24-70 for portraits

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by william_bray|1, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. I have decided to get a full frame body. I have been building up my
    lenses to do this. The two main lenses I use are the 24-70 and a 70-
    200 2.8 is.
    I have done a few weddings and the 24-70 was on my camera 80% of
    the time.
    But it has suddenly hit me that I will be losing the long end of my 24-
    70, and might end up with me losing time changing to my 70-200 for
    portrait shoots. The 70-200 is quite a heavy lump to keep changing in an
    environment where speed is essential, or to have it hanging around you
    on another body just for those portrait shots, I only brought the 70-200 out
    when I knew I would need it.
    I know that 85-135 mm is the ideal length for head and shoulders
    shots, but I also know that a 24-70 is the main lens used by wedding
    photographers, and portraits are done quite a lot in a wedding.
    So I was wondering has any one used a 24-70 for head and shoulders
    shots, is it ok to use now and again so you don't have to keep swapping
    I did think about using the lens at 70mm but not to get to close to the
    subject, so I get more of the body in the shot and maybe this wouldn't
    distort the features and crop it latter. Does anyone think this will work ?
  2. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    I use the 24-70 for portraits all the time with a 1.3x body. I don't sit at 70mm, especially indoors. I do use the 70-200, but I'd say that's about 10% of the time, not enough that I would worry about. I also use the 17-40 for portraits on a 1.6x body. I've had no complaints about "distortion," the only problem I have is that at events, it isn't always wide enough.
  3. how about the 24-105 on an extra body?
    I always use the 70-200 2.8 Lis for head shots. love it. You get used to the weight, Time to hit the gimm..
  4. I find the 70-200 F2.8 is a better portrait lens on full frame than my 24-70 F2.8 but the 24-70 does produce good results. If I change lenses then the 85 F1.8 or the 100 F2.8 LIS Macro are better lenses than either of the F2.8 zooms. My 70-200 F2.8 is the older Non IS version.
  5. I personally am very happy with my EF 24-105mm L on a 35mm-sensor camera (so-called full frame or FX). It is only f/4 however, but the IS compensates by steadying your hand a little, in effect. It does cover the range to "portrait" focal lengths better than the 24-70mm. It's also a little more compact.
    Only you can answer the question about what focal lengths you use the most and translate that into 35mm sensor terms. And only you can say how much lens-swapping you can tolerate. I don't care to do it so much and that is another reason for liking the 24-105.
  6. I use the 24-70/2.8 a lot on FF, and love it. But if you look through your existing portfolio, and see the vast majority of your shots (on the crop) @ 45-70mm then you certainly have something to be concerned about. The switch to FF will impact your shooting. As well, a quick look will show you if you need the speed of your f2.8 lens.
    While I (personally) find the 24-70/2.8 vastly superior to the 24-105/4, I shoot FF, have for awhile, and spend a lot of time @f2.8-f3.5. If the majority of your shots are @ f4+, and a significant percentage (on the crop) are @ 45+mm (~ same FOV as 70mm FF) Then you may very well benefit from using the 24-105/4 instead, as it will give you a much similar effective range to your current setup. Plus, it's cheaper, so you can transition to FF faster.
  7. I agree with Marcus: see how you shoot now. I have a crop and a Tamron 28-75, and I find I shoot most people shots (mostly candids, not portraits) in the range of 45-75. So for me, the 24-70 would be too short on a ff. (the classic FL for portraits with 35mm film SLRs was in the range of 90mm), for you, however, it may be fone.
  8. Don't sweat it and don't miss shots changing lenses, just shoot as you do and crop, it will give you exactly the same picture you are used to getting, DOF, FOV, perspective, etc etc.
  9. The 24-105 is certainly an option for such photography using flash. One possible downside for your work is that bokeh isn't necessarily really lovely with this lens - for that the 24-70 is better. But, as you point out, 70mm is perhaps not as long as you would like for "portrait" on full frame.
    Frankly, I'd probably just slap that 70-200 on there for this sort of thing, unless you want to get some prime or primes just for this purpose.
  10. The hand of Rodin's sculpture. StL Art Museum with the EF 24-105mm lens at 98mm FL:
  11. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    I recommend you look at people's portraits before taking advice. Should be easy to find, click on their name and then look at their web site or photos posted here. It will give you some insight into where the advice is coming from.
  12. Most of my wedding shots show people together, and I've always imagined that this is why the 24-70 is considered the "wedding photographer's" lens--it's a good range for that. I usually stop down to f/5.6 however, because I want all the faces to be in focus. Depth of field is still plenty shallow to blur the background and with a bit of fill flash using a flash card I can get the people to stand out nicely without looking artificial. Back in the manual focus days, I wouldn't have considered an f/4 lens--it would be too hard to focus, but AF is reliable so who cares? For artsy, abstract shots of details that depend on very shallow depth of field to isolate the subject, I get in close and use a prime, such as the 50/1.4 at f/2.
  13. I don't post my images on Photo.Net and I don't link to my website via this site either, take from that what you will.
    Besides, I have a real problem with the idea that seeing how good somebody else is will tell you the best equipment choices for yourself. Why should it? Some of the best photographers I have seen have used the most inappropriate equipment that the majority of us would be incapable of getting anything like their results with. A sports coach almost certainly can't compete with the athlete he is training but he can tell them how to perform better, on the flip side of that being a good athlete doesn't make you good coaching material.
    Sure you need to be mindful of the comments on here but like most things in life, they are worth what you paid for them.
  14. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    I have a real problem with the idea that seeing how good somebody else is will tell you the best equipment choices for yourself. Why should it?​
    Would you buy a photo technique book without photos? Attend a class, seminar or workshop without examples? Of course not, nobody would dare put that on. It's only on web forums where you can have people pontificating about things they don't actually know much about because they haven't really done it. Would you learn skydiving without some real knowledge of the instructor's experience?
