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Author Topic: Cheap lens for portraits.  (Read 9471 times)
jalcocer
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« on: March 09, 2011, 07:07:57 PM »
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Hi, me again, I know, sorry, Smiley

As many of you know I'm really new with photography, and just got a d3000 with the standard 18-55 lens, saw I wasn't that able to get that much dept of field. I'm just getting more familiar with the camera, and after my imac and this camera I'm in a huge gap talking about money, so I don't have to spend right now in a good lens to use for several years. But i would like to get one basic lens that would help me out a bit more with portraits and depth of field and learn more to take photos with my camera.

As I said, have no money and just want the lens to help me out with portraits while I have some to spend on a good lens. Is not that I dont want to, just cant do right now.

I was looking over internet and saw a 35 nikkor and a 50 nikkor compatible for my model and under 200 bucks, would any of those improve a bit the performance with pictures, one of them (the 35mm) is f1.8 I believe, the 50 I really don't recall, just mentioning it in case that's good for what I want at this moment.

Really don't know that much about lenses right now, so any help would be great, but I understand the more the aperture the lens allows you the more depth of field you can get, plus I heard with the 18-55 kit it's hard to get good depth of field, but if any of you know a tip for achieving that it is more than welcome.

Regards
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Thomas Krüger
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2011, 12:48:43 AM »
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Maybe a used 85mm/1.4 Samyang would be a solution. It's a lens without autmatism, so no autofocus and you have also to close the aperture manually. And I don't know if the exposure meter on the D3000 will work with this lens. But for portraits and shoots with a small depth of field it's a fine lens.

Lens review: http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/483-samyang_85_14_5d
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EduPerez
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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2011, 01:41:36 AM »
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I would first do two series of portraits with your 18-55 zoom, one with the lens set at 35mm and another at 50mm. If you feel comfortable with either distance, go for one of the lenses you mentioned (there is a f/1.8 version for each one); a no-brainer, in my humble opinion, if you are tight on a budget.
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2011, 03:42:20 AM »
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A few cents :
- I wouldn't advise putting a manual 85/1.4 on a D3100 (the small viewfinder makes manual focus impossible, and manual aperture is quite a PITB as long as you want to stop down a bit)...
- The small 50/1.8 would be a sensible choice... if it wasn't an AF-D lens, meaning no AF on the D3100.

That leaves the AFS 35/1.8 DX quite alone in the budget given, and it's not a bad choice.
By stretching it a bit, an AFS 50/1.4 could also be good.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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feppe
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2011, 11:40:12 AM »
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Tastes vary, but a 35mm is way too wide for portraits, full-length or facials due to distortion. I prefer ~135mm equivalent for facials, down to perhaps ~100mm for full length.

jalcocer, I'd go to Flickr and check out the groups for the lenses you're looking for to see if they produce pleasing results for your needs. Flickr is not good to judge IQ, but it gives a very good idea of the FOV and distortion.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2011, 11:59:34 AM by feppe » Logged

jalcocer
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2011, 11:46:03 AM »
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thanks a lot I really appreciate that
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jalcocer
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2011, 12:47:34 PM »
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so, I've been reading about it, so, 50 or less would be wider and better for other kind of shots? for portrait and good dept of field I need something between 50 and 100mm with an f2.8 down? the 35 should be better then for landscape photography?

regards
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feppe
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2011, 01:51:39 PM »
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so, I've been reading about it, so, 50 or less would be wider and better for other kind of shots? for portrait and good dept of field I need something between 50 and 100mm with an f2.8 down? the 35 should be better then for landscape photography?

regards

That's the common wisdom - but you can do great portraits with 35mm (I know I'm conflicting what I said earlier Smiley ) and stunning landscapes with 100mm.

50mm above and in your post refers to the full-frame equivalent - not sure what the crop factor for D3000 is, but if it's 1.5 50mm lens would equal 1.5 x 50mm = 75mm full-frame equivalent. I know, confusing and archaic, but it's a useful convention as there are so many different digital sensor formats.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2011, 02:59:26 PM »
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Just wait till you can afford a 85/1.8 lens, which would be an equivalent of a 128mm full-frame lens with Nikon (the closest to a 135mm lens). Wide-open, it would have a nice shallow DOF. Here is an example (Canon 85/1.8 though, at f/2.0... on Canon, it is eq. to 135mm):

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Slobodan

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k bennett
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2011, 02:59:59 PM »
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You have to define what you mean by "portrait." A tight headshot is one thing, a wider photo showing some of the environment is something else entirely.

That Nikkor 35/1.8 is made for the crop sensor cameras, like yours, as a "normal" lens -- the equivalent of the 50mm lens on the 35mm film camera from the ancient past. It's a great focal length for portraits -- but not very good for tight headshots. For a photo that shows most of the subject, it'll be great, and the fast f/1.8 maximum aperture will let you have a lot more control over depth of field, to attain that soft, out of focus background that I think you want.

