Best portrait/head shot lens for the D600
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blutch
Registered: Jul 29, 2012
Total Posts: 756
Country: United States

I would like to know what would be a great lens for doing both outdoor and indoor portraits and head shots. Both natural and artificial light.

Thank you for your suggestions.

B



Chestnut
Registered: Feb 02, 2005
Total Posts: 672
Country: United States

For head shots I use any of the following:
Sigma 85mm/1.4
Nikon 105mm VR
Nikon 70-200 VR-I (cuz I couldn't afford the VR-II upgrade)
Nikon 200/2 VR-I

The 85 is wonderful for portraits, and I like Sigma version over Nikon G version (esp when considering the price-performance ratio).

Depending on the working distance, and venue/setting, I will also use the 105 VR macro, or the 200/2 VR. Both fantastic lenses.

But a lot of times, the 70-200 may already be on my camera, and it's a true workhorse. Its bokeh may not be on par with the f/1.4 or f/2 lenses, but I've never gotten a complaint.



SoundHound
Registered: Jan 14, 2006
Total Posts: 5318
Country: United States

My favorite FF Nikkor portrait lens is the 200mm F 2.0 @ F2.0. This is a magical lens. Just rent one to be convinced.



Thorsten
Registered: Aug 06, 2010
Total Posts: 714
Country: United States

The 200/2 is a great lens and one of my favorites, but it's funny it gets recommended here as a "lens for doing both outdoor and indoor portraits". I think it's too long for indoors. If you're looking for one lens that works for both cases, go with an 85mm lens. Depending on your budget, you can consider the 85/1.8G as a very good bargain option, or go for the very best which is the 85/1.4G.



Uzay
Registered: Sep 24, 2010
Total Posts: 1314
Country: Turkey

200/2 is a great lens, actually the best but what about the price and weight, the best choice looks like 85, i suggest Siggy 85 1.4 if you're asking primes. I went from primes to zooms and sold it.



blutch
Registered: Jul 29, 2012
Total Posts: 756
Country: United States

I should have said - other than the 200/f2 because there is no way I will ever be able to afford that one.



blutch
Registered: Jul 29, 2012
Total Posts: 756
Country: United States

A 70-200mm VRII is on my list for other reasons - Concert photography - but if it will do portraits and head shots well that's a bonus. I would like a prime.. it is looking more like an 85 of some sort would be the way to go. I'd like to find one of those Samyang 85's, but they are hard to come by used. B



Uzay
Registered: Sep 24, 2010
Total Posts: 1314
Country: Turkey

Samyang is manual focus, sometimes people may not want to wait too much when doing portraits, but still why not, i'm using 70-200vr2 and 24-70 for portraits, so i have tons of focal range choice



lou f
Registered: Nov 18, 2005
Total Posts: 5205
Country: Ireland

85 1.4d, new one can be a bit contrasty for portraits...



BenV
Registered: Jan 01, 2008
Total Posts: 7797
Country: United States

85 gets my vote



Smiert Spionam
Registered: Jan 15, 2008
Total Posts: 2642
Country: United States

The 85/1.4 Sigma is my first choice as a portrait lens, too -- though it's not really the best for a tight headshot. For something that tight, I'd prefer a 105 at minimum, and something like a 135/150/180 would be better still.

I'm not crazy about head shot portraits, anyway. Once you get past marveling at how good they look technically, you may find that a looser frame offers more contextual information that makes the portrait more meaningful. Part of what I like about 85mm lenses is that the looser framing tells a fuller story.



blutch
Registered: Jul 29, 2012
Total Posts: 756
Country: United States

I don't disagree SS, but a professional headshot for an actor/singer is not necessarily intended to tell a story. It is all about capturing a the face and a look to impress casting agents and directors. I've noticed that some of the most popular photogs doing this now are going to extreme close ups. B



Hardcore
Registered: Jan 19, 2009
Total Posts: 744
Country: Canada

70-200mm VRII. It is by far the best portrait lens I have. Have used 85mm's and would rather have the flexibility of the 70-200mm. Plus 200mm @ f2.8 gives a very similar look to 85mm @ f1.4. Plus it is much sharper at 2.8!



Kerry Pierce
Registered: Feb 01, 2004
Total Posts: 3542
Country: United States

My favorite primes would have to be the 135 f/2 DC or the 105 f/2 DC. My favorite zoom would be the 70-200vr I.

Kerry



markd61
Registered: May 26, 2009
Total Posts: 439
Country: United States

Hardcore wrote:
70-200mm VRII. It is by far the best portrait lens I have. Have used 85mm's and would rather have the flexibility of the 70-200mm. Plus 200mm @ f2.8 gives a very similar look to 85mm @ f1.4. Plus it is much sharper at 2.8!


I completely agree. I often use a 100 macro as I like the additional distance from the subject but the flexibility of the zoom AND its sharpness bring me back to it every time.



Smiert Spionam
Registered: Jan 15, 2008
Total Posts: 2642
Country: United States

blutch wrote:
I don't disagree SS, but a professional headshot for an actor/singer is not necessarily intended to tell a story. It is all about capturing a the face and a look to impress casting agents and directors. I've noticed that some of the most popular photogs doing this now are going to extreme close ups. B


Yup, that's a clear situation whre a tight headshot is appropriate. For that use, I'd definitely go for something longer than 85mm.



agentbird
Registered: Aug 17, 2008
Total Posts: 534
Country: Norway

I love my 85 1.4G on FX, much more than my 105 VR. Not because of the focal length but because I think the 85 is sharper and with smoother bokeh.



screwdriver
Registered: Jan 30, 2008
Total Posts: 520
Country: United States

its nice to be able to use around 105-135mm for FX for head and head/shoulder shots
so either the 105 f2 dc , 135 f2 dc , the 70-200 VR is also ok.



Jammy Straub
Registered: Jan 28, 2007
Total Posts: 6869
Country: United States

For strictly head shots I like the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 , for some reason I like it's OOF rendering for portraits better than the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G, though for a general purpose lens the Nikon get the nod



zesto
Registered: Jun 26, 2010
Total Posts: 329
Country: New Zealand

Jammy Straub wrote:
For strictly head shots I like the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 , for some reason I like it's OOF rendering for portraits better than the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G, ......


+1

I think the 200 f/2 is the best for head portraits but that's out of the question for the OP and perhaps the Zeiss 100 f/2 MP is too. So definitely the Sigma f/1.4 as it has a special dreamy look to it and represents excellent value for the money.






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