Help pick a portrait lens for the holiday

Started Nov 26, 2012 | Questions thread
antoineb
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I'd go Nikon 85mm
In reply to Sunyguy, Nov 28, 2012

(1) I'd go Nikon.
I could never understand the reason for non-Nikon glass, especially in the modern world where lenses and cameras use firmware - this means that OEM lens makers need to reverse engineer the camera's firmware to adapt the firmware on their lenses.
This means that if or when the camera maker updates the firmware to fix bugs or add or improve features (such as distorsion or vignetting correction on jpegs) probably none of this will benefit OEM lenses.
And of course should there be any problem, none will be covered by the warranty.

Plus, I'm yet to see one single example where an OEM lens gets a review that's as good as that of the Nikon or Canon equivalent.

(2) I'd go 85mm.  I regularly use the great (and expensive) 85mm f1.4G on my APS-C body (D7000).  I find that the 127mm or so equivalent is great for portraits even at fairly close range. If anything it might seem a bit short on an FX body.  I don't see how 50mm could fit the bill here.  But of course carrying (and buying!) a 70-200mm is a whole other ball game.

Among 85mm Nikons, the f1.8 is much more affordable (about 3x cheaper than the f1.4) and has received good reviews.  The f1.4 of course lets about 65% more light in, and it looks great from wide-open, and it has a truly beautiful bokeh - but the f1.8 is much cheaper smaller lighter and its images look quite good too.  (There is a Sigma 85mm f1.4 which is cheaper than the Nikon but it hasn't had very good reviews and its bokeh is particularly ugly which makes it a total waste for portraits imho)

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Olympus TG-610 Nikon D7000 +4 more
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