    I recently saw what was quite possibly the worst photograph ever posted on photo.net. I looked at the poster's profile, it was the first photo he had posted, but he had dispensed tons of advice, mostly re-runs of what was posted or read elsewhere.
    Advice is only valuable because of the experience used to give it. Without some understanding of the experience, it's just chatter.
  15. But you have to pay for books and classes. I am happy to teach for money and show my resumé to the attendees or organisers; I am happy to mentor and give talks at my local camera club for free, I'll show people examples of what I am illustrating but not my portfolio, they want to learn not see how good, or not, I am. I often illustrate with images along with my comments in threads, I just don't post images to a gallery here, or Flickr, or Facebook etc etc.
    With regards skydiving, I had no idea of my instructors experience, I relied on the club, the pilots and the jump masters adherence to protocol to make my jumps as safe as regulation dictated. Besides, once you have pulled the cord and are floating 4,000 feet above the ground on your own with only a radio to listen to ground instructions, the experience of your instructor is, quite frankly, irrelevant.
    I 100% agree that there is a lot of rubbish talked by many on the internet, I was only pointing out a couple of potential problems with putting too much weight into seeing what posters themselves produce and how that might not be beneficial in determining your own needs.
    Advice is only valuable because of the experience used to give it, agreed, but having images posted on Photo.Net, or not, is not necessarily a measure of that experience.
    But all that aside I'd love to know the gossip on the poster you are talking of ;-)
    Take care, Scott.
  16. I apologize. I missed the part where you had to be a wedding photographer to post in this thread.
  17. Do you still have the crop body? If you do, I would put the 70-200 on that, and the 24-70 on the FF. It is a heavy rig, but I have a 5D with a 70-200 f2.8 that I carry in a Spider Holster on a Lowepro S&F belt, and a 5D MarkII with a 24-70 that i carry with a regular shoulder strap. I prefer the 70-200 for shooting at 70mm, and I tend to do a lot of headshots around 135mm or so. But the 24-70 is very useful when a large group corners me and wants their photo taken.
    I'm not a big guy by any stretch, about 5'5, 135 pounds, but I can manage two cameras pretty well.
    And yes, I am fully qualified to give advice on the internet, or at least as qualified as anybody else is to give their opinions. (i.e., I have a pulse)
  18. I don't put people up on PN because the majority of my studio PR and wedding work was with paying clients. I would never post any of that work without permission. I did most of my wedding head shots with a 70-200 2.8. The clients liked them. I do a lot of sports head shots as well as active competition shots that are done for my sports organization. I don't post those here generally either. These are people I swim with and I respect their privacy. I have a couple though in my PN gallery. I do have about a hundred pictures on PN so I think one could judge my credibility from those pictures. I would like to post people but don't do much ad hoc street work that I think is of any value. Having had my own wedding business in the past I have experience but do not consider myself having done more than an average job. Scott as an eight thousand hour pilot who used sit on an ejection seat I can tell you that jumping out of an airplane is something that you have to do right the first time so I preferred to wait until my ass end was on fire to get it right. I did have excellent training. At least in the USAF the riggers were trained and closely supervised.The only person that you need trust before jumping is the trained rigger that packed your parachute and yourself to do a reasonable PLF. As for the subject I stated in another forum yesterday that I thought 70mm was a little short to get head shots at a wedding having had a 28-70 2.8L. That thought is from experience. Outside of protecting clients and friends I don't have a hell of a lot to hide.
  19. Thanks for all the advice. I looked back at a lot of my wedding shots
    and yes I did use the 24-70 at 70mm but it wasn't a vast majority , a lot
    of the shots were 24-50mm. One thing that came back to me was how
    much of a pain it was to use the 70-200. While I have shots at 200mm I
    remember how I needed a range ( on a crop camera ) of 50 plus
    because I found 70mm to long to start at on a crop camera. Except for
    group shot because I wanted more DOF a vast majority of my photos
    were taken at f4 or faster. I liked to keep my aperture as fast as I can
    to give a shallow DOF I found it gives a better look and stands out
    from consumer lenses because a few guest are carrying slr's and fast
    aperture's help the photos look different.I don't think I could manage
    with a f4 lens that's why I sold my 70-200 f4 is and got the 2.8 is, also
    when I tried the 24-105 in a shop on a FF I noticed more vignetting at
    24mm and more distortion and at these kind of focal lengths I'll need
    to be shooting at a minimum of 60th - 80th , is isn't here nor there for
    I think when I go FF I'll learn to work with what I've got. I just wanted
    to see if any wedding photographer went FF and realy missed the
    70mm on a cropped.
  20. Would you buy a photo technique book without photos? Attend a class, seminar or workshop without examples? Of course not, nobody would dare put that on. It's only on web forums where you can have people pontificating about things they don't actually know much about because they haven't really done it. Would you learn skydiving without some real knowledge of the instructor's experience?
    I recently saw what was quite possibly the worst photograph ever posted on photo.net. I looked at the poster's profile, it was the first photo he had posted, but he had dispensed tons of advice, mostly re-runs of what was posted or read elsewhere.​
    I totally agree, Jeff. Your reasoning is exactly why I have an issue with, and seldom pay any attention to those P.net members who regularly spew out photography related advice in the forums...yet never post a single picture for years at a time.
  21. 24-70mm is a good lens for portraits, I can't imagine why you think it won't work for headshots at 70mm. Another thing is, obviously, is that you can simply move forwards a little to frame closer - this is particularly true if you are THE wedding photographer. It's not like you are be nailed to the ground.
