Best canon zoom lens for studio portrait

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by nfl_gonda, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. which canon zoom lens is best for studio portrait no matter their f stop and price we only want a lens that provide overall best image quality in terms of skin tone,resolution,color,sharpness,accurate auto focus
  2. I absolutely love the 135 f/2. It's a great focal length for portraits and the skin tone, resolution, color, contrast, sharpness, AF, as well as the option for really shallow depth of field is out of this world. It's also tack sharp wide open which is a plus.
  3. A couple of questions:
    • What camera are you using? (it makes a difference on the recommendation of lens based on the size of your sensor).
    • Why do you require a zoom lens vs. a prime?
  4. A few more questions:
    What kind of portrait? Head shot, upper body? Full body? Studio background? Environmental?
    How big is the studio? (i.e. how far from your shooting position to your subject?)
    I'd say the 70-200 f/2.8L on a full frame camera with some distance to your subject.
  5. For full body and Group shots (Family portraits) 24 - 70mm f2.8 L
    For head or pair shot 70 - 200mm f4 L or go to f2.8 If your work really needs that wide.
  6. No zoom...Use primes only.
  7. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    skin tone,resolution,color,sharpness,accurate auto focus​
    From what I've seen, all the L lenses are pretty similar in these areas, minus some distortion issues with the ultra-wides. I use the 24-70 most of the time in studio situations, but in tight ones, I use the 17-40.
    There's another thread on this same topic, I have an example with the 24-70. Here -
  8. Check out 'our' Bob Atkin's take on the best focal lengths for portraits from his article
  9. Raj, in your other thread, you were asking for recommendations for a good prime lens for portraiture with a 5Dii. You got a lot of good advice there.
    I happen to be a very strong proponent of quality zoom lenses. I use zooms for easily 90-95% of my work -- mostly the 17-40, 24-105, 70-200/4IS. That said, there is no reason to use a zoom in studio portraiture, aside from the convenience of avoiding lens changes. However, there are many very good reasons to use primes, including especially that they are slightly sharper and considerably faster. I have a 100mm f/2.0 lens I like very much for this work (on a 5Di). The 85mm f/1.2 and 50mm f/1.4 are other obvious choices. (I believe you said 100mm is too long for your studio space.)
  10. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    there is no reason to use a zoom in studio portraiture, aside from the convenience of avoiding lens changes.​
    This is only true if one has infinite space in the studio. A typical commercial shoot can involve everything from head shots to full body, and in a small studio, or the portable one I often use, it's pretty much slow and painful without a zoom. I shot an Olympic champion for a magazine cover three weeks ago (one shot on the other thread I referenced), I had to set up in tight space and I had to shoot five different setups in about forty minutes. My time was better spent moving the lighting stands around than changing lenses. I didn't even know going in how much space I had to set up and it did turn out to be extremely tight.
    Also, there isn't really any reason not to use one, as long as it's capable of good image quality.
  11. The OP asked for zoom recommendations, and he's getting responses about primes. It would be helpful if we knew whether we're talking about a crop of FF camera, the size of the studio, etc. Contrary to some of the advice rendered about zooms vs primes, with primes, perspective is rigidly tied to framing. With zooms, they are divorced. This can make a big and visible difference in the volumetric rendition of the subject, a significant consideration for any portraitist.
  12. Well, what you say is true -- for a commercial shoot. When shooting on-location, you have to be fast, nimble, and flexible. Zooms are essential parts of that equation. However, if you're shooting in your own well-known studio space, where you laready know what focal lengths you will need and how much space you'll have to use them, then you don't need that same flexibility. I'm guessing (and I could be wrong) that Raj's studio is (or will be) 4 walls, a backdrop, and assorted lighting equipment. A space like that is clean and predictable. There are places to lay down and organize equipment for lens changes, etc. There's no need to schlep lots of equipment, because it's already there. Why use a zoom?
    I do agree with your last statement also (that there's no reason not to use one, as long as it's capable of good image quality), with one exception. I can get shallower depth of field and larger background blur with my 100/2 than with a zoom, if that is my desire. I'm not saying I like to do this all the time, but it's sometimes nice to have that capability...
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  13. I love my 70-200 2.8 non-IS (on a FF camera). It produces better images than my 100/2.0 at that focal length. You may also be able to get a decent deal on a used copy now that the mark II IS version has been released.
  14. raj,
    Same as last time, the 24-70 f2.8. It is a blindingly good lens, will work perfectly in your sized studio setup and is used by many world class portrait shooters. If you have moved to a bigger studio then the new 70-200 f 2.8 IS MkII seems to "the one" at the moment, but you need a big work space to get full length at 70mm.
  15. Canon 85mm f1.2 without a doubt.
  16. Harry,
    Best zoom lens suggestion I have ever seen :)
  17. That's the one with the sneaker zoom, Scott. ;-)
  18. Thanks for reminding me Mark, I used to have one of them, selective DOF was amazing, but I sold it due to constantly walking into the back of the studio :)
  19. 24-70 f2.8 L or 70-200 f4 L, depending on your FOV needs.
