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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:59 am 
I do a lot of portraits, mainly children and families. As I'm looking at my first lens upgrade, I'm torn as to which lens to purchase. I've heard nothing but rave reviews for the 12-60mm, but it's nearly $1000USD. The 14-54mm is supposed to be better than my 14-45mm, but is it THAT much better to spend the extra money on it? Any other suggestions? Are there any off-brand lenses that you might recommend?

I really like my kit lenses, but they can't quite capture the really quick motion of children. I've missed several really good shots because the lens just isn't quite fast enough. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:02 pm 
I have the 14-54, the original one. It is better than the kit lens. AF is faster and focus is better in low light. As far as sharpness, it is slightly better than my kit 14-42. I paid $280 for an used 14-54 at Adorama before all the Oly gear prices went up by 20-25% about 6-8 weeks ago. A new 12-60 used to be about $750 back then. Like you said, it's almost $1000 now.

That being said, if I could do it all over again, I think I would have rather gotten the 12-60. While I have never used the 12-60, the extra 6mm on the long end and the 2mm in the wide end would have made for a much more versatile lens. From all that I've read, the 12-60 also focuses faster than any of the other lens. So that will likely be helpful when you are shooting children running around. I think BH has some refurbished 12-60 for about $750. It comes with a 90 day warranty. So you might want to give that a shot.

For standing portraits, a lot of users have rave reviews for the 50mm macro. It's generally considered the sharpest of all lenses. But not good for action photos though, because the auto focus can be slow at times. I think a brand new 50 is running about $450.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:38 pm 
ZD 50/2.0 and Sigma 50/1.4 would be good choices. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2007 12:48 am
Posts: 78
Location: Arizona
There are several choices..

One suggestion would be the Olympus 50 mm f2.0 macro -- about $450.
its very sharp, and with the f2 aperture will allow the narrow depth of field for portraits. The 35mm equiv is 100mm which is a classic portrait lens.
There are numerous reviews (all glowing!) on the web for the Oly 50 f2 macro.

The next suggestion if you are doing group photos and need something wider the 25mm f2.8 pancake .. about $225 its sharp, small light, cheap, and with the 2.8 aperture is well suited for low light.

the fixed focal length prime lenses will have less distortion than even an expensive zoom. Keep in mind that an f2 zoom covering the normal to short telephoto range (needed for portraits) you will need to pay up... maybe $2000+

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:11 pm 
The 25 pancake would indeed be a good lens for group shots. Probably not very good for individual portraits, because it's a little bit short, both figuratively and literally! The 25 isn't all that much sharper than the 14-42 kit lens set @25mm though. Some even argue that the 14-42 is sharper than the 25 pancake. However, the 25 is considerably faster than the 14-42 @25 by about 2 stops.

Naeno, here's an article comparing the 14-45 and 14-54.

http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/43/std-zoom.html


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:58 pm 
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Location: Netherlands
I'm very satisfied with my 50mm f2 macro. It's my most used lens and to tp it of it has decent macro capabilities too! Unfortunately it'll have to go since I'm going fullframe... but it's my avice for portraits. costs less than half of the 12-60 and gets you great results!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:18 am 
Thank you all for your wonderful advice! My one question to those who have the 50mm...I tend to do group portraits, not just singles. With such a high aperture, do you have a lot of people falling out of focus?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 5:30 am 
I don't have the 50 macro, but you can always step up the apperture to get greater depth of focus. Only problem is getting everyone in the picture, if it's a big group. You may have to step a little further away.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:00 pm 
I have seen very good results with the 30mm Sigma.

Here is one shot from my ZD 50mm:


Image


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:14 am
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Location: Netherlands
Well for group photo's you'll probably pick a smaller aperture, but your main problem with the 50mm and group portraits will be that the angle of view probably isn't wide enough. I really used my 50mm for single or 2 person shots mostly and even than i rarely had a whole body on there. You'll probably want the flexibility of a zoom more when also working with groups and especially with children. So I'd suggest investigating the 14-54 option further. People who use it are generally very content with it and the price difference with the 12-60 is quite large.

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Canon 5D + 17-40 F4L + 50 F1.4 + 70-200 F2.8L
Velbon Sherpa 200R


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:50 pm 
:)
A good portrait lens focal range is anywhere between 50 to 100mm

Man said 25mm pancake lens for Portrait only in Camera store.
25 x 2 crop factor = 50mm

50mm macro lens was okay for portrait.
50 x 2 = 100mm.

35mm macro x 2 = 70mm lens was okay for portrait.

I have 25mm, 35mm, 70-300mm, and 11-22mm lens.

http://www.digital-slr-guide.com/best-p ... -lens.html


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:17 am 
Thanks lynn55 for that link and everyone for your advice! It was very helpful!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:41 pm 
I would also suggest the 30mm sigma lens. I have seen awesome portraits with this lens on flickr


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:49 am 
here's a shot of my brother with the 50mm macro.

Image

not the greatest shot, but it'll give you an idea of the bokeh you can get with the lens.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:35 am 
Honestly? I like the 40-150mm 3.5-4.5 for my portraits.

Image
Image
Image

To be honest, I don't remember how the newer 40-150 performed [had it briefly and sold it] but with the slower aperture, maybe not as good. As you can see, its plenty sharp, and has a good bokeh, not to mention the added usability of over 3x zoom range... All for 1/4 the price of a 50mm...

Granted the 50mm F2.0 will be more versatile for darker portraits..


Last edited by Atomic on Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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