  22. I use full frame. The problem with headshots at 70mm that in shooting multiple head shots at weddings or swim meets I don't want to stick my camera in someone's face to get the head shot. When I did weddings I did not want to be in the middle of the post wedding festivities and found that I could stay unobtrusive with a longer lens. A lot of those headshots were intentionally candid not posed
  23. So John,
    By that reasoning do you have an issue with me and should there be an image qualifying procedure to post replies?
    First, there can be very legitimate reasons for people to not post their images here, Dick gave one, I have a completely different one.
    Second, being a good photographer does not make you a good teacher. Being able to work with the equipment you have doesn't make you a rational arbiter of what might work better for somebody else.
    Third, style and skill take time to learn, you might love Jeff Ascough's very narrow depth of field low ambient light style, but to advise a newcomer to get a couple of 1D MkIV's and a plethora of ultra fast primes would be doing them a huge disservice.
    Sure some peoples advice is obviously flawed, but having their own images up here is not the best determining factor of the value of that advice.
  24. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    there can be very legitimate reasons for people to not post their images here, Dick gave one, I have a completely different one.​
    Dick does post photos. He doesn't post portraits. But he does post photos.
    being a good photographer does not make you a good teacher​
    While this is true, one cannot even ascertain if someone is a photographer by their written posts here. At least if someone shows photos somewhere, there is evidence of some experience level.
    But you have to pay for books and classes.​
    We have this thing here in San Francisco called the public library. Takes care of paying for books. However, what you seem to be saying is that you get what you pay for, which would make forum advice totally lacking in value.
  25. I don't want to stick my camera in someone's face to get the head shot.​
    Don't get this really, everyone else will be with their P&S etc etc. If you are the photographer it's expected isn't it? Certainly the difference between 70 and 100 mm would not be significant to me with respect to the distance to the subject at this kind of event.
  26. Robin. First of all I am, as Jeff expressed earlier, speaking from actual experience which is exclusively mine not yours. Second if you read my post I did a lot of outdoor weddings and used my 70-200 to frame a lot of head shots. I use it exclusively shooting head shots at swim meets indoors because that's what I use to shoot the actual events. Further I used a 28-70 2.8L and made a lot of pictures with it but not in your face candids. I now have a 24-105 f4L now. Here are real life examples of my experience of why I used a 70-200 at weddings. I had a referral contract with a local Inn where I did a lot of weddings both in and out of doors near the ocean. I had a bride who dearly wanted pictures of an outdoor ceremony and the minister banned photography. Having worked for a paper our motto was anything to get the picture. I crawled into a bush in my wedding suit and shot 80 pictures at 200mm. He never knew. She was delighted and she was the one who paid. A couple of guests were startled when they saw me crawling out of the bush. Indoors in that same Inn I had a nice perch over the dance floor and used the 70-200 for candids in many weddings. My style, not someone else's was to record the wedding not to manage and not to disrupt the action. It was to provide a professionally competent, complimentary history of the wedding. Believe me I know how to shove a camera in someone's face as I also shot local politicians for the local paper I worked for. Robin this is my opinion and my preference based my style of shooting. At least I have experience, however, meager, to back it up. Argue with someone elses preferences.
  27. If you really want a good portrait lens, a 85mm or 135mm is perfect.
    I got the Sigma 85mm 1.4 at 1000, it's comparable to the 85mm 1.2L which is double the cost at 2000. There is also the 85mm 1.8 for around 300 or 135mmL for 1100
  28. "Dick does post photos. He doesn't post portraits. But he does post photos."
    So in a thread specifically titled "24-70 for portraits" is his input acceptable to you and John? Because a master at macro could suck at portraits.
    "one cannot even ascertain if someone is a photographer by their written posts here"
    Equally one cannot judge the usefulness, practicality or value of their input by seeing images they attribute to themselves here, or on their own blogs or sites. I know one regular poster who often refers to his own site for examples that are not his images.
    You are very lucky to have a well stocked public library, I don't, in fact the Territory I am a resident of has no public library service, similarly many thousands of USA residents are not within practical distances of well stocked library services either.
    Forum advice is of low value, it can be informative, it can tell people things they don't know about, but the answers people give re buying advice is very limited. Jeff, as an example, we have both answered threads about shooting at music venues, our results are both very good (I have posted my examples in those threads) but we take a completely different approach, both are valid and get valuable images (well we both sell them) but our advice is poles apart. So which is more valuable? If I wanted to know the nuances of MMA fighting focus use I would hope you would chime in to the thread, if I was starting out a wedding business I'd hope Nadine and William W were there to help; street shooting? I'd want to know what Brad does, but not because of the images they have posted, because of their posting history. Though even then, what works for them could very well not work for me.
    Another thing, even experienced, educated photographers with good posted images quite often get things wrong. I recently commented on the inverse square law with a poster with an education in photography. They knew the classic use verbatim, they obviously didn't understand it though because they couldn't transfer that to another situation. Many years ago I got into quite a heated debate with a well respected Canon expert over a Canon lens, he was totally adamant that the lens did not exist, but it does.
    No, I maintain my position, judging the validity and value of posters comments on the images they have, or have not, posted, is not the best way of ascertaining that value.
  29. P. I have an 85 1.8 that I use with my studio lights. A lot depends upon the subject although I have used my 70-200 for portraits. I really liked mostly to use my Bronica PE 150mm which is full frame 90mm. Some depends upon the subject. Somewhere around 135 is better for sharp features I think.

