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Best lens for portrait photography
I am a beginning photographer with a Canon REbel XTI. I am mainly interested in portrait photography. I am trying to decide what lens to get to start off with. From my research I am deciding between the Canon EF 85mm f 1.8 or the Cannon EF 100mm f 2.0. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I will be taking a lot of outdoor pics and some inside as well.

Thanks!.

Can you recommend the best place to purchases lens?..

Comments (14)

Aburchett wrote:.

I am a beginning photographer with a Canon REbel XTI. I am mainlyinterested in portrait photography. I am trying to decide what lensto get to start off with. From my research I am deciding between theCanon EF 85mm f 1.8 or the Cannon EF 100mm f 2.0. Any advice wouldbe greatly appreciated. I will be taking a lot of outdoor pics andsome inside as well.

Thanks!.

They should both be decent, but 100mm might be a bit long indoors (not to say that 85 wouldn't be either)..

Can you recommend the best place to purchases lens?.

B&H Photo.

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Comment #1

The Canon you're using is a ~1.6-crop camera, so the FOV of a 50mm would be as narrow as the FOV of an 80mm would be on a 35mm camera reasonable for an individual portrait...

Comment #2

They work outstandingly well as portrait lenses. Long enough so you aren't tempted to get close enough to the subject to distort, short enough to be useful indoors, high quality, very fast and very cheap (in the case of the 50 1.8's damned cheap for the quality)..

DIPics.

Leejay Wu wrote:.

The Canon you're using is a ~1.6-crop camera, so the FOV of a 50mmwould be as narrow as the FOV of an 80mm would be on a 35mm camera reasonable for an individual portrait...

Comment #3

The 50mm's make an excellent fixed length portrait lens....

For a bit more versatility.....

Consider the Tamron SP AF 28-75 f/2.8 Di, XR, LD, ASPH .....It will give you a lens that is good for full length to head shots...and it is a very sharp lens too..The Constant f/2.8 is a great value too...though you will shoot at f/5.6-8 90% of the time for deeper DOF...The f/2.8 will activate the high accuracy center focus cross points..

Peter .

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Comment #4

Another vote for the 50mm lens. On your camera, this is the equivalent to an 80mm lens. Most portrait lenses (in 35mm equivalents) have 80 - 135mm focal lengths. Dividing these numbers by 1.6 yields 50 to 85..

Plus, you can get a very fast (f1.4) 50mm lens for not alot of money..

Have a good day.Respectfully,Mike SneddonMattoon, IL USA..

Comment #5

I agree with the 50 mm suggestions, but not the 50/1.8. It is said to have unreliable autofocusing (I have the MkI version so I can't say from experience), the manual focusing ring is too small, it doesn't have 'full time manual' focusing, and it has poor quality background blur due to the five-blade diaphragm. Don't get me wrong, it is a high quality lens and I use mine quite often - but it has several shortcomings for portrait work..

The 50/1.4 is in the same price bracket as the 85/1.8 (slightly less in fact), and addresses all of these issues. It's also a lot better built..

If you have already decided on a longer lens, perhaps because you have other applications in mind, then choose the 85/1.8 - the 100/2 is too long for general portrait use...

Comment #6

The Canon Digital Rebel XTI is the camera. I can only get one lens to start out. Do you feel like the 50 mm EF f 1.4 USM is better than the EF 85mm f 1.8 USM for taking indoor and outdoor portrait pics. I want to be able to capture close ups as well as family photos. Thanks for the advice...

Comment #7

Aburchett wrote:.

The Canon Digital Rebel XTI is the camera. I can only get one lensto start out. Do you feel like the 50 mm EF f 1.4 USM is better thanthe EF 85mm f 1.8 USM for taking indoor and outdoor portrait pics. Iwant to be able to capture close ups as well as family photos.Thanks for the advice..

The 50 mm is more versatile in this situation. You can almost always get a little closer if you want a more tightly-cropped, intimate portrait. But you can't always get further away..

The advantage of using a longer lens for people shots is that they are less aware of the camera - in fact anything up to about 200 mm is good from that point of view. But the downside is that your pictures will tend to look as if taken by an outside observer rather than a member of the group..

But no one lens can do everything. Whichever you choose, there will be situations where you want the other...

Comment #8

I really love my Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens. I use it exclusively for portraits and use a Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 Macro for a general purpose lens. Here are a couple of shots taken with my Canon 50mm f/1.4 and Rebel XT(350D), all use available light(no flash)..

This is at f/1.8.

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...at f/2.2.

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...at f/1.6.

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Comment #9

You are on the path to wasting money, because you got information from shaky sources..

Whoever told you a 100mm lens was a good portrait lens misled you (on purpose?).

First of all, figure out what a portrait is..

Are you talking about imitating passport pictures, except maybe with the head turned to the side?.

Or are you going to phtograph an entire person, perhaps with her dog, sitting on a rock?.

There's a big difference in which lens you would choose..

If you can only buy one lens, buy the 18-55mm kit lens that often comes with the camera at a bargain price, and after you learn something, buy another lens..

BAK..

Comment #10

If you have the 18-55, then consider a 50mm or longer zoom. Otherwise, get the 17-85. 85 is plenty long for portraits, and the IS helps in low light without having to deal with the narrow depth of field you get trying to use f/1.4 or f/2...

Comment #11

And, if you do get a 50mm, save some cash by getting the 1.8. The build quality is good enough and the image quality is the same or slightly better...

Comment #12

Thats not really true. The build quality isn't nearly as good as the f/1.4 and the bokeh isn't nearly as nice(it has fewer blades). Its a good lens for $80, but not as good as the f/1.4..

Comment #13

The narrow depth of field is the whole point in using a fast lens for portrait photography! You CANNOT get the same nice bokeh with the 17-85 as you can with a fast lens(f/1.4 to f/2.8 or so)..

Sure, you can take portrait shots with a 17-85, but you wont be able to get a nice blown out background(aka "bokeh")..

Comment #14

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