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Old 15th of January 2010 (Fri)   #1
kelleyphoto
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Default Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

I need a lens (or lenses) for outdoor beach portraits (ranging from candids of 1-2 people or up to 15 people for a group shot) with and w/out flash. Most shots taken an hour before sunset.

These are my current lenses:
Canon Kit lens - 28 - 135mm IS 3.5 - 5.6
Canon 50mm f1.8

I'm debating over whether to purchase a Canon 85mm 1.8 lens. I've had good success indoors with the 50mm in low light w/1-2 people in the shot. I really like the high quality that the fixed lens produces. I also don't want to lug around a heavy zoom lens or spend a lot of money since I'm just starting to build my portfolio before I go freelance.

I've used the 28-135mm for some beach portraits, but the quality just doesn't come close to the 50mm. I haven't tried the 50mm yet for beach portraits, but I don't think it's the best option.

Any suggestions, would be most welcome. Thanks!
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Old 15th of January 2010 (Fri)   #2
Madweasel
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Default Re: Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

Well it's a bit of a wide requirement and you don't say what format of camera you have, though I would guess from your stated budget limitations you're working with an APS-C sensor. The 85/1.8 would probably do well for the 1-2-person candid requirement, but you'd need something much wider for a 15-person group shot. If you're shooting with flash I would expect your 28-135 to do quite well, as you'd be able to stop it down a bit. For natural light when the sun is going down, you'd probably want to switch to a faster prime (say 28/1.8) or a wider angle, which would probably mean going to f/2.8 for max aperture. A zoom would do the job if you don't mind winding up the ISO a bit.

But really for such a wide requirement, almost any lens could be useful.
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Old 15th of January 2010 (Fri)   #3
kelleyphoto
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Default Re: Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

Thanks MadWeasel. Sorry I forgot to add I'm using a Canon EOS 40D.

Yes, for the group beach shots, I could use the 28-135 lens w/flash. I have a Canon 480EX speedlite. However, I really like to use natural light if possible. Are you saying that I could take a group shot w/natural light using the 28 1.8 at f2.8?
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Old 15th of January 2010 (Fri)   #4
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Default Re: Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

What's the problem using 50mm for beach portraits? It is not unlike a living room where you tight on space for group shots.
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Old 15th of January 2010 (Fri)   #5
Madweasel
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Default Re: Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleyphoto View Post
Are you saying that I could take a group shot w/natural light using the 28 1.8 at f2.8?
That would probably be about right, but what I really meant was that if you wanted wider than 28mm (which is only a normal length on a 40D), then with your budget you're likely to be looking at f/2.8 primes like the 24mm or 20mm. If you can afford the EF-S 17-55/2.8, then you'd have almost everything covered at a good aperture, but that lens is not cheap.
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Old 15th of January 2010 (Fri)   #6
ed rader
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Default Re: Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleyphoto View Post
I need a lens (or lenses) for outdoor beach portraits (ranging from candids of 1-2 people or up to 15 people for a group shot) with and w/out flash. Most shots taken an hour before sunset.

These are my current lenses:
Canon Kit lens - 28 - 135mm IS 3.5 - 5.6
Canon 50mm f1.8

I'm debating over whether to purchase a Canon 85mm 1.8 lens. I've had good success indoors with the 50mm in low light w/1-2 people in the shot. I really like the high quality that the fixed lens produces. I also don't want to lug around a heavy zoom lens or spend a lot of money since I'm just starting to build my portfolio before I go freelance.

I've used the 28-135mm for some beach portraits, but the quality just doesn't come close to the 50mm. I haven't tried the 50mm yet for beach portraits, but I don't think it's the best option.

Any suggestions, would be most welcome. Thanks!
you need a standard length zoom...e.g., 17-50 ... because your requirements are so broad (1-15 people).

an 85mm lens on a crop sensor is more for head shots.

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Old 15th of January 2010 (Fri)   #7
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Default Re: Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

Ed covered it, the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 is a great sharp lens that will give you the versatility you seek with the sharpness the 28-135 lacks.
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Old 15th of January 2010 (Fri)   #8
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Default Re: Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

I still don't get why one needs something like 17-50 if doing 1-15 people on the beach.
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Old 15th of January 2010 (Fri)   #9
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Default Re: Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleyphoto View Post
Yes, for the group beach shots, I could use the 28-135 lens w/flash. I have a Canon 480EX speedlite. However, I really like to use natural light if possible. Are you saying that I could take a group shot w/natural light using the 28 1.8 at f2.8?
I'm by no means an expert, but I'm not sure that you'd have enough depth of field at 2.8 for a sizeable group, unless they are all in a perfect line, which probably wouldn't be a very good photo.

According to dofmaster, at 28mm, f/2.8, and the subject 10 feet away, you'll have a depth of field of 4.33 feet. Will everyone be in that range?
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Old 15th of January 2010 (Fri)   #10
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Default Re: Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

Here is an 85 on a 5DII.

On a crop, a 50 would give you the same perspective. For more intimate shots I would get the 85/1.8... for large groups, a 17-5n would cover all the bases, imo.

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Old 15th of January 2010 (Fri)   #11
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Default Re: Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

I like using my 70-200 at the beach. Ti works well for keeping out of the way for candids. But for true portraits it is perhaps a little too long to communicate with your subjects and won't work for group shots very well. For that I would use my Sigma 24-60 or an equivalent.
Quote:
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I still don't get why one needs something like 17-50 if doing 1-15 people on the beach.
Then what would you suggest?
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Old 15th of January 2010 (Fri)   #12
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Default Re: Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

Nothing wrong with the nifty fifty, you don't really need to buy another lens.
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Old 15th of January 2010 (Fri)   #13
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Default Re: Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

the w/ the x ray switch...
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Old 16th of January 2010 (Sat)   #14
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Default Re: Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

17-55. It's my workhorse and spends a lot of time at the beach

If your budget doesn't allow that, I hear very nice things about Tamron's 17-50.
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Old 16th of January 2010 (Sat)   #15
ed rader
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Default Re: Best lens for outdoor beach portraits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyz View Post
I still don't get why one needs something like 17-50 if doing 1-15 people on the beach.

yeah maybe i shouldn't have used the word "need". you could use a 300mm lens with 1.4 TC if you wanted to.

here's a group of 16 people at the beach. i used an effective focal length of 31mm (1d mark III + 24-70L) and fill flash because of the gloom (it was overcast).



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