  20. dear Sarah Fox thanks for remembering me from my older thread we read all sugession from that and decide to purchase 85mm 1.2 but we want to make sure that any other lens in zoom can produce image like 85mm 1.2 because my older thread and my other searches shows that for full length focal length should 85mm and head shot 135 mm but we can not purchase both so before purchasing 85mm 1.2 mm we can make sure that any other possible lens we can buy in zoom or not.
    we currentally have 350 d and 17-40L 4.0 and that combination not give me any single image with currect auto focus without some manual rotation of manual focus ring.
    So we want to purchase 5d ii and a lens
    we shooting head shot,half body and full length shots in my 14x19 feet studio with four elenchrom lights.
  21. raj,
    In your previous thread I demonstrated that you can't get full length images in your studio size with an 85mm lens. What has changed?
    Your setup, and your desire to work three different framing styles with one lens means you have to have a zoom (or a 50 and walk a lot with a tripod), in the space you have you need the 24-70 on a FF camera.
  22. dear Scott Ferris nothing changed in my studio but want to know that any lens in zoom that provide me the focal length of 85mm-135mm and can produce image quality little less than or equal to 85mm 1.2 so we can use 1355 for head shot and 85 for full length other wise we making mind on 85mm 1.2
  23. 24-70mm f2.8L There is a danger of overthinking things sometimes...
  24. raj,
    Believe me you have two choices, the 24-70, which I believe you need for full length shots in the studio size you have and the background separation you said you needed. Or the 70-200 f2.8 which covers the 85 and 135 focal lengths you are talking about. You can use either the current non IS which is blindingly good or the new Mk II version of the IS lens. There are many many pros using both these lenses in very high quality situations and turning out superlative work. The IQ from these lenses is very very high, at f2.8 and beyond at anything like normal print sizes nobody could reliably tell the difference between lenses used. Your lighting and posing will make a much bigger difference to the portraits. Quality is not compromised using either of these two very high quality zooms.
  25. In all honesty, if you are working in the studio, I dont' know why you would want a zoom lens anyway. In the studio you have total control. A prime lens would suit you much better. Higher sharpness and contrast. I would pick something around an 85 to 100mm focal length. The 85mm would let you do up to full length depending on how much space you have, yet is still long enough for headshots without noticeable perspective distortion. A 100mm is better for headshots, but not as useful for full length unless you have a fair amount of room.
  26. I would agree with Scott and Jeff. I would take the 24-70 first as I find you need more often to go wider. You can always move in closer. I think with studio if you have not got a lot or room appeture is not the issue, if you shoot a couple with F8 head and shoulder you will be tight on the DOF getting both head and four eyes sharp. Also if you lights are on bottom power you will will not be able to open up more. If your looking for soft lights you will want the lights in quiet close or you will not have room to move them very far away. The 70-200 is for sure a winner its focal lenghts. I personally have shot the 50mm 1.4 and 24-70 at 50mm and I can not tell the prints appart when I feel all was perfect. I would recommend buying the 5DII and 24-70 in a bundle as only then will really save bucks. But you have to go with your gut feeling. If I only had one lens it would be the 24-70 2.8 L. But I am glad to have more.
  27. Raj,
    You should rent couple of lenses to see what works best for you if you're not sure which lens to get. It's difficult for people to suggest a focal length of lens based on a studio that they haven't seen. In addition to that, your shooting style will be different that everyone else's. Go with your gut feeling and rent the ones you think you'll need. Test it out for couple of days. If you feel like you need/want it, at least you'll have the security that you bought the right lens.
  28. You really need to think about the dimensions of the room, camera in use and how tightly you want to frame the portrait. In terms of zoom lenses I would suggest the 24-70 f2.8 is you plan to shoot with APS-C bodys as well or you want wider shots or have a very constrained area and shoot full frame. Of the 70-200 zooms I would choose an F2.8 model over the F4. I have both the 70-200 F4 IS and 70-200 f2.8 non IS while I love the F4 lens and use it as my travel / outdoor lens the F2.8 lens is the one I use for portraits and sports. On a full frame body I personally find the 24-70 F2.8 a little bit to wide for most shots. Indeed of the three classic F2.8 zooms that Canon makes (16-35 II, 24-70 and 70-200) I find that I use the standard zoom the least. If you are loking for a lens that does more than portraits and don't need the 70-200 f2.8 (for sports) then the 24-70 f2.8 will be the most versatile.
    If you are prepared to consider a prime lens then the 85 F1.2 and 135 f2 are both great lenses although you may find the 135 a bit long for studio use. I have both these lenses in the old FD mount but have not yet bought them in EF (the 85 F1.2 will arrive in the next 6 months). Cheaper but good primes are the 85 f1.8 and the 100 F2 - I own the 85 F1.8 and find it slightly better than the 70-200 f2.8 non IS zoom for portrait use. Similarly I have been quite impressed with my fairly new 100 f2.8 IS Macro as a portrait lens but this is quite an expensive lens.

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