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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎06-04-2018

HELP WITH PICKING A CAMERA FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

Hello, I need help with picking a camera. After days of research I narrowed down to 3 cameras : Canon full frame 6D, Canon 80D and Canon Rebel t6s.

I would like to start a photogrpahy busniess in Florida. Obviously, low light conditions are not the case as I would shoot using natural light that here has plenty. I would mainly shoot families and kids.

I read that the body is not as important as the lens you use but I also don't want to buy a mediocre equipment but neither break the bank as I am an amateur. I did a photography course long ago and I read a lot trying to educate myself about the best settings to each situation. I've been also a photo enthusiast most of my life mainly for landscapes. But I still have lots to learn. It is hard to say what my budget Is. I can afford the $999 that cost the first two cameras but I wonder if it is wise for the begginingto spend that much to see if this business will work out. I read Canon 80D is super fast and provide crisp high quality pics. In the other hand I read that full frame is a must for portrait photography but the 6D seems the only point in favor is the fact of being full frame but lacks on many features of the 80D and even the T6.

If I buy one of the more expensive ones I want to not spend too much in the lens but the basic in portrait lens : a 50mm or 85mm prime lens, one for full body and above shoulder shots and one good to capture more environmental portrait photos. If anybody can recommend the lens too I would be so grateful ! I love the photos with a lot of blur at the background.

Anyway, PLEASE, need help : CANON 6D, CANON 80 D or CANON T6 ? Thanks !

Honored Contributor
Posts: 6,365
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: HELP WITH PICKING A CAMERA FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

I have used the 6D and 80D, and like them both.  If the main use will portraits, then I would go for the full frame 6D, only because of the better lens selection options.  I prefer the angle of view from a full frame 6D, compared to the APS-C sensor 80D.  Forget the Rebel camera body because it lacks professional grade features.

 

But, more times than not when you are first starting out, what you think you want to do is not what you wind up doing.  The 80D could do an excellent job with portraits shot at ISO 100.  The 6D can do an excellent job at slightly higher ISOs.  The 80D would be my choice for action photography, although I have great success photographing night football with a 6D at ISO 128000.

 

Check the Canon Online Refurbished store for the best deals on Canon camera bodies.  The best portrait lens to use is going to be the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, or a very fast prime, f/1.4 or better.

 

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
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Posts: 9,139
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: HELP WITH PICKING A CAMERA FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

"I read that the body is not as important as the lens you use..."

 

This is true.  All cameras take photos.  It is the lens that tells the camera what it saw.  The camera simply records it. All the APS-C bodies IE Rebels or 80D use a nearly identical sensor.  The results will be nearly the same.  The 6D Mk II is a full frame body so it will have a slight different perspective but again the lens can negate that.

 

Personally faced with the choice you presented I would buy the 80D.  OK, now that, that is settled you need to consider the lens.  The lens of choice by most of the best portrait photographers today is quickly becoming the ef 70-200mm f2.8L.  However it is a bit long for an 80D so I would opt for the super fantastic Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens.  The equivalent FL on the 80D will be 38-112mm which lies directly in the sweet spot for portraits. f2.8 constant aperture for nice BG. If the cost is prohibitive both Tamron and Sigma make an alternative like the Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM.

 

Remember it is the lens!

A lot less stuff for 2018 but still a lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎06-04-2018

Re: HELP WITH PICKING A CAMERA FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

Thank you for your advice Waddizle. I read in several places that 6D was the way to go for portrait photography. One of the things that also made me consider the 80D is the fact that is  a good camera for everything from landscapes, action, etc...So, I thought if the business doesn't work, I have a great camera to keep for a long time to take on my travels and register my memories. About the lens, I was shocked on how expensive they all are ! But I guess is a decision as or more important than the camera body. I will consider your advice on this one and also check for a prime lens too...Thank you very much !

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎06-04-2018

Re: HELP WITH PICKING A CAMERA FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

Thanks ebiggs1 for your advice. And forgive my ignorance but when you mentioned that a 24-70mm f/2.8 will the equivalent of 38-112 mm you mean that the same lens in the 80D would "work as a 38-112mm right ? Reading about lens I thought this part little confusing to understand...Your advice was of a lot of help ! Thanks Smiley Happy
Honored Contributor
Posts: 6,365
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: HELP WITH PICKING A CAMERA FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

[ Edited ]

@LucyG wrote:

Thank you for your advice Waddizle. I read in several places that 6D was the way to go for portrait photography. One of the things that also made me consider the 80D is the fact that is  a good camera for everything from landscapes, action, etc...So, I thought if the business doesn't work, I have a great camera to keep for a long time to take on my travels and register my memories. About the lens, I was shocked on how expensive they all are ! But I guess is a decision as or more important than the camera body. I will consider your advice on this one and also check for a prime lens too...Thank you very much !


You’re welcome.

For portrait photography, I think a full frame sensor would be better than an APS-C sensor, for both the wider angle of view and the potential for shallower depth of field.  

 

One way to get bokeh, or background blur, is to use a telephoto lens, with a short distance to the subject compared to the background.  If you want the best bokeh, The wider angle of view of a full frame allows you to use a “longer” lens when you are the same distance from the subject compared to an APS-C sensor.  For portraits, I would go for a full frame body.  

 

The 70-200mm seems to have become a very popular choice for portrait photography with a full frame body.  There is currently no zoom on the market with an equivalent range for an APS-C sensor.  The closest range would be approximately 50-150mm.  Sigma used to sell a lens at that range, but now sells a 50-100mm lens, instead.

