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Best porttrait lens for D40 X

Rafal Soltysek , Feb 12, 2008; 04:36 p.m.

What would be the " optimal", most universal portrait lens for , d40 x - as far quality of the portraits are concern? I have 18-55mm and 55-200mm , 18-200 mm VR among others.Thanks, raf


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Juanjo Viagran , Feb 12, 2008; 04:38 p.m.

if you want an AF compatible lens for the D40 IMO the Nikon 105mm 2.8 AFS micro would be the "best" lens for portraits for you.. if you don't care about AF the 85mm 1.4 or 105mm 2DC are two of the best lenses I know for portraits.

Walter Schroeder , Feb 12, 2008; 04:48 p.m.

There must be at least a hundred optimal portrait lenses. Unfortunately portraits are often done with manual focusing and the viewfinder of the D40x is less than optimal for manual focusing. Unfortunately the D40 does only support AF via AFS lenses. For "slow" portraits manual focus may be acceptable for you and a cheap way to get into high quality glass would be an 50mm f1.8 lens - either AF(D) or better for MF the AIS version.

Actually if you can live with large DOF the lenses you own are reasonably good at f8. For real "optimal" setup consider an film bases F3 or a semi pro body like the D200 used or D300 new :-)

What is you budget? The current micro Nikkor 105mm and 60mm lenses are AFS. You can always soften in post processing or with the aid of a softar filter.

Rich DeCristo , Feb 12, 2008; 04:58 p.m.

I have a d40 and bought a Nikon 50mm F1.8D which is only about $100. It is a low aperture lens and amazing in low light for portraits - only thing is it will be manual focus as will all prime lenses on your D40 or D40x. Check out the review: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/5018daf.htm

Albert Smith , Feb 12, 2008; 05:03 p.m.

The word portrait is often used as a single word for head-shot, and indeed head-shots are portraits, but not all portraits are head shots.

You can take a portrait with any moderate lens with good results. If you like environmental informal portraits, then you could do quite well with even a simple 35mm f/2.0 or 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor (which would require manual focus on your camera). They would give a field-of-view of a 50mm and 75mm on 35mm film cameras. Either of these lenses would allow for some selective focus with the person rendered in-context with the surroundings. Either of these focal lenghts would allow for a mid-chest to top of head type shot with no problems.

If head shots are your goal, then the newly announced 60mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor may be the thing. It would give a field-of-view of a 90mm lens (35mm eqiv) and the ability to tightly frame the face. It is also an "S" lens and would focus with your D40X.

I have 85mm and 105mm Nikkors (classic portrait lenses on full frame), but on my digital SLR, they are a bit too narrow for my way of shooting. I have been shooting almost exclusively with a 35mm f/2.0 and 50mm since I got my D40.

non-head shot portrait made with 35mm f/2.0 AF Nikkor on D40

Rafal Soltysek , Feb 12, 2008; 05:42 p.m.

How about Nikon 28-70mm ?

Hiro Matsu , Feb 12, 2008; 05:49 p.m.

Maybe not optimal, but my Sigma 50-150 does very well with my D40. Very nice OOF rendition, IMO.

Hiro Matsu , Feb 12, 2008; 05:54 p.m.

If you have time to set up for the shot, the 105 2.5 AI is fairly cheap and would give a nice result. Again, IMO.

Juanjo Viagran , Feb 12, 2008; 06:34 p.m.

Rafal, the 28-70mm 2.8 AFS, AKA: THE BEAST is AWESOME. One of my favorite zooms but a little overkill to put on a D40X IMO.

here are two "portraits" I took last weekend with Sarah (wife) as a "model", they are with the D2Hs and THE BEAST ;)



Rafal Soltysek , Feb 12, 2008; 06:57 p.m.

Thanks Juanjo- eventually i will get "better" camera even though i am happy so far , for what i do with d40x. When you say overkill, what do you exactly mean, ultimately, lens is for me an investment - i can put on another body or sell it.Also, i found interesting: Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 G AF-S

WHAT ABOUT THIS LENS VS. 28-70mm I am looking for something that would give me good IQ and also shallow DOF when taking portraits and the same time having some "room", for group shots as well if need it , instead of head shots only.Thanks,raf

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