Best lens for Low light portrait work

Started Apr 16, 2013 | Questions thread
TristatePhoto
Forum MemberPosts: 67
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Re: Best lens for Low light portrait work
In reply to The1willy, Apr 20, 2013

If you like to shoot long for portraiture and need a lens for low light work you practically need  a lens with IS/OS/VC.

For that reason I'd suggest the Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS. It has stabilization and is excellent in low light. You won't find a telephoto portrait lens that offers IS that is as cheap as the Sigma 70-200 nor is as good image quality wise.

Any of the other choices are a waste of money in my opinion.

The 100 F2.8 without IS or with IS is comparable to setting a 70-200 2.8 to 100mm without the macro capability while the other primes don't offer IS and will require at least a shutter speed of 1/160 with most of these primes or 1/125 with the 85 1.8 which means that your shutter speed will be higher than necessary to capture a portrait photo (you need these high shutter speeds to prevent camera shake blur).

What this means is that using fast primes during low light negates any of the lor light capturing ability's of the primes AND that OS and a F2.8 lens will be a better choice as you can shoot at 85mm, 100mm, at say 1/60th of a second while keeping your subject still get tack sharp photos.

At 200mm 2.8 with OS you can probably get away with photos at 1/60 still AND your photos will have the equivalent or less DOF than the 85 1.8, 100 2.0, or 100 2.8 at the long focal length of 200mm @ F2.8.

In my opinion zooms with some sort of stabilization are better than primes in low lighting situations (they will capture more light) as long as your subject isn't something that moves very fast such as a runner because you can get away with very low shutter speeds that primes are not capable of obtaining without camera shake.

Personally I have the 85 1.8 but if I had a 70-200 2.8 lens I would sell it as primes are very limiting in nature and a 70-200 2.8 is capable of less DOF.

I only keep/use my 85 1.8 because I have it paired with an 18-55 & 55-250 both which are F5.6 and 85mm is perfect for blowing out the background and is my go to lens where I need a low DOF.

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