Ideal portrait lense d5500?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dylan_park, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. I have just bought my first camera which is a d5500, and are looking for a high quality portrait lense. I have seen the 85mm 1/.8 and know it is very good, however all i see is shots with bokeh. The shots i need is to have all the background in focus as well, not just me or the person.
    Any recommendations would be great
  2. Couple issues with this request. First, a portrait can be a headshot, 1/2, 3/4 or full length portrait. These generally are done with different focal lengths. Second, you mentioned that "all i see is shots with bokeh". Bokeh is a QUALITY of the out of focus areas, not a noun. I'm assuming that you only are seeing shots with shallow depth of field and that you want greater, or more depth of field. If you want more depth of field, you need to use the smaller apertures of lenses. In addition, a shorter focal length lens also has more depth of field at the same aperture of longer lenses
  3. SCL


    Since it has a crop sensor you might consider a 50mm lens, which would give the equivalent field of view of a 75mm lens on a full frame body - a nice lens for both portraits as well as general usage or some street photography . BTW the way, whatever lens you use, the way you get the background in focus is to stop down the lens. Shorter focal length lenses typically are more inclusive of the backgound in focus (forget the long explanation and let's just say "physics") at a given subject to camera distance and aperture.
  4. My portrait shots will be both headshot and full length. I don't have the lense yet, though can i not get more depth of field with this. Is it bokeh or nothing?
  5. headshot, 1/2, 3/4 or full length portrait​
    For DX camera (like D5500):
    full length: (20), 24, 28, 35
    3/4: 28, 35
    1/2: 35, 50
    head: 50, 60, 70; 85 might already be too long.
    If shallow DOF is not a requirement, then a zoom lens covering the above range might suffice. Even the "lowly" 18-55. At the other end of the zoom lens spectrum: 16-80/2.8-4 or even the 24-70/2.8.
  6. I was thinking similarly to Steven above. If the doesn't grab you, go to 35mm or 60/70mm. Anyway, it's a visual thing and highly subjective.
  7. I am quite new to photography and the lingo, when you say Shorter focal length lenses or the numbers above, could you give me an example of a model that would work on producing the high quality shots. i am assuming the 1.8 isn't a shorter focal length?
  8. Oh ok something like a 35mm 1.8 can give me the equivelant of the quality of an 85mm 1.8 but with background in focus?
  9. SCL


