Best portrait/head shot lens for the D600
/forum/topic/1155347/1

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afm901
Registered: Jan 26, 2010
Total Posts: 418
Country: United States

Does this topic have to pop up for every FX Nikon that comes out. Surely this has been hashed over numerous times in the past. Did you do a search

Scott



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

That's just the nature of Internet forums Scott. Live and let live.





blutch
Registered: Jul 29, 2012
Total Posts: 913
Country: United States

Sorry Scott... I realized there was a long thread on this very subject at the Nikon Cafe after I posted it. My bad.



Red G8R
Registered: Jul 16, 2012
Total Posts: 149
Country: Canada

I'm surprised no one mentioned the Nikon 85mm f1.8. I don't have one (although on order) but Ming Thein rated it very high.



zippy_monster
Registered: Jan 19, 2011
Total Posts: 158
Country: United States

zesto wrote:
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.



What about the 180/2.8?



brianjb
Registered: Mar 25, 2006
Total Posts: 28
Country: United States

My vote goes to either the Nikon 85/1.4D or the Nikon 105/2.8 VR. The 85/1.4D is as sharp as any of the other candidates in the center. It is softer than the Nikon 1.4 and 1.8 G models at the border, but this usually isn't an issue for portraits. At least it never has been for me. It focuses faster than both of the G lenses, and it's bokeh is only surpassed by the Nikon 105/2.8 VR. For the price, I think it is a great value.

The 105/2.8 VR is sharp across the frame wide open, and as I mentioned it has the best bokeh of anything being considered here. A used copy can be found for about the same price as the 85/1.4D. You gain silent focus, but it doesn't focus as fast. You also obviously lose the larger aperture of the 1.4.

IMO, those are the two best portrait lenses under $1000. The Sigma 85/1.4 isn't too far behind.



Webs805
Registered: Oct 05, 2013
Total Posts: 1
Country: N/A

I'm surprised so many have recommended zoom lenses. With portrait work your subject is stationary so you don't need a zoom. When you have the opportunity to go with a prime lens take it! The $500 Nikon 85mm f1.8 will outperform all of the zoom lenses mentioned here, and the f1.4 is even better. Save the zooms for when either you or your subject are on the move and you need variable focal lengths. All other times, shoot primes!



dj dunzie
Registered: Aug 14, 2006
Total Posts: 7020
Country: Canada

For what you're describing I'm reaching for the Zeiss 100/f2.0 Makro-Planar every time, but it isn't cheap, and it's manual focus. But amazing as a portrait lens in every single way. One of the most incredible optics ever. Apparently the new 135/f2 is even more impressive, but it's also hard to find even new, and likely more costly.

On a budget, give the 105/f2.5 AIS Nikkor a go. Isn't up to the Zeiss build standard, but optically it's a gem and a relative bargain cost-wise.

For autofocus lenses, the 85 Nikkors - particularly the f1.4's - are good, and if you don't mind using a macro, the 150 Sigma EX and the 105VR Nikkor are both great optically, if not quite where the Zeiss is for bokkeh.



Mishu01
Registered: Nov 20, 2009
Total Posts: 2390
Country: Romania

My preffered portrait lenses are:

Zeiss 100mm f/2 Makro Plannar
Nikon 135mm f/2 DC AF-D
Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro
Nikon 105mm f/2.5 all versions - this is a legend among Nikon shooters and has a nice character when used for portraiture. I can not describe it but definitely this lens has a unique signature.

If I have to choose I really think that only Nikon 200/2 is on par with Zeiss 100/2 in regards of portraits. This lens is magic. So my first option would be Zeiss, considering 200/2 a bit long for indoor.

Later Edit: DJ, just a minute in advance and you took the cherry from my cake...



andychen
Registered: Sep 15, 2011
Total Posts: 139
Country: United States

+1 on Zeiss 10 MP and Nikon 135 F2D



Ian Boys
Registered: Feb 09, 2009
Total Posts: 2205
Country: United Kingdom

105mm f2.8 micro. Awesome and has VR.



dj dunzie
Registered: Aug 14, 2006
Total Posts: 7020
Country: Canada

Mishu01 wrote:
Later Edit: DJ, just a minute in advance and you took the cherry from my cake...




You know what they say about "great minds".......



molson
Registered: Oct 30, 2002
Total Posts: 10880
Country: Canada

My choices would rank as follows:

Zeiss 135mm f2 Apo-Sonnar
Zeiss 100mm f2 Makro-Panar
Nikon 85mm f1.8G (superb and cheap - a winning combination!)
Nikon 105mm f2.8G VR



irish-george
Registered: Dec 15, 2005
Total Posts: 543
Country: United States

Another vote for the 105mm f/2 DC AF-D. I have the 70-200 VRII, the 85 f/1.8 AF-D, and a few other zooms that cover portrait lengths and it is the 105 DC hands down. If I went with an 85, it'd be the f/1.4 AF-D, not the G ( I don't like the football shaped highlights in the bokeh).



Mark_L
Registered: Sep 28, 2010
Total Posts: 2553
Country: United Kingdom

Until Nikon make a good 135mm it is probably the 70-200 VRII, the sigma 180mm macro might be very nice though. For headshots anything under 135mm is too short imo.

Webs805 wrote:
I'm surprised so many have recommended zoom lenses. With portrait work your subject is stationary so you don't need a zoom. When you have the opportunity to go with a prime lens take it! The $500 Nikon 85mm f1.8 will outperform all of the zoom lenses mentioned here, and the f1.4 is even better. Save the zooms for when either you or your subject are on the move and you need variable focal lengths. All other times, shoot primes!


This is probably because Nikon's 105mm and 135mm f/2 lenses are very dated and the 200mm f/2 is crazy expensive.



Stdon
Registered: Jan 27, 2012
Total Posts: 121
Country: United States

I do quite a few actor/model headshots and portfolios. My #1 lens for HS's is the 70/200VR1 usually in the 180mm range. I use this for either strobes or CLS. Samyang 85 f1.4 for head/shoulders and 28/70 for full length. For a good clean tight headshot you just have to get too close with an 85 and distortion sets in. Or one can back up and crop but that's kind of dumb.
Nobody has shown me where a prime is better than my 70/200 for this. It has great contrast and compression and the actors/models I shoot get work. That's all I care about.



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