Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Five Best Portrait Lenses

Tara in Greece on Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens
My heart misses a beat when I hear photographers say
'I just take the pic and blur the background in Photoshop'
Do they want to be photographers or graphic designers?
Besides, they waste countless hours sitting on their bot-bots in front of their screens.
But if you choose the right lens the results are superior and far quicker.

So what makes a really great portrait lens for a DSLR or mirrorless cameras?
There are probably three key elements for a great portrait lens:

  1. A very large aperture (f1.2, f1.4, f1,8)
  2. A focal length between 50mm and 135mm
  3. Quality glass producing irresistible bokeh
So here are my five top portrait lenses:
Nikkor 85mm f1.4

Tony Dunkley - Zimmers Apprentices on Nikkor 85mm f1.4
1. Nikon 85mm f/1.4
Superior portrait lens. High professional build. Solid feel and movement. The f1.4 lens effectively separates the subject from the background with absolute clarity. Fast focusing and magnificent bokeh. My favourite portrait lens!

2. Nikon 50mm f/1.4
The Nikon 50mm was my standard portrait lens for almost 20 years before I moved to the 85mm lens. Not as effective as the 85mm in separating subject from the background. But the 50mm lens is more versatile and can also be used for travel, group shots and landscapes. 

3. Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM
A remarkable lens from 'left field'. The Sigma 85mm is a member of the 'Art Series' lenses. Sigma lenses are heavier than Nikon, Canon, Tamron etc but have a quality build with superior optical performance.  The Sigma 85mm lens uses adapters to fit Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax DSLRs, and gives the equivalent of 127mm on APS-C 1.5X crop cameras.  

4. Nikon 135mm f/2
For many years the 135mm focal length was considered the 'perfect' focal length for portraiture. This focal length maintains the most distortion-free representation of facial perspective. It keeps the face the right shape. It also enables the photographer to work at a greater distance; could also double up as a short telephoto sports lens.

Jane on Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens
5. Fujifilm 56mm f1.2
Fuji (Fujifilm) can justly claim to be leaders in the mirrorless camera brigade. Fujifilm cameras are more robust and have superior intuitive design logic than either Sony or Olympus.
And they produce one simply brilliant portrait lens in the 56mm f1.2. The Phoblographer claims "Fujifilm's 56mm f1.2 is the sharpest mirror less camera lens that we've tested. Not only that but it exhibits beautiful bokeh, pretty good colour rendition, almost no distortion, focuses quickly and is built well".


Win AU$5000 with your best portrait in the Fremantle International Portrait Prize/
AU$13500 prize pool.

E N T R I E S   C L O S E    F R I D A Y  1 1  A U G U S T   2017

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