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04-15-2011, 02:13 PM   #1
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For portraits and candids, what is the best zoom or prime?

I am thinking the answer is zoom. My thought on this is that I would be doing outdoor portraits and maybe catching some candid shots instead of posed, but otoh I thought there would be a lot of posing so prime would be good too and most primes look better to me than a zoom.

I'm not really asking for a focal length. I've seen threads on here about the da40, 70, fa77, tam 28-75, 100mm macro and so on. More interesting was distance from subject and distortion but I digress. I'm afraid I'd be doing a lot of foot zooming if I didn't have a zoom.

Anyway, if you were doing it professionally, would you get a zoom or a prime, or is it possible to do it all with one lens? I know a lady that does it pro and it is clear that some are posed and some are candid (haven't got to ask her yet what she uses.) thanks.

edit: do you think the tamron could be used professionally as in get professional quality images?


Last edited by justtakingpics; 04-15-2011 at 02:26 PM.
04-15-2011, 02:40 PM   #2
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Yes, the tamron 28-70 is definitely good enough to get pro quality images. A big part of the whole "pro thing" is not about the lens, but the person behind the lens.
04-15-2011, 03:02 PM   #3
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The secret to a great image is this....Sensor plus Lens equals Awesome Image.
You can go lots of ways about it.

The one lens that I can live without is my DA* 50-135 2.8, awesome for portraits.
Just an awesome lens. Pentax forums used, like new condition $650-720


Posed
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?id=100000455869022
Under a white umbrella at 10am in a grassy field

Candid
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?id=100000455869022
near Geffen contemporary is Los Angeles, CA

Candid
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?id=100000455869022
Baptism, walking away, 4 shots(chose 1st), no flash, 1pm, cropped, on Church parking lot, black and white

Believe me when I say this. But having this Pro Pentax lens, it gives you better images. It increases your confidence so much in your ability. You dont have to pay double the price (Canikon) for expensive glass that gives you great images.
And I am only using a Pentax K-x(same as Nikon D90 sensor)
04-15-2011, 03:18 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ptwist61 Quote
The secret to a great image is this....Sensor plus Lens equals Awesome Image.
You can go lots of ways about it.

The one lens that I can live without is my DA* 50-135 2.8, awesome for portraits.
Just an awesome lens. Pentax forums used, like new condition $650-720


Posed
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?id=100000455869022
Under a white umbrella at 10am in a grassy field

Candid
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?id=100000455869022
near Geffen contemporary is Los Angeles, CA

Candid
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?id=100000455869022
Baptism, walking away, 4 shots(chose 1st), no flash, 1pm, cropped, on Church parking lot, black and white

Believe me when I say this. But having this Pro Pentax lens, it gives you better images. It increases your confidence so much in your ability. You dont have to pay double the price (Canikon) for expensive glass that gives you great images.
And I am only using a Pentax K-x(same as Nikon D90 sensor)
Those are nice pictures. Thanks. I am concerned about all the problems I read about though and no I'm not trying to turn this into a thread about the 50-135 breaking, just worries me.

04-15-2011, 04:38 PM   #5
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Optically the Tamron 28-75mm would be fine but personally, I like longer focal lengths for candids. My favorite lens for that purpose is the FA 135mm f2.5. The zoom I'd use would be my Sigma 50-150mm but it's been discontinued. The DA*50-135 would also be a good choice.
04-15-2011, 04:50 PM   #6
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There's some variation in lens choice for candid portraiture.
Zooms are clearly more versatile and are good in the candid setting.
For a little more staged/posed sittings, then a prime would do the job just fine.

I've done shoots with both types of lenses, but I determined which lens and what focal range to implement according to the setting - full-body portraits (DA* 16-50, FA 31 or Tamron 28-75), upper or 3/4 body shots (FA 43, Tamron 28-75 or FA 50/1.4) and head & shoulders portraits (FA 77, DA* 50-135 or FA 100/2.8 macro) all require different lens capabilities. And even then, your subject-to-camera distance would also become a determinant in the lens choice you want to use.

I'd avoid using lenses any longer than about 200mm due to the flattened perspective they render particularly to faces. Otherwise, consider those aspects to know more distinctly what focal length you'd be looking for.
04-15-2011, 04:55 PM   #7
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Since you wrote you want to take candid photos I'd say pick a zoom lens. I have a 58mm prime and love it for portraits. I'd suggest something that's close to 70-200 and with as wide aperture as you can afford.

Some like shooting portraits with wider lenses - you could be one. Sounds like you also need to figure out what your preferences are.
04-16-2011, 09:21 AM   #8
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One single fast zoom to encompass all portraiture options from small groups to further candid close-ups? Sorry, it doesn't exist yet. You can have the range with an 18-250 or 18-200 or even 18-150, but those aren't really fast. Or you can have fast fixed-maximum-aperture zooms with much smaller ranges, like 17-70 plus 50-150. And you can spend much money.

I'm a cheap bastard. My favorite for shooting individuals is an old M42 Sears-Tokina 55-135/3.5 that cost me eight bucks shipped. My favorite for not-too-far candids is the F35-70, ten bucks. My most-used lens for everything from groups to far-facials is the DA18-250 that I bought as my original kit. These are all different tools for different purposes. No one tool fits all uses.

04-16-2011, 10:03 AM   #9
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Don't think there's a best, just depends on the situation and the photographer preference. If it's a high paced event (i.e. wedding) I'm waaaay in favor of zooms. Too much action and too much on the line of missing a shot for me to want to shoot primes (and I'm a prime lover). But if the pace is slower and there's less pressure to deliver, I'd 100% say go for a prime. I think this is where Pentax REAAALLY excels. Pentax k-x + 77mm ltd - no one will even notice you, every one will be staring at the goof with the gripped 5dmk2 and 70-200 white bazooka pointed at them while you snap off amazing candids

I know you said you weren't worried about focal length, but I think 70mm min for candids. 135 works great too, beyond that as Ash mentioned, things start to get a bit flat (or at least for me). And that 135/3.5 you've got in your sig will be nice and stealth as well!

Oh, and the tamron is more than good enough optically to produce "professional" quality images.

Last edited by scathontiphat; 04-16-2011 at 10:11 AM.
04-16-2011, 10:25 AM   #10
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For candid zooming with your feed draws attention to the photographer.
For portrait primes are less intimidating and optical better.
In my case : candid with the K 45-125 an portraits with
Voigtlander 40mm and 58mm, K55/2.0, Helios58, m85/2.0, K135/2.5.
04-16-2011, 12:11 PM   #11
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I have a confession here. I don't think I understood what a candid was. What I meant was during a portrait session and you don't have the people posed but captured a "natural" shot. That was what I meant by candid, not street photography. My fault but I think the answers still apply.
04-16-2011, 01:04 PM - 1 Like   #12
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I would go zoom. I know exactly what you mean by candid portrait (kind of an oxymoron, but definitely a style) and the zoom will give you the most flexibility to get the more natural shots. Plus, with outdoor shooting it is nice to be able to zoom sometimes because you don't have control of the setting and can't always "zoom with your feet."

My favorite for portraits is the DA* 50-135. The IQ on that lens is excellent and I have shot with mine professionally for two years and I haven't had a single issue ever. I also own the Tamron 28-75 and I love it. Excellent focal range; the IQ is good enough for professional use. That said, I am most likely selling mine as I just went to the 16-50. I was after WR.
04-16-2011, 02:01 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ptwist61 Quote
The secret to a great image is this....Sensor plus Lens equals Awesome Image.
What!?
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