    Dylan - not to be a spoiler, but you could make better choices and save some money and frustration, and become a much better photographer, by getting acquainted with the lingo and how things work together. Even a light amount of reading, including your user manual, would put you light years ahead in terms of getting you started. BTW the term "bokeh" refers to the subjective quality of out of focus items in a picture; that's a start for you.
  10. Hello Dylan. Before you begin choosing lenses for specific purposes, I think you will benefit from a better understanding of how exposure is affected by the camera settings that you choose. You might want to see if your local area has any photo courses. Often community recreation centres have courses in the evening, say 2 hours once a week for about 10 weeks or you might find something similar at a nearby community college. Such courses are very inexpensive.
    To get started right away, I suggest that you look at a series of 6 youtube videos prepared by Mark Wallace of the Adorama Photo store. It is entitled "Understanding Exposure: The Exposure Triangle". The triangle is made up of the 3 major settings available to you: shutter speed, f-stop (aperture) and ISO (light sensitivity). These 3 elements interact with each other, so understanding how they work together will help you make the photos you want to make. (There is a fourth element: focus, which interacts with f-stop and determines how much of the scene being photographed is in sharp focus and which area may be out of focus.)
    Here's the link to Part 1 of the series:
  11. Ok thankyou that's a good idea :0
  12. assuming you have an 18-55 kit lens that came with the camera, just shoot at 55mm in aperture-priority mode to stop down the aperture to the desired depth of field. you dont need another lens right away, you need to learn your camera first.
  13. After following Benoit's advice maybe hit DOF calculator and run a few numbers through it. I just cheated grabbed an elderly manual 85mm lens and read the DOF scale engravings there, according to which a 85mm at f22 can gain DOF from 4m to infinity. (Figures might be worse since I grabbed an old Russian film lens that was most lkikely not engraved according to the needs of modern high resolution sensors).
    A 50mm might do 2m to infinity at f22.
    Issue: Primes don't have VR. For sharp noise free images you might benefit from tripod usage or powerful studio strobes when shooting at f22. If you have to stick to those apertures and want to work handheld; get a VR lens. There should be a few ones like the zooms Dieter mentioned.
    If you don't really need the high resolution of your new Nikon maybe ponder downsizing to a smaller sensor; Microfourthirds or the Nikon 1 system come to mind. You could also shoot too wide and crop in postprocessing.
    In general a shot "Aunt Sally in front of the Eiffel tower" is easiest done with a wide angle lens depicting the aunt head to toe, maybe not even entirely filling your viewfinder.
    What you see online might be a bit missleading. I guess these days most people mount a 85mm f1.8 to shoot it rather wide open with less DOF than a zoom would provide. If they wanted DOF they'd stick to zooms and keep their VR busy.
    If it has to be a high quality lens have a look at the various macros offered in interesting focal lengths. - They tend to be pretty sharp, even with distant subjects. But better start dabbling with an 18-55mm and find out what you like.
  14. can i not get more depth of field with this. Is it bokeh or nothing?
    something like a 35mm 1.8 can give me the equivelant of the quality of an 85mm 1.8 but with background in focus?​
    i'm not sure the OP is aware that aperture is a selective value. yes, a 85/1.8 or 35/1.8 can stop down to f/8 to get everything in focus. but an 18-55 can also stop down to f/8. at 55mm, the 18-55 will give a pleasing view for a head and shoulders portrait. so, start there. the reason people shoot portraits with shallow DOF is to make the subject 'pop.' if you dont want to do that, you don't have to, but i wouldnt go all crazy with new lenses etc. until you first have a better idea of what you're doing, photographically.
  15. Bokeh is a QUALITY of the out of focus areas, not a noun.​
    Hmmm, but don't photographers often talk about the quality of the Bokeh, or this or that lens has nice Bokeh. Now the fact may be in the original meaning in Japanese it is a modifier, i.e. out focus areas are bokeh. But really, the common usage in English, no matter how incorrect is as noun. I suppose it may be like saying in japanese is the OOF areas are smooth, as opposed to rough. But here we tend to say the Bokeh is smooth or not smooth. None of this should overly matter to the OP. I tend to agree with Eric, if you don't need good smooth, you could probably get by well with your 18-55 using a smaller aperture such as f/8 to keep much of what you see in focus.
  16. DOF is, beside F-stop, a matter of magnification, not of focal lenght, so with same magnification a 35mm lense has same DOF as a 85mm lense.
  17. I think the OP might be better served with (and its sibling pages and ) - understanding the basics first before spending money on lenses will save a lot of headaches and money wasted on the wrong thing.
  18. You probably don't need a new lens. To get both background and the subject in focus you will not be shooting at f1.8, but more like f5.6 or f8. Experiment with what you have using A-priority mode on your camera. As for "bokeh", it does not simply mean blurring the background. It has to do more with HOW the background is blurred. All in all, I think "bokeh" is one of those words that people throw around when they want to sound smarter than you. I don't pay much attention to "bokeh," at least not consciously. It's entirely subjective anyway.
    Kent in SD
  19. The more appropriate term is probably 'subject isolation.' Bokeh does refer to the quality of out-of-focus areas, not just OOF areas. Subject isolation is when you shoot at an open aperture to separate the subject from the background with a shallow depth of field. It's pretty common for portraits, but for some reason, that's not what the OP wants to do. Therefore, he doesn't need a fast lens, he just needs to stop down the kit lens to f/8 or so.
    I wouldn't necessarily say bokeh is an entirely subjective term. What constitutes good bokeh is somewhat open to interpretation, but generally, it means OOF areas which are blurred in a smooth way which is pleasing to the eye, not harsh or jagged. Sometimes a lens with have smoother background bokeh than foreground bokeh, or vice versa.
  20. 50mm. 1.4 G.
  21. For a DX camera, 50mm. Any of them.
  22. If you're willing to spend $1000, then I would recommend the Nikon 16-80mm.
    For a lot less, you could get the Sigma 17-50mm/2.8, marked down at B&H from $669 to $379 (until 7/24 - this Sunday). This is an EXCELLENT deal.
    B&H Deal
    Good luck!

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