What focal length does a lens become a portrait lens?

1 week 5 hours ago #651135 by Liem Stailey
As title is asking, at what focal point does a lens classify as a portrait lens?  I was reading it's all about compression getting to the right spot, what ever that means.  :huh:  


 As always thanks everyone.  


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1 week 5 hours ago - 1 week 5 hours ago #651136 by Nikon Shooter


A portrait lens doesn't exist as such
, portraits may be 
done with ANY lens. There is, however, a consensus on 
the natural look — in terms of perspective — that will
determine what focal length to use and is distance to
subject dependant.

ISO 1,600 / 1/100s / ƒ 5.6 / 300mm ƒ2,8 at closest dis-
dance from the subject.


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1 week 4 hours ago #651137 by KCook
Short answer: 75mm to 200mm (in full frame bodies). For APS-C cameras this would be more like 50mm to 135mm. Generally (there are exceptions for everything) the shorter end of this range is preferred indoors, longer end outdoors.

Kelly

Canon 50D, Olympus PL2
kellycook.zenfolio.com/

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6 days 22 hours ago #651184 by Liem Stailey
Thank you both.  I guess I was referring to the traditional sense.  Wide angle lenses do funny things with the outer edges of a shot, which won't work well for portraits right?  So figured there was a focal starting point where the pendulum swung in favor for ideal portraits.  


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6 days 22 hours ago #651187 by garyrhook
It depends upon how you define a portrait.

Some folks prefer full body shots, in which case a shorter lens is just fine because you've backed up enough to mostly avoid distortion.

Fundamentally, it's a geometry problem.

If you want to do head/upper body shots, and you want to avoid distortion of features, then a longer lens is needed, and you back up. It's about the relative distance (of various body parts) to the camera.


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6 days 19 hours ago #651229 by KCook
  • Wide angle lenses do funny things with the outer edges of a shot, which won't work well for portraits right?
Only when some part of the person is near the edge of the field.  For an environmental portrait the person may be small in the frame (not a closeup), so WA distortion is not a concern.  "Portrait" covers a lot of different approaches.  For some a WA lens is fine.

Kelly

Canon 50D, Olympus PL2
kellycook.zenfolio.com/

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6 days 19 hours ago #651234 by Nikon Shooter

Liem Stailey wrote: I guess I was referring to the traditional sense.


Me too!

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6 days 17 hours ago #651258 by ThatNikonGuy
55mm to 85mm if you want my 2 cents.  


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5 days 15 hours ago #651408 by fmw
You can make an effective portrait with any lens.


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4 days 20 hours ago #651487 by Liem Stailey
Well I see your point with geometry.  So to simplify the question, if you were leaving your house with one camera and one lens with the intent to head out and shoot portraits.  You don't know what kind of portraits, just that it's a portrait gig.  

What lens would you bring?  

Your camera, is it full frame or crop?


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4 days 20 hours ago #651490 by Nikon Shooter
I only use FX cameras and, in the given parameters,
I would take the holy trinity and a flash along.

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4 days 19 hours ago #651498 by garyrhook

Liem Stailey wrote: Well I see your point with geometry.  So to simplify the question, if you were leaving your house with one camera and one lens with the intent to head out and shoot portraits.  You don't know what kind of portraits, just that it's a portrait gig.  

What lens would you bring?  

Your camera, is it full frame or crop?


Sensor size doesn't change the geometry of a shot (it's impossible to alter the physical parameters of a lens). (It only affects view angle/area. Forcing you to back up. Which, for portraiture, is a good thing in general.

That said, If I'm restricted to a single lens, it's usually my Tamron 28-75 f/2.8. Covers all the bases.

Two lenses: add an 85 prime.


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2 days 17 hours ago #651680 by Garbo
85mm IMO

Nikon D300: 24-70 2.8 | 70-200 2.8 VR |Sigma 150 2.8 | 50 1.4 | SB-800
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