70-200 vs 85 1.4 for portraits?

Joined
Apr 8, 2008
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391
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Georgia
I love my 70-200, but I can't seem to get my photos as sharp as I'd like with it. I won't sell it - it's definitely a wedding ceremony lens. But for general portraits... would you say the 85 is better?

I had the 85 1.8 and loved it, but sold it for the Sigma 50 1.4. I don't regret it as I love my Sigma, but I also loved the 85 focal length.

Money is tight, so if I were to get the 85 I'd have to sell the 28-70.

Advice? Sample comparison photos? Etc? :smile:
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
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Location
Banff National Park, Alberta
I love my 70-200, but I can't seem to get my photos as sharp as I'd like with it. I won't sell it - it's definitely a wedding ceremony lens. But for general portraits... would you say the 85 is better?

I had the 85 1.8 and loved it, but sold it for the Sigma 50 1.4. I don't regret it as I love my Sigma, but I also loved the 85 focal length.

Money is tight, so if I were to get the 85 I'd have to sell the 28-70.

Advice? Sample comparison photos? Etc? :smile:

Umm... how come you can't get sharp photos with the 70-200 if you don't mind me asking? What focal lengths are you shooting at, what shutter speeds? Are you focusing and recomposing? Are you using support? The 70-200, both VRI and VRII are sharp enough to cut glass. If your technique is up to snuff then it's probably something wrong with the equipment (front or back focusing either due to the camera or the lens or you've got an element out of alignment). If it's your technique then adding an 85 f/1.4 won't be the solution either, the in some cases millimeters deep depth of field will just expose flaws in your technique.

IMHO the reason to go from a 70-200 to an 85 f/1.4 is not because your photos aren't sharp enough. If your existing gear is working as it should and if your technique is solid you should be able to produce photos that are very sharp with what you have.
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
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Southern ON.CA
Umm... how come you can't get sharp photos with the 70-200 if you don't mind me asking? What focal lengths are you shooting at, what shutter speeds? Are you focusing and recomposing? Are you using support? The 70-200, both VRI and VRII are sharp enough to cut glass. If your technique is up to snuff then it's probably something wrong with the equipment (front or back focusing either due to the camera or the lens or you've got an element out of alignment). If it's your technique then adding an 85 f/1.4 won't be the solution either, the in some cases millimeters deep depth of field will just expose flaws in your technique.

IMHO the reason to go from a 70-200 to an 85 f/1.4 is not because your photos aren't sharp enough. If your existing gear is working as it should and if your technique is solid you should be able to produce photos that are very sharp with what you have.

I agree.
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
391
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Georgia
It's the Nikon 70-200 vr i. I'm sure it's me... A lot of times the photos are very sharp. I think it has to do with being such a big and heavy lens. When I get the focus right, it's super sharp. Other times I think I move it too much or something. I should use my tripod more - I'm sure that would help.

I considered selling the beast to get it because I don't use it too often.
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2011
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US
hmm... my 70-200 VR2 is probably the sharpest lens I have... I always have my VR turned on, and I keep my shutter speeds above 1/100; I usually get good results
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
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Banff National Park, Alberta
It's the Nikon 70-200 vr i. I'm sure it's me... A lot of times the photos are very sharp. I think it has to do with being such a big and heavy lens. When I get the focus right, it's super sharp. Other times I think I move it too much or something. I should use my tripod more - I'm sure that would help.

I considered selling the beast to get it because I don't use it too often.

Are you on DX or full frame?

A monopod, VR on and shutter speeds of at least 1/200 will ensure sharp photos. Just make sure that the VR is off when you get over 1/500. Even with VR a lens that heavy is going to be difficult to shoot without support below 1/100 for some.
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
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Boise, ID
Yeah, I was getting good results hand held at 1/30 with VR on at 200mm with my 70-200. I bought the 85/1.4 for portraits, not for the "sharper" results, but for the shallow DOF and the speed of f/1.4. Sold the 70-200 and bought the 200 f/2 for the same reason, and I can get sharp results with the 200/2 with VR on at 1/15 or so hand held. I think technique is the issue here, as you shouldn't have issues not getting sharp results.

On topic though, I would have to agree with most everyone else... lose the 50mm and pick up a 85mm, you will be VERY happy you did.
 
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Thanks guys. I'm on full frame (D700). Giving up the 50 for the 85 is a good idea, except it leaves a $500-600ish gap that I can't afford to fill.

Better start saving... :tongue:
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
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Banff National Park, Alberta
Yeah, I was getting good results hand held at 1/30 with VR on at 200mm with my 70-200. I bought the 85/1.4 for portraits, not for the "sharper" results, but for the shallow DOF and the speed of f/1.4. Sold the 70-200 and bought the 200 f/2 for the same reason, and I can get sharp results with the 200/2 with VR on at 1/15 or so hand held. I think technique is the issue here, as you shouldn't have issues not getting sharp results.

On topic though, I would have to agree with most everyone else... lose the 50mm and pick up a 85mm, you will be VERY happy you did.

Well physical strength plays a huge role as well. I don't own one but I'm pretty sure that I could hand hold 1/15 with a 70-200VR. I doubt I'm strong enough to hand hold a 200 f/2 VR at 1/15th however.
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
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Boise, ID
True, I am pretty strong, I played semi-pro/professional hockey for a little while, so that would definitely play a part in my ability to handhold heavier equipment, especially for long periods of time.

At the same time though, an ex-girlfriend of mine who was about 100 lbs. was getting good results consistently at 1/60 VR-on handheld at 200mm with the 70-200, but couldn't manage it for more than about 20 minutes at a time.
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
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Chicago
Brace your elbows on your chest. Read up on how a rifle marksman holds the rifle. Do the same. Hold breath, shoulder angle, foot position. The further out you hold the lens, the better off you are. Left hand goes out on lens, way out.

No doubt an 85 is easier to manage, but you need to do the same thing.

A long zoom on its tripod foot is really no good. It will move like a sea-saw. Trust me. Addition support and cable release are required.
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
391
Location
Georgia
Brace your elbows on your chest. Read up on how a rifle marksman holds the rifle. Do the same. Hold breath, shoulder angle, foot position. The further out you hold the lens, the better off you are. Left hand goes out on lens, way out.

No doubt an 85 is easier to manage, but you need to do the same thing.

A long zoom on its tripod foot is really no good. It will move like a sea-saw. Trust me. Addition support and cable release are required.

I tried that last night, and it definitely helped. I just have a hard time holding it really still. I think I'll start saving for an 85. My husband thanks you (ha!).

Thanks guys! :smile:
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2006
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Location
Durham, NC
I tried that last night, and it definitely helped. I just have a hard time holding it really still. I think I'll start saving for an 85. My husband thanks you (ha!).

Thanks guys! :smile:

From the problems posted about the siggy 85mm f/1.4, I would look at the Nikon 85mm f/1.4D or G.
 

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