The Best Portrait Lenses?

Started Mar 19, 2013 | Discussions thread
Michael Benveniste
Michael Benveniste Veteran Member • Posts: 3,732
Re: The Best Portrait Lenses?

I am finding that 'environmental portraiture' is what I like best. Head and shoulders or headshots have their place, sure, but I like to get a bit of context in if I can.

Fine shots.

My answer to "which portrait lens" is almost always the same.  Grab your current zooms and go take some portraits by your own definition of that term and according to your own tastes.  That way,  you can tailor your purchases to your preferences rather than the other way around.  Your shots provide a great illustration of my reasoning.

I shoot a fair number of more structured portraits, mainly using the following lenses (FX/film):
17-35mm f/2.8 (Mr. Squeaky) -- Groups, couples, and full body shots
50mm f/1.8 (various) -- Couples, busts and half height
85mm f/1.8D, Tokina 90mm f/2.5 macro -- More intimate adult head and shoulders.
105mm f/2.8 VR, 75-150mm f/3.5E -- "One lens" portraiture
135mm f/2 DC -- Children, more formal adult head and shoulders, tight head shots.

I dislike using a xx-200mm f/2.8 for portraiture for ergonomic reasons, but if you can't take a nice head and shoulders portrait with any of the xx-200mm Nikkors then the problem ain't with the lens.  I find that a 180mm f/2.8 or 300mm f/4 are not to my taste -- the perspective is too flat and the distance too long to communicate with my subjects.  But then I distinguish portraits from candids or fashion shots.

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I miss the days when I used to be nostalgic.

 Michael Benveniste's gear list:Michael Benveniste's gear list
Nikon Coolpix 995 Nikon D200 Nikon D800 Nikon 1 V2 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF +34 more
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