What makes a good potrait lens??


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Apr 13, 2004
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#1
hi,

i just took the dive into photography. Can the more experienced people out there please tell me what makes a good protrait lens.. and what are a few good and affordable ones..

By the way if you have any to let go, please contact me.

Cheers
:p
 

Kira

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#2
born2bwild said:
hi,

i just took the dive into photography. Can the more experienced people out there please tell me what makes a good protrait lens.. and what are a few good and affordable ones..

By the way if you have any to let go, please contact me.

Cheers
:p
Depends on what you want to take. But I believe one with a f stop of f/2.8 should be good enough. Why f/2.8, cos you might want to add depth to your pic and isolate your subject by having a blur background. (read: shallow DOF)

Maybe a 80-200 f/2.8. Good to take protrait and makes your model feel more at ease with the distance rather then going up real close.
 

Apr 13, 2004
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#3
I heard from another tread that the Nikon Telephoto AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF Autofocus Lens is very good for portait shots. But is this a fixed lens, as in there is no range or zoom capabilities... But the F stop is smaller, so background blurer right?

I am new at this... please be patient with me..
 

mpenza

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#4
for digital or film? digital bodies generally have a cropping factor which means that the field of view when looked through the viewfinder is smaller than it would be on a film camera.
 

Brandon

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#5
born2bwild said:
I heard from another tread that the Nikon Telephoto AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF Autofocus Lens is very good for portait shots. But is this a fixed lens, as in there is no range or zoom capabilities... But the F stop is smaller, so background blurer right?

I am new at this... please be patient with me..
Newbie too, but i think this one i can answer ;)
yes, smaller f stop = smaller DOF
background more blur only if you don't miss focus on it ;p (happen to me before :embrass: )
Oh, and faster too (meaning you can use higher shutter speed as smaller f stops also means larger apperture hence more light coming in)

85mm is a fixed lens. range or zoom capabilities would be indicated by 2 numbers, eg:28-80, 70-200, etc.

Hope it helps
 

Mar 1, 2004
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rueyloon gets it spot on. Portraits portray personality (Not a full frame face). The choice of lenses depends extremely on who you are portraying.

There are a number of good examples on this site and elsewhere on the web where you can see portraits made with lenses of every concievable focal length.

Good portraits need strong interaction between the photographer and the subject, period.
 

EiRiK

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#9
RemAcuTetigisti said:
rueyloon gets it spot on. Portraits portray personality (Not a full frame face). The choice of lenses depends extremely on who you are portraying.

There are a number of good examples on this site and elsewhere on the web where you can see portraits made with lenses of every concievable focal length.

Good portraits need strong interaction between the photographer and the subject, period.
:rolleyes: :rolleyes: sheesh...
 

Dennis

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#10
For digital, 50mm f1.4 or 1.8 is also good. Cheap as well. After the crop factor it becomes a "good" focal length for portrait !!. It will be the portrait lens for digital and the equal of the 85mm for film. Unless you want to have tighter shots than maybe 85mm. Special portrait lens are like AF DC 105mm and the AF DC 135mm. :)
 

Kira

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#11
mpenza said:
for digital or film? digital bodies generally have a cropping factor which means that the field of view when looked through the viewfinder is smaller than it would be on a film camera.
Agreed, a DSLR will generally have more DOF at a certain f stop when compare to a SLR because the recording media, i.e. the CCD, is smaller then film.

Like what rueyloon say, for portrait photography, the interaction with the model is very important.
 

Jan 28, 2004
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#12
Um, I use a 50mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.2 for portraiture... 50mm covers all the full body and prop shots, while the 85mm goes in closer for half-body and face. I find that more than enough, don't like zooms because it makes more sense to move yourself to the right shooting position than to play with so many zoom + focusing settings. But then i shoot manual film, so i dunno about what your setup is. Hope this helps.
 

Amfibius

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#15
I find that my 100 F/2.8 macro lens doubles as an excellent and super-sharp portrait lens. Because of the FOV crop it is effectively a 160mm F/2.8 so you have to stand further away than you may be used to though! But if you want, you can take crazy close-ups of eyes and capture every little detail.
 

justarius

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#16
rueyloon is right... a good portrait is only limited by your creativity. I've seen good examples of portraits taken with wideangles and supertelephotos. No one is going to quibble over the f-stop or focal length if the end result is good. Sometimes you might not want to blur the background and want to shoot an environmental portrait, then in which case a large aperture is clearly useless.

That being said, I believe the more common focal lengths for portraits range from 85-135, as it gives you a larger working distance and a more pleasing perspective (ie you wouldn't get the big-nose small face syndrome if you shoot a tight shot with a lens in this focal range then if you use a wide angle.

Nikons have some legendary portrait lenses:
105 f2.5 AIS
85 f1.4 AF
105 f2 DC AF
135 f2 DC AF..
 

insomia

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#17
Certain focal lengths tend to work out better BUT any focal length can be used if you know exactly what you are doing and what effects you are after.

Its all about your skill as a people shooter and almost never about the equipment. Work with what you have. Since its a digital based system shoot more review and shoot again review revise and shoot again till you understand what is going on.
 

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