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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 04 Feb 2013 (Monday) 19:30
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Which is the better Lens

 
dasjr
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Feb 04, 2013 19:30 |  #1

??? Which is the better len for portraits Canon f4 17-40mm of Canon f2.8 17-50mm




  
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Voaky999
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Feb 04, 2013 19:46 |  #2

The 17-55/2.8 would be your first choice of these two presuming you are using a crop body.


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BrickR
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Feb 04, 2013 19:50 |  #3

Obviously you are talking about a crop sensor camera because you are comparing an EF 17-40 with an EF-S 17-55. The EF-S 17-55 f2.8 would be a better lens for portraits IMO. It gives you IS and 2.8 for better background blur.
The 17-40 is a slow wide angle lens intended for FF bodies. On a crop body the 17-55 will do everything the 17-40 does plus more that the 17-40 can't.


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Numenorean
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Feb 04, 2013 19:51 |  #4

17-40 is more of a cheaper full frame landscape lens. 17-55 is a good group/individual portrait lens on crop.


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nightcat
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Feb 04, 2013 22:00 |  #5

Neither is an outstanding lens for portraits. The 17-55mm would be far better between the two.




  
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maverick75
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Feb 04, 2013 22:06 |  #6

nightcat wrote in post #15573274 (external link)
Neither is an outstanding lens for portraits.


Exactly, even on a crop you want a long lenses(at least 70mm or more).
Focal length doesn't change with a crop so you still have to deal with distortion.

Here's an example video:

http://cazillo.com …il&utm_source=o​nsite-list (external link)


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kin2son
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Feb 04, 2013 22:35 |  #7
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On crop, the 17-55 is better than the 17-40 for everything, not just portrait...


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snakeman55
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Feb 05, 2013 07:05 |  #8

kin2son wrote in post #15573410 (external link)
On crop, the 17-55 is better than the 17-40 for everything, not just portrait...

I agree.


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RHChan84
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Feb 05, 2013 07:33 |  #9

Yes. 17-55 has a f2.8 and the 17-40 has f4 so you lose some Zoom and it's slower.


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Preeb
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Feb 05, 2013 09:43 |  #10

maverick75 wrote in post #15573310 (external link)
Exactly, even on a crop you want a long lenses(at least 70mm or more).
Focal length doesn't change with a crop so you still have to deal with distortion.

Here's an example video:

http://cazillo.com …il&utm_source=o​nsite-list (external link)

Having owned both the 17-40 and the 17-55, I'll take the second one hands down.

I find that my EF-S 60mm f2.8 macro is a great portrait lens on my 60D, although I have to admit that I don't do much formal portraiture. It has a field of view equivalent to about 98mm on a full frame. F2.8 still offers decent background blur, no distortion, and it's almost too sharp. I find that I usually have to apply a bit of luminance NR to slightly soften skin, otherwise even the smallest blemishes will show.


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SkipD
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Feb 05, 2013 09:54 |  #11

maverick75 wrote in post #15573310 (external link)
Focal length doesn't change with a crop so you still have to deal with distortion.

Focal length, in itself, has absolutely NOTHING to do with perspective or "perspective distortion".

Please read our "sticky" (found in the General Photography Talk forum) tutorial titled Perspective Control in Images - Focal Length or Distance?.


maverick75 wrote in post #15573310 (external link)
Here's an example video:

50mm Prime Lens is NOT a Portrait Lens (external link)

The guy doing that video doesn't have a clue about the truths involved with perspective. Don't believe him.


50mm to 70mm lenses are quite good choices for APS-C format ("1.6 crop") cameras when doing conventional portrait work at distances that provide good perspective.


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kilobit
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Feb 05, 2013 13:53 |  #12

SkipD wrote in post #15574790 (external link)
The guy doing that video doesn't have a clue about the truths involved with perspective. Don't believe him.


50mm to 70mm lenses are quite good choices for APS-C format ("1.6 crop") cameras when doing conventional portrait work at distances that provide good perspective.

Totally agree with you.


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watt100
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Feb 05, 2013 18:31 |  #13

SkipD wrote in post #15574790 (external link)
The guy doing that video doesn't have a clue about the truths involved with perspective. Don't believe him.


50mm to 70mm lenses are quite good choices for APS-C format ("1.6 crop") cameras when doing conventional portrait work at distances that provide good perspective.

I agree, that video is wrong




  
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tagnal
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Feb 06, 2013 12:58 |  #14

maverick75 wrote in post #15573310 (external link)
Exactly, even on a crop you want a long lenses(at least 70mm or more).
Focal length doesn't change with a crop so you still have to deal with distortion.

Here's an example video:

http://cazillo.com …il&utm_source=o​nsite-list (external link)

lol that video is BS. Distortion is affected by distance. a 50mm on a crop works just fine for portraits.

::edit - heh guess i should have read the rest of the responses before posting :P::


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amfoto1
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Feb 06, 2013 14:29 |  #15

I personally wouldn't choose either of those lenses for a lot of portraiture. But they might be useful for other types.

There are various types of portraits...

