Lenses for Babies, Kids, Candids & Weddings

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Nicole, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    I'd love to know what your favourites pro lenses are for pro portrait/candid shots of babies, children, adults, seniors, weddings

    Fixed?
    Zoom?
    Speed?
    Focus Length?
    What do you use it for?

    Kind regards,
    Nicole
     
  2. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    I use a 70-300 zoom lens with various filters (softener, polarizer, orange et.al.) for portraits (both inside with flash-heads and outdoors and a Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 as well, but you need to get close to the face which can be intimidating. But I am saving up for a Canon EF 85 mm, f/1.8 (was suggested to me by Cheryl).

    For your Hasselblad, a Carl Zeiss 150 mm, is a GREAT choice for portraits.

    For all lenses for this purpose it's important that they are fast, as a wide aperture will help you to blur the background and keep the person pin sharp at the same time.

    See this thread for more info (I know it is 'bout Canon lenses, but the main idea could be of interest for you. Nikon must be having a similar lens):

    http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=7682
     
  3. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    When I am working in 35mm I use a 35mm-105mm and it seems to be the perfect set up for people, when working in 6cm x 6cm I use either a 135mm or a 150mm and that seem real good in this situation.

    Dave Parker
    Ground Glass Specialties
     
  4. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Thanks Morten! I'm currently tossing up between the one of these:
    Nikon 85mm 1.8
    Nikon 85mm 2.8
    Sigma EX 105mm 2.8

    Has anyone used any of these?
     
  5. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Hi Dave, what's the pros/cons over zoom vs fixed in this regard? Apart from the obvious 'legs vs zoom' ?
     
  6. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Morten, do you find the 70-300 not adequate?
     
  7. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I like working with a high quality zoom when working with 35mm due to the fact it allows me a little more flexability on where I stand in a working situtation and still allows me to capture those moments that would be ruined with a photographer in the subjects face, such as that quick kiss that always happens between the bride and groom at the reception, or the toddler sneaking up and pulling the cats tail or riding the dog, it has just worked out to be good for me in many different situations with out intruding into the moment. If you use a zoom make sure it is the highest quality you can afford, good quality zooms now a days can delivery great quality.

    Dave Parker
    Ground Glass Specialties
     
  8. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    It is rather slow (4-5.6) and heavy. But it is pin sharp and versatile. As I want to shoot outdoors with an ISO 50 film I could use the speed of f/1.8. The background is also more out of focus with a faster lens.

    See my first post again as I have edited it.
     
  9. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Thanks Dave, budget's still a bit tight though. So have to look at my best options on a small budget for now. :sad:
     
  10. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Nicole, what system are you shooting again?

    Dave
     
  11. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    A used Carl Zeiss 150 mm for your Hassy is my recommendation.
     
  12. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Dave, I have the
    Nikon F90X with Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens
    Nikon D70 with Nikon 18-70mm 3.5-4.5 lens (can't be used on 35mm camera)
    Hasselblad 501c/m with 80mm 2.8 planar lens
     
  13. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Morten, that would be wonderful. Autofocus though? I need AF with the littlies!
     
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  15. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I would agree on the Carl Zeiss 150, talk about a great lens.

    Now adays, both Sigma and Tamron offer good quality zooms that work great for people work, I know sacrilage, non-nikon on a nikon camera, but have found both of the zooms to be good for people, and for the zoom ranges they work very good.

    Dave
     
  16. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    How much is the CZ 150 these days? But it doesn't come in AF, does it?
     
  17. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    'I'm currently tossing up between the one of these:
    Nikon 85mm 1.8
    Nikon 85mm 2.8
    Sigma EX 105mm 2.8

    Has anyone used any of these?'


    Nicole,

    I've used two of them, but not the Sigma.

    The Nikon 85/1.8 is one of my favourite lenses for portraits (opinion limited to the lens versions I've tried) . I had an 85/1.4 for a while, but preferred the 1.8 so much that I sold the 1.4.

    The 85/2.8 is a 'preset diaphragm' lens - but that isn't a big drawback. It's a very fine lens - one of the best - but unless there was a specific need for it (ie close-up, shift and tilt) I wouldn't use it for general use. While I use my 28/2.8 PC Super Angulon (also manual diaphragm) as a general purpose lens in daylight, I wouldn't consider the 85 mm PC Micro-Nikkor in place of the 85/1.8 - it's about twice the weight and a bit slower to operate. There's a small difference in price as well!

    Best,
    Helen
     
  18. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    Nope...But go for a lens for the D70 and the F90X. There are a lot of good lenses that are usable on both cams with well-working autofocus.

    Try both Nikkor as well as the non-nikkors (Sigma (which I like!), Tamron and Tokina, et.al)

    Morten
     
  19. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Hmm, just been looking at the Nikon 105mm f2/D AF DC Nikkor lens, which has raving reviews. Has anyone used this one before?
     
