Good studio lens for portrait work

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by hersonrivera, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. I'm looking for a good lens for studio work. (Nikon DSLR)
    Mostly portrait work. (Close ups and full length)
    I was reading about the Nikon 35-70mm 2.8
    Any suggestions/opinions greatly appreciated.
    Thank you
  2. Budget..!?

    For studio I'll recommend a 50mm 1.8 or 1.4 AFD and a 105mm 2.8 micro.

    Or a 85mm 1.4 AFD
  3. Budget doesn't really matter as long as it stays around the $500-$1,200. I already own a 50mm 1.8 and a 105mm 2.8 micro VR. I only have one D80 body and would like to have just one lens to cover pretty much all of my studio work w/o having to switch lenses in the middle of a session. Thank you.
  4. go with a 80 200 2.8
  5. no zoom lens is going to give you the quality you can get with those two lenses you already have..

    I don't know what's more important for you, get the best result or don't have to change lenses..! :/

    if the second get a 18-200mm and you'll be alright..
  6. A small-format DSLR is ill-suited for portrait photography unless you have at least 12MP to work with. Otherwise, medium format film and digital is far superior for resolution and texture. For life-sized enlargements, nothing less than a 4x5 inch camera will do. Save 35mm film for family and travel snapshots, unless that's the best you can do.

    For head shots (I'm reluctant to call that portraiture), I use a Nikkor 28-70/2.8. A 35-70/2.8 AFD would work every bit as well at 1/3rd the price. An 80-200 is too long to give pleasing perspective. In any case, AF and AE are undesirable. Put the camera in manual mode and use an hand-held light meter, for accuracy and consistency. It is better to be consistent than "right" in the studio.
  7. For portrait work, the 28-70 f/2.8 is about as good as you are going to get in a zoom.

    The comments are correct in that most prime lenses will be better, and a lot of people like to shoot more open than 2.8, but for the vast majority of what we do its the only lens we need.

    The 85 1.4 is a great second lens, as is the 50 1.4 or 1.8 and the 35 2.0. If you are shooting weddings or large groups, the 17-55 f/2.8 goes a little wider and won't give up anything in terms of image quality either, but I prefer the 70mm end for studio work personally.
  8. I just wanted to hear or read in this case from different people and opinions. I understand the use of a medium format for this kind of work is far superior but right now I'm just dealing with what I have. I'll eventually upgrade to a D2Xs or whatever we get from Nikon in the future. I already own a 18-200mm VR as well so I guess I'm covered from what I've read so far. I'll stick to my prime lenses.
    Thank you for all the information.
  9. The three lenses I use the most for portraits are the 12-24mm f/4, 28-70mm f/2.8 and 80-200mm f/2.8. For most of my studio work, and standard shots I use the 28-70mm f/2.8. I can do group or tight portraits. With the 28-70mm f/2.8 I have a 1.5x conversion with the D2X so it equals 42-105mm. The 12-24mm DX f/4 has no conversion. I really like the extreme wide effects I can get with that lens. I really like 80-200mm f/2.8 for tight portraits. The Tokina 28-70mm is the most practical and most affordable of the group. I paid about $350. It is tack sharp and very reliable.
  10. Ralph,

    I have a Tokina 28-80mm 2.8 ATX pro but at 28mm wide open is tack soft, is yours 28-70mm the same wide open at 28mm ?

  11. Mine is tack sharp, this is my second tokina 28-70mm.. No issues so far. If it was soft I would not use it. I do a lot of work with it at f/2.8. I have learned like all wide angle zooms they are really sensitive to being dropped or banged around.
  12. @Ralph Barrett: The 12-24 is a 18-36mm equivalent on 35mm. The conversion comes from the smaller than 35mm format of the camera's sensor, not whether or not the lens is digital specific. Focal Length is focal length, but focal length and the size of the negative/sensor both determine field of view. The 1.5x factor is just an easy way of comparing field of view between 35mm film and DX-format digital.
  13. Caption correction meant to say 28mm
  14. get the 85mm 1.4. it is nikon's best portrait lens. forget about the small sensor thing. and if you ever shoot film, you'll have it for that too.

    i wouldn't recommend the zooms, unless you plan on doing things that zooms are good for. the 85, combined with your 50mm 1.8 are a formidable tandem for "portraits".

    even the 105 makes a decent portrait lens. not as good as my beloved AIS 2.5, but it will do in a pinch ;=)

    try the sigma 30mm 1.4 for 3/4 to full length shots on DSLR. very nice indeed.
  15. Go for the 85 1.4 - the 1.8 version is decent too. If you mostly do studio work (you have control over your subject), you don't need any zooms. The 85 1.4 is a fast, great lens and better in all respects than a 85 2.8 on a 70-200/80-200. There is also the Zeiss ZF 85 1.4.
  16. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    The choice of lens depends to a great extent on the size of the studio. Without knowing the maximum distance between you and the subjects, and many studios are small enough to control that distance, nobody can tell you what you need, in particular for a full body shot. I've worked in large studios where 150mm would work and small ones where 35mm was the longest possible for a full body shot. Here's an example, this was shot with a 35 and I couldn't even go full body.
    Angyl, Copyright 2006 Jeff Spirer
  17. Ralph, nice shots. Jeff, nice shot but a little soft in the eyes.

    I'm the anamoly but I like the 85/1.4 Zeiss and 50/1.4 Zeiss for portraits.

    Dimension of studio critical.
  18. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    The point of the photo wasn't focus, it was that you can't tell someone what lens will work until you know the size of the studio.

    And what outdoor-nude-on-the-rocks photos have to do with working in the studio escapes me.

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