Best portrait lense for D40

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by SteveC, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. SteveC

    SteveC

    38
    Jun 13, 2008
    UK
    I want to get a portrait lense for my lowly D40. The important thing to note is that I don't care about AF, though I do care about AE.

    As it's portrait, the absolute minimum is 50mm, maximum is probably in the 80s?

    The old Nikon 1.8 50mm seems ideal (though possibly a little short), but I can't figure out what models of it exist, and if any are AE on the D40.

    Those more knowledgeable, what advice do you have (other than 'get a D80')?
     
  2. For tight headshots you'd want more than 80mm, or a fast speed lens to blur the background more efficiently. I use my 70-200mm VR for headshots. A good portrait lens for you if you don't care about AF is the 180mm /2.8. Another great one is the 85mm /1.4
     
  3. SteveC

    SteveC

    38
    Jun 13, 2008
    UK
    I don't tend to shoot that tight - usually family shots, so whole body. The 85 1.4 is way way way out of budget! I guess I want the cheaper options...
     
  4. I've found with a cropped sensor, 50mm can sometimes be too long if you're in a house.

    I do a lot of portraits in other peoples homes and usually having to shoot around 35mm because of the space restrictions.

    You should be able to judge what fast lens to get based on what focal lengths you shoot more often.

    Go through your portraits, see which focal length is the most common, then find a fast prime close to that length.
     
  5. Randy

    Randy

    May 11, 2006
    50mm 1.4
     
  6. Look at the Siggy 30mm 1.4 as well.
     
  7. haha. I find the Tamron 28-300 VC to work very well:) 
     
  8. SteveC

    SteveC

    38
    Jun 13, 2008
    UK
    I find below 50mm to be too distorted for a lot of portrait, when shooting from above, the kids tend to shrink a bit, also when I _do_ go in tighter, big noses etc..

    I also find I've got little discipline with zoom lenses - I'd prefer something fixed at a level that's good to go - hence the 50-90 range.

    Will the Nikon 50mm 1.4 and 1.8s perform AE on a D40? Handheld without anti-shake I'll regularly want to be in A or S priority.

    As for the Tamron 28-300, it's just not sharp enough - USM generally fixes it to acceptable levels, but I want MORE!
     
  9. SP77

    SP77

    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    Any 1986 or newer AF or AF-D lens will meter on the D40 so you don't need to worry. I really like my AF-S 18-135 lens for portrait work. It's very sharp at the long end, 105-135mm works great for head shots, the bokeh is pretty nice, and you can use it as a walkaround lens too. Not a fast lens so you'll need a flash indoors, though.
     
  10. SteveC

    SteveC

    38
    Jun 13, 2008
    UK
    Does that include any of the available 50mm 1.8 (or 1.4s) ? They seem to be AI mount? Are there more recent ones?
     
  11. alexgn

    alexgn

    42
    Jul 18, 2008
    Australia
    I am not sure if it's the best but there's new Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4 from Cosina. It is not terribly expensive. IQ is good too.
     
  12. Tosh

    Tosh

    May 6, 2005
    NY
    Sigma 50-150 2.8 [has HSM, so you get AF]
    Tokina 50-135
    Tamron 28-75 2.8
    Nikon 35-70 2.8
    Tamron 90 2.8 macro
     

  13. Yes, the current models are AF. You can find them on the Nikon UK website.

    Correction. Nikon currently offers AF and AIS versions of the 50mm f/1.4. There's not much difference as far as you're concerned, as both will meter and neither will autofocus on your d40.

    Since you like longer focal lengths, you might consider the Nikon 105mm f/2.5 AIS Manual Focus Lens... a legendary portrait lens. It was discontinued in 2005, but is still readily available in the used market at quite reasonable prices. Lens reviewer Bjorn Rorslett commented,

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2008
  14. sinigang619

    sinigang619

    26
    Aug 8, 2007
    San Diego
    The Sigma 30mm 1.4 was a favorite of my friends who owned a the D40 also.
     
  15. What kind of portraiture do you need to do? Will you be in a studio, outside or a relatively large room? If so go for the 50mm 1.8 or 1.4, can't get much sharper than those lenses.

    If you like, you could do it with 3 primes,
    50 1.4 or 1.8
    85 1.4
    105 2.8
     
  16. mikechang

    mikechang

    27
    Jun 9, 2008
    San Diego
    i vote for Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4.
    you should have a lot of fun doing MF on this lens.
    the focus ring is very smooth
    and it does AE (though some has constant over/under exposure problem??)

    and i think it's quite sharp after f/2
    with nice bokeh (not exact creamy imo, it's a bit unique)
    and rounded aperture blade so the light spot from far away is in circular shape.
     
  17. alexgn

    alexgn

    42
    Jul 18, 2008
    Australia
  18. It's difficult to determine if such good results are due to the lens or to a high level of craftsmanship on the part of the photographer. I don't read Japanese, but based on composition and lighting, the samples in the page you linked appear to have been taken by highly skilled photographers. As I commented in another thread about the 85/1.4,

    Since the 85/1.4 is a specialized tool and quite expensive, it's ownership is biased towards advanced hobbyists whose interests are heavily weighted towards portraiture. Many of them could take knockout portraits with the glass from the bottom of a coke bottle. I imagine some folks who buy the 85/1.4 are disappointed that it doesn't automatically turn snapshots into masterpieces.


    Have you any that you've taken yourself?
     
  19. mikechang

    mikechang

    27
    Jun 9, 2008
    San Diego
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  20. alexgn

    alexgn

    42
    Jul 18, 2008
    Australia
    Frank, there's nothing wrong with the 85mm f/1.4. It’s obvious choice for portraits and everyone is using it.. I thought OP wanted something cheaper than the 85mm f/1.4 lens. Well, Nokton 2.5x is cheaper.

    I haven't taken any pictures myself with Nokton because I don't own it. However, I have researched on this lens a little bit and I am considering it as a possible portrait lens in my lens line up.
     
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