Entry level headshot lens

Started Sep 28, 2013 | Discussions thread
EKB
EKB
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Re: Entry level headshot lens
In reply to thebasharjobs, Sep 28, 2013

thebasharjobs wrote:

Hi there,

I'm an entry level photographer that'd like to explore...entry level headshots. Being entry level unfortunately means I work on something of a budget and have been looking around the internet weighing the various pros and cons of everyone's suggestions.

For awhile I was set on a 50mm 1.8g until progressively more digging uncovered the distortion level to be way too much in certain cases and not an optimal lens for portraits (yet the price point remains haunting).

After that the resounding cry across the internet seems to settle upon anything between a 85-135mm lens that's mostly out of my price range.

I did stumble upon the 70-300mm f4/5.6 thats attractively priced. While it wouldn't offer the crispness of a prime nor does it have the lowest f stop it seems like it might be ok for someone just starting out. Any thoughts?

Which camera do you have? I'm guessing that it's one of the DX cameras, rather than a D600 or higher-priced model.

If you are worrying about perspective distortion (aka "big nose, small ears") then you need to remember that a DX body has that 1.5 crop factor: Multiply focal lengths by 1.5 to get the full-frame focal length with the equivalent field-of-view and thus the equivalent perspective distortion.

The conventional wisdom is that the 85-135mm range is good for head shots on full frame, which translates to 58-90mm on DX. So that 50mm would translate to 75mm-full-frame-equivalent, which is not completely horrible, but not all that good either.

If your budget is really tight, you need to get creative and deal with the shortcomings of whatever you end up going with. One possibility is to use the 18-105mm or 55-200mm lens that you might already have, and just accept that you can't get the aperture very wide. Another is to get a 50mm, stand further back than you otherwise would (to reduce the perspective distortion), and then crop heavily.

If you have enough budget to cover a ~$500 lens, then two more possibilities are the Nikon 85mm f/1.8g, and the Tamron 60mm f/2 macro. FWIW, Thom Hogan really likes the Tamron as a portrait lens for DX cameras. But there are also a lot of people who swear by the Nikon 85mm, on either DX or FX.

 EKB's gear list:EKB's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 Nikon D90 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D +1 more
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