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Photography Question 
William M. Clark
 

CANON PORTRAIT LENSES


I have a Canon EOS Rebel T2 35mm Canera
that I've just purchased, what would be a good Prime or zoom lens to shoot portrait photos?


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1/20/2005 8:24:57 AM

 
Michael H. Cothran   Any lens in the 85-100mm range provides ideal perspective for portraits, especially the head & shoulder variety. Which lens you choose depends on how much money you're willing to let go of.
Any Canon lens should provide you with ample quality.
Michael H. Cothran


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1/20/2005 11:25:02 AM

 
Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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  William,

When taking classical portraiture, my teacher, a portrait and commercial photographer in my community, suggested using lenses from 85-200mm, depending upon the type of portraiture you will be doing.

Large family groups may need a slight wide angle. The wide angle should not be too wide, as it depends to distort and makes the people on the outside appear broader than they might otherwise be.

For 2 or 3 people or with pets, I generally used a 100 or 105 mm. I was able to back up a bit and get out of their face, and I often chose to use this for a 3/4 view.

But my teacher, Danny, also recommended a 200 mm lens for family groups or single subjects outside. The reasoning is that he could back up and give the subject space. The telephoto has a very short depth of field, hence the background goes out of focus easily.
It also compresses the picture, when can be used to an advantage.

What Danny recommended to me was using perhaps 2 zooms, one of which contained some long wide angle capability, and the other which allowed up to 200 mm at the extended end.

I rarely took head and shoulder, preferring instead to take environmental portraits, which showed something about the person (or animal) in its natural environment.

This is a different perspective, but I hope this helps.
~Bunny


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1/21/2005 7:02:13 AM

 
doug Nelson   Canon has a 100mm f2.8 macro that will double as a portrait lens. The 100 f2 is highly regarded. The 85 f1.8 is an excellent portrait lens. Macro lenses of 90, 100 or 105mm from manufacturers other than Canon will work just fine for portraits.


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1/21/2005 10:00:11 AM

 
William M. Clark   I just like to express my gratitude to all of you for the help you have provided me in making my lens purchasing decision.

Doug of the lenses mentioned in your response which one lens would be the best for shooting portraits?


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1/22/2005 9:08:54 AM

 
Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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  I realize you addressed your question to Doug. But, let me add that it depends how much of the subject you are trying to cover to portray them, and how far you want to be from your subject. It also depends upon their features.

Example. If you have a person with a long nose that may want their nose to appear shorter, a longer (than 100 mm lens) might be appropriate. On the other hand, if you are only shooting inside, the Canon Telephoto EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro can be used as a portrait lens as well as a close up lens with just a flip of the switch. You can add a soft focus filter to make the lens more pleasing to the female face.

You can also use a zoom which incorporates the lens sizes mentioned.

I studied portraiture in college decades ago, apprenticed for professional photographers in Denver, and freelanced during my younger years. What I've learned is that there is no perfect lens. The perfect lens for one usage may not be perfect for another. The same holds true with portraiture. Generally, 80-135 mm lenses are good for portraiture, but there are uses for lenses as long as 200 mm.

If you are only shooting in a studio, as assuming you don't have the ability to back up that far, you can get something in the 80-135 range, and after you find that you continually need a longer lens, buy one. I bought a Canon Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Image Stabilizer USM Autofocus Lens for my first lens when purchasing a Canon EOS system camera. When I shoot portraits, I generally use the 80-135mm end of the lens.

But, last year, I photographed a small child being held by her mother while she was getting her face painted for an Easter egg celebration. The portrait was an extreme close-up and I used the 105 mm macro (available for Nikon cameras) for the shot. The mother loved the picture! With the macro, I could get closer to fill the frame than a prime lens would allow, or I could use it as a pure closeup lens. My choice.

On the other hand, I photographed a boy and his horse on their farm. Moving in too close would have made the horse anxious. Hence, I used a 180 mm lens with a Mamiyaflex C-2 (2 1/4 sq. format) for that portrait. I don't know the equivalent to a 35 mm, but it would be at least a 200mm lens, and probably longer.

Hope I'm not too wordy and this explains my reasoning. There is no perfect lens. Just stay away from wide, wide angles because they really distort!

Bunny


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1/22/2005 10:36:50 AM

 
William M. Clark   Gee, Susan that was a very quick response which I am very happy about; thanks. You have provided me with all the information and more whichI am grateful for it. With the information you and the others have given me I have decided to go with Canon EF 28-135 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM as my first lens and go from there. Thanks for the immediate and very helpful response.


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1/22/2005 12:48:13 PM

 
Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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  William,
You are very welcome. I'm glad I could help, as others have helped me.

Don't forget a good tripod, such as a Bogen.

All photographers that I have worked with over the years, have worked on a good, sturdy tripod. I have a Manfrotto-Bogen 3021 pod with a 3047 head. My former teacher had the same.

Have fun!


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1/22/2005 2:19:38 PM

 
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