ( probably a new AFS 35mm full frame might even be then on the horizon )

    Sell the DX when you upgrade to FX, and get 35mm FX lens that is available then If u dun mind the slightly pricier older formula 35mm f2 ( which will overshoot ur 400 bucks budget new ) it issin wrong either

    ryan

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    Deregistered shaoken's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    If u're just getting into portraiture photography, I think that you should purchase the 50mm F1.8 lens to try out (this lens cost abt $200).
    It will give 75mm focal length on crop-factor bodies.

    Most ppl who shoot portraiture photography use either the 50mm or 85mm lens, depending on the cam body they use.

    It also depends on how u want to take the shots. Full body, half body or only the upper body.
    Last edited by shaoken; 17th November 2009 at 09:44 AM.

  5. #5
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    yes, at the age of 95, very hard to say how long this hobby will last, why don't get the AFD 50mmf1.8 first, 35mm will be at a normal lens focal length on D90, hardly consider a portrait lens at all.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    I would concur, the 50mm F/1.8 is the cheapest first hand portrait lens you can get your hands on easily, and it performs fairly well though. The only drawback you could experience is the crop factor, so it's not horribly fun to use in tight locations.

    Otherwise, at ~ SG$180, it's probably something below your budget, and you can take with you to FX as well.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by shaoken View Post
    If u're just getting into portraiture photography, I think that you should purchase the 50mm F1.8 lens to try out (this lens cost abt $200).
    It will give 75mm focal length on
    crop-factor bodies.

    Most ppl who shoot portraiture photography use either the 50mm or 85mm lens, depending on the cam body they use.

    It also depends on how u want to take the shots. Full body, half body or only the upper body.
    I seconded that... 50mm f1.8 (75mm on DX) is a cheap and good lens for portrait. Cost between the range of $190-$200.

    The 35mm f2D is a fx lens too.. so would be in range of 52mm (x 1.5) on DX camera. The one u tested is a 35mm 1.8 DX... so would be slightly different from the 35mm f2d.

    I would suggest u get the 50 f1.8 as this is a cheapest and good lens for portrait from nikon and u can bring over to FX in future.

  8. #8

    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    yes, at the age of 95, very hard to say how long this hobby will last, why don't get the AFD 50mmf1.8 first, 35mm will be at a normal lens focal length on D90, hardly consider a portrait lens at all.
    uncle catchlights, somehow i am wondering if the age is just put in because it is required..

    but then again, i won't know. sometimes we get surprised.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by jackmbox View Post
    I seconded that... 50mm f1.8 (75mm on DX) is a cheap and good lens for portrait. Cost between the range of $190-$200.

    The 35mm f2D is a fx lens too.. so would be in range of 52mm (x 1.5) on DX camera. The one u tested is a 35mm 1.8 DX... so would be slightly different from the 35mm f2d.

    I would suggest u get the 50 f1.8 as this is a cheapest and good lens for portrait from nikon and u can bring over to FX in future.
    may I ask in what way the 35/1.8 would be different from the 35/2 on a D90 (DX body), besides one being a DX lens and the other for FX?
    The field of view through both lenses on a D90 is the same. They are both 35mm focal length lenses.
    Last edited by ZerocoolAstra; 17th November 2009 at 11:27 AM.
    Exploring! :)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    Yea 50mm F1.8 is a great place to start of with. Small, light, fast, beautiful shots, very value for money. Use it till you feel like upgrading then spend the money. I used mine for 3 years then sold it off to upgrade.
    S5pro,Toki28-70,12-24,Tam17-35spoilt,70-200,SB600,800,Voigt 58F1.4,http://hensongerard.multiply.com

  11. #11
    Deregistered shaoken's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZerocoolAstra View Post
    may I ask in what way the 35/1.8 would be different from the 35/2 on a D90 (DX body), besides one being a DX lens and the other for FX?
    The field of view through both lenses on a D90 is the same. They are both 35mm focal length lenses.
    I may not be a Nikon user but from what I know is that, if you mount both the DX and FX lenses on DX bodies, it will both give a 1.5x focal length (due to 1.5x crop factor).

    If you use a DX lens on an FX body, you will have some/quite a bit of black corners surrounding the photo.

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    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by shaoken View Post
    I may not be a Nikon user but from what I know is that, if you mount both the DX and FX lenses on DX bodies, it will both give a 1.5x focal length (due to 1.5x crop factor).

