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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎07-11-2020

My next lens (portraiture): help?

[ Edited ]

Hey all! Relative beginner here and, get ready for this, I now want a new lens Smiley Happy.

 

I just took some portrait shots with my M50/nifty 50 (via EF adapter) and the results were, to the shock of absolutely no one I'm sure, astounding.

 

It got me thinking as to what would make sense to step up my game and increase my capabilities and versatility whilst shooting dynamic portraits (think outside a studio), and here's what I've concluded:

 

- I would love a zoom lens that would allow me to go from about 15mm (the lowest on my kit right now) to somewhere around the 50 mark. 60-70 would be even better. Basically, I've been finding that the 50 is forcing me to get too far away from my subject most times. For doing a full body shot with decent background framing, I need to often cross the street, etc. And with my kit lens, I enjoy 15-20mm shots but nothing more as the 50 handily defeats it there.

 

- The low, low, low 1.8 f/stop on the 50 has me addicted. I'd say 90-95% of my shots are taken with the aperture wide open, and the small remainder almost exclusively with 2.2-2.5. Doing some cursory searches shows me that a zoom lens that low is near impossible to find/afford... right? It seems to me the best I can hope for is something in the low to mid 2s, say 20 to 60 range.

 

Basically I want to be able to go from full body shots to head or head and shoulders with a single lens that maintains that background blur so desirable for portrait work.

 

Notes:

 

- I am, as said, virtually a beginner. So it's quite possible I've missed some key elements here, stated things incorrectly, and/or overlooked some basic things you all know.

 

- I'm not yet too familiar with the conversion between standard (EF) lens focal lengths and my M series, so please take into account that my experience is with an EF-M series 15mm on the desirable low end and an EF series 50mm on the desirable high, whatever that means for your recommendation.

 

- I'm not wedded to the idea of a Canon lens... just seems nice.

 

Thanks so much!!

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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 4,238
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: My next lens (portraiture): help?

You don't say what size sensor you have, but since you mention EF-M, I will assume it is APS-C sized sensor. Generally, a short telephoto is used for portraits for perspective reasons. 85mm on FF is generally regarded as a good focal length, so 85/1.6 or 53 mm on a crop frame, so you are probably in good shape, anyway.

 

The ef-s 17-55/2.8 gets high marks for quality around here, so it might be a good zoom lens for portraiture.

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Posts: 13,163
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: My next lens (portraiture): help?

[ Edited ]

"I've been finding that the 50 is forcing me to get too far away from my subject most times. For doing a full body shot with decent background framing, ..."

 

First do you know what a "portrait" is?  It isn't a "full body" shot. It sounds like you want a GP (general purpose) lens.  The EF-M 18–55mm f/3.5−5.6 IS STM or EF-M 18–150mm f/3.5–6.3 IS STM should fit the bill nicely.  Use your 50mil when you need a larger aperture. Not every shot and certainly not every portrait wants an f1.8 aperture. Large apertures and zoom lenses are rare and quite expensive.  One crop sensor larger aperture zoom I really like is the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens but I have no idea how or even if it works on an M series camera since I don't have one.

 

I think you would be better served if you are truly into photography to sell the M and move to a more reasonable line.  If you feel mirrorless is the way to go check out the R series cameras. Otherwise the 90D is a fine DSLR and works with the fast Siggy zoom very well.  The M line is a dead end.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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VIP
Posts: 10,560
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: My next lens (portraiture): help?

Try to stick to native EF-M mount lenses.  Using larger EF mount lenses via the mount adapter will drain your battery fairly quickly.  If you decide to with any EF mount lenses that need the mount adapter, try to keep them small, or entirely manual focus.  Your camera has focus peaking, so manual focusing is a breeze.  

 

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM would be a good choice for portraits on a M series camera body.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎07-11-2020

Re: My next lens (portraiture): help?


@kvbarkley wrote:

You don't say what size sensor you have, but since you mention EF-M, I will assume it is APS-C sized sensor. Generally, a short telephoto is used for portraits for perspective reasons. 85mm on FF is generally regarded as a good focal length, so 85/1.6 or 53 mm on a crop frame, so you are probably in good shape, anyway.

 

The ef-s 17-55/2.8 gets high marks for quality around here, so it might be a good zoom lens for portraiture.


Yeah that lens seemed to be the closest one from everything I saw/researched after posting this. Thanks!!

As an aside, maybe I have my paradigm wrong- I wanted this lens because I was shooting street scenes and felt too zoomed in a lot of the time (yet of course I liked and wanted that look for some of the shots). So I figured a zoom would allow me to quickly take full body, up close, etc. Switching lenses feels too slow for me many times during these shoots. So what do pro portrait photographers do (think fashion)? Maybe this zoom lens I'm after *isn't* the right answer (?)

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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎07-11-2020

Re: My next lens (portraiture): help?


@ebiggs1 wrote:

"I've been finding that the 50 is forcing me to get too far away from my subject most times. For doing a full body shot with decent background framing, ..."

