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Thread: Best lens option for portrait photography with cropped sensor DSLR's

  1. #1
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    Best lens option for portrait photography with cropped sensor DSLR's



    I have a 60D and have been searching for a lens that would be a good prime for portraits. I have an 85mm 1.8 which is good for head shots I know to avoid any facial distortion but I have also heard that the lens that most closely represents what the human eye can see is a 50mm.


    My question is since I have to multiply by a factor of 1.6 when comparing against a full frame DSLR, that would mean that if I were to get the Canon 50mm f/1.4 I would actually be shooting at 88mm.


    So in order for me to get the quality/benefit of shooting with a 50mm - should I then be looking at a 35mm like the EF 35mm f/2.0 which when multiplied by 1.6 is closer to being a true 50mm? or should I stick with the 50mm f/1.4 and just learn to step back further?


    What I am looking for is to get as close to the human eye in perspective without sacrificing picture quality.


    Thanks again for the help.


    -Robert

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    Re: Best lens option for portrait photography with cropped sensor DSLR's



    Get the 35mm!

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    Re: Best lens option for portrait photography with cropped sensor DSLR's



    Try the Sigma 30 1.4 also. Pretty good lens for the price, especially with the 1.6 crop. You can always rent one first from lensrentals.com, to try it out first.


    Gregg

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    Re: Best lens option for portrait photography with cropped sensor DSLR's



    Hey Robert,


    I have actually been debating the same question in my own mind. I have the plastic fantastic (50/1.8 II) which works wonders for head-shots as it does have that roughly 85mm equivalent. There are essentially 4 options you have.


    1) 35mm f/1.4 L -- if you can afford this lens, then there is really no question. Get it.


    2) Sigma 30mm f/1.4 -- This is the fastest of the relatively inexpensive lenses. It is a little softer than either of the canons that follow, but its color handling, and bokeh put it in the middle of the three, which incidentally is where its price falls $437 at BH. This lens is going to get you closest to 50mm as it comes in at 48mm on a 1.6 body.


    3) Canon 35mm f/2.0 -- Bryan says that the bokeh is somewhat harsh, and its colors more washed out. You are also missing an ultra-sonic type AF. This comes in at $303 BH. This is roughly 56mm on a 1.6 body.


    4) Canon 28mm f/1.8 -- This is the most expensive of the 3 ($479 at BH). It is also slower than the Sigma, but IQ (if I can use such a broad and fuzzy term) is arguably better than the sigma. Is it worth the extra $40? That

  5. #5
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Re: Best lens option for portrait photography with cropped sensor DSLR's



    On FF, the 'classic' portrait focal lengths are 35mm for 'environmental' portraits (where you want to include the subject's environment in the shot), 50mm for full body or small groups, 85mm for torso shots, and 135mm for head shots. Certainly, if you have more room to work with, you can use longer focal lengths. Subject features generally benefit somewhat from telephoto compression, which is why short tele lenses are better for tight portraits.


    Partly, it comes down to the type of shots you like - on my 7D, I really liked shooting with the 85mm f/1.8 - so much that I moved up to the 85mm f/1.2L II. After getting 5DII, I subsequently also got the 135mm f/2L for the equivalent focal length (and aperture, since the crop factor also affects aperture in terms of DoF).


    If you prefer looser framing, are shooting small groups, etc., 35mm would be a great focal length on APS-C. Dan nicely summarized the choices in that range.

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    Re: Best lens option for portrait photography with cropped sensor DSLR's



    Thanks everyone for the input - it helps a great deal. It sounds as if the 35mm is the way to go. The Sigma is one that Bryan seemed to like in his review as well so I will definately give it a good look.


    You all have been very generous with your thoughts and it is truly appreciated. Making informed decisions about lenses is key when one doesn

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    Re: Best lens option for portrait photography with cropped sensor DSLR's



    Hello...


    Since we got back from vacation and managed to post some of those pics on flikr, I have been offered photography duties wherein I would be the *go to* guy for the engagement photos. I did inform them that they should deal with a *real* photographer but in the end they *twisted my arm*.


    Herein lies the dilema, what lens to use/get!? I
    Canon 450D Gripped, Canon 24-105 f/4L, Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM II, Sigma 10-20 EX f/4-5.6, Canon S95

    “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” -Ansel Adams

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    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Re: Best lens option for portrait photography with cropped sensor DSLR's



    Quote Originally Posted by elmo_2006
    Should I go for the member of the *Holy Trinity* 50 1.2 or the newcomer Sigma 85 1.4?

    Actually, the 50mm f/1.2L is not part of the 'holy trinity' of primes, maybe merely a disciple (the 'holy trinity' usually refers to the 35L, 85L, and 135L).


    What is the planned venue for this shoot, and how much working room will you have? What is the separation from the background you'll want to blur out? If you have a little bit of working distance, the 85L is an amazing lens, but if there's decent subject-background separation, the 70-200 (assuming I recall correctly that you have the f/2.8 IS II) will do well, and give you a lot of flexibility for framing.


    If you really need the lens only for this session, have you considered renting?

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    Re: Best lens option for portrait photography with cropped sensor DSLR's



    Opps, you are right!


    Planned venue would be an engagement photo-shoot at a lovely park probably in July or August. I
    Canon 450D Gripped, Canon 24-105 f/4L, Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM II, Sigma 10-20 EX f/4-5.6, Canon S95

    “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” -Ansel Adams

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    Re: Best lens option for portrait photography with cropped sensor DSLR's



    Quote Originally Posted by elmo_2006


    I was thinking of renting however with a minimum of a 4 day rental in Canada at roughly 400+, I'd rather dish out the additional 500 smacks and purchase the Sigma 85 1.4.


    400+ CAD for a four-day rental? Is it packed with gold-plated styrofoam?LensRentals.com will go to Ontario for 110 USD (round trip included). If you're cheap, just do what I do: make friends with local photographers and borrow their gear. Perfect strangers let me wander off with their their very expensive gear and manhandle it for hours just because we share the bond of photography.

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