View Full Version : What's the best portrait lens?
07-24-2007, 01:24 PM
<div>Hi all!</div><div> </div><div>I'm trying to build up a lens collection that will work well with portrait and group photography.</div><div>Currently I have the dinky and not so great kit lens (18-55mm) that came with my xti. </div><div> </div><div>I'd like to purchase a couple more lenses of moderate expense, but I'm unsure what really qualifies as a "portrait lens."</div><div> </div><div>I was guessing that an 85 mm prime is a good choice...(not sure why, I think I just heard) and a zoom.</div><div> </div><div>Does anyone have some suggestions, or reccomendations regarding lenses for portrait photography</div><div> </div><div>Blessings and thanks!</div><div>Lacy</div>
07-24-2007, 03:09 PM
<DIV></DIV>The Canon 50mm f1.8 lens would make a great addition to your lens collection. It only costs about $80, and with a field of view equivalent to an 85mm lens with the 1.6x 'crop factor' of your camera's sensor, would make a suitable portrait lens, IMO.<BR><BR>At that price, every Canon owner should have one!<BR>
<P> </P><br><br>Message Edited by DrJalapeno on <span class=date_text>07-24-2007</span> <span class=time_text>10:22 PM</span>
07-24-2007, 07:43 PM
<div>I agree the 50mm f/1.8 is a must have for any Canon owner if price and performance are important.</div><div> </div><div>I personally have always liked the longer lenses for portraits. The only thing limiting their usefulness is lack of distance to get a head and shoulders shot in the average szed room. An 80-200mm f/2.8 is a nice lens for all around use including portraits. Another good choice is a 100mm macro lens which can double as a portrait lens.</div>
07-24-2007, 08:34 PM
Geezerhood requires softened focus. Who wants to count ear and nose hairs?<br><div></div>
07-24-2007, 09:12 PM
<br><blockquote><hr>dinged wrote:<br>Geezerhood requires softened focus. Who wants to count ear and nose hairs?<br><div></div><br><hr></blockquote>Ah yes, but these days just a couple of shots of Gaussian Blur to your razor-sharp, macro-shot grizzled countenance and presto! Instant softness, just like Downey in the wash!<br><br>I'd go in the order suggested. 50mm f1.8, then the 100mm Macro, and finally I'd suggest the Canon 85mm f1.8, which is a truly fine portrait lens, but doesn't have the versatility of the other two.<br><br><div></div>
<div>The 28-105 2.8 equivalent will be your most used lens, portrait and probably otherwise, if you are not into wildlife or birds.</div>
07-24-2007, 10:07 PM
<div>I am still hunting for the perfect portrait lens. I have the 50 mm 1.8 and it is definitely worth the little money. It's sharp and very light, I can hold the camera in one hand. But the bokeh is not very nice. I wanted second lens so I tested the 85 mm 1.8 and while it produces beautiful head and shoulder shots it's a bit long for 1.6 crop sensor on my 20D. I couldn't take any family portraits with it. So I tried the 60 mm 2.8 macro. Beautiful image quality plus the macro bonus but it is very slow to focus in low light. It hunts and hunts and when it finally focuses, the expression or the whole kid is gone.</div><div> </div><div>I think in your shoes I would get the 50 mm 1.4. I am thinking about it myself since I heard that the bokeh is good.</div><div> </div><div>Peedie</div>
07-25-2007, 09:40 AM
The bokeh of the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM will no doubt be better than the EF 50mm f/1.8 USM or the original EF 50mm f/1.8 with the ring drive motor. The f/1.4 has a circular aperture. On a crop body it will yield a similar field of view to an 85mm lens. The EF 85mm f/1.8 USM has nicer bokeh but on a crop body it is reduced because the photographer has to put more distance between himself and the subject. My living room studio is about 15'x18' and the 85mm results in the tightest of head and shoulders portraits. I find in tight spaces I end up using my 70-200 closer to the short telephoto end so I can have some more room for framing.
07-26-2007, 01:01 PM
<div>Ack! Lenses confuse me! I think I will take the safest road for now and invest in the 50 mm. Now...the question is...which 50 mm? I have a canon, of course, and I'd like to get as fast of a lens as I can, and a sharp one at that. Any reccomendations? Should I immediately just go with the canon brand? </div><div> </div><div> </div>
07-26-2007, 01:32 PM
There two main differences between the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 USM and the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM. The cheaper f/1.8 retains excellent image quality; especially for $80. However, it comes at the expense of build quality. It is a plastic lens and it lacks a circular diaphragm. It is also missing a true focusing ring and focusing scale with DOF markings. While it will blur the background at wider apertures, it will not be as pleasing as the circular diaphragm in the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM. The more expensive f/1.4 affords much nicer build quality. It has a metal lens mount and barrel and USM motor that allows the photographer full-time manual focus even during auto focusing. It also brings a true focuing ring, window, and DOF scale to the table. The choice is yours really. Do you want to spend $80 or $290?<br><br>Message Edited by Richie on <span class="date_text">07-26-2007</span> <span class="time_text">01:34 PM</span>
07-26-2007, 02:24 PM
<div>Get a 50mm, if you can the f1.4, but either are good lenses. Its a good portrait focal length and its a Canon so you know it'll be good:D</div>
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