D800 Portrait Lens Battle!

Started Sep 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
spbStan Senior Member • Posts: 1,943
Re: D800 Portrait Lens Battle!

"Portraits" is such an open ended pursuit that many lens fit the bill for some people, and in some light and some subjects. All the mentioned lenses are capable of getting the best portrait a shooter ever got. But that list is too short when the broad range of portrait styles are considered. I have tried the Tamron 90 and was impressed with it but not enough to buy one. Like you, I shoot with the 70-200 more than any other for the "look" and it is the first lens I try with a subject. An advantage is being able to get further away so it gets more candid nature expressions, contrary to the statements that it is intimidating.

The next lens I use a lot is the 85 1.4 but it is a little short for my preferred style. I have used the 85 1.8G a lot and think it is excellent with bokeh not far behind the 1.4 or the 70-200, but sharper than both.  I also like the 135 DC and would be interested in an updated version.

For closer work, I have a number of 50mm options but the one used most is the Sigma 50 1.4. It is not so good in the corners on FX but the center has a look that is really appealing. I also have the Nikon 1.4G and 1.8G and my newest lenses is factory new 50 1.2 MF. I did not realize they still made it when I found a deal who got 3 in. It is beautifully made, feels great in the hand but it just is not that good for the price or generally compared to the 1.8G at 1.8.

I have done some portraits with my 24 1.4, wide open for an interesting perspective that worked well, although I would not generally reach for a wide angle for people shots closer than 10 feet away and centered.

I tend to think more highly of the 85 1.8G than many of the posters here, it is not only a bargain but has less CA than the 1.4 and fast enough. Most of this is academic however, few portraits that came out really well depend on sharpness for their appeal.  One of my favorite head shots(favorite of the subject and print large on canvas over their fireplace) was shot with a 18-105 at 105, and a D90 with studio lighting.  Lighting trumps all in appealing portraits.

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St Petersburg Russia

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