Choosing another portrait lens

Started Nov 11, 2010 | Discussions
shahar85 New Member • Posts: 6
Choosing another portrait lens

I recently bought the 550D with 18-135mm + 85mm f/1.8.
I love the 85mm f/1.8 so much that I use it more than the flexible 18-135mm.
I mostly make pictures of my family. I love short DOF and creamy bokehs.

Many times the 85mm f/1.8 isn't wide enough so I'm looking for another lens that will be used mainly inside my house.
Those are my candidates so far (prices are from Amazon):

canon 35mm f/2 304$
canon 50mm MK2 f/1.8 100$
canon 50mm f/1.4 USM 341$
sigma 17-50mm 2.8 670$

Remember the 550D is a crop camera.

Looking at pictures taken with those lenses the 50mm f/1.4 gives exactly the kind of images I'm looking for - but will it really give me a wider angle than the 85mm I already have?
How reliable is it to put my 18-135 on 50mm to demonstrate how wide 50mm is?

I didn't like the user pictures using the canon 35mm f/2, so I don't really consider it. Pity because I belive 35mm sould complete the 85mm nicely.

So I thought about the new sigma 17-50mm 2.8 but I can't find enough user images to tell if I like it or not (I'll appreciate portraits samples taken with it).

Budget is about the pirces of the lenses writen above.
So what do you think I should choose to complete my 85mm f/1.8?

Liberty555 Regular Member • Posts: 380
Re: Choosing another portrait lens

How reliable is it to put your 18-135 on 50mm to demonstrate how wide 50mm is? Perfectly reliable. 50mm is 50mm...

The Sigma 30f1.4 is more expensive, but a hell of a lens for the price.

I really think the 50mm will do the trick, its a wonderful and cheap lens (1.8 is anyway, the 1.4 is pricey)

The zoom is also a good option for you and you may get more use from it, but you already have the range covered with the 18-135 anyway (which is a pretty cheap lens at the end of the day)

Get the cheap nifty fifty - you won't look back.

thelensmeister Contributing Member • Posts: 900
Re: Choosing another portrait lens

Of those you list the 50 1.4 is the best lens IMO for your 550D. Find a good example and it is sharp stopped down but also beautiful when wide open.
the 35 2 is an OK lens.

andrewbdub Regular Member • Posts: 467
Re: Choosing another portrait lens

I sold my 85 1.8 after buying the 50mm 1.4. I found 50mm a much more useful focal length on a crop camera.

arty H Senior Member • Posts: 1,407
Re: Choosing another portrait lens

I have the 35f2 and the 85f1.8. The 85 is a very nice lens, but gets used mostly outside. The 35f2 is a great indoor lens for people. It also works as a general purpose lens. It is not the best for shots of cathedrals, but it will do a lot. My copy is sharp and works great wide open.

For head and shoulders portraits - it is a bit short, but will do for waist up shots. It can even go closer for many people. A good 50 will give you the field of view of an 80mm on full frame, and this is a classic portrait length.

jrscls Veteran Member • Posts: 6,165
Re: Choosing another portrait lens

Might consider the 60mm macro as well. Tamron and Canon both have these and this is a great FL on crop for portraits. You might also consider the Sigma 50mm f1.4, which would be a great portrait lens on crop as well so long as you get one that focuses properly.

 jrscls's gear list:jrscls's gear list
Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 56mm F1.2 R Fujifilm XF 16mm F1.4 R WR +2 more
MysticX Regular Member • Posts: 465
Re: Choosing another portrait lens

If you want mostly 1 person portrait, upper body / head+ shoulders, then go for the 50 (on crop)

If you want full body 1 person (like siting) or 2-3 persons head+shoulders, then go for 30mm f/1.4 or 35mm f/2 or maybe even 28mm f/1.8

35mm on full frame is the most versatile focal for interior multi person portraits. The equivalent would be the 24mm but the 24mm f/2.8 is not fast enough and the 24mm f/1.4 is too expensive.

Sadly, there is not a real equivalent of the FF 35mm f/2 for crop.
Click Click ....

OP shahar85 New Member • Posts: 6
Re: Choosing another portrait lens

What about the sigma 17-50mm? How good is it for portraits? Where can I see pictures taken with it in various situations?

arty H Senior Member • Posts: 1,407
Re: Choosing another portrait lens

The 50mm focal length is obviously wider than the 85 on a crop. It is a very good focal length for portraits, but not so good for a group shot as the 35mm focal length.

The 50 on a crop gives you a field of view that is very close to that of the 85mm lens on film or full-frame. I compared them, and couldn't tell the difference. I know that 1.6X50=80, but I did a comparison with my old 85mm MD Minolta lens on a film body and compared it with the 50f2.8 Sigma - the field of view was the same. I was less pleased with the smaller and dimmer view on the crop body, but that is another story.
Take another look at the Fliker photos for the 35f2 before you decide.
I have gotten very nice photos with my copy of the 35f2.

Gravi Senior Member • Posts: 1,545
Re: Choosing another portrait lens

for the 17-50 sigma lens you can also try to look for images taken with the canon 17-55mm f2.8 lens. Images from this lens are easier to find. It has almost the same specs, so the results you can achieve with it are somewhat similar. Main differences can be observed only when pixel peeping I guess.

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