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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 30 Apr 2014 (Wednesday) 05:15
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Lens For Portrait

 
KristyM
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Apr 30, 2014 05:15 |  #1

Hello

I am fairly new to this forum but wanted to ask about portrait lenses. I have a canon t3i and would like to get a nice portrait lens on a budget :) I have been looking at the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 Aspherical Lens and also the Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM. I am not sure which one to choose. I am kind of leaning toward the Samyang I have read and see a bunch of reviews but I just want to know if there is any other great lens out there I am missing. Any help would be great.


Canon Rebel T3i, 85mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8, 18-55mm, 55-250mm

  
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MalVeauX
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Apr 30, 2014 05:41 |  #2

Heya,

I have the Samyang 85 F1.4. It's phenomenal for portrait. It's sharp at F1.4, great optics, rivals things that cost $600+. It's no 85 F1.2L II, but it's about as good as the $900 Sigma F1.4 version, just lacks autofocus. That's no problem to me though, as with this kind of razor thin depth of field, manual focus is often used anyways (for me).

The 50 F1.4 is an ok lens. It's better for indoor portraits (on a full frame). But the lens is not that great, not super sharp at F1.4, and the build is not fantastic. Not worth $320ish in my opinion. I'd rather just use a Helios 44-2 (58mm F2) manual ($40!), or if you want autofocus, look for a good copy of a Sigma 50 F1.4. I found 50mm on a crop sensor to not be right for my style. I much prefer 35mm and 85mm on a crop for portrait. 35mm indoors. 85mm outdoors.

The Samyang 35mm F1.4 is also a great lens. Also, don't discount going manual/vintage. A super takumar 50 F1.4 for $60~80, and a helios 44-2, 58mm f2 for $45. Great portrait lenses for all purposes, crop and full frame.

Don't forget lighting though, this is where portrait really stands out.

I'd get an off-camera flash, like a Yongnuo 560 III and a wireless trigger. Inexpensive. Set up in a softbox (Newer 60cmx60cm for speed lites, only $30!) and a light stand (impact) for like $25. Good to go.

Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link)

  
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nightcat
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Apr 30, 2014 05:48 |  #3

The best reasonably priced lens I've used for portraits is the 100mm f2.




  
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CollegeKid
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Apr 30, 2014 08:21 |  #4
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nightcat wrote in post #16871827 (external link)
The best reasonably priced lens I've used for portraits is the 100mm f2.

I agree with you. However, it is a bit long on a crop. If you've got room to back up a few steps, it is worth the price.




  
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titi_67207
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Apr 30, 2014 08:58 |  #5

The Samyang 85mm f/1.4 is a great lens at low price, but are you aware it's a full manual lens ? Focusing accurately can be tricky on your camera.

Titi


Canon 5D MkII + Sony A7 + 24x36 & 6x6 B&W film cameras .
CV 15 4.5 III | TS-E 24L II | FE 28 2 | (50+85) 1.4 | 135 2 | 70-200 4.0L | a collection of old Zuikos + FD + Adaptall + AI-s + M42

  
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Dave3222
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Apr 30, 2014 09:09 |  #6

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 is a great lens. Price is around $300 USD and can double as a decent lens for indoor sports. Check the forum for photos using this lens.




  
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artyH
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Apr 30, 2014 09:31 |  #7

I would recommend either a 50F1.4 or Canon 35F2 IS.
What sort of portraits do you want to take and where? Inside, shorter focal lengths work better. The Canon 50 F 1.4 will be sharp at F1.8 and is good for head and shoulders portraits. The 35 will be generally useful on a crop, great for low light photos, and will work for 2 or 3 people indoors. I have the Canon 85 F1.8. It is a great lens, but it is really a head shot lens indoors, unless you stand across the room.
If you get the 50 mm Canon, be sure to get the lens hood and keep it on facing forward at all times. It has a reputation for fragile AF.




  
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Aki78
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Apr 30, 2014 09:33 |  #8

85mm f1.8 is great for headshot on a crop body :) 50mm f1.4 was good but wasn't as flattering for headshot plus you needed to get really close. Of course for group portraits you obviously want something wider without having to step back very far.




  
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Nathan
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Apr 30, 2014 09:35 |  #9

Indoor portraits or outdoor portraits? If outdoors and you have the room to step back, then recommendations for the 85/1.8 or 100/2 are great for about $300 used. On a crop, I'd go for an 85/1.8.

If you need to get closer, then get one of the 50mm lenses. For true bang for your buck, the Canon 50/1.8 is really good for portraits for around $90 or less used.

When I was on crop, I also liked the Sigma 30/1.4 for another $300 or so. Mileage varies, though, because some people report front focusing issues. Mine was sharp with no focusing issues. Generally, you don't want to go wider than 50mm or you'll get distortion. However, you don't see much distortion with this lens, especially when you step back and take more of an environmental portrait.

So basically, the answer is dependent on what type of portaiture you want to do.


