Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   Nikon Lenses (
-   -   a good portrait lens (

monx Jan 4, 2007 6:47 AM

Having been spending most of xmas running around testing equipment for my ideal setup i found that all my xmas pictures that i liked had a certain theme too it. Namely portait. ( using my D50)

I tried in an earlier thread to switch equipment ( see in the "what camera should i buy section" ), but coming home from the old inlaws in way underlit rural china i learned that AS/IS/VR was not what i was looking for. ( borrowed my friends 24-120mm VR ) My father in laws head is not still enough for a slow shutterspeed. my best pictures where taken with my 70-300mm at iso200with a flash bounced of the ceiling. ( amazingly no one said anything to my flash use, which meant i did't need such a shallowDOF )

This made me realize what i am looking for is really just a very sharpportrait lens.Not necesarily the fastest ( seing as i can use flash ) so the need for f1.4 is not that great.

I have deliberately looked at macro lenses because the pictures i portray from rural china can't have a too soft look. If someone has a face full of scars and wrinkles then that is the picture i wan't.

So far i'm looking into the following lenses for portrait use.

-nikon nikkor 60mm f2.8D
-nikon nikkor prime 1.8D 50mm
-sigma 85mm 2.8 macro EX
-sigma 105mm 2.8 macro EX

i havent looked into the 90mm macro from tokina or tamron, but don't be shy to comment on those as well.

My main point-

AS sharp a prime as i can get, in the under 600$ category

Thx in advance.

bhammitt Jan 4, 2007 7:59 AM

Hello monx! I have had my D-50 for about one year now and I love the nikon nikkor prime 1.8D 50mm, it is a fantastic lens and I got it for less than $110.00 dollars. That should leave you some chane out of your buget to get a second lens.


ReneB3 Jan 4, 2007 9:37 AM

For portraits I don't think you can do much better than the 50mm primes. I have a 1.4 but rarely use it much past 2ish. I do like the very limited DOF at 1.4 but that does not keep much of the face in focus, great for glamor shots but not very good for kids or wrinkly faces and such.

I also have a 50mm Sigma 2.8macro, it is just as effective for most portraits and takes very nice bugs photos. I think my next one will be a 105 Macro so Idon't have to get as close to the critters.

goomer Jan 4, 2007 9:45 AM

Not to add to your dilemma monx, but have you considered the Sigma 70mm 2.8 EX DG. It's a new macro and with the crop factor makes it an ideal portrait lens coming in at 105mm. It's in your price range as well. Like Bob I have the 50 1.8 and can't say enough good things about it, but I agree that given it's low price you can get it and something more specifically geared towards portraiture as well. My second vote would be for the Nikon 60mm....great lens for a great price. Good luck.

monx Jan 4, 2007 10:08 AM

no matter what it seems i have to put that 50mm 1.8D in the bag :-)

i haven't seen the new 70mm f2.8 EX from sigma. I'll have to look it up.

Great advice in here :cool:

monx Jan 4, 2007 10:11 AM

i can see nikon also has a 85mm f1.8D......

decisions decisions.............

Telecorder Jan 10, 2007 11:44 AM


Can't add to the discussions on a portrait lens (other than most all longtime Nikonians seem to recommend the 50 1.8D as a 'should-have')...

Wondered if you could give any suggestions on my pending 9-day trip to your neck of the woods March 3 - 11, 2007. We're on a business development guided tour to Biejing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou and I'm interested in any weather-related, lens recommendationsand/or people-people interaction issues you might offer...

I'm currently anticipating getting a 50 1.4D lens for the anticipated low light venues such as the interiors, nightscapes etc...

PeterP Jan 10, 2007 11:56 AM

Just a thought, for portraits you do not really want an extremly sharp lens.

Hence the use of Softar filters that Haselblad shooters used to use to blur down their extermly sharp lenses.

It is not very flattering to see every pore and defect in a persons face.
Of course now you can take a very sharp image and then spend some time in photoshop to dumb it down :idea:

Just my 2.5cents worth :-)

rey Jan 10, 2007 12:56 PM

I've never used it, but I've read good reviews about Tamron 90mm.

I have the Nikon 50/1.8 and use it for portrait, but for shooting closeup faces, at times I seem to want a longer lens. This is especially true when shooting kids as they tend to get annoyed when you're too close.

If you can stretch your budget the Nikon 105 VR is probably the perfect lens for portrait. It's also Macro, so you're taking care of two things. I'm saving for this one.

jotajota Jan 10, 2007 3:22 PM

rey wrote:

If you can stretch your budget the Nikon 105 VR is probably the perfect lens for portrait. It's also Macro, so you're taking care of two things. I'm saving for this one.

I agree with Rey. The Nikon 105 Micro VR, is excellent for portrait. Very sharp, astounding colorand background blur is excellent. The VR will let you shoot hand held portraits like a pro !!

If the 105 is not within your budget, then go for the Nikon 50mm 1.8 prime, very sharp and bright. With a tripod, you can shoot indoors without flash !!

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 6:12 AM.