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02-22-2012, 05:34 AM   #1
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Lenses for Family Portiture

I'm hoping to get into taking some family portrature- mostly outside (thinking zoom) but maybe studio (thinking primes)
My current lenses are listed below, out of those I was thinking the 17-70 and FA31. Might grab a Tamron 28-75 for abit more DOF control and I don't think 17-28mm is really rqd but thats why I'm asking
What do you think are some essential FLs?
Also any other essentials? Softbox/reflectors etc?
Price isn't TOO MUCH of an issue as it will be for paid work.
Lastly I will have my film body on me for some traditional B+W stuff so consider this aswell.

02-22-2012, 06:01 AM   #2
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honestly, i'm pretty sure you can get by with just the 31. Maybe pick up something like the samyang 85mm 1.4 for DoF control or the FA77 or Sigma 85 if budget permits.
02-22-2012, 06:18 AM   #3
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You need to define "Family Portraiture" first. Head & shoulders of individuals requires something different than Grandma with all of the children & grandchildren.
Reflectors - yes (especially outside), Soft Boxes /. Beauty Dishes - yes (especially in studio). Tripod - yes (for those more rigid distinguished looking poses).
I've done the Grandma and family stuff with a DA21Ltd and head and sholders with my Sigma 17-70 @ 70. IMHO the wide end of the Siggy has too much distortion for portraiture (hence my use of the 21mm). Then again, my wife took a face only portrait of a close friend of ours at 17mm and the distortion makes the shot (so the only correct answer is "It Depends".
02-22-2012, 06:31 AM   #4
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I thought as much - Bread and butter would be group shots of family with maybe some of couples and/or individuals hence why I was thinking of 28-75 with maybe the 31 as the 'Moneyshot'
Ok let me re-phrase, what lenses have been good in what situations for you guys. As you can tell I have a fair idea but just trying to get a feel for it.
The 85 1.4 is on my radar believe me!

02-22-2012, 06:34 AM   #5
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28-75/2.8 is the lens for this application.
02-22-2012, 08:27 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
28-75/2.8 is the lens for this application.
Echo here. For years, this lens was stuck to my camera, and served me well.
02-22-2012, 08:32 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by subidoc Quote
Echo here. For years, this lens was stuck to my camera, and served me well.
Family portraiture being fairly 'varied' I'd echo the sentiments of subidoc and RioRico... A fast zoom will be of more use...

I think a good sized reflector and the biggest softbox you can light-up along with a large-ish convertable-umbrella (portable and both reflective and shoot-throughable..) are certainly good ideas...

Do you have good studio strobes? (PF-member Wheatfield gives good advice on this subject...)

Last edited by DaveHolmes; 02-22-2012 at 08:38 AM. Reason: addition
02-22-2012, 10:12 AM   #8
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The Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm F2.8-3.5 works for me. Had it since 1982.

02-22-2012, 10:46 AM   #9
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One of the zooms if you want to be practical. The FA43 and FA77 otherwise.
02-22-2012, 10:49 AM   #10
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My lens choice would be the 40 and 70mm pentax pancakes or tamron 28-75 !
Two large softboxes will give you shadowless lighting even on a white background.
If you are shooting in the studio, DOF isnt really important since you would be using
unobstrusive background anyway. So you can go for higher quality at 5.6 or 8.
02-22-2012, 02:31 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Den Quote
The Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm F2.8-3.5 works for me. Had it since 1982.
Yes! I forgot that you said "Film Body" as well. In the days of using my Super Program, there would have been no choice for me. The answer would have been a Vivitar Series 1, 28-105. Outstanding lens!
02-22-2012, 04:09 PM   #12
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Good suggestions all.
No studio at all as yet, would setup as I get going- might do a portable studio setup on location so would just use off camera flash.
02-22-2012, 04:25 PM   #13
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FA 31 is wonderful for group shots outdoor. It is sharp, contrasty and rich in colour.
I have taken group photos of 5 to 150 people with the lens. Any zoom will do if you shoot a large group as you need a reasonable DOF(aperture smaller than 2.8) at a reasonable FL to avoid the distortion.

I take taken a lot of portrait with FA31 at f2-f3.2. I also use a Sigma 50 f1.4 for head and shoulder shots.
02-22-2012, 04:26 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tonto Quote
Good suggestions all.
No studio at all as yet, would setup as I get going- might do a portable studio setup on location so would just use off camera flash.
Portable flash mounted soft box or shoot through umbrellas will soften the light very well. I always use one of these Photoflex On-Camera XTC II Softbox - Large XT-OCLRG II B&H Photo on my AF360FGZ which is mounted on one of these Stroboframe Quick Flip 350 Bracket 310-635 B&H Photo Video
Off camera will give you a lot more options.

P.S. If you edit the flash listed above and substitute an AF280T, I've been using this set up for almost thirty years.
02-22-2012, 04:39 PM   #15
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The Tamron 28-75 is a great all-rounder.
But if you're considering the FA 31, you can also consider the FA 43 or DA* 55 if you have enough room in your studio. The FA 77 is also an awesome lens in single or couple portraiture.
The longer focal lengths are awesome to give you some distance between your camera and subjects.
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