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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 22 Oct 2005 (Saturday) 19:07
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Portrait Lens?

 
Mac
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Oct 22, 2005 19:07 |  #1

So I am starting to get the urge to learn portrait shooting. Right now, I prefer landscape and wildlife, and have not done alot of portraits. But I am wondering on a lens. Right now, I have both the 50 1.4 and the 85 1.8 on my wish list, and I am planning on getting them both in the long run. But for now, I need to choose one. Which one would be best to start with? Any info is greatly appreciated...thanks.:)

Oh, and my current list of lenses:
Tokina 12-24
Tamron 28-75
Canon 70-200 f/4
Canon 100-400

Thanks again...:)


Sean
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gasrocks
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Oct 22, 2005 19:30 |  #2

You already own 2 lenses that would be fine for port. I'd get the cheapest one first if you really find you need another lens.


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NBEast
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Oct 22, 2005 19:34 |  #3

Mac wrote:
So I am starting to get the urge to learn portrait shooting. Right now, I prefer landscape and wildlife, and have not done alot of portraits. But I am wondering on a lens. Right now, I have both the 50 1.4 and the 85 1.8 on my wish list, and I am planning on getting them both in the long run. But for now, I need to choose one. Which one would be best to start with? Any info is greatly appreciated...thanks.:)

Oh, and my current list of lenses:
Tokina 12-24
Tamron 28-75
Canon 70-200 f/4
Canon 100-400

Thanks again...:)

What camera?


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richardho11
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Oct 22, 2005 19:38 as a reply to  @ NBEast's post |  #4
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Yah, what camera do you have? Because if you have the Rebel,RebelXT or the 20D, I think the 50mm is too long. I rarely used it because it was so long. I think the range around a 35mm would be perfect. You should go to the camera store and try out a few of the focal lengths and see which one suits you best. Im waiting for my 35L to come in on Monday, but now I just ordered the 5D too, so I am hoping that it wont be too wide! LOL. I'll just have to get the 85L sooner or later!


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Lord_Malone
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Oct 23, 2005 02:08 |  #5

On a cropped camera the 35 would be perfect.


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NBEast
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Oct 23, 2005 02:24 as a reply to  @ Lord_Malone's post |  #6

I think it may be a matter of preference. I have a 20D (1.6 crop) and here's a few examples. Personally; I find anything UNDER 50mm too short for the traditonal "portriate".

Also there's the matter of perspective. "Normal" (what our eyes see) is about 35 on a 1.6 crop camera. Below that may give uncomplementary perspectives (fat, big noses, etc). Conversely; slightly longer gives complementary feature perspectives. Hence; the traditional portriate lengths of 85 - 135 (efl).

Note: Please pardon recycled photos - already uploaded. :)

(uncropped except to fit 8x10 format)
#1: 75mm from about 5 feet away.
#2: 50mm from about 6 feet away:
#3: And here is a whopping 135mm from about 15 feet away. Slightly cropped from top.
#4: But then; for the more full bodied look, shorter does work well. Here's 30mm:

IMAGE: http://FLASHME.smugmug.com/photos/35309319-S.jpg
IMAGE: http://FLASHME.smugmug.com/photos/35306467-S.jpg

IMAGE: http://FLASHME.smugmug.com/photos/41138839-S-1.jpg
IMAGE: http://FLASHME.smugmug.com/photos/37838051-S.jpg

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George ­ Chew
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Oct 23, 2005 02:30 as a reply to  @ NBEast's post |  #7

Greetings,
If you have to choose one between 50 and 85 now, get the 50 as you can zoom in and out with your feet. I have both and they are very good portraits lens


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Mac
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Oct 23, 2005 08:35 |  #8

I am using a 300D right now. I have not had any urge to jump cameras yet. I have been toying with portraits using the Tamron I have right now as well, but was also looking at this lens to be a low light lens at the times I need it.

I will look at the 35 too then. Unfortunately for me, the closest good camera shop is 2.5 hours away...so I will have to hold off until I can get down there to play.

Thanks for the explanations and shots, they help alot...


