My first post! First off, thanks to all of you for sharing such helpful opinions and information already. I recently got a D600 and I love it. Much more fun to work with than my old D50, and the FX format brings me back to seeing things like I did in my film days.
With a new camera come new lenses, and I've been shooting lots of portraits with my new 105mm f/2 DC. I love the bokeh, sharpness and speed of this lens. However, it doesn't work that well for environmental portraits, nor do my other lenses (50mm 1.8 and 28-200mm 3.5-5.6G). The zoom is OK but not that fast, and has too much chromatic aberration, vignetting, and distortion for my tastes.
I've been looking at the 35mm focal length, and so far the 35mm f/1.4G and 24-70mm AFS have been catching my eye, but I have reservations with those two. What other lenses would work, or are either of those two good for environmental portraits?
Thanks for the responses! Ray, for the 24-70 I'm mostly worried about the price. DxoMark also doesn't rate it that sharp, so I'm interested to hear whether owners of the 24-70 think it's sharp enough for them around 35mm.
For the 35mm 1.4, the plastic filter ring, slower AF (than the 24-70, for instance), and funky filter size are all a bit off-putting for a prime lens at that price. If anyone has this lens - do you find the AF speed lacking?
The 16-35 looks like a great lens, but since I've rarely wanted to shoot wider than 28mm for environmental portraits, it seems like much of its focal range would be wasted on me. I'm also unsure whether f/4 can produce the bokeh I'm looking for at the 35mm focal length.
Thu 21-Feb-13 03:58 PM | edited Thu 21-Feb-13 04:08 PM by Ray B
>The 16-35 looks like a great lens, but since I've rarely >wanted to shoot wider than 28mm for environmental portraits, >it seems like much of its focal range would be wasted on me. >I'm also unsure whether f/4 can produce the bokeh I'm looking >for at the 35mm focal length.
Just taking this part into the equation please do consider a look at the 28mm 1.8G then, will give you the bokeh at a very attractive price - around 1/3rd the price of the 1.4 lenses.
It also on funds available to grow a well rounded FX collection to suit what you like to shoot.
For example, I do have the 16-35mm and it's my go to lens for many things, but I'd choose the 28mm over it for environmental portraits.
I would not recommend an f/4 lens for environmental portraits, and even f/2.8 (at 35mm or wider) may give you more depth of field than you want. It's still a portrait, so you'd want your main subject to be set apart from the surrounding environment.
My choice is the Nikon 35 f/1.4, but I like the 35mm focal length and a 67mm filter ring doesn't bother me (I'd already been using a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 for years, and what filters do you need for portraiture, anyway? A softar?). I think the 35 f/2 would also work at a heck of a savings. And others have already suggested plenty of alternatives as well.
Also, for the next week or so in the U.S., the 28mm f/1.8 is $100 cheaper, and the 35mm f/1.4 is $200 cheaper.
I wouldn't say I dislike anything about the lens; it's a fabulous piece of glass. It's just not well-suited to environmental portraits, since it has a much more narrow angle of view than, say, a 35mm lens.
Tom, thanks for the tip. I hadn't considered buying a non-Nikkor lens, but that Sigma 35mm 1.4 looks mighty tempting...
Personally I use 24/1.4G for environment portrait as I like to shoot closer to the subject. It is very personal preference, I do use 50/1.8 for this purpose. I did have 35/1.4G but sold it as I seldom use it. If you like 35mm, have a look at new sigma 35mm as suggested by Tom.
I really like the 24mm/1.4 G ED for environmental portraits. The 1.4 aperture gives you the ability to blur out more of the background. Or, if you want a slightly longer focal length, the 35mm/1.4G AFS is really nice.
Did I mention I like fast primes? <g>
(Back in the film days, the 35/1.4 was my "normal" lens. I bet you could buy the AIS version of this lens pretty cheaply. I've used my AIS version on my D4, and it's a really sweet lens.)
Thu 07-Mar-13 07:45 AM | edited Thu 07-Mar-13 07:46 AM by ajdooley
Anthony - I happen to like a lens you dislike -- the 24-70mm f2.8. I don't agree that you always want to isolate the portrait subject from their environment in what you are terming "environmental portrature." In fact, you may wish to include their enviornment. I think you may be seeking what we used to call a "working ID" in a picture story -- a face and what they do. The 24-70 is obviously limited to f2.8, but you D600 has ample low light capability to compensate. I love the flexibility of the 24-70, and in fact that lens "lives" on one of my D700 bodies. That's my 2 cents worth.
>In fact, you >may wish to include their enviornment. I think you may be >seeking what we used to call a "working ID" in a >picture story -- a face and what they do. The 24-70 is >obviously limited to f2.8, but you D600 has ample low light >capability to compensate. I love the flexibility of the >24-70, and in fact that lens "lives" on one of my >D700 bodies. That's my 2 cents worth.
Thanks Alan, I've never tried the 24-70 so I don't have much of an opinion on it. It seems to have quite a few fans, though. I mostly prefer fast primes, as their limitation of focal length seems to help my photography. I ended up getting the Sigma 35 1.4. Here's an "environmental portrait" I took with it, which is much like the "working ID" that you describe:
Absolutely -- this fits my definition of a working ID. A basic picture story includes three shots: an environmental shot that show where something is being done, a "working ID" that tells who is doing what and a close-up, usually of the hands or some other close shot that tells more precisely what is being done. Usually you change angles between each shot. The last shot's distance is determined by what is being done. In your case, it could be an over the shoulder shot showing the gentleman's hands on the brae drum, etc. In the case of a watch repairman it might be a very close shot of a jeweler's screwdriver on a screw in a watch. Your "working ID" or environmental portrait is one of the three shots of a basic picture story. Good example!