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Portrait Zoom Lens on a budget

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    bangalicious
    16 Dec 2010 - 1:52 PM

    Another lens queston! Sorry if this has been repeated. Did a quick search on the forums but couldnt find the info i am looking for.
    I am going to treat myself to a home studio kit and lens so I can have a dabble in studio photography as a Christmas present. Lighting is all sorted. Going for the Elemental Genesis Mark II equipment, using it in my garage.
    Now I would like a lens. I currently have a 50mm 1.8 which I know i will be using a lot of the time, but wanted to expand on my focal range and maybe get a Zoom. What would you suggest? I already have the 18-135 kit lens, will this be adequate assuming my lighting is right? I just dont think it is generally as sharp as I would like. I have read a few reviews of the 85mm 1.8, would I get any use from it as I currently have the 50mm. Would you even recommend the Zoom?
    Find me a lens. Nikon fit. Budget is about 400.

    Thanks for advice and help in advance.

    Anil.

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    16 Dec 2010 - 1:52 PM

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    bangalicious
    16 Dec 2010 - 2:15 PM

    Ive just found this:

    Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 XR Di-II LD ASP IF

    Would this be adequate; gives the opportunity for groups and full length portraits?

    richard00
    richard00  7504 forum posts1 Constructive Critique Points
    16 Dec 2010 - 2:46 PM

    The tamron is a very good lens. Sharp as the L lens on a canon, AF good enough for sport. A good lens for groups - but all comes down to how near/far you can get from the subject as to whether the focal length is suitable for you.

    Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
    bangalicious
    16 Dec 2010 - 2:49 PM

    Also Found the 28-75 F2.8 which has pretty good reviews and is in my price range. Any one had any experience with either mentioned above lenses?


    Quote: The tamron is a very good lens...

    Thanks for your comment Richard, I will be half of the double garage; so have quite a bit of room. Just a home studio 2 light set up.

    Cheers,
    Anil.

    FatHandedChap
    16 Dec 2010 - 5:03 PM

    Depends on the style of portrait you want to take. A lot of mine were head and shoulder or half length. Used a Sigma 50-150 and a Sigma 105 for most of my studio shots.

    Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
    Snapper
    Snapper  93657 forum posts United States Minor Outlying Islands3 Constructive Critique Points
    16 Dec 2010 - 5:25 PM


    Quote: Also Found the 28-75 F2.8 which has pretty good reviews and is in my price range. Any one had any experience with either mentioned above lenses?



    Assuming you still have the D80 from your last PF shot? I wouldn't worry too much about the sharpness of your 18-135 as lenses can be just too sharp for portraits at times. Smile As far as the Tamron 28-75 is concerned, I've had one for a few years now and had bought a Nikon 35-70 f2,8 to replace it as it was meant to be a better lens. When I compared the 2 with shots taken after each other, I couldn't see the Tamron as being inferior and so I held on to it. Even though I don't use my Nikon gear much nowadays, it is a lens I would still hold on to as it covers a useful range on both full frame and as a longer lens on a 1.5x crop

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    Grampy
    Grampy  4507 forum posts England71 Constructive Critique Points
    17 Dec 2010 - 9:10 AM

    You seem worried that your lens will not be sharp enough, the reverse is more probable,most people don't want to see the faults in their skin.
    Traditionaly portrait lenses are a little soft , so to make a standard lens into a proper portrait lens, stretch a very and I mean very good black nylon stocking over the lens ,hold it in place with an elastic band. This technique was used by portrait photographers in the 60s and before, the effect can be changed by stretching more or less, I always use a black Dior stocking , by using a lighter color one can get some amazing high key effects without overexposing the image. A decent pair will cost a lot but also lasts a lifetime.
    Phill

    Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
    Grampy
    Grampy  4507 forum posts England71 Constructive Critique Points
    17 Dec 2010 - 9:12 AM

    I add , this is probably the only time one would send the wife to buy a piece of equipment, unless you are so inclined Wink

    bangalicious
    17 Dec 2010 - 9:34 AM

    Thanks for the comments all. Snapper, thanks for the advice reference the 28-75. Need to make a decision between the 28-75 and the 17-50. Im thinking i shall go the 17-50 route to cover me focal range wise.

    My aim is to have a go at at sorts of studio work, including full lenght, 3/4 lenght, head and shoulders and facial portraits.

    Phill, interesting technique, I will be sure to give it a go and see what effects I can get.

    Cheers,

    Anil.

    User_Removed
    17 Dec 2010 - 4:31 PM

    A couple of things to remember, one of which has been touched on above.

    1. Traditionally, soft-focus lenses were favoured for portraiture. No need nowadays, of course, as you can soften images in post-processing, but it does suggest that any of your existing lenses will be plenty sharp. One way to find out - take a head and shoulders shot at perfect exposure and focussing on the eyes. Then crop the image to give as large as you can get the eyes without going larger than 1:1. If the eyes are still sharp, your lenses are fine. I wouldn't recommend the old pro's trick of smearing vaseline on the lens to soften the focus, although it undoubtedly worked.

    2. Again traditionally, longer focus lenses are favoured for portraiture - for a very good reason. Wide angle lenses make noses and chins stick out! Longer focus do the reverse and flatter the subject. 50mm is great for a crop frame camera and certainly don't go wider than 30mm. On full-frame, 80mm is ideal and 50mm the widest you would want to use. A couple of years ago at a wedding that I was a guest at, I saw a so-called "professional" using a 10-20mm on a Canon 40D. Being curious, I asked the newly-wed bride how her photographs had turned out and, needless to say, she was four-lettering furious at the result of the "bride and groom shots" although the larger groups were not so obviously nasty.

    So, what I am really saying is that your prime lens and the upper range of your existing zoom should be pretty good for starters.

    Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
    ianrobinson
    ianrobinson e2 Member 41106 forum postsianrobinson vcard United Kingdom8 Constructive Critique Points
    17 Dec 2010 - 11:19 PM

    well i have the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 and that works extremely well for me and gives me enough range to do portraits and landscapes as this is what i like best.

    Paul Morgan
    Paul Morgan e2 Member 1214388 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
    18 Dec 2010 - 2:00 AM

    Get the sharpest lens you can afford, its true that once soft lenses were once often favoured for portraits, but you can always soften in photoshop.

    The lenses you already have are quite capable, if it was me I`d be wanting to add something wider than what I already had. So either something like a Sigma 10-20 or maybe a Tamron 10-24mm.

    Nothing wrong in shooting portraits wide Smile

    Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
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