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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 23 Jan 2014 (Thursday) 07:23
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Portrait Lens.. 50 - 85 or OTHER?

 
SHOOTLUKE
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Jan 23, 2014 07:23 |  #1

I have been lucky enough to buy a 5d mark ii !

Now I would like a Portrait Lens, which the best for the money and IQ: 50 1.8 or 1.4 Canon or Sigma - 85mm 1.8 canon, Sigma 1.4 or OTHER?




  
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Bonbridge
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Jan 23, 2014 07:31 |  #2

What lenses do you already have? I really love the 85 for portrait. The 50 has more distortion, but distortion could be very fun to use. I like the results when I shoot a headshot with my Sigma 35.
But still, the 85 is in my view the perfect portrait FL. So I would go with the Canon 85/1.8 if I where you. And if you decide to buy a 50mm. Sigma is comming with the new 50mm Art version. I think that is going to be the best 50 for your money then, just like the 35.


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MalVeauX
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Jan 23, 2014 08:06 |  #3

SHOOTLUKE wrote in post #16629289 (external link)
I have been lucky enough to buy a 5d mark ii !

Now I would like a Portrait Lens, which the best for the money and IQ: 50 1.8 or 1.4 Canon or Sigma - 85mm 1.8 canon, Sigma 1.4 or OTHER?

Heya,

Depends on where you want to do the portraits. If inside, you might be constrained to a lesser focal length (50mm). If outside, or in a larger studio, then you have access to better space and can utilize longer focal ranges (85mm +).

Also, depends on budget.

Canon 50mm F1.4 - Great, cheap lens. Great for portraits. You'll stop it down to get it sharp. So the F1.4 is mostly just a number, not a real world value. But it's a cheap lens and has generally nice blur ability (compared to the 50mm F1.8 II). Stop it down to F2 and you can do nice portraits.

Samyang 85mm F1.4 - Fully manual lens $280. Very sharp, great lens. But manual. Still excellent for portraits and if you're on a budget, it is optically crazy with that F1.4 aperture if you really want that for creative shots. Only look at this lens if you lust for F1.4 on an 85mm and don't want to spend $800+.

Sigma 85mm F1.4 - Expensive, but here's where you go if you want this focal length, F1.4, and autofocus. For this cost though, honestly, I'd spend $200 more and get the EF 135mm F2.

Canon EF 85mm F1.8 - The most simple and straight forward lens, it does the job, fast, very sharp at F1.8, great quality up and down. Can be found for like $300 these days. Get it used. Pretty much a staple in portraits and photography in general. This lens is a beast and cost doesn't represent anything about it's quality.

Canon EF 100mm F2.8 - Another good portrait lens, yes it's macro, but it also does portrait very well. Gives you a little more reach, very sharp, close focus distance, and doubles as macro should you have any interest there. Great two for one lens.

Tamron 90mm F2.8 - An alternative to the Canon, again, a macro that doubles as portrait.

Canon EF 24-105 F4L - Great lens to cover several focal lengths, can be had fairly inexpensively ($600?). Gives you wide, normal and a touch of telephoto. Great for portraits and everything in general. Yes, it's only F4. But unless you truly need F1.4~F2.8, you may find you stop down to F4 anyways on those lenses to get their faces in focus and depth from nose/eyes, etc. This entirely depends on how close you are to your subject when making your depth of field.

Sigma/Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 / F4 (different flavors) - Another great focal length option for portrait. The Canon 24-70 F2.8 is amazing. But also costs an amazing amount of cash. The Sigma/Tamron is also very good. Worth looking into, again, if you want two focal lengths for portrait in one lens.

Tamron/Canon 70-200 F4 & F2.8 (different flavors) - These actually are great portrait lenses and give you a ton of options for outdoors without being ultra expensive. Getting them used, gets you a ton of value. Gives you the 85, 135 and 200 ranges right away. The Tamron F2.8 can be had for a very good price. The Canon F4L IS is also an amazing lens for the cost.

Canon EF 200mm F2.8 II - Prime. And great for portraits. Not that expensive.

Canon EF 135mm F2 - Prime. The portrait lens. Why build up to it? Just go for the gold.

Very best,


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umphotography
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Jan 23, 2014 08:12 as a reply to  @ MalVeauX's post |  #4

For a full frame sensor i would be looking at 85MM

crop sensor a 50MM is awesome

or the 60MM macro from canon is outstanding

good luck


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Anthon
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Jan 23, 2014 08:37 as a reply to  @ umphotography's post |  #5

I think 70-200, even f4 non-IS makes a great portrait lens.

The thing about fast short tele lenses (50 and 85), is that they tend to have a very shallow DOF. You will struggle to get your subject 100% in focus, if you would like to create background blur. If you would like to take a close up, a lot of time you will end up with some parts being out of focus (for instance 1 eye in focus, other is not).
Depends on your taste, but personally I hate when this happens.

