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Thread: need help choosing new lens - portraits

  1. #1

    Default need help choosing new lens - portraits

    Hi
    I'm a keen beginner with a Nikon D90 and the kit lens (18-105mm).
    I now want to experiment with new lenses. I take a lot of photos of my kids and would like to get some good portraits. What would be a good lens for this and what does it offer over the kit lens? eg I never seem to get the small depth of field I would like with my existing lens, even if I fiddle with ISO and aperture/speed.
    The alternative would be to go for a bigger zoom in which case which would you recommend.
    Not looking for the most expensive kit around by the way! Just something that will take me to the next step. S be guided by the fact I have a D90 and not something more expensive.....
    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: need help choosing new lens - portraits

    take the 50mm f1.8. Cost less than $200 and you can take decent portraits shots. If you have more $$, consider 50mm f1.4D. It will give you a nice bokeh.

  3. #3

    Default Re: need help choosing new lens - portraits

    just take note that 50mm is like short telephoto on crop cameras.

    It is possible to get that depth of field effect with kit lens just that wont be as bokeh-licious as specialized lens. Involves more work but it is possible.
    Last edited by Reportage; 17th November 2010 at 09:25 PM.
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  4. #4
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help choosing new lens - portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by carocaro View Post
    eg I never seem to get the small depth of field I would like with my existing lens, even if I fiddle with ISO and aperture/speed.
    Fiddling with ISO and shutter speed won't change the depth of field a single bit. Fiddling in general won't yield much results. How about reading the newbies guides about the basics? You can achieve isolating effects and you can take decent portraits with your existing lens. It's not a question of getting a new lens, it's a question of skills. Otherwise even the best lens won't help anything.
    EOS

  5. #5

    Default Re: need help choosing new lens - portraits

    if you think that 50mm is abit "tight", can consider the 35mm f1.8G, also another decent portrait lens if you dont like to keep moving back to shoot a picture.

  6. #6

    Default Re: need help choosing new lens - portraits

    There're so many... For the cheaper lenses, there's the 50mm f/1.8, AF 50mm f/1.4D, AF-S 50mm f/1.4G, AF 85mm f/1.8D, AF 60mm f/2.8D Micro, AF-S 60mm f/2.8G.

    Then there's also 3rd party solutions. Sigma has 30mm and 50mm f/1.4, Tamron has a 60mm f/2...

  7. #7

    Default Re: need help choosing new lens - portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by carocaro View Post
    ... keen beginner with a Nikon D90 and the kit lens (18-105mm).
    ... experiment with new lens ...take a lot of photos of my kids and would like to get some good portraits. ....
    Thread starter may consider experimenting with one of these lenses
    -- Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 or the more expensive Nikon 17-55 F2.8
    -- Nikon 50mm F1.8 or Nikon 50mm F1.4
    -- Nikon 35mm F2 or 35mm F1.8 or Sigma 30mm F1.4

    If thread starter wishes to capture portraiture of children in action, than Nikon AF-S lenses would be the way to go.

  8. #8

    Default Re: need help choosing new lens - portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Squid View Post
    Thread starter may consider experimenting with one of these lenses
    -- Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 or the more expensive Nikon 17-55 F2.8
    -- Nikon 50mm F1.8 or Nikon 50mm F1.4
    -- Nikon 35mm F2 or 35mm F1.8 or Sigma 30mm F1.4

    If thread starter wishes to capture portraiture of children in action, than Nikon AF-S lenses would be the way to go.
    The price between the tamron 17-50mm f2.8 and the nikon 17-55mm f2.8 is a kind of a huge different..haha.
    Since TS is shooting kids, i would recommend the nikon 35mm f1.8G, you wont have that much of a problem leaving your kid too far for you to shoot.

  9. #9

    Default Re: need help choosing new lens - portraits

    I put up a thread roughly showing what some of the focal lengths can give for a head to shoulder photo.
    Look past the brand specifics and it should serve as a guide for what DOF you get for each FL lens.

    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=788852

    Take note that the longer the FL, the further your working distance as well.

