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BromleyJC Nov 17, 2011 3:19 PM

Best Lens for Portrait Photos
I have a Nikon D60 and just starting to get requests for portraits (mostly babies and kids). My experience is primarily outdoor scenic photography. Seeking advice for the best lens to use primarily with natural light / indoor photos. Considering FAST 50mm and 85mm.

TCav Nov 17, 2011 3:39 PM

In the days of film, the most popular focal length for portraiture was from 85mm to 135mm. On an APS-C dSLR, a lens with a focal length of from 57mm to 92mm would give a similar perspective.

But for 'head and shoulders" portraits of small subjects ("babies and kids") a longer focal length would give you more room to work with. You might consider a 70-200/2.8 for maximum flexibility, but otherwise, I think you'd get better results with an 85mm lens than a 50mm lens.

VTphotog Nov 17, 2011 4:30 PM

Babies and kids. Indoors and available light. Your subjects will tend to move around quite a bit, usually when you are just about ready to snap the shutter. The faster shutter speeds needed can be provided by a fast portrait lens (as TCav suggests, 85mm should work well). The downside of using wide apertures in this situation is that the DOF is quite shallow, and your subjects can move out of focus quite easily.
Curare works well to slow the kids down, but parents often object to having it used on their children, so it may be necessary to stop down the lens, bite the bullet and use flash. My own recommendation would be to invest in lighting first, rather than a lens (or in addition, if you have the money).


PeterP Nov 18, 2011 10:07 AM

Agree a 85mm f/1.2 would be nice, though many use a normal 24-70 f/2.8 and decent off camera lighting ( a couple of good upper end speedlights that can be controlled from the camera would get you started, along with a couple of reflectors and a few stands.).

If you haven't met strobist give that site a read

Excellent info on getting pro quality results with relatively inexpensive speedlights.

That 85mm @ f/1.2 and 10 feet has a depth of field of 2.34 inches.
In that situation duct-tape comes to the rescue!

tjsnaps Nov 18, 2011 12:25 PM

Personaly I think the Best portrait lens for a DX camera would be the 58mm f/1.2 Nikkor Noct lens unfortunately it's hard to find and exceedingly expensive.

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