    Jeff. I really have tried to post on PN a broad representation of what I photograph on PN save betraying client trust. My level of photography is what it is and I think other posters should see something of what I do to make their own judgments about my credibility. I do think it shows some photographic versatility. I also have posted my spotty photographic history in my bio to aid in that. Like I said there are adequate public records of my work performance in aviation so that may count for something as well. But, as I said, it is what it is and have to live with whatever that is. So be it.
  30. Why do a lot of people think that their equipment and style of shooting is the only way
    of being a good photographer, and when someone else offers a different way of getting
    the job done we have to shoot them down in flames. If I were to say something as stupid
    and ignorant as "canon are rubbish and Nikon is the only equipment I would ever buy "
    then I deserve to be set straight. As regards this , "you have to be posting great photos
    to be worthy of giving advice" . I've taken advice from people who sell camera
    equipment all day long , but them selves only shoot with basic equipment , or I've asked
    advice on macro photography while they specialize in motor sports, while the person
    may not have an award winning photo in the category I need, so they can justify themselves, they have got feed back
    from other photographers they have delt with. Does that persons opinion not count? I
    haven't posted photos here, not because I don't think they're not good enough I just
    haven't thought about it, perhaps I will now. I've been doing photography for about 8
    years or so, its not my full time job, I've done art exhibitions, sold photos to shops , done
    weddings, advertising work one client was a well known credit card company, but most
    important I do it because I like it. What little I've done is nothing compared to a lot of
    you , but at the same time I never think I've learnt everything I can about a certain
    aspect of photography, that also applies to life. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to
    help, to the others who are looking for an ego boost, I feel sorry for you. We all need to
    be different in our approach to photography otherwise we'd all be walking around with a
    canon camera and a 24-70, taking the same boring photos.
  31. Willam I agree with your post. I have my own idea about belonging and contributing to PN as follows:

