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24-70 for portraits

william bray , Sep 28, 2011; 04:13 p.m.

I have decided to get a full frame body. I have been building up my lenses to do this. The two main lenses I use are the 24-70 and a 70- 200 2.8 is. I have done a few weddings and the 24-70 was on my camera 80% of the time. But it has suddenly hit me that I will be losing the long end of my 24- 70, and might end up with me losing time changing to my 70-200 for portrait shoots. The 70-200 is quite a heavy lump to keep changing in an environment where speed is essential, or to have it hanging around you on another body just for those portrait shots, I only brought the 70-200 out when I knew I would need it. I know that 85-135 mm is the ideal length for head and shoulders shots, but I also know that a 24-70 is the main lens used by wedding photographers, and portraits are done quite a lot in a wedding. So I was wondering has any one used a 24-70 for head and shoulders shots, is it ok to use now and again so you don't have to keep swapping equipment. I did think about using the lens at 70mm but not to get to close to the subject, so I get more of the body in the shot and maybe this wouldn't distort the features and crop it latter. Does anyone think this will work ? Thanks.


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Jeff Spirer , Sep 28, 2011; 04:19 p.m.

I use the 24-70 for portraits all the time with a 1.3x body. I don't sit at 70mm, especially indoors. I do use the 70-200, but I'd say that's about 10% of the time, not enough that I would worry about. I also use the 17-40 for portraits on a 1.6x body. I've had no complaints about "distortion," the only problem I have is that at events, it isn't always wide enough.

Jan de Bever , Sep 28, 2011; 04:23 p.m.

how about the 24-105 on an extra body?
I always use the 70-200 2.8 Lis for head shots. love it. You get used to the weight, Time to hit the gimm..

Philip Wilson , Sep 28, 2011; 04:26 p.m.

I find the 70-200 F2.8 is a better portrait lens on full frame than my 24-70 F2.8 but the 24-70 does produce good results. If I change lenses then the 85 F1.8 or the 100 F2.8 LIS Macro are better lenses than either of the F2.8 zooms. My 70-200 F2.8 is the older Non IS version.

JDM von Weinberg , Sep 28, 2011; 04:26 p.m.

I personally am very happy with my EF 24-105mm L on a 35mm-sensor camera (so-called full frame or FX). It is only f/4 however, but the IS compensates by steadying your hand a little, in effect. It does cover the range to "portrait" focal lengths better than the 24-70mm. It's also a little more compact.
Only you can answer the question about what focal lengths you use the most and translate that into 35mm sensor terms. And only you can say how much lens-swapping you can tolerate. I don't care to do it so much and that is another reason for liking the 24-105.

Marcus Ian , Sep 28, 2011; 04:49 p.m.

I use the 24-70/2.8 a lot on FF, and love it. But if you look through your existing portfolio, and see the vast majority of your shots (on the crop) @ 45-70mm then you certainly have something to be concerned about. The switch to FF will impact your shooting. As well, a quick look will show you if you need the speed of your f2.8 lens.

While I (personally) find the 24-70/2.8 vastly superior to the 24-105/4, I shoot FF, have for awhile, and spend a lot of time @f2.8-f3.5. If the majority of your shots are @ f4+, and a significant percentage (on the crop) are @ 45+mm (~ same FOV as 70mm FF) Then you may very well benefit from using the 24-105/4 instead, as it will give you a much similar effective range to your current setup. Plus, it's cheaper, so you can transition to FF faster.

Dan M , Sep 28, 2011; 04:54 p.m.

I agree with Marcus: see how you shoot now. I have a crop and a Tamron 28-75, and I find I shoot most people shots (mostly candids, not portraits) in the range of 45-75. So for me, the 24-70 would be too short on a ff. (the classic FL for portraits with 35mm film SLRs was in the range of 90mm), for you, however, it may be fone.

Scott Ferris , Sep 28, 2011; 06:53 p.m.

Don't sweat it and don't miss shots changing lenses, just shoot as you do and crop, it will give you exactly the same picture you are used to getting, DOF, FOV, perspective, etc etc.

G Dan Mitchell , Sep 28, 2011; 09:27 p.m.

The 24-105 is certainly an option for such photography using flash. One possible downside for your work is that bokeh isn't necessarily really lovely with this lens - for that the 24-70 is better. But, as you point out, 70mm is perhaps not as long as you would like for "portrait" on full frame.

Frankly, I'd probably just slap that 70-200 on there for this sort of thing, unless you want to get some prime or primes just for this purpose.


JDM von Weinberg , Sep 28, 2011; 09:34 p.m.

The hand of Rodin's sculpture. StL Art Museum with the EF 24-105mm lens at 98mm FL:

EF 24--105mm at f/4.5 - unpleasant bokeh?

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