Taking photos with a fancy camera does not make me a photographer.
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VeijoM
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Apr 30, 2014 09:39 as a reply to  @ Dave3222's post |  #10

There must be as many opinions here as...

For crop sensor I would not choose 85mm.

For portraiture I would not choose fast aperture (much faster than 2.8) if I was about to take photos where the whole face is in focus. That is just me, but it always seem to be some odd idea circulating that you have to have very thin DOF to take portraits. Of course you can use thin DOF for some "artistic" uses, but basically it is asking trouble when photographing people quite near. It is another thing to have this thin DOF if photographed outdoor only where you can shoot from some distance. But this depends on the needs. I would be happy to use for example Canon's EF 70-200 F4 at F4 for portraiture, as it renders the image wonderfully and the bokeh is very natural looking.

So, some different "budget" lenses I would suggest would be Tamron 60mm F2 macro lens or Canon EF35mm F2 (non IS, which can be still bought with less money than the IS version, but if budget allows, the IS version). 60mm is quite nice for "classic" portraits (head and shoulders, or outside from longer distance) and 35mm is quite nice for pics where you have the whole person.

There are quite decent zooms that have F2.8 aperture throughout their focal lenght range and for example Sigma 17-50 OS HSM is a budget lens at the moment giving very good IQ, though prime lenses still have some advantage here.


70D. EF 70-300mm L, Tamron 90mm F2.8 VC and Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 OS HSM.

  
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venom3300
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Apr 30, 2014 09:51 |  #11

85mm on a crop is about 136mm on FF.... thats more of head and shoulders type of lens. Just depends on use if thats what you want.

Personally I would not use a MF lens on a T3i sine you can't get the EF-S focusing screen.

I would say give the sigma 50 1.4 EX DG HSM a good look. bigger and heavier, but also a little sharper than the canon 50 1.4.


Bodies: Nikon D800,Canon Rebel GII, Pentax K1000
Lenses: Nikon 20mm 1.8, Nikon 24 2.8 MF, Tamron SP 35mm 1.8, Tamron 90 2.8 Macro, Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR I, Nikon AI-P 500mm F4, Nikon TC-16A, SMC Pentax-A 50/1.7, SMC Pentax-M 100/4 Macro

  
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MalVeauX
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Apr 30, 2014 10:06 |  #12

Heya,

85mm and 35mm on a crop, just to give you an idea of how it looks in the real world.

85 @ F2 (on a crop):

IMAGE: https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2934/14067425772_c896982415_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/nr6e​zE  (external link) IMG_0790 (external link) by Mwise1023 (external link), on Flickr

85 @ F2 (on a crop):

IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7325/14047466516_9067246b35_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/npjW​oy  (external link) IMG_0762 (external link) by Mwise1023 (external link), on Flickr

85 @ F2 (on a crop):

IMAGE: https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2896/14009153343_877a7046f9_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/nkWz​dB  (external link) IMG_0471 (external link) by Mwise1023 (external link), on Flickr

35 @ F2 (on a crop):

IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7193/13885964634_d4700e48de_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/na4c​vm  (external link) IMG_9776 (external link) by Mwise1023 (external link), on Flickr

And this is 180mm (prime) @ F3.5 (on a crop):

IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7039/13887046349_e4002a9918_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/na9K​4B  (external link) IMG_0895 (external link) by Mwise1023 (external link), on Flickr

Very best,

My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link)

  
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brian4646
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Apr 30, 2014 10:43 |  #13

I shoot on a crop. I have the Canon 85mm 1.8 I use outside because of the focal length. I also have a Canon 35 f/2 IS I use inside. Both are great.




  
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Charlie
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Apr 30, 2014 10:57 |  #14

out of the 2, I'de stick with the 50mm, simply because it's easier to work with. If you like a challenge, then use the 85, it will give you better images.


Sony A7riii/A9 - FE 12-24/4 - FE 24-240 - SY 24/2.8 - FE 28/2 - FE 35/2.8 - FE 50/1.8 - FE 85/1.8 - EF 135/1.8 Art - F 600/5.6 - CZ 100-300 - Astro Rok 14/2.8 - Tamron 17-28/2.8 - 28-75/2.8 RXD, 70-200/2.8 VC

  
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Nathan
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Apr 30, 2014 12:53 |  #15

Charlie wrote in post #16872424 (external link)
out of the 2, I'de stick with the 50mm, simply because it's easier to work with. If you like a challenge, then use the 85, it will give you better images.

Disagree. Images from 50mm and 85mm are, except a slightly different compression that some people won't notice, are pretty similar... just use the focal length you need. There are some differences, but not that huge. 50/1.8 at f1.8, I think, is sharper than the 85/1.8 at f/1.8. Any 50/1.4 at f1.8 will be sharper.


Taking photos with a fancy camera does not make me a photographer.
www.nathantpham.com (external link) | Boston POTN Flickr (external link) |
5D3 x2 | 16-35L II | 35 L | 50L | 85L II | 135L | 580 EX II x2

  
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