Investing in portrait lens.
I bought a Canon 5D last Dec. I have taken a couple classes. And have had several requests to shoot family portraits. Now my husbands BOSS wants a family portrait. YIKES! I think it is time to invest in another good lens. I started with 28-135mm f3.5-5.6.

What next? shoudl I go with a prime lens?.


Comments (5)

Focal length for portraits depends on whether you are shooting groups or individuals, head shots or full body, and how much distance you have available. If you are thinking of primes, try your 28-135 mm at the distance you have and see what you are going to get in the frame. The standard focal lengths on 35 mm were 85 mm and 135 mm, but for groups 50 mm or even 35 mm may work..

Consider the 35 mm f/2, 50 mm f/1.8, 85 mm f/1.8, and the 135 mm f/2 for relatively low cost lenses. More expensive alternatives would be the 35 mm f/1.4L, 50 mm f/1.4 and f/1.2L, and 85 mm f/1.2L..

The two 70-200 mm f/2.8 lenses are also good, especially for outdoor portraiture..

Brian A,..

Comment #1

...the Canon 85 f1.8. It's about $350. It is the perfect portrait lens for the 5d, with the exception of the 85 f1.2L, which is $1700..

All of these portraits are with the 85 f1.8 on a 5D:

The 85 f1.8 will give you the option of very shallow Depth-of-Field, or more for larger groups. It's image quality is outstanding and it focuses very, very fast. Be sure to buy the lens hood with it (about $35).

I always use a flash outside, too. It fills in the shadows and puts a sparkle in everyone's eyes..

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Bossier City, Louisiana

Comment #2


I'll go along with that: the traditional portraiture lens on 35 film and your 5D would be the 85 mm f/1.8 or similar but for individual portraits and not groups. For groups you have to have them all in focus and there's no way you should need a specialised lens for it. So try the zooms at about 40 to 50 mm. Wider than that and you might get nose problems, although in a group that won't/shouldn't happen as they'll be a reasonable distance away. Just check carefully....

Regards, David..

Comment #3

If you want to go cheap, you could get the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens. The lens is made mostly of plastic, but it has been rated very high and is a good portrait lens, especially for the price. It only costs about $70.Keith..

Comment #4

It all depends on how much room you have to back up!Canon EOS 5D.

1/400s f/4.5 at 85.0mm iso800 (I should have shot this at f2 - they would have all been in focus, and the background would have been more out of focus).

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Seriously, I shoud have used around 50mm for that shot. But really, I've found that 85mm is great for large groups because you can always adjust how much background is in focus - all or very little. It just takes some practice. here is a typical group pose with a 85mm:.

From a distance, low F-settings can get you this look at 85mm:Canon EOS 5D ,Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM1/2000s f/2.0 at 85.0mm iso100.

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The 85 f1.8 is perfect for portraits - even groups - that is IF you have the room to back up!.

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Bossier City, Louisiana

Comment #5

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