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Old Jun 21, 2010, 10:42 PM   #1
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Default Nikon D40 Portrait Lens??

I currently own a Nikon D40 that I purchased with the 18-55 and 55-200 lenses as a package. My main use is to photograph my children,however I want to try to take some really nice close up face shots of my children and a new nephew.I notice most professional pictures are so crisp and clear and the background is a bit blurred.Can anyone recommend what type of lens/ settings I could use to get these effects. I will probably be just about 2 to four feet away from the subject.
I am not a pro by all means and am a bit confused by the lenses. I am not exactly sure what the differences are between the macro lenses and wide angle lenses,and just a regular lens.Does the D40 really have good capabilities to take near professional pictures??i dont really know too much about shutter speed or aperture and how they affect the picture.Any help or info would be greatly appreciated!!
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 6:04 AM   #2
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The blurred background you see in professional portraits is from a shallow depth of field, which comes from using a large aperture. You can experiment by using your 55-200 at 55mm where the maximum aperture is f/4.0. It won't be great, but you will see the effect you describe. And while your 55-200 is plenty sharp at 55mm and f/4.0, it has a lot of vignetting, which, as a photographic effect, you may or may not like.

To decrease the shallow depth of field even further, you need either a longer focal length lens with the same aperture, or a larger aperture at the same focal length, or some combination of the two.

A problem you're going to have when looking for a lens like that, is that your D40 doesn't have a built-in autofocus motor, and most lenses the have longer focal lengths and/or larger apertures, don't have autofocus motors either, so you may need to focus manually.

The lenses that can AF on your D40 are:

Nikon 50/1.4 AF-S (~$440)
Tamron 60/2.0 Di-II BIM (~$450)
Tamron SP 28-75/2.8 XR Di LD BIM (~$460)
Nikon 85/3.5 AF-S DX Micro ED VR-II (~$490) (though this one would probably be long for baby pictures.)
Sigma 50/1.4 EX HSM (~$500)
Nikon 60/2.8 G AF-S Micro (~$540)
Sigma 50-150/2.8 HSM (~$700)

But you may be able to get some very satisfactory images with the 55-200 you've got, if you keep the focal length short and the aperture lagre (numerically small.)
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 8:29 AM   #3
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There is a very nice page that addresses which lenses are best for which use, available here: http://tinyurl.com/ygf9syo

Its primary limitation is that it only lists lenses from Nikon itself, but it seems pretty solid in what it has to say about them. Remember that you will want to limit your choices to lenses designated AF-S, as TCav indicated.

I am currently in love with the 35 mm f/1.8. While this is not specifically a portrait lens, you may well find that it will do what you want, is general-purpose, and is an amazing bargain at $200.
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 9:10 AM   #4
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We may start filtering links using tinyurl at some point to try and keep spammers from using that technique to bypass filters we've setup for sites they're trying to promote, as we've already noticed a few trying to do it that way.

The forums software is going to format long URLs to fit OK anyway now. So, I'd just post the entire URL to sites instead. That way, your links will still work if we decide to implement that filter later (because tinyurl will end up being replaced by ******* in posts if we do filter it).

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Old Jun 22, 2010, 9:28 AM   #5
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There are plenty of good lenses with big aparteure and built in focus motor. But as with all fast lenses they are very expensive.

Best regards/Daniel
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 9:29 AM   #6
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Thanks, Jim. I saw that the url got abbreviated to ... in the middle, and was afraid that it wouldn't work when that happened.
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