    If you use a DX lens on an FX body, you will have some/quite a bit of black corners surrounding the photo.
    Yes you are right about the 1.5x focal length. And you are also right about the black corners. Its because the surface area covered by the dx lens is smaller then the surface area of the sensor. I've also read that for lenses such as the tokina 12 - 24, you can use it on a fx body but at 16mm and above or something. I'm not sure if my interpretation is entirely correct. And if i'm not wrong fx cameras have a function to shoot in a "dx" mode for you to use your dx lenses. But it would just be as good as using a smaller sensor.
    S5pro,Toki28-70,12-24,Tam17-35spoilt,70-200,SB600,800,Voigt 58F1.4,http://hensongerard.multiply.com

  13. #13
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by smile_gerard View Post
    Yes you are right about the 1.5x focal length. And you are also right about the black corners. Its because the surface area covered by the dx lens is smaller then the surface area of the sensor. I've also read that for lenses such as the tokina 12 - 24, you can use it on a fx body but at 16mm and above or something. I'm not sure if my interpretation is entirely correct. And if i'm not wrong fx cameras have a function to shoot in a "dx" mode for you to use your dx lenses. But it would just be as good as using a smaller sensor.
    Quote Originally Posted by shaoken View Post
    I may not be a Nikon user but from what I know is that, if you mount both the DX and FX lenses on DX bodies, it will both give a 1.5x focal length (due to 1.5x crop factor).

    If you use a DX lens on an FX body, you will have some/quite a bit of black corners surrounding the photo.

    exactly.
    that's why i'm wondering why jackmbox said there is a difference between 35/1.8 and the 35/2D with respect to the D90 (TS' camera).
    Actually this doesn't only apply to Nikons.
    For example, if there was a Canon EF lens and an EF-S lens with the same focal length, they'd both give exactly the same view through the viewfinder on a crop body, like 500D/50D.

    just to be precise, the focal length does not change regardless which camera body you mount the lens to.
    A 35mm f/2D lens on a D90 still has a focal length of 35mm. Just that when you view it through the D90, you get a field of field as though you mount a 52.5mm lens on an FX camera.
    Last edited by ZerocoolAstra; 18th November 2009 at 07:20 AM.
    Exploring! :)

  14. #14

    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    Im guessing the 35 f2 AFD looks more pro with the aperture ring. =)

    Other than that, there isnt much of a diff.
    D3s / D3x / 18-55 f3.5 - 5.6 / 55-200 f3.5-5.6 / 50 f1.8

  15. #15

    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZerocoolAstra View Post
    may I ask in what way the 35/1.8 would be different from the 35/2 on a D90 (DX body), besides one being a DX lens and the other for FX?
    The field of view through both lenses on a D90 is the same. They are both 35mm focal length lenses.
    ok my mistake in the post. But 35mm f2d will look different on FX and D90 becoz of the crop (but will work on both camera). 35mm f1.8g will probably have vignetting on FX. I've always thought of lenses with reference to FX camera and pictures look more 'zoomed' in on DX cameras. sorry for the confusion

  16. #16

    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by NisyCats View Post
    I had brand new (2-month) Nikon D90 cam, with 35-105mm lens. I planned to get a new Portrait lens. I tried out a 35mm 1:1.8 lens from my cousin. I'm impressed by it.

    I read from one of the website that said this lens would be great for A fast, light, inexpensive normal lens for Nikon's DX cameras, especially for use in low-light without flash. But for Film or FX cameras. For larger DX cameras with built-in autofocus motors like the D50, D80, D90 and D300, getting a 35mm f/2 AF-D instead will also work on FX cameras should you upgrade later.

    Because this is a new hobby, not sure how long it will last me. I'm willing to spend maximum S$400 for a new portrait lens. With this amount, what brand/model can I get?
    why don't you look at 85mm af-d ~ 600+$..the longer the focal length the thinner the DOF and more background blur and "generally" translates to better bokeh..longer focal lengths forces you to move far which gives you better perspectives for portraits..face looks more flattering when you are far..the 35mm will give you "good" bokeh only when you are near your subject which is not good perspective for portraits, 35mm is a normal lens for DX so i consider it a "walk around prime" and not a portrait lens..
    Last edited by gimumancer; 20th November 2009 at 11:06 AM.

  17. #17
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by jackmbox View Post
    ok my mistake in the post. But 35mm f2d will look different on FX and D90 becoz of the crop (but will work on both camera). 35mm f1.8g will probably have vignetting on FX. I've always thought of lenses with reference to FX camera and pictures look more 'zoomed' in on DX cameras. sorry for the confusion
    mount a DX lens on FX body, the camera will auto switch to DX format unless user override it.
    need not to worry of vignetting accidentally.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    hi all, alternatively u can try non nikon lens also such as jupiter 9, cooke potrait, cz, pinkham&smith lens etc. Many people including me swear by jupiter 9 for potraiture. A cheaper solution would be using softar filter by zeiss or softener filter by nikon. hope that help

    p/s and yes the elcheapo 50mm 1.8 nikkor or 35mm f2 (old non ai) is a killer...

  19. #19

    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    i will vote 50mm prime easily. One of the reasons why 35mm is more preferred is due to its versatility but I think 50mm makes a better portrait lens.
    D200

  20. #20

    Default Re: What is a good portrait lens?

    basically for you need the lens which can deliver low depth of field. two conditions:
    1. big aperture
    2. long focus length.

    if you have limited budget, you can get
    1. 50mm 1.8
    2. AFS 55-200mm VR

    IF you are rich,
    1. 85mm 1.8/1.4
    2. 80-200 F2.8
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