 

First do you know what a "portrait" is?  It isn't a "full body" shot.


Don't really appreciate the condescending tone here; I literally posted all over my question that I might get things wrong, I'm a beginner, have probably missed things, etc. in part to try to prevent people from doing exactly this. But, forum pedants will be forum pedants, I suppose.


@ebiggs1 wrote:

The EF-M 18–55mm f/3.5−5.6 IS STM or EF-M 18–150mm f/3.5–6.3 IS STM should fit the bill nicely.  Use your 50mil when you need a larger aperture. Not every shot and certainly not every portrait wants an f1.8 aperture.


No. The entire point is to be able, for speed, to go back and forth between 15mm-80mm with the large aperture I like. Not saying it's possible, but that was the question. Your suggestion does almost nothing I can't already do with my M kit lens and the 50. I'm trying to avoid having to switch lenses. I don't want to lose one of the best things that makes those 50 shots so good. Yes, I agree not every shot needs it, but with a larger f/stop I can always just close for those. 1.8 to 2.5 has been the sweet spot for many of the shots and I'd hate to lose that.

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Reputable Contributor
Posts: 839
Registered: ‎12-24-2013

Re: My next lens (portraiture): help?

[ Edited ]

You may be a beginner, but you seem to have a pretty good grasp of the basics already. Everything in photography involves trade-offs. You have a nice small camera, but there is no small lens that will do what you ask for. 

If you are willing to work with a large, heavy lens, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and Sigma 18-35mm  f/1.8 HSM Art both come pretty close to what you need.

 

4D9C78B7-8B82-4C90-A06A-97E381FC5058.jpeg

Mike Sowsun
S110, SL1, 80D, 5D Mk III
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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎07-11-2020

Re: My next lens (portraiture): help?


@Waddizzle wrote:

Try to stick to native EF-M mount lenses.  Using larger EF mount lenses via the mount adapter will drain your battery fairly quickly.  If you decide to with any EF mount lenses that need the mount adapter, try to keep them small, or entirely manual focus.  Your camera has focus peaking, so manual focusing is a breeze.  


I assume manual is to save battery? And what does size do in this case?


@Waddizzle wrote:

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM would be a good choice for portraits on a M series camera body.


But that's exactly the one I already have (see post) Smiley Happy.

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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎07-11-2020

Re: My next lens (portraiture): help?


@MikeSowsun wrote:

You may be a beginner, but you seem to have a pretty good grasp of the basics already. Everything in photography involves trade-offs. You have a nice small camera, but there is no small lens that will do what you ask for. 

If you are willing to work with a large, heavy lens, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and Sigma 18-35mm  f/1.8 HSM Art both come pretty close to what you need.

 

4D9C78B7-8B82-4C90-A06A-97E381FC5058.jpeg


Thanks for the compliment! I'm sort of a pro beginner- I've been doing photography-related things for years (filmmaking, computer graphics programming, etc.) but haven't had much actual still photography experience in decades, so it's sort of like learning Italian from Spanish Smiley Happy.

 

Yeah those two lenses seem to be the closest from what I've seen since posting this. Re: size, doesn't really matter; the M was purchased for also doing vlogging work for which the small size will be useful. For photography, it can have a cannon up front Smiley Happy.

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Posts: 10,560
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: My next lens (portraiture): help?

[ Edited ]

@bigbrother wrote:

@Waddizzle wrote:

Try to stick to native EF-M mount lenses.  Using larger EF mount lenses via the mount adapter will drain your battery fairly quickly.  If you decide to with any EF mount lenses that need the mount adapter, try to keep them small, or entirely manual focus.  Your camera has focus peaking, so manual focusing is a breeze.  


I assume manual is to save battery? And what does size do in this case?


@Waddizzle wrote:

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM would be a good choice for portraits on a M series camera body.


But that's exactly the one I already have (see post) Smiley Happy.


What does size have to do with it?  Yeah, it will save battery life.  The more mass in the lens, the more battery it takes to move the auto focus motors.  The EF-M lenses tend to be MUCH smaller than EF/EF-S lenses.  

I must have missed the reference to the nifty fifty lens.  it really is one of the lenses for portraits on the M Series body.

 

"Basically I want to be able to go from full body shots to head or head and shoulders with a single lens that maintains that background blur so desirable for portrait work."

 

That is [not] how lenses work.  Everything is a trade off.   You cannot change one thing, and expect everything else to remain the same.  Those are two very different shooting scenarios, which translates into two different [focal lengths or] lenses. A zoom that covered that range would be quite large, and heavy for the M series body, not [to] mention a little costly.  The EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is a popular lens, but not one I would use for portraits.  It is too short, and the aperture is only f/2.8.

 

https://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/ef-m-22mm-f-2-stm-wide-angle-lens-refurbished 

 

You may want to try the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM lens for full body shots in tight spaces.   It is razor sharp, native mount, and has a wide aperture.

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