If you want to take a close up on 200mm, the background just gets smashed in this creamy bokeh paste, beyong recognition. Even on f4.
But, the DOF is still reasonably large - so your subject will be completely in focus. Also, you get this strong space compression, which is really flattering and just looks neat.

I really like the quality of the blur on 70-200 f4 non IS - which I can not say about Canon 50mm, which felt like sand paper to my eyes.

Really sharp, even wide open - from my experience it improves only very slightly when stopped down. Much better built quality too.

Long story short - not a big fan of 50mm. 70-200 is a better portrait lens in my opinion.


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SHOOTLUKE
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Jan 23, 2014 12:18 |  #6

Thanks for all the great advice.

Lots to think about, but I am drawn to the Canon 85mm 1.8. The 70-200 sounds very tempting too!

www.facebook.com/shoot​luke (external link)

Thanks




  
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gonzogolf
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Jan 23, 2014 12:34 |  #7

135L Sharp, fast focusing and the creamy bokeh you will love instantly. As mentioned above, longer focal lengths get away from the perspective distortion that can subtly undermine your portraits.




  
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burb1972
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Jan 23, 2014 16:42 |  #8

100 f2 canon, a little better than the 85 1.8


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EverydayGetaway
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Jan 24, 2014 00:08 |  #9

Samyang 85/1.4

If you need AF and still want to save a little money, EF 85/1.8 or 100/2 (both are great)

If you wanna spend a little more, 135L

If you wanna spend a lot more, 85L


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Sirrith
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Jan 24, 2014 01:30 |  #10

My personal favourite portrait lens is actually the Jupiter-9 85/2, on FF. But I don't know if I'd recommend it because it is manual focus only, and you have to find a good copy (the copy variation is immense, some are almost unusably soft wide open, mine is quite sharp wide open). If you're willing to try and find a nice one, then that is my recommendation.

But otherwise, based on that, I'd recommend the Sigma 85/1.4 because it has great bokeh and IQ (better than the Canon 1.8), doesn't cost as much as the 85L, and has autofocus.

If you're OK with MF but don't want the hassle of finding a "good copy", then the Samyang is a good choice for sharpness, but I don't like the way it renders images, too "clinical".


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EverydayGetaway
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Jan 24, 2014 01:49 |  #11

Sirrith wrote in post #16631960 (external link)
My personal favourite portrait lens is actually the Jupiter-9 85/2, on FF. But I don't know if I'd recommend it because it is manual focus only, and you have to find a good copy (the copy variation is immense, some are almost unusably soft wide open, mine is quite sharp wide open). If you're willing to try and find a nice one, then that is my recommendation.

But otherwise, based on that, I'd recommend the Sigma 85/1.4 because it has great bokeh and IQ (better than the Canon 1.8), doesn't cost as much as the 85L, and has autofocus.

If you're OK with MF but don't want the hassle of finding a "good copy", then the Samyang is a good choice for sharpness, but I don't like the way it renders images, too "clinical".

I'm not sure what you mean by "clinical", could you elaborate?

I actually found my EF 85/1.8 to be sharper than my Samyang (only slightly), but I reterened the EF because to me the Samyang's rendering was just far more pleasing to my eyes in every way (color, contrast, bokeh, etc).


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Sirrith
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Jan 24, 2014 02:06 |  #12

EverydayGetaway wrote in post #16631985 (external link)
I'm not sure what you mean by "clinical", could you elaborate?

Just the way I feel when I look at images from that lens. It just looks boring, no interesting characteristics about it e.g. the 85 1.2's creamy bokeh is something special, as is the Sigma 1.4's. The Samyang produces images that to me just looks like a lens that has been designed to look sharp and with minimal aberrations.


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EverydayGetaway
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Jan 24, 2014 02:19 |  #13

Sirrith wrote in post #16632012 (external link)
Just the way I feel when I look at images from that lens. It just looks boring, no interesting characteristics about it e.g. the 85 1.2's creamy bokeh is something special, as is the Sigma 1.4's. The Samyang produces images that to me just looks like a lens that has been designed to look sharp and with minimal aberrations.

No offense, but I think that's a pretty ridiculous statement. The Samyang has a lot more up it's sleeve than sharpness.


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Sirrith
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Jan 24, 2014 02:23 |  #14

EverydayGetaway wrote in post #16632030 (external link)
No offense, but I think that's a pretty ridiculous statement. The Samyang has a lot more up it's sleeve than sharpness.

And I think it is pretty ridiculous for you to tell me how I should and shouldn't feel. I made it very clear that these were my own feelings.


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EverydayGetaway
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Jan 24, 2014 02:24 |  #15

Sirrith wrote in post #16632031 (external link)
And I think it is pretty ridiculous for you to tell me how I should and shouldn't feel. I made it very clear that these were my own feelings.

I'm Saying it's ridiculous to sway someone away from a lens based on it being too "clinical".

Honestly OP, the best way to find a lens you'll like is to go browse through the sample threads.


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