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 Post subject: Portrait lens
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:16 am 
Presently, I only have the 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens on my Nikon D7000, but I would like to have better glass for my d7000. I asked around, and searched, and came to a conclusion that Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 and nikkor 85mm f/1.8 would be a good combination. According to the reviews, Tamron seemed to be liked by many more than Sigma (price, and picture quality).

Now, on top of Tamron's everyday use lens, I also wanted a dedicated portrait lens (and perhaps also functions as an outdoor lens?). I was planning to buy the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G, but a photographer friend of mine suggested nikon 85mm f/1.8D. Which one would be better for portraits? How about functioning as more of a 'rounded' lens?

(sorry, but a side question: Does VC and OS technology make a big difference in reducing blur caused by hand shake?)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:52 am 
An everyday lens? For shooting what? If you mean a standard prime then you want to look at something in the 28mm-35mm category of focal length. The 35mm AFS gets good reviews but I don't own one so can not really comment on the image quality. These are decent lenses for street shots. If you want a zoom then consider the Nikon 16-85VR which will give you more coverage than the Sigma or Tamron although it is not a constant aperture lens. The image quality is better than your current lens in terms of less distortion and vignetting although I guess 95% of people would not be able to tell the difference.
For a dedicated portrait lens then the Nikon 50mm or 85mm are both good. The 50mm is a lot cheaper but you need to be very close to your subject for a head and shoulder shot. The 85mm will enable you to stand further away which may make your model more relaxed and comfortable.
Finally VR (or OS) does make a difference if you are forced to use slow shutter speeds in low light, about 3 stops in Nikon's VR lenses. At normal shutter speeds and focal lengths VR makes little or no difference. It's main use is when you are using a long focal length lens such as 200mm or 300mm and the light is not good enough to enable a shutter speed of 1/250th or faster. I have been able to shoot at night with my D300 and 18-200VR at ISO 1600 at 1/20th second without noticeable blur.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:59 am 
yeah,get the 85mm F/1.8. it's no alternative to it's sharpness,contrast & amazing bokeh. you should also consider buying the 35mm in the future to use for portraits with the 85mm,it's sharper wide opened & I for one,feel great having these 2 focals at my disposal. Besides,after you get those primes,you will never want to use the 18-105mm.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:11 am 
dave : sorry, what i meant by 'everyday' was not a specific lens for a specific purpose ( like 85mm which I'm considering for my portrait shots).
What do you think about Tamron or Sigma. I've read some nice reviews on them, but I also read others thats says they don't trust 'third party lens'. (The reason why I wanted a new lens is that the f/ of my kit lens doesn't have a great wide maximum aperture. I take quite a bit of indoor shots as well.
And thank you for the effectiveness of VR (OS)!

raz : Thank you for your reply. But can 35mm used as portraits as well?? And I know that 85mm f/1.8d lens has been out for a while, but does anyone know whether Nikon's going to release 85mm f/ 1.8G lens sometime soon?
Thank you too!


Also, what's the significance of different Optics (such as 6 elements in 6 groups for Nikon 85mm f/1.8d)? Does the newer lens have better technology -> better optics -> better quality of pictures?

Thank you again!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:54 am 
just my 2p's worth:

of course any lens 'can' be used for portraits but that doesnt make it ideal.

50mm see's the world more or less as our eyes do although with a crop sensor its eerrrr.... cropped a bit.

With anything shorter than 50mm you get noticable distortion from the wide angle nature of the lens. This can be unflattering (i.e. make peoples noses big)

The accepted 'best' focal length for portraits is about 90mm as this does the opposite of the wide angle and flatteringly flattens the view. Again with 1 cropped sensor it is errr...... cropped.

When I've asked this question on here the advice I've been given is that 50mm is a good length for portraits on a cropped sensor although the 90ish lengths will be more flattering you might find you have to stand quite a distance away to get the coverage you want.

90mm is ideal for portraits on a full sensor.

hope this helps


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:54 am 
yes,the 35 can be used for portraits. (mostly when you need a wider frame)
in fact,any lens can be used for portraits,if you know how. for instance,the 35mm must not be used for close-ups,because of it's distortsions.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:49 am 
I don't own any Tamron or Sigma lenses so my comments may be wide of the mark but I have read a number of posts on this and other boards about the dubious quality control of Sigma lenses. A lot of people state that if you get a good one then they are very good for the money but so many people have had to return Sigma lenses because of some fault that I would be very wary of buying one. If you do go for a third party lens I would recommend getting it from a recognised dealer and testing it in the store before purchase, then you should have no problems.
As for indoor shots (presumably without flash) then you need a wide angle lens or short zoom with a maximum aperture of about 2.8f. The Tokina 16-28mm may be what you are looking for but there are other alternatives like the Sigma 10-20 but I think the max aperture on that is only 3.5f.
You can use the 1.8f lenses for indoor work but at max. aperture the depth of field will be very shallow and much of the shot will be out of focus.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:44 am 
Thank you Ian, Raz and Dave!

Now you mention trying out the lens in the store, what kind of 'checks' should I test in the store before I buy a lens? Lasted time I visited a commercial store, I tried out Nikon 50mm f/1.8G. I took some shots, tried the maximum focal length, and reviewed the photos for its sharpness. Are these the kinds of 'checks' one should do before buying a lens?

Thank you once again!

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