Leaning towards buying either a D700 or a 58mm f1.4G

Started Dec 22, 2013 | Discussions thread
Cliff Fujii
Cliff Fujii Veteran Member • Posts: 8,318
Re: Leaning towards buying either a D700 or a 58mm f1.4G

Cliff Fujii wrote:


I'm a RAW shooter but I understand your desire to not have to deal with RAW processing. I suggest that you get a camera that supports TIFF. It works out of the camera but the file sizes are a bit large. You can use Photoshop with TIFF with no artifacting which would be a plus with portrait shooting.

I don't like 50mm lenses for portraits because they are not very good quality. Also the perspective distortion a 50 gives you is sometimes not very flattering so some subjects. Check SLRgear and look at the testing done to the new 58 and the old 50 f/1.4G. At wide open, the 50 f/1.4G actually has more resolution than the 58. My opinions are based on the results I get with FX cameras not DX.

In my opinion, about the best lens for portraits is the 105mm f/2.8 Micor-Nikkor. The lens is very sharp, even at wide open. The issue here is that you might have to add blur to the image if the subject warrants it because in some cases, it can be too sharp. If you want to blur the background and get good quality images, the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 DC Nikkor might work for you. These lenses might be a bit too long for a crop sensor camera but for an FX camera, they make excellent portrait lenses (especially the DC).

Skin tones are very subjective and it depends on the racial makeup of the subject. I can only suggest you rent an FX body and try it out with test subjects. I personally like the results with the new Df. If you take a photograph of someone with noticeable blemishes, you can try B&W and apply a green filter. It absorbs red and the blemishes are reduced. Your 85 might work for you if you get an FX camera and you will have a greater viewing angle just by switching from DX to FX (Your 85 would have a similar angle of view on FX as a 55 has on DX).

Sorry I mistyped, the 105 DC lens is f/2 not f/2.8.  In the event you are not familiar with the DC lens, it allows you to control the presentation of the areas in the photograph that are not in focus.  This is possibly Nikon's greatest portrait lens (along with the 135 DC).  With this lens you can control the bokeh in the unfocused areas so that the results are far creamier than you would expect with an f/2 lens.  It's not a soft focus lens as it only works on the out of focus areas of the image.  The in focus areas remain very sharp.

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