Portraits with 18-55mm kit lens
I know that using a prime lens is best for portraits, as it has wider aperture and therefore a narrow DOF, but will the kit lens on a d5100 be able to produce nice portraits? I am new to dslr`s and by nice I mean a clear focused face and a somehow blurry background. I don`t plan to become the master of bokeh with the kit lens, all I need is a clear difference between perspectives.
#1. "RE: Portraits with 18-55mm kit lens" | In response to Reply # 0MEMcD Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Tue 29-Nov-11 02:45 PM | edited Tue 29-Nov-11 02:47 PM by MEMcD
Welcome to Nikonians!
The 18-55mm is a very sharp lens and is more than capable of capturing portraits.
I would shoot with the zoom ring set at 55mm and the aperture at f/5.6.
Focus on your subjects eye. To blur the background you will have to have your your subject well in front of the background. This may be difficult indoors in a small space.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#2. "RE: Portraits with 18-55mm kit lens" | In response to Reply # 0blw Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Tue 29-Nov-11 04:01 PM
It's a myth that one "needs" narrow DOF to make great portraits. This one was made at f/5.6:
On DX, this would be the equivalent of 90mm, f/5.6, 1/60th, ISO 200.
In this case I simply used a flash to blow out the background, so it wouldn't appear at all. And you can also use flash to make the background less important, even with a slow lens (or, in my case, because I prefer a bit more DOF on the subject). For example:
In this case I botched the exposure pretty badly, although the final result isn't terrible. I underexposed the background, then attempted to light the main subject properly with flash. The result, which is why I show this one here, is that the background isn't very important, and one doesn't look at it very much, because it's darker than the subject. The fact that I overexposed the subject pretty badly (and also didn't catch the shadows) is not really the point. I should have had a reflector to camera left to fill in some of the sun-driven shadows, but I didn't see it until after we'd gone off to do other things. But this one was shot at f/4, and probably I should have shot it at f/5.6. The background trees aren't very far away - maybe 10-12 feet.
I did this session with a 135/f2, 105/f1.8 and 50/f1.4 available, as well as the 24-70/f2.8 and 70-200/f2.8. But interestingly, I only shot four or five frames out of 260 wider than f/2.8, and only ten wider than f/3.5.
And how about this one?
D2x, 18-200VR @ 135mm, f/5.6, 1/60th, ISO 200, hand-held with VR enabled. It's no secret that the 18-200 isn't exactly a world-beater at 135mm, especially not wide open - which this is. It's shot at ISO 200 so that my flash units didn't need to be adjusted, not because there wasn't enough light. This was just an extra shot. Could I have done this with the 18-55? Yes, but I'd have to go find that lens and I didn't have time, or I would have. I can safely say that the 18-55 @ 55 would have outperformed the 18-200 @ 135 by a fairly significant margin. On the other hand, if I hadn't have mentioned the identity of this lens, I doubt most people would have guessed 18-200, either...
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Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#3. "RE: Portraits with 18-55mm kit lens" | In response to Reply # 2pjonesCET Nikonian since 11th Jul 2011Wed 30-Nov-11 12:52 AM
I actually like the picture where the background is out of focus. Put focus on the the subject that is important not the Background.
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#4. "RE: Portraits with 18-55mm kit lens" | In response to Reply # 0
>I know that using a prime lens is best for portraits, as it has wider aperture and therefore a narrow DOF, but will the
>kit lens on a d5100 be able to produce nice portraits?
Your first assumption on fast prime lenses is flawed. Whilst narrow depth of field is useful for special effects the vast majority of portraits are taken around f5.6 to f8 - which your lens has.
In the images already posted there are no conflicting backgrounds. If you work in a similar way i.e. not standing your subject in front of a white sky with bare tree branches behind them you can take similar high quality images with your lens.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.