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SkipD
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Oct 23, 2005 09:15 |  #9

Mac - I would strongly suggest that you hold on to your money for the time being. You have lenses that cover the range of focal lengths that are most often suggested for portraiture. That range, just to pull everything into focus (pun intended) is 31mm to about 85mm for a camera (like yours) with an APS-C sized sensor. 31mm is considered the "normal" focal length for that size sensor, and 85mm is roughly a 3X telephoto. The most-often recommended focal length for conventional portraits (waist up) would be 50mm.

Use the lenses you have for now. They won't cost you a thing. Your 28-75 would probably do everything you need. If, after doing some work with your current lens(es), you determine that you almost always use a particular focal length then you might consider getting a prime (non-zoom) lens for that type of work. If the 28-75 produces adequate sharpness, color, contrast, etc., then you really wouldn't need another lens. I use my Canon 24-70mm f2.8 for portraits and don't see any reason to change other than the appearance of the lens (BIG) to my subjects.

You could put your money into lighting equipment and be much further ahead than buying lenses that are in the focal length range that you already cover.


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Mac
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Oct 23, 2005 19:04 as a reply to  @ SkipD's post |  #10

SkipD wrote:
Mac - I would strongly suggest that you hold on to your money for the time being. You have lenses that cover the range of focal lengths that are most often suggested for portraiture. That range, just to pull everything into focus (pun intended) is 31mm to about 85mm for a camera (like yours) with an APS-C sized sensor. 31mm is considered the "normal" focal length for that size sensor, and 85mm is roughly a 3X telephoto. The most-often recommended focal length for conventional portraits (waist up) would be 50mm.

Use the lenses you have for now. They won't cost you a thing. Your 28-75 would probably do everything you need. If, after doing some work with your current lens(es), you determine that you almost always use a particular focal length then you might consider getting a prime (non-zoom) lens for that type of work. If the 28-75 produces adequate sharpness, color, contrast, etc., then you really wouldn't need another lens. I use my Canon 24-70mm f2.8 for portraits and don't see any reason to change other than the appearance of the lens (BIG) to my subjects.

You could put your money into lighting equipment and be much further ahead than buying lenses that are in the focal length range that you already cover.

This is what I believe will be best for me right now too. I started to think about lighting and figured a better budget would help me there. Thanks for the great help, it really cleared up my decision for me...:)


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ssim
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Oct 23, 2005 19:21 as a reply to  @ Mac's post |  #11

I have to agree with the others on the 28-75. I picked up this lens a couple of months ago and it is a very good lens for the value. I have found it to be a little soft wide open but I rarely shoot at that f-stop range unless I absolutley have to. You seem to have a pretty good starting lens selection. I have a 50mm as well and I very rarely use it.


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NBEast
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Oct 23, 2005 22:27 as a reply to  @ ssim's post |  #12

ssim wrote:
I have to agree with the others on the 28-75. I picked up this lens a couple of months ago and it is a very good lens for the value. I have found it to be a little soft wide open but I rarely shoot at that f-stop range unless I absolutley have to. You seem to have a pretty good starting lens selection. I have a 50mm as well and I very rarely use it.

I've found mine sharp all through but hear very mixed reports on other copies. One thing in common is the bokeh is not what a 50mm f1.4 or 85mm f1.8 (nor 24-70L) bokeh are.

Surely lighting is vastly more important to consistant results, but a silky prime or L zoom can make a big difference and portriats, more than most other photography styles, utilize bokeh and the improvement should not be overlooked.


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Sean-Mcr
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Oct 24, 2005 08:37 |  #13

I'm always amazed when people say the 50 is too long on a 20D when because of the FOV you get classic 80mm equivalent

If you scroll down on the page below you'll see how the 50 and 35 look with the 20D FOV.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=107411


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soupdragon
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Oct 24, 2005 09:48 as a reply to  @ Sean-Mcr's post |  #14
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I like the pleasing perspective a long lens gives, if you can get the minimum focus distance you could use your 400.
Standard lenses seem to leave the subject looking a little flat for me and anything wider makes peoples facial features look disproportionate.
Just my view on things of course.




  
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soupdragon
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Oct 24, 2005 09:51 as a reply to  @ soupdragon's post |  #15
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Just a quick addition, I notice you have a 135 f2 L, what more could you possibly want?
That lens has been on my list to santa for as long as I can remember.




  
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