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  1. #1
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
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    What lens do DSLR shooters use for portraits?

    The interesting thing about possibly converting to a DSLR is that prime lens focal lengths are all based around the 35mm frame size. This means that one has to take the current line of prime lenses and adapt them to your needs in the DSLR world.

    Part of the draw of switching to a DSLR is I would be able to use my 50mm 1.8 as a short portrait lens (75mm). I prefer the 105 mm focal length for a lot of my work though. The problem is, in order to get a 105mm lens equivalent in a DSLR, you would have to buy a 70mm lens in the 35mm format. They don't exist. The existing lenses with fast maximum aperatures are the 50mm 1.8 and the 85mm 1.8 (the 1.4's are out of the question.) The 50 turns into a 75 (kinda short) and the 85 turns into a 128 (kinda long) so there's no lens sitting in the sweet spot of that 100mm area. The 60mm lens would turn into a 90mm, which is an acceptable focal length. But the maximum aperature I've seen on a 60mm lens is 2.8.

    So, what do you guys do? Do you find that a 50mm lens (75mm equiv) is sufficient for portraiture?

    Thanks,
    Rick
    Walter Rick Long
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  2. #2
    Fluorite Toothpaste poker's Avatar
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    Re: What lens do DSLR shooters use for poratraits?

    Hi Rick,

    I asked something similar in the world of Canon brand lenses but the thread mentioned more about focal length than any particual Canon model lens. Maybe it will help:

    What is the best portrait lens Canon makes?

    50mm and 85mm multiplied in a DSLR appears to be sufficient.

    Loupey mentioned his portraits (headshots) were taken with a 100mm using a full frame Canon DSLR.

    Canon 5D MKII & Canon 7D

  3. #3
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
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    Re: What lens do DSLR shooters use for poratraits?

    Hey Eric,

    Thanks for the tips. That 100mm Loupey is using sounds right, but Nikon doesn't offer a full-frame sensor yet (not that I could afford it anyway)

    My main issue here is not sharpness, as most primes are very sharp, it's actually the compression factor. I am very comfortable with the kinds of images my 105mm gives me back on my 35mm camera. 50mm is a bit "wide." In looking at some examples of the 50mm on a DSLR, it still feels a bit "wide" to me. I must say, your shot of that boy was stunnning. You mentioned you used your 70-200. Do you recall what focal length you had it at? I'm guessing in the 100+ range (after DSLR crop?)
    Walter Rick Long
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  4. #4
    Sports photo junkie jorgemonkey's Avatar
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    Re: What lens do DSLR shooters use for portraits?

    I usually use my 70-200 when I shoot portraits.

    I have a 50 1.8, but I've just never felt the need to pull it out and use it.
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  5. #5
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    Re: What lens do DSLR shooters use for portraits?

    I use my Sigma 70-200 f2.8 where possible (ie large room). Very fast and tack sharp with great bokeh. However it is limited to locations with plenty of room.

    Edit: Wooohoo, 1st post!

  6. #6
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: What lens do DSLR shooters use for portraits?

    My portrait photography is pretty limited, but when I have, this is what I used.

    For outdoor, senior portraits, I used my 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens. I'm shooting with a Canon DRebel with a 1.6X crop factor so I have an evective focal length of 160mm. At the time, this was the best lens that I had. Most of my other leses at the time were either kit lenses, or a very long telephoto zoom.

    For weddings, I purchased the Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8 L lens(38-112mm). I found this lens to have a very usefull focal range, for group shots, as well as singles. I have also used my 50mm f/1.8. Again, I have found this lens to be a pretty good focal length for portraits.
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  7. #7
    Member gryphonslair99's Avatar
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    Re: What lens do DSLR shooters use for portraits?

    My portrait kit currently consists of a 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.8 and a 100mm f2.8 macro for my 30D. My next addition will be the 135 f2.8L I prefer primes for portrait photography as primes will usually be sharper glass than zooms.

  8. #8
    Fluorite Toothpaste poker's Avatar
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    Re: What lens do DSLR shooters use for poratraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by walterick
    I must say, your shot of that boy was stunnning. You mentioned you used your 70-200. Do you recall what focal length you had it at? I'm guessing in the 100+ range (after DSLR crop?)
    I checked the EXIF just now. I was at 190.0mm when I shot the photo of the kid. Wow, then you still have to calculate the x1.6 thing.

    I'm curious about the 100mm or 200mm Canon primes now......hmmmmmmmmmm

    ( checking available credit on visa )
    Canon 5D MKII & Canon 7D

  9. #9
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    Re: What lens do DSLR shooters use for portraits?

    I use my 70-200 f2.8, never had a complaint with it, and a number of full time portrait shooters in the area use them

    JS
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  10. #10
    Fluorite Toothpaste poker's Avatar
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    Re: What lens do DSLR shooters use for portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by JSPhoto
    I use my 70-200 f2.8, never had a complaint with it, and a number of full time portrait shooters in the area use them

    JS
    Do you leave it on a tripod or do you more about with it? If you move about with it, what is your minimum shutter speed? Have a sample?

    Thanks
    Canon 5D MKII & Canon 7D

  11. #11
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
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    Re: What lens do DSLR shooters use for portraits?

    Thanks everyone, for all the feedback. It sounds like the 50, 85, and 70/80-200 are seeing the most use here for portrait work.

    The "enough room" issue is a big one for me, as I will be shooting in a relatively small space. My 105 becomes a 157 which is just sooooo long! I guess the 50mm used as a 75mm will have to do. It doesn't sound like anyone thinks 75mm is too short for a portrait lens, which was I guess the question under my question.

    The 85 also sounds like it would be fun to play with if I could ever afford it.

    Thanks again everyone
    Rick
    Walter Rick Long
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  12. #12
    Member danag42's Avatar
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    Re: What lens do DSLR shooters use for portraits?

    I use my 50mm f/1.4 for portraits, and the 77mm f/1.7 for headshots. It all seems to work really well.

    Pentax offers a 70mmlens, I beleive. It's a Limited (in other wise costs a lot of money) but it's alleged to be a very good lens.

  13. #13
    Member benjikan's Avatar
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    Re: What lens do DSLR shooters use for portraits?

    That generally depends on what might be in the background. I have used everything from a 50mm to a 100 macro as well as a zoom 28-75 Tamron. It really depends on what you are trying to accomplish in terms of DOF.

    Ben

  14. #14
    Fluorite Toothpaste poker's Avatar
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    Re: What lens do DSLR shooters use for portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by walterick
    Thanks everyone, for all the feedback. It sounds like the 50, 85, and 70/80-200 are seeing the most use here for portrait work.
    What body are you getting anyways or did you get it already?? Just wondering.
    Canon 5D MKII & Canon 7D

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