Need a Lens Recommendation

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Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852
Need a Lens Recommendation

the Tamron isn't working well for me - having trouble getting crisp images from it. Sad

I'm going to my Red Leaf Workshop next week and I'm feeling a little intimidated. I have a 24mm Nikkor, but it's a little too wide angled for portraits. I can't afford the 17-55 or 24-70.

I have a manual focus 50mm, and the 85mm -

I'm leaning towards the 35mm 2.0? Confused on the D vs G, because the new G is cheaper than the D. Should I forgo that and just pick up the 50 1.4 instead? Is it redundant to have a 50 and an 85?

Sorry- I'm really stressing about having the right equipment for next week!

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

Portraiture should really be done at about 100mm...so I'm a bit confused. Are you looking for a portrait lens or a wide angle?

I think a good lens suite would include:

200mm range
85 (for crop sensor) or 100mm range for portraits
20-70 wide angle range - for travel and everyday
a macro

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I don't know about the lens. If it were me I would go with the 50 1.4 just because it is such a versatile focal length. But you know much better than I do.

I just wanted to say that I looked up the workshop and it looks fantastic! Have a great time and come and tell us all about it!

mlark1128's picture
Joined: 05/09/07
Posts: 742

I have the new 50mm 1.4 (the AF-S G) and I LOVE IT! Seriously there is no comparison to my old 50 1.8. It has 9 blades so the bokeh is smooth and creamy, and it's ridiculously sharp.

I also have the 17-55 2.8, which I also adore. My only two lenses, but those are the absolute best I could afford. I bought my 17-55 used and saved about $400--might be an option?

For portraits I'd also recommend Nikon's 85mm. People LOVE the 1.8, and worship the 1.4 (and they better for that price tag, LOL!). One of those two will be my next lens. Smile

HTH!

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I want a wide angle that won't distort people's features if I have to shoot in a tight space. My 24mm is doing that and I'm ending up with fun big foreheads/legs etc.

I wish I could afford the Nikkor 17-55 or 24-70, but I spent pretty much my lifesavings for this workshop, and I still have to pick up 30 more GB of memory, so I need something that will work in a pinch

I love my 85mm, it just won't work in those tight situations!

I won't have time to find a used one because there is nothing where I live, and we won't make it to Victoria until right before the meet and greet on Monday -

mlark1128's picture
Joined: 05/09/07
Posts: 742

Duh you already have the 85, sorry!!!

Katie has the 35 f/2.0 and I think she was quite happy with it. I'm not sure what benefits there are to that over the 1.8 though...

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I have nothing constructive to add. Just wanted to say that I love your new siggy pic!

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I guess I do have a question. I am confused about the statement, "Portraiture should be done at about 100mm." Can someone clarify this? Or direct me to a reference and I'll read for myself?

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

In that case, I suggest the 50mm for full frame as fast as you can get....or the 35mm for a crop sensor.

I've read the portait lens thing several places, but most notably in Scott Kelby's Digital Photography book....Volume 1 I think.

Found a video that explains this concept REALLY well. Highly recommend watching this.
http://www.bukisa.com/videos/9348_how-to-use-wide-angle-and-telephoto-lenses-for-portrait-photography

This article is pretty good too and the examples aren't quite as exaggerated as the one in the video. I especially like the example photos under the "perspective" heading.
http://www.dolcepics.com/articles/lenses-wide-vs-telephoto/

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

So I read and watched both of those. I get the distortion argument and angle of view. I knew that stuff already but I still don't get why 100mm. I mean there would be less distortion at 50mm and the background field of view is a photographers decision and really an artistic decision and could be useful either way. So I am not seeing the reason that 100 mm should be used nearly always in portraiture.

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

It's not that you can't use the others for portraits...but when the point of the image is to create a flattering portrait, then usually the background is something you don't want a lot of and the 100mm is recommended by many photographers as the most comfortable and flattering distance for a portrait lens. Lifestyle photography and environmental portraits are a totally different story...if you really want to make the sky look vast...or something like that...you'll need to use a wide angle lens.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Okay that makes sense. I thought that I was seriously missing the boat.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Super interesting side fact, I just was browsing the blog for Cliff Mautner, it's awesome! He states that he uses his 85mm 1.4 almost exclusively on his D3. I can't wait until I can upgrade to that lens one day - check out his images!

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

So is it the 28-75 that just isn't cutting it? I'm not sure if this will help or not, but I used pixel-peeper.com a lot when choosing my last lens purchase. I know it's an agonizing thing to choose out of the many options, but hey, it's fun, too! Smile

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

thanks Brandi! Yea, the 28-75 is really soft indoors. It seems to be OK outdoors, but it's not as sharp in lower light and I've been getting really frustrated with it!

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

"jendodd" wrote:

thanks Brandi! Yea, the 28-75 is really soft indoors. It seems to be OK outdoors, but it's not as sharp in lower light and I've been getting really frustrated with it!

Mine is totally soft indoors too, totally frustrating!

I don't have anything to add, just good luck with your decision and have fun at the workshop! So jealous.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I'd love to hear more about the 35mm b/c im looking into purchasing this lense...what are the pro's and con's?

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

check out Ken Rockwell's site, or DP Review - they have good insights!

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

I use my Sigma 30mm 1.4 for most of my photos. It's a great lens for indoors. I got it because my kids are my main objects to photograph, and I have a tight space when I use my front room. That probably doesn't help you at all though ... Wink

katetheskate's picture
Joined: 11/24/08
Posts: 49

i have the 35mm 2.0 and i like it. its perfect for indoors with a cropped sensor. no distortion whatsoever.

i also have the 50mm 1.4, which i love - but for me its a little too tight for indoors. especially for snaps and such.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I have an incredibly sharp copy of the Tamron for my old Pentax, but found that it was much slower to focus indoors. It isn't soft, but in the time that it took to focus, my subject would move a bit, then focus might miss. It was frustrating. I'm loving the Nikkor 24-70 and think you should save for that next Wink

Amber, I'm not entirely understanding what you mean by 100mm being the ideal focal length for a portrait lens? Every thing I've come across says that a 50mm on a crop sensor is ideal. I might be misunderstanding you though. Jenn, you do quite a bit of shooting indoors in the fall/winter, right? I'd lean towards that 35mm. Anything over 50mm and you could be hurting for space indoors! I've heard awesome things about both the Sigma 30mm 1.4 and the 35 2.0 Katie has. I hope you can pick one up quickly!