50mm or 85mm better portrait length for DX?

Started Mar 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
calson Veteran Member • Posts: 8,424
Re: 50mm or 85mm better portrait length for DX?

Minimum would be a 50mm lens and to my taste the 58mm f/1.4 is the best single prime DX portrait lens. The problem I found with the 85mm lens on a DX camera is that it provides the narrow field of view of a 135mm lens on a full frame camera and indoors the required camera to subject distance is often not available.

There are many reasons why I would sooner use a zoom lens like the 24-70mm f/2.8 or Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 which on a DX camera provide the equivalent of a 36-105mm f/2.8 and a 42-112mm f/2.8 zoom respectively. Even the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 would be excellent for portrait work with its 35mm equivalent focal lengths from 36-157mm at f/4.

For the most pleasing perspective and least distortion lenses in the 85mm to 135mm focal lengths were favored with 35mm film cameras. In DX terms that would be from 56mm to 89mm.

Wide angle lenses can be used for pictures of people but it is very easy and very common to produce distorted pictures with exaggerated noses and hands and feet, which is OK if that is your intent.

Look at pictures by famous portrait photographers and you will not find any where a wide angle lens was used.

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