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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 05 Feb 2013 (Tuesday) 11:57
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Need A Good Prime

 
taslin
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Feb 05, 2013 11:57 |  #1

I recently upgraded my body to a 1D3 and was curious what primes you would suggest for taking portraits? I have been told that primes are sharper than zooms so I wanted to give it a try for my next set of portraits for my kids. The pictures will be mostly outdoors and against buildings or in a park/waterfall setting.

I have long though of getting an 85mm 1.8, however reading many posts that say a smaller sub-50mm prime is better. I just don't want to be standing on top of my kids when I take the pictures. Thanks.


Sean
Canon 1D Mark III -- Canon 30D -- Canon 580ex
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L -- Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
Canon 50mm f/1.8 -- Canon 85mm f/1.8 -- Sigma 10-20mm
Canon 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 (good paper weight)

  
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taslin
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Feb 05, 2013 12:53 |  #2

Any advice on getting sharper portraits is welcome. I have just read primes make better quality portraits overall. Not that I can't shoot them with my 70-200, but I was thinking of getting a more specialized lens. Thanks.


Sean
Canon 1D Mark III -- Canon 30D -- Canon 580ex
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L -- Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
Canon 50mm f/1.8 -- Canon 85mm f/1.8 -- Sigma 10-20mm
Canon 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 (good paper weight)

  
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Motor ­ On
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Feb 05, 2013 13:05 |  #3

Do you use your 580 EX with the portraits?
Can you get the 580 off camera?
Samples of portraits you've taken with the 70-200?
For stationary subjects are your shutter speeds at least faster than you're focal length?
Are you shooting in direct or filtered light?
Have you shot portraits with your 50 1.8?

I've got the 50 1.4 the 85 1.8 and I long for a 135, The 50 on my APS-C sensor body is often a little too wide, the 85 works wonderfully as a prime focal length for me but it cannot be used with my higher quality TC, only my lower quality one that degrades IQ and defeats the purpose of using the prime. on my APS-C sensor the 85 would act as the 135 will on your 35mm frame 1D. The good news is with you're zooms you're not as limited to one focal length.

It's about light not the gear, light it right and a rebel with a kit should make amazing portraits. Knowing how to use the gear you have should help you get the most out of the lighting situations presented to you.


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n1as
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Feb 05, 2013 13:08 |  #4

Primes in general are sharper than zooms - or at least that USE to be the case. These days you can't go by that general rule, you have to get specific.

For instance the 70-200 f/2.8 Mk II is every bit as sharp as most primes in that same focal range. The 24-105L is not quite so good.

For portraits the place to start is not with the lens but with the desired distance. You want to be 3-5 paces away from your subject. Now that you're the right distance away, what sort of shot do you want? Full body, head & shoulders, tight face? That is what determines your focal length.

If you have the $ and can handle the weight the 70-200 f/2.8 IS Mk II is probably the best solution. I see you have the non-IS version. I'd go with that. It plenty sharp for portrait work, provided you nail the focus.

The only real optical advantage of the prime is the potential for shallow DoF due to fast apertures like f/1.4 or f/2. Be careful though. At those wide openings, it is all too easy to have too much of your subject out of focus. When I'm shooting people up close, I'm usually at f/4 or f/5.6. DoF is just too shallow at wider apertures for it to be reliable.

Specifically, the 85 f/1.8 is a great portrait lens. 85L may be better but is not cheap. Sigma's 85 f/1.4 is another great alternative. My 85 f/1.8 is sharper than the Sig 85 I had but most report the opposite.


- Keith
http://darwinphoto.zen​folio.com (external link)

  
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snakeman55
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Feb 05, 2013 16:21 |  #5

50 1.4 and 28 1.8 would be great additions. Obviously the L versions are even better. 85 1.8 is great also.


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Numenorean
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Feb 05, 2013 16:22 |  #6

85mm f/1.2L Mk II


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Tigerkn
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Feb 05, 2013 16:23 |  #7

+1 for the 50mm f/1.4. It's my fav. lens.


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kilobit
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Feb 05, 2013 16:30 |  #8

Re: Need a good prime
A brand new prime is 2^57885161-1 (external link)
Sorry, the geek in me couldn't resist.

