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Best canon zoom lens for studio portrait

nfl gonda , Mar 25, 2010; 05:33 a.m.

which canon zoom lens is best for studio portrait no matter their f stop and price we only want a lens that provide overall best image quality in terms of skin tone,resolution,color,sharpness,accurate auto focus


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Cory Ryan , Mar 25, 2010; 06:20 a.m.

I absolutely love the 135 f/2. It's a great focal length for portraits and the skin tone, resolution, color, contrast, sharpness, AF, as well as the option for really shallow depth of field is out of this world. It's also tack sharp wide open which is a plus.

Alex Dannenbaum , Mar 25, 2010; 06:20 a.m.

A couple of questions:

  • What camera are you using? (it makes a difference on the recommendation of lens based on the size of your sensor).
  • Why do you require a zoom lens vs. a prime?

Erik Ingvoldstad , Mar 25, 2010; 07:12 a.m.

A few more questions:
What kind of portrait? Head shot, upper body? Full body? Studio background? Environmental?
How big is the studio? (i.e. how far from your shooting position to your subject?)
I'd say the 70-200 f/2.8L on a full frame camera with some distance to your subject.

Sreehari Sundararajan , Mar 25, 2010; 07:30 a.m.

For full body and Group shots (Family portraits) 24 - 70mm f2.8 L
For head or pair shot 70 - 200mm f4 L or go to f2.8 If your work really needs that wide.

Umesh Bhayaraju , Mar 25, 2010; 09:45 a.m.

No zoom...Use primes only.

Jeff Spirer , Mar 25, 2010; 10:21 a.m.

skin tone,resolution,color,sharpness,accurate auto focus

From what I've seen, all the L lenses are pretty similar in these areas, minus some distortion issues with the ultra-wides. I use the 24-70 most of the time in studio situations, but in tight ones, I use the 17-40.

There's another thread on this same topic, I have an example with the 24-70. Here -


Mike Stemberg , Mar 25, 2010; 11:17 a.m.

Check out 'our' Bob Atkin's take on the best focal lengths for portraits from his article ....here.

Sarah Fox , Mar 25, 2010; 11:27 a.m.

Raj, in your other thread, you were asking for recommendations for a good prime lens for portraiture with a 5Dii. You got a lot of good advice there.

I happen to be a very strong proponent of quality zoom lenses. I use zooms for easily 90-95% of my work -- mostly the 17-40, 24-105, 70-200/4IS. That said, there is no reason to use a zoom in studio portraiture, aside from the convenience of avoiding lens changes. However, there are many very good reasons to use primes, including especially that they are slightly sharper and considerably faster. I have a 100mm f/2.0 lens I like very much for this work (on a 5Di). The 85mm f/1.2 and 50mm f/1.4 are other obvious choices. (I believe you said 100mm is too long for your studio space.)

Jeff Spirer , Mar 25, 2010; 11:43 a.m.

there is no reason to use a zoom in studio portraiture, aside from the convenience of avoiding lens changes.

This is only true if one has infinite space in the studio. A typical commercial shoot can involve everything from head shots to full body, and in a small studio, or the portable one I often use, it's pretty much slow and painful without a zoom. I shot an Olympic champion for a magazine cover three weeks ago (one shot on the other thread I referenced), I had to set up in tight space and I had to shoot five different setups in about forty minutes. My time was better spent moving the lighting stands around than changing lenses. I didn't even know going in how much space I had to set up and it did turn out to be extremely tight.

Also, there isn't really any reason not to use one, as long as it's capable of good image quality.

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