I have used the 80D and love its’ features.  But, it is an APS-C sensor, and it does not perform as well in low light as the 6D, which has a good reputation for its’ low noise performance.  On the other hand, the 6D is a very capable camera for general photography, including action photography.

 

[EDIT]. The full frame body that you really want is the 5D3 or 5D4.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
VIP
Posts: 9,139
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: HELP WITH PICKING A CAMERA FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

"...you mentioned that a 24-70mm f/2.8 will the equivalent of 38-112 mm you mean that the same lens in the 80D would "work as a 38-112mm right ?"

 

Basically correct.  The lens negates the camera sensor format.  The 6D or 6D Mk II will offer you nothing if you select the correct lens on the 80D.  You might as well save the money on the camera.  That lets you have more money for the better lens or other accessories.. The lens is where its at.

 

To start with avoid any primes.

A lot less stuff for 2018 but still a lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,484
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: HELP WITH PICKING A CAMERA FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY


@ebiggs1 wrote:

"...you mentioned that a 24-70mm f/2.8 will the equivalent of 38-112 mm you mean that the same lens in the 80D would "work as a 38-112mm right ?"

 

Basically correct.  The lens negates the camera sensor format.  The 6D or 6D Mk II will offer you nothing if you select the correct lens on the 80D.  You might as well save the money on the camera.  That lets you have more money for the better lens or other accessories.. The lens is where its at.

 

To start with avoid any primes.


Remember... this is for portraits.

 

A 24-70 f/2.8 doesn't offer much out-of-focus blur (bokeh) ... especially on a camera with an APS-C size sensor.

 

A prime lens such as an 85mm f/1.8 (or better yet... the 85mm f/1.4) would offer loads of bokeh.  It would be a much better portrait lens (that's basically the lens most popular use).

 

If I were doing portraits, I'd do the 6D II and I'd use an 85mm prime.  But I'd also probably invest in some reflectors and lighting.  The best lighting isn't just "natural" light (aka available light) but rather light you can control.  While you can spend a lot on lighting gear... you can accomlish quite a bit with just a few inexpensive basics.

 

 

 

There is some confusion about focal length equivalents.   A 24-70 lens is a 24-70 lens regardless of what camera you use it on.  The physics of the optics don't change when you change the camera body.  What changes when you go from a full-frame body to a crop-frame body is the sensor simply gets smaller.  Thsi means some of the image being projected onto the sensor simply falls off the sides and isn't recorded as part of the image.  The name "crop sensor" means just that... it is as if the sensor were "cropped" to a smaller size without changing anything else.  Imagine you position a movie projector to completely fill a large movie screen... now replace the large movie screen with a small movie screen in the same position without touching anything else.  The whole image no longer fits on screen and you only see the central area of the image (part of the image spills off the sides of the screen).

 

The obvious dfference is that this smaller area changes the overall "angle of view" that you can see.  If you want the same composition that you could have had with a full-frame camera, you'll find that you now need to stand a little farther away from your subject to get everything to fit in the frame.  

 

When you stand a little farther away, the depth of field changes (because subject distance influences depth of field) and you end up with a broader depth of field and weaker background blur.   It turns out if you do this precisely, the amount of background blur is identical to to the change you would get if you multiplied your aperture by the crop factor (the crop factor is 1.6 for an APS-C camera.  e.g. if you were shooting at f/2.8... it becomes 2.8 x 1.6 = 4.5 -- so it would look the same as if you used a full-frame camera at f/4.5 -- even though you are actually shooting at f/2.8.

 

This is the reason why many portrait photographers prefer full-frame cameras... because they want that bokeh.  Technically the lens is the lens... but because the crop-factor changes how close or how far you are from the subject (to achieve a similar composition) that difference changes the depth of field. 

 

There are a number of photographers who like to use the 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom as a portrait lens... but primarily they use this lens outdoors ... at the 200mm end of the range.  They do this because long focal lengths create compression and decrease depth of field.  But this forces them to stand farther away from the subject ... so far that it's not practical for indoor use (unless your portrait studio is huge... like a warehouse).  Regardless... the 70-200 turns out to be a popular portrait lens (even though that's probably not the first thing you think of using a 70-200 lens to shoot.)

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
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Posts: 9,139
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: HELP WITH PICKING A CAMERA FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

"The obvious dfference is that this smaller area changes the overall "angle of view" that you can see."

 

This is where your 'confusion' falls apart.  You assume the camera and photographer can't move?  Perhaps true with a movie projector but photographers are not movie projectors.  It is all about AOV.  The equivalent FL of 38-112mm is going to be just fine for portraits.  Saves some money!  The f2.8 aperture is still f2.8.  Same, same.

 

"... because the crop-factor changes how close or how far you are from the subject ..."

 

Then move, geez!  I can post some photos taken with various cameras and you will not be able to tell me if it was a cropper or a FF.  It is all about the lens and the AOV.

 

"The best lighting isn't just "natural" light (aka available light) but rather light you can control."    While this has a good point. The more natural light you have all the better.  Nothing beats natural lighting.  There again with natural light the photographer may have to 'move'.

 

If the OP had ten grand to spend I would recommend the EOS 1Dx Mk II and the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens.  I got the impression they don't have $10,000 to deal with. The recommended gear needs to remember that.

A lot less stuff for 2018 but still a lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
VIP
Posts: 9,139
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: HELP WITH PICKING A CAMERA FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

"To start with avoid any primes."

 

That stands!   But with an 80D another option might be the very good Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens. That will give the OP that 85mm FL look.  Not movie projector stationary.  Might require the OP to move further in or out, though.

A lot less stuff for 2018 but still a lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
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