  20. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Well, I just found the price on this little number - NOT an option! :sad:
     
  21. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Once again, Dave Parker and I seem to be on the same page.

    I like a 35-105/2.8 constant aperture zoom in 35mm for shooting at events. It's the only zoom I own, and I have a lot of lenses. The downside of such a lens is barrel/pincushion distortion at the ends of the range, but I'm not using it for copy work or architecture. The amount of distortion on these tele-wide zooms increases as the zoom range increases, so I personally wouldn't go for a wider range than 35-105, though there are lenses like that out there. You can't always stand in the ideal place when you're in a room full of people going from shots of one to three to a whole table to one across the room. This is where a zoom is really handy, and it's more important to fill the frame in 35mm than it is in MF or LF.

    A prime lens in the 85 to 105mm range is great for more formal studio portraits with 35mm. A normal or slightly wide lens is better for full length portraits or environmental portraits, where you want to show someone's surroundings.

    For 6x6 portraits of this sort, I'd usually use a 135mm lens and a 15mm extension tube. Something in 120mm to 180mm range would be the usual choice.
     
  22. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Thanks to all for your feedback. This is great.
    One more question if you don't mind.
    Can you easily use a Hasselblad 501c/m with an 80mm and 150mm lens for candid shots of children?
    When/why would you choose to use a MF over a 35mm camera for candid baby, children's, ... wedding photography?
    I don't shoot formal portraits much, more the candid stuff.
     
  23. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Really the only time I use my MF stuff is for the posed formal shots, most of my candids are an on the run situation, that lends itself far better the the 35mm format, just in ease of moving around, the one exception, is I have used a Mamiya 645 hand held with a good flash for candids, but still it is quite a bit larger than the 35mm bodies which does not lend itself to moving as easy, and off course the cost of AF medium format is to great for my blood.

    Like I said, 35mm works great when I am in a moving and changing enviorment and have found the 105mm zoom to work great for what I am doing.

    Dave
     
  24. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Thanks Dave!
     
  25. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually I usually use my Bronica S2A with the 135mm lens and a 15mm extension tube when I'm taking candid shots of children. I can set the camera on my knee or a table and use the waist level finder to be more inconspicuous. I don't see it as less flexible than a 35mm. The main thing is that it's an SLR.

    Of course Cheryl Jacobs is using medium format for candid children's shots all the time!

    I think the main attraction of MF over 35mm for these kinds of photos is the smooth skin texture you can get with the larger neg.
     
  26. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    My two cents.

    My favorite 35mm lens by far is the 85mm 1.8. It's very fast and allows for awesome shallow DOF, which is quite important when shooting kids candids, as you can't always have a perfect background. When working with a single subject, I almost always shoot at f/2 or 2.8. I would recommend getting the fastest lenses you can afford. There's a big difference between 1.8 and 2.8.

    I love (LOVE!) my 24mm (wide angle) lens for my Canon. It lends such a unique perspective to wedding and candid work. The last wedding I did was almost entirely reportage, and I used the 24mm extensively. I'd love to get a tilt-shift 35mm lens, but I've got other priorities first.

    For the wedding ceremony itself, which was held in a very dimly light, large church, I rented a 70 - 200 f/2.8 with image stabilizer. It was indispensible for the shutter speeds I was getting, which were in the neighborhood of 1/15th at 2.8 with ISO 3200 film! The IS allowed me to handhold, which is critically important to me with my style.

    My only MF lens is an 80mm 2.8, although I frequently borrow and need to buy the 150mm 3.5. Fabulously shallow DOF when needed, and much more flattering for portrait work, particularly close up. As an aside, I found the Bronica Zenzannon lens to be every bit the equal of the Zeiss lens I used on the hassey I shot for a few months.

    Zooms are great for certain things, but I never use one unless I really, really need it. I find that they're still not as sharp as a fixed lens, and you can get yourself in trouble when handholding them. If, for example, your meter reading calls for f/4 at 1/90th, you can handhold just fine at the 70mm end of the zoom, but once you zoom in, you're suddenly trying to handhold 1/90th at 200mm and you may not even notice. The result: lots and lots of images ruined by camera shake. As the quote goes, the best zoom lens (IMO) is my feet. :wink:

    If you go with a 50mm for you 35mm camera, it's a great lens, but be careful -- if you try to shoot close-ups with it, you'll get a mild "dog-nose" effect, as there will be some lens distortion. Not generally a very flattering look! You can get away with it with children more often than with adults because they generally have smaller noses and less defined features, but IMO it's better to get a portrait lens if you're going to do portrait work. 85mm is perfect for me, but 105-ish would be awesome, too.

    I do use MF for kids candids, but it is significantly more difficult. MF requires me to anticipate, whereas 35mm allows me to react. Both are equally valuable, but look significantly different. These days, I find myself using 35mm more and more due to terrible eyesight and the need for auto focus.

    - CJ