Environmental portraits are wider shots that show a persion within their surroundings, such as where they live or work, and try to tell a story about them using those surroundings. A wider lens such as a 20mm to 28mm on a crop camera can be useful for this type of portrait. Or, a longer focal length if you have plenty of room to back up.

Small group portraits, couples portraits, and full length portraits such as are common with wedding photography are another place that a somewhat wider lens can be helpful. Due to perspective distortion and other wide angle lens effects, you want to use as long a focal length as possible and avoid getting too close or positioning the subject too close to one edge of the frame with wider lenses. 28mm, 30mm, 35mm, 40mm lenses all might be a good choice on a crop camera.

Head and torso portraits are often best done with a short telephoto... such as 50mm on a crop camera.

Face shots or close-ups that really fill the frame with the subject's face, call for a longer telephoto such as an 85mm on a crop sensor camera.

Fashion photography sometimes makes use of longer focal lengths to cause some perspective compression... but requires plenty of working space, room to back up and get the subject fully within the image frame. 135mm might be a good choice for this purpose.

Posed portraits in a studio don't demand a large aperture, since you can control the background, assuming you have adequate lighting too. Focal length is determined by working space within the studio. A 24-70mm zoom is particularly versatile as a portrait lens in-studio. 24-105 or 28-135 are pretty darned good, too.

Candid portraits and location portraits often don't allow as much control over the background, and in order to isolate the subject from a distracting, ugly or busy background a larger aperture lens might be necessary. Something larger than f2.8 might be needed... f1.4 and even faster lenses come into their own here. This means a prime instead of a zoom, since no zooms faster than f2.8 are available for use on Canon.

Really large aperture primes such as the premium Canon 50/1.2L and 85/1.2L II are used for extremely shallow depth of field effects in portraiture, to seriously isolate the subjects from their surroundings and give images a particularly dreamy look. Of course, you have to be careful to not use too large an aperture and end up with too thin depth of field that leaves important parts of your subject out of focus.

The guy in that video is using a full frame camera (Nikon D3s)... where a 50mm might be useful for full length portraits, couples, small groups or in the case of environmental portraiture. But it's not really a "traditional" portrait focal length for the type of shots he's showing, when using a full framer. He's totally wrong when it comes to crop sensor cameras, which is what we're talking about here and he's trying to comment about, too. In fact, with a cropper you have to back up to get the same framing as you did on full frame, and as soon as you move farther awary that changes the perspective and DOF factors of the lens.... making the 50mm quite useful for portraiture.

On crop cameras, for portraits I've used 20/2.8, 28/1.8, 50/1.4 (especially) and 85/1.8 (especially), as well as 24-70/2.8 and 28-135 IS zooms.

On full frame, I've used 28/1.8, 50/1.4, 85/1.8 (especially) and 135/2 (especially), as well as 70-200/2.8 zoom.

If you don't want to end up with a bag full of lenses for portraiture, there are some interesting alternatives. I am generally not a big fan of using macro lenses for portraiture... They can be too sharp... most subjects do not want their every tiny flaw recorded in an image for eternity. Also, macro lenses tend to be f2.8 at the largest. Tamron, however, is offering a 60mm f2.0 Macro/Portrait lens for crop sensor cameras. A full stop faster than most macro lenses, this looks like an interesting alternative to me. A short telephoto, it's focal length is nicely positioned in between 50mm and 85mm "traditional" portrait focal lengths, too.

There's also the Canon 100/2.0 USM... a little long on crop sensor for some portraiture, you'd either need to have plenty of working space or be making very tight shots, or both.

There really aren't any restrictions... I've made plenty of portraits with 300mm and even 500mm and 700mm on crop sensor cameras. Needless to say, these were done from considerable distance.

So, honestly I wouldn't choose either 17-40/4L or 17-55/2.8 IS primarily for portraiture, personally. If those were my only two choices, I'd go with the 17-55 for it's f2.8 aperture. But I'd really prefer to have a 24-70/2.8, if I have to use a zoom (useful with kids and pets portraits where you have to shoot quickly and it's difficult to get them to stop and pose).

Whenever possible, I'll use a prime, but there are times when a zoom is necessary.

50/1.4 at f2 (crop camera)

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8083/8300648819_476a9f55d2_z.jpg

85/1.8 at f2 (crop camera)
IMAGE: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3456/5805118576_8f2c0ca5c0_z.jpg

135/2 at f4.5 (crop camera)
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7170/6797432023_276aebc4af_z.jpg

160mm at f5.6 (70-200/2.8 on crop camera)
IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8351/8315635848_dd1036ce61_z.jpg

200mm at f2.8 (70-200/2.8 on crop camera)
IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8077/8303758935_fc2a4fefbb_z.jpg

300/2.8 IS at f2.8 (crop camera)
IMAGE: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6068/6144395151_d04cde9dd3_z.jpg

300/4 IS at f4 (crop camera)
IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8313/8004822165_d900ff2efb_z.jpg

700mm at f5.6 (500mm + 1.4X teleconverter on crop camera)
IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8361/8305087664_15ef99dcc6_z.jpg

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Which is the better Lens
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