Portrait lenses (and a late-night rant)

Started Apr 5, 2012 | Discussions thread
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David Whysong
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Portrait lenses (and a late-night rant)
Apr 5, 2012

I'm going to replace my old D2h with a D800. I need to reconsider my lens selection so I thought I'd post to ask for advice. These days I'm mostly taking ad-hoc / candid portraits of an active (and uncooperative) 2-year-old. But I occasionally do landscapes and non-human wildlife too.

I have an 85/1.4D which is on my camera about 95% of the time. But I suspect I'll want something a bit longer and sharper on a D800.

I'm not completely pleased with the quality of Nikon's portrait lenses (85s and the DC lenses) primarily because of the significant chromatic aberrations, but I'm also not sure that there are significantly better choices. I really don't understand why Nikon didn't bother to put some ED glass in the new 85G lenses; I'd certainly expect it in a lens that costs as much as the 1.4G.

A 70-200 VRII would be ideal, but it's out of my budget for the near future. I have an old Sigma 70-200 EX HSM (pre-DG even) which is okay in some circumstances on my D2h but probably not as good on a D700 or especially a D800.

So, I'm thinking about either the Nikon 105/2.8 or Sigma 150/2.8 macros, for portrait use. Optically they are far superior to any of the standard portrait lenses, and the VR would be useful. The only disadvantage is focus speed, which is a consideration.

Am I missing any other good options?

Nikon D2H Nikon D700 Nikon D800
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