  10. #10

    Default Re: need help choosing new lens - portraits

    prime lens ranging from 24 to 85 f1.8 and f1.4.
    Which zoom to get will depend on normally which zoom range you normally use when shooting portraits.
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  11. #11
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help choosing new lens - portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
    I put up a thread roughly showing what some of the focal lengths can give for a head to shoulder photo.
    Look past the brand specifics and it should serve as a guide for what DOF you get for each FL lens.
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=788852
    Take note that the longer the FL, the further your working distance as well.
    Nice guide. Would be also good to have for each picture a kind of 'making of' - just showing how close you are with the cam to subject. Guess that's what many people miss or don't have any clue about.
    EOS

  12. #12
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    start with a 50mm f1.8 . . . cos it don't cost much . . .
    Shot more cos digital is FREE !!!

  13. #13
    Member kwttan's Avatar
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    Since you are using d90, my suggestion is get 35mm f/1.8G. 50mm f/1.8d may be too tight if taking indoor photos.
    Price between new 35mm and 50mm are ~340 and ~190 respectively.
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
    Nice guide. Would be also good to have for each picture a kind of 'making of' - just showing how close you are with the cam to subject. Guess that's what many people miss or don't have any clue about.
    Thanks for the suggestion.
    Yes, I was thinking of adding the working distance information as well, but not too sure how I would be doing it (ie. in 'making of' shots or just text), though I think the former would be better.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by carocaro View Post
    Hi
    I'm a keen beginner with a Nikon D90 and the kit lens (18-105mm).
    I now want to experiment with new lenses. I take a lot of photos of my kids and would like to get some good portraits. What would be a good lens for this and what does it offer over the kit lens? eg I never seem to get the small depth of field I would like with my existing lens, even if I fiddle with ISO and aperture/speed.
    The alternative would be to go for a bigger zoom in which case which would you recommend.
    Not looking for the most expensive kit around by the way! Just something that will take me to the next step. S be guided by the fact I have a D90 and not something more expensive.....
    Thanks!
    by portrait, do you mean from head to shoulders or from head to waist?
    Nikon D300

  16. #16
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
    Thanks for the suggestion.
    Yes, I was thinking of adding the working distance information as well, but not too sure how I would be doing it (ie. in 'making of' shots or just text), though I think the former would be better.
    Yes, pictures are better. Some shots from 45 degree angle left or right behind the photographer to show the photographer and the subject. Maybe a meter scale on the ground to make the distance visible. Wouldn't mind helping you
    EOS

  17. #17
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by appleshem View Post
    The price between the tamron 17-50mm f2.8 and the nikon 17-55mm f2.8 is a kind of a huge different..haha.
    Since TS is shooting kids, i would recommend the nikon 35mm f1.8G, you wont have that much of a problem leaving your kid too far for you to shoot.
    For kids I recommend 35mm for FX, and 24mm for DX.

    very interesting result because you can get real close, and a lot of contact with the kid.

    this one shot with DX body with Sigma 24/1.8

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
    Yes, pictures are better. Some shots from 45 degree angle left or right behind the photographer to show the photographer and the subject. Maybe a meter scale on the ground to make the distance visible. Wouldn't mind helping you
    I'll get to it over the course of the week or so.
    Thanks for the offer to help.
    Yes, totally agree that the working distance is where most ppl fail to get a grasp of.
    A 200/2.8 can certainly take nice portraits, but need to stand far far away

  19. #19

    Default

    wow, thanks for all the quick replies, I'll look into your suggestions. Narofx maybe I used the term portrait wrongly - I mean at least head to waist, but sometimes capturing more of their body - still, emphasis on facial expression rather than the background/setting. And outdoor shots rather than indoor. Octarine, I know there is plenty more I can learn with my existing kit, but thought it would be fun to experiment with something different too. Am I wrong that changing to a fast speed decreases depth of field because of the change in aperture? I have read the basics and done a mini-course, not professing to be a gun photographer but just someone who wants to explore photography a bit more..... Thanks for the link pinholecam, that should be helpful.
    Thanks again for all the advice!

  20. #20
    Senior Member UncleFai's Avatar
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    Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M - "Out-performs the human eye"... cheap cheap... USD$10,450 only...

    Just kidding... I too have a D90... then got the 50mm f1.8... really happy with it... so got the 50mm f1.4G also... I would highly recommend the 50mm f1.8 - as well as the 35mm DX. Best bang for the buck.

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