If you want to shoot tight head shots, an 85mm lens on your camera is a good choice. I think Nikon makes a good AF 85mm lens.
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jalcocer
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2011, 03:07:10 PM »
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Thanks for asking, well don't want thight headshots, I wanna to show some of the background, but blured, so you say this 35mm 1.8 would be ok to acomplish this? What else would I be able to do with this lens? it is wide angle right?

thanks
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2011, 03:13:00 PM »
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well don't want thight headshots, I wanna to show some of the background, but blured, so you say this 35mm 1.8 would be ok to acomplish this?
Yes it is, then.

Quote
What else would I be able to do with this lens? it is wide angle right?
Normal on a smaller APSC sensor like the 3100, neither wide-angle nor tele.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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jalcocer
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« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2011, 03:20:51 PM »
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so, an 85mm for more tight headshots, for that is it ok also go for a 70-200 sigma? i heard that's a good lens, this is a plan I have for the future though, not right now, at this time I want to try something for portraits with some background and a decent depth of field.

So if the 35mm 1.8 from nikkor works for that matter it's a go for me, since it is cheap. And in the future when have enough money would invest in an 85 for more tight headshots and if the 70-200 works for that, well, 2 birds with one stone.

regards
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feppe
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2011, 03:32:37 PM »
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so, an 85mm for more tight headshots, for that is it ok also go for a 70-200 sigma? i heard that's a good lens, this is a plan I have for the future though, not right now, at this time I want to try something for portraits with some background and a decent depth of field.

So if the 35mm 1.8 from nikkor works for that matter it's a go for me, since it is cheap. And in the future when have enough money would invest in an 85 for more tight headshots and if the 70-200 works for that, well, 2 birds with one stone.

A 35mm seems to be what you're looking for. As a "normal" lens it's useful in a wide variety of shooting, not only portraits. Wide open at f/1.8 it'll throw the background nicely out-of-focus as well.

The good thing about primes between 35mm and 85mm is that they are dirt cheap and you get amazing image quality, although I'm not familiar with the 35mm Nikon. Also, you'll get street cred for shooting with a prime as opposed to a zoom lens Tongue

A 70-200 is a good second lens, or alternatively a wide angle prime or zoom in the range of 24-45mm or perhaps even wider (full frame equivalent) - depending on what you like to shoot.
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jalcocer
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2011, 04:17:00 PM »
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Ok, so I'll look up here in my town for a good deal with that 35mm f1.8 lens, I guess it's a good cheap option for my portraits and get that dept of field i want. The 70-200 will have to wait, at least a few months, I guess that lens will cover a lot of gap.

so I guess for now I'll be ok with the 18-55 stock and the 35 I get.

by the way, the stock one, what good is it for? Smiley
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greg_p_2011
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« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2011, 09:53:27 PM »
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I would suggest to buy a second hand Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 lens.  Perfect for portraits at f/2.8-4 and tack sharp through the range. The only issue I found it is a bit heavy to use without support for some people.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 10:06:00 PM by greg_p_2011 » Logged
NikoJorj
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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2011, 08:20:47 AM »
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The only issue I found it is a bit heavy to use without support for some people.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-q2SnY-12U (via) Grin

2 things :
- a smaller lens is really not as obtrusive, especially for a somewhat candid (ar at least inexperienced) model,
- mostly, OP preferred protraits with background, and not tight headshots.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2011, 10:20:27 PM »
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I would suggest to buy a second hand Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 lens.  Perfect for portraits at f/2.8-4 and tack sharp through the range. The only issue I found it is a bit heavy to use without support for some people.

Cheap lens?
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kitalight
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« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2011, 10:42:56 PM »
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The closer you are to the subject/the tighter the head shot, the less depth of field/focus for any given lens...

If you want the entire face in focus of a very tight headshot then you'll likely need  the Depth of Field/Focus (DoF) of F2.8-F4, so your concern about getting an F2 or wider aperture lens is less an issue...

Edge-to-edge sharpness of the best lenses are also less of an issue with portrait lenses as:
1) most portraits do not use the edges...and when they do the edges are beyond the DoF anyway...
2) a portrait doesn't require the sharpest lens in the bag as too much sharpness is often unflattering...unless your style runs along the lines of Karsh and Close

So a couple of options...
1. If you're shooting "set" portraits rather than grabbed candids then focusing can be fairly well done manual focus lenses such as the 35/50/85 FL, all @ F2 and wider...and all under $150, often under $100...the pre-AI lenses won't access the metering system, but for portraits that is not much of a concern as you can check/chimp the histogram after a shot and work from there...the AF-S versions of the 35 and 50 have already been suggested, leaving only the 85....and my recommendation for a good fit on the 3100 would be the 85/F2 AIS MF Nikkor, a fine compact portrait lens if you want lenses with limited DoF...otherwise...

2. A high quality zoom 24-85/F2.8 lens will be quite satisfactory as a portrait lens....as would a 28-105mm F2.8 lens...stopped down an F-stop to F4 and you'll get quite satisfactory results
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2011, 02:23:36 AM »
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On an APS-sized sensor you could do much worse than use a 50mm f1.8 - they're cheap & about as good as most optics get. If you can stretch the budget a bit, Nikon's 60mm 'micro' makes an excellent portrait lens, and of course gives you the option of getting as close a crop as you could possibly want  Wink

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