    - Over the past five years I have learned an enormous amount here. There are people here who I really respect. Therefore I pay my annual dues with gratitude for far more than I ever got out of photo magazines at considerably more expense for more than fifteen years before my membership.

    - I post my biography not only to give myself some credibility but because I would like establish some rapport with others here on PN. I really want to provide something for other people to judge and maybe to relate to as I relate to others.

    - Dale Carnegie taught me a long time ago that the only thing I am really expert at is my own experience and so I use examples from my personal experience in my posts because that is what I know most about. You will note in this thread I do not try to tell others what to do. I just tell them what I do and they can judge for themselves based upon their own expertise with their own experience.

    - I am human. I have been wrong and made many poor decisions in my life and some good ones too. I don't think I am here to provide definitive answers to anyone but I have a valid role in sharing my photographic and human experiences.

    - I took a course at the American Management Assn. on corporate hubris. They presented a course on hubris induced management failures about people who thought they knew too much who failed to listen to the advice of others. That is why I am here to listen to the advice and more appropriately in Jeff's words the experience of others.

    - As a pilot I learned to keep myself alive from the self admitted mistakes of others and I am not afraid to talk about my failures and have done so here on PN.

    So I do think I have some obligations here to pay back a little of what I have received. PN has its' flaws but it is a great place to trade experience and knowledge. So I agree with Jeff.
  32. Argue with someone elses preferences.​
    A bit touchy I think? Clearly I am not allowed to express my opinion either. I suggest you need to be less sensitive.
  33. Robin I don't think anyone is right or wrong. If you like the 24-70 that's fine with me. I respect your opinion. I expect others to respect mine and not try to discredit a simple statement about 40 mm being too short for me on a full frame body in certain wedding situations. It is. That's my experience for what it's worth. I just have no wish to engage in a back and forth discussion about who is right. I suppose I fell into that trap when you advanced your argument to your second post and I responded in detail. Mea Culpa. I don't know your wedding background but you know something of mine so let's quit this discussion now as it is not very productive. There is no right answer.
  34. Unless you have a huge studio a 24-70 2.8 on a full frame body for indoors portraits is all you need. Inside you have control over your lighting and background. .Outside you will need a a 70-200 2.8 or 85mm for background blur. Stay away from f4 lens outside unless you are using off camera lighting.

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