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Old May 21, 2005, 8:31 AM   #1
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This is 2 part question. First, my wife is wanting to start doing some portrait work (in home). We have a Digital Rebel and I was wanting to know if anyone else has tried portrait work this. We have seen a few portrait photographers use one, but we aren't sure of the results. Would a 20D be much better? I thought about getting the Rebel XT, but if I am going to go up, I'm going way up. Just not Eos 1D up :-)

Secondly, when I was still using film and doing a lot of reading, I often read that for portrait work you should use a fast 80mm lens. Is this information accurate and if so, would that mean I would actually want a 50mm due to the 1.6xFocal length conversion factor?

Thanks in advance.

Dave Porter
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Old May 21, 2005, 9:43 AM   #2
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I have the Rebel XT, but if you read a lot of the reviews, the main difference between the 300, 350, and 20D are your limits (I.E. 20D is the only one with 3200 ISO out of all three, as well as the fastest). Not many people will tell you, "pictures are significantly better on the 20D than the Rebel." Because simply put, the picture quality difference between the 20D and 300 would definitely not justify the cost.

So, when you're deciding which SLR to get, one important factor is asking yourself, "Can I get by with these limitations?" rather than, "Which one will give better pictures."

All Canon SLRs give amazing pictures

And to your second question: yes. The crop factor on these sensors is 1.6x, which means you should look at a 50mm for head or head/shoulder photography.

The most common suggestions are the Canon 50mm 1.8 (really cheap but a great lens) or the Canon 50mm 1.4 USM (more money but a greater lens).
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Old May 21, 2005, 10:56 AM   #3
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headhunter,

your 300d is more than capable enough to hand portrait work.. if you, yourself, are looking to get a dslr to compliment the wife, you will be well served with either the 20d or the rebel xt.. save the money on the 1d for now and buy a good lens or 2 or 3..

as for portrait lens choice.. you want something that has a 35mm lens equivelent of between 70-120mm so with the 1.6x crop factor a lens between 45-70.. these focal lengths give the most pleasing facial proportions.. i myself use a canon 28-135 IS, as the 45-70 falls right in the middle of the zoomwhere the lens is most sharp.. others may say this lens is not fast enough, but i have had good results, and i know there are more than one pro on the web and in the magazines using a similar setup.. another great lens that i still consider picking up for its speed and sharpness is the sigma 24-70 2.8 ex.. it will rival the L series of the same focal range, but costs much much less... many ppl prefer a sharp prime lens, such as a nice fast 85mm, and those are excellent choices too.. but with the quality of today's zoom lens, i really prefer to have the zoom for the flexibility in composing my shots, and don't feel i am missing out on any sharpness..

hope that i have been of some assistance, and let us know if you have any follow-up questions...

Regards, Dustin
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Old May 21, 2005, 11:10 AM   #4
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I think the reason that people say you should have a "fast" lens, is because the fstops go down to 2.8 or even 1.4. This means very limited depth of field so that you can blur out the background completely, having only the model in focus. But be careful at 1.4 b/c if you focus on the eyes (which is what you are supposed to do in portrait work) there is a good chance that the nose will be out of focus (assuming a face forward shot). Also, is she doing studio portraits? With flash or strobe? B/c even the weakest strobes shoot at a high intensity which should give you an fstop of at least f5.6 (this is assuming about a 100 w/s strobe shot into an umbrella, even a softbox) at an ISO of 100 (I think all Canons have a minimum ISO of 100, which is what you usually would want for portrait work). So if this is your case, you could go for the 17-85mm lens which is supposed to be slightly higher quality than the 28-135mm lens. I think the 50mm 1.4 lens would be your ideal choice for portraits. Here is a post of some studio work I did of my niece about a month ago using the 20D and the 17-85mm lens:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...295807#p295807
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Old May 21, 2005, 1:23 PM   #5
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Thank you all for the assistance. I have always loved my DRebel and thought pictures were excellent. We may look into the Sigma lens and keep the camera we have. Maybe get her a newer one if she really takes off with this.

Nancy, very nice photos.


Dave Porter
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Old May 21, 2005, 10:09 PM   #6
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Thanks Dave. Glad you liked them. Don't hesitate to post/have your wife post, photos once you both make your decision and buy your equipment! Good luck!
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Old May 21, 2005, 10:40 PM   #7
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I think Nancy has the right answer for the lens, but you will also now be looking at getting lighting, and collecting "stuff" for backgrounds and props. :-) It can be great fun :!:

Peter
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