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I need a fast and soft portrait lens...any suggestion or recommendations?


I am tempted to look at the Sigma 50 mm f1.4...what else shool I consider? Is the canon 50mm in the same class glass and speed wise?



FF or crop? Any particular focal length?


There is the Canon 50 1.4, Canon 50 1.8, Sigma 30 1.4 (crop only), along with 85mm choices in the 1.4 to 1.8 speed.


There is a soft focus lens but I don't remember the FL.


If you have a sharp lens, you can soften the portrait in post easily. If you have a soft lens, you're gonna have a harder time making it sharper i you get what I'm saying.



Crop sensor...I would prefer between 30-50mm

Portrait lenses for crop sensors is a tricky decision. If you go with a classic portrait length in the 85-135 range it'll feel too long on the crop sensor, whereas if you go with a wider lens it will produce some facial distortion.

And with regards to that last point, I would immediately rule out the 30mm.

50mm isn't a typical portrait length but it's a decent compromise on aps-c. Get the Sigma or Canon 1.4 if you can. Both have lots of fans.

The 1.8 is cheap and has pretty good IQ but it's poorly built and has great difficulty focusing in low-light.

Alternatively you could try the Canon 60mm 2.8 macro. The image quality is excellent, as are colour and contrast. The one drawback of this lens is that it's an EF-S mount, so it won't be compatible with a full-frame camera if you eventually decide to upgrade.


Well in that case the Sigma looks a pretty solid bet, until Canon updates its 50 1.4.


But I would really consider the 85mm 1.8, it is an excelent, sharp lens for a reasonable amount of money. You'll need to take one step back compared to the 50mm, but the portraits you'll take will look quite better.




I like the 50 1.8 for portraits on my crop body. It will be about a 80mm equiv. In a studio setting, I like it for head and shoulder shots. It allows me to be close enough to interact with my subject but far enough back to not crowd them. It is built like a toy though. All plastic, weighs nothing, AF is not USM or any the like LOL! It is on par with my Tamron 17-50 nonVC. In good light, snappy and accurate. In poor light, has trouble. In a studio setting where light is not an issue, I have no complaints about either.


The 60 macro is a good choice for giving a little more reach. You will loose the shallow DOF 1.8 or 1.4 can give you, but it is extremely sharp.

The canon 85mm 1.8 is extremely fast and at a focal length appropriate for portraits.

I try not to go too wide and too close to my subject.

I actually use my 70-200 2.8 for the majority of outdoor portraits.



You may want to consider something longer for less distortion. I understand the desire for a small lightweight prime lens, but consider not getting any close than 6' from your subject to avoid perspective distortion. Here's a great example:


I prefer at least 135mm on a full frame body. I use my 70-200 typically between 150-200 for waist-up portraits and headshots.


Here's an example of the 135mm f2L at minimum focus distance, wide open: Headshot of Josh


John MacLean Photography

let me google that for you :
I like DSLRs and a Gear Whore.

Canon EOS 1Dx, EF 35mm f/1.4L USM, EF 50mm f/1.2L USM, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM IS II, EF 200mm f/2.0L IS USM

Nikon D4, Nikon D800, Carl Zeiss Compact Prime CP.2 Super Speed 50mm T/1.5, Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II

nice ratan! 😉
John MacLean Photography

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