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Author Topic: Portrait lens for D20  (Read 3068 times)
Andrea
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« on: August 15, 2006, 09:56:18 AM »
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After a long stint of shooting primarily in the studio with a view camera and sheet film, I find myself in a new realm -  digital outdoor portraiture and candids.  I must admit that it's been a while since I've done portraiture, but thankfully it's coming back to me.  I'm struggling however with the digital aspect of it all.   I've purchased the D20 and am in desperate need of a lens.   Being in Florida, pretty much all of my shoots are down on the beach.  Since I'm not into changing lenses often in that sandy & windy environment, I think a zoom would be a good choice.  It seems as if the Canon 17-85mm f/4-f5.6 would work, but I'd like something a bit faster.  Anybody have any suggestions?  Thanks!
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Hank
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2006, 12:39:11 PM »
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I'm out of date with Canon since I switched back to Nikon, but I can give you a reaction based upon observed results.  Several photogs in our acquaintance are having spectacular results from the 24-100 f/4.  Had that lens been available a few years ago, I probably would not have made the switch to Nikon.  For reference, in our studio (all Nikon digital) we use 35-70 f/2.8's now in lieu of 80-200 f/2.8's we used with film.  On location shoots we use 24-120mmVR's for its greater versatility and lighter weight.  It's a great lens, but not as sharp as any of our f/2.8 zooms or the results I've seen from the canon 24-100 f/4.

Interpolate all that as you will, but I think it's possible for you to find happiness in there somewhere.
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jani
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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2006, 02:16:33 PM »
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Personally, I'm quite happy with the 24-70 f/2.8L and the 70-200 f/2.8L IS. The latter is clearly more useful wide open, but that may not be necessary, depending on subject distance. I like the 70-200 best because it allows me to keep extra distance, and it can help you get some really nice candid shots.

The bonus of these is that they're both sealed against dust and moisture, something you might appreciate on the beach.

The 24-105mm f/4L IS that Hank mentions is also sealed against dust and moisture, and is also probably a very good choice.

But these lenses are all expensive.

If you don't mind not having a zoom, consider the 85mm f/1.8 or the 100mm f/2.8 Macro; they're both well known for very good image quality, and although the bokeh of the f/1.8 doesn't quite match that of its more expensive brother f/1.2L, it's still very pleasing in the shots I have seen taken with it.

Another lens that always receives praise, is the 135mm f/2L. I have tested one of these myself, and it's so deliciously good that I almost had to tie my arms behind my back not to buy one, in spite of the price.
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Jan
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« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2006, 03:43:39 PM »
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I'd keep in mind the 1.6 multiplier effect.  That would mean that for portraits, the ideal focal lengths are anywhere from 50-100 mm. A zoom on the beach makes sense. The one thing is that wide lenses allow for blurred backgrounds and selecting focus on the eyes - on the beach it might take a neutral density filter, but at least it can be done. If you limit yourself to f4 and smaller lenses, then you reduce that possibility.

As 2.8 is as fast as zooms generally go, I'd certainly try hard for this, or failling that I'd use a 50 mm. fixed lens - inexpensive, razor sharp, light weight, equivalent of an 80 mm. lens without the multiplier, fast so you can really blur the background - and it's not like on the beach you can't move around so a zoom isn't absolutely critical.

Anyway, just some thoughts.
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oldcsar
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« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2006, 06:55:02 PM »
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I think the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 DC fits the bill nicely. It doesn't have IS like the Canon, but it's cheaper, has significantly better build, chromatic aberrations are better controlled, it's faster and its overrall performance is better than the Canon. It also comes with a lens hood and a 5 year warranty with Sigma. Just check out the review here:

http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/si..._2845/index.htm

I bought the lens after reading so many good reviews.
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Andrea
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2006, 09:01:16 PM »
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Quote
I think the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 DC fits the bill nicely. It doesn't have IS like the Canon, but it's cheaper, has significantly better build, chromatic aberrations are better controlled, it's faster and its overrall performance is better than the Canon. It also comes with a lens hood and a 5 year warranty with Sigma. Just check out the review here:

http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/si..._2845/index.htm

I bought the lens after reading so many good reviews.
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Andrea
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2006, 09:05:57 PM »
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Thanks so much to you all for your advice!  I really appreciate you taking the time to share your expertise with me.  I'm so excited!!!
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