Joking aside, would you be looking at primarily headshots? Or full body?
I would say a 50 would be the lowest I would go for any portraiture on a 1D3.
An 85 would be an overal better match.

If it is mostly outside, and you would have space, the 100 f/2 would be able to give you great compression and with f/2 nice seperation. It isn't the sharpest at the edges though.

[edit]
On pixel-peeper you can find some nice examples of the 100 f/2. It seems many more use it for portraiture.
pixel-peeper link of the 100 f/2 (external link)


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polobreaka
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Feb 05, 2013 16:36 |  #9

i also suggest the 50 1.4 and 85 1.8. These 2 go well with any frame size for portrait work.


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x_tan
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Feb 05, 2013 17:23 |  #10

n1as wrote in post #15575449 (external link)
...The 24-105L is not quite so good...

But 24-105L was good enough for Obama official portrait in 2008 ;)

http://www.flickr.com/​photos/nofx/3197824292​/ (external link)
(5D2 + 24-105L @ 105mm)

Anyway, people shoot from 24mm to 300mm prime for portrait.
Personally, I love 85L and 200L.


Canon 5D3 + Zoom (EF 17-40L, 24-105L & 28-300L, 100-400L II) & Prime (24L II, 85L II, 100L, 135L & 200 f/2.8L II; Zeiss 1,4/35)
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n1as
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Feb 05, 2013 18:18 |  #11

x_tan wrote in post #15576537 (external link)
But 24-105L was good enough for Obama official portrait in 2008 ;)

http://www.flickr.com/​photos/nofx/3197824292​/ (external link)
(5D2 + 24-105L @ 105mm)

Anyway, people shoot from 24mm to 300mm prime for portrait.
Personally, I love 85L and 200L.

Very good point. While the 24-105 may not be "the best" it is more than good enough. We all too often won't settle for great, we must have something better!


- Keith
http://darwinphoto.zen​folio.com (external link)

  
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dmnelson
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Feb 05, 2013 19:05 |  #12

If you are set on getting a new prime I really like the 85mm f/1.8. It makes a very nice portrait lens for the price.

But I must say for outdoor portraits with plenty of light and working distance, I would really enjoy using your current Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L. :)


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taslin
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Feb 05, 2013 20:12 |  #13

When I shoot outdoors I usually shoot without the flash. It's hard to say, but I usually do both full body and head/shoulder shots depending on the background and angle. I like to shoot at odd angles sometimes. I'm also interested in shooting some small concert type photos at a local bar and thought the 85mm 1.8 would be good for that. The main use would be for portraits style pictures. I need to hit the lottery and get 1 of each lens ;p


Sean
Canon 1D Mark III -- Canon 30D -- Canon 580ex
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L -- Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
Canon 50mm f/1.8 -- Canon 85mm f/1.8 -- Sigma 10-20mm
Canon 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 (good paper weight)

  
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ed ­ rader
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Feb 05, 2013 20:24 |  #14

n1as wrote in post #15576712 (external link)
Very good point. While the 24-105 may not be "the best" it is more than good enough. We all too often won't settle for great, we must have something better!

many pros don't agonize over all the small stuff like we do. they just use the equipment that makes them money


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5D4, 80d, 16-35L III, 24-70L II, 70-200L F4 IS II, 100-400L II, sigma 15mm FE, 35mm ef-s macro, tc 1.4 III, 430exII, gitzo 3542L, gitzo GM4562, markins Q10, markins Q3, kirk, really right stuff, sirui

  
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Thorrulz
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Feb 05, 2013 21:16 |  #15

If you already have a 50 f/1.8, that is a very sharp lens from f/2 on down. I would vote the 85 f/1.8 or if you have the budget the 135L. Both are extremely sharp and fast.


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D800 I Nikon 200 f2 VR 1 I Nikon 200 f2 ED AI-S I Nikon 135 f2 DC I Nikon 28-70 f/2.8 I Nikon 50 f/1.4G I Nikon 85 f/1.8G I Pentax 645D I SMC FA 645 75 F2.8 I SMC FA 645 45-85 F4.5 I SMC FA 645 200 F4
My sister, the professional baker and cake decorator once told me that my camera takes great pics. My reply was that I thought her oven baked great cakes.:lol:

  
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Need A Good Prime
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