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Best Portrait Lenses for Nikon D300?

Joseph Braun , Nov 22, 2008; 10:50 a.m.


What's the best portrait lens for the D300? I will be shooting on location and in a small-ish studio. Any ideas?


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Thangavelu Nachimuthu , Nov 22, 2008; 10:52 a.m.

Nikon AF 85mmf/1.4 or AF-S 105mm f/2.8 VR

Robert Gulotta , Nov 22, 2008; 11:17 a.m.

it depends on what you consider portraits... If you are looking for head and shoulder shots, the 85 1.4 is the one to get in my opinion.

If you are going to zoom out, zoom in, and want full body, whole family, etc, I would recommend the 24-70 f/2.8... the 17-55 2.8 dx lens is a nice alternative, but I prefer the longer focal lengths for family portraits...

Hosteen Yendikeno , Nov 22, 2008; 11:33 a.m.

The 24-70 certainly would give great flexibility, but if the price is too much, consider the 85 as already noted. If price is a major factor, you could also get by with a 50mm 1.4, depending upon what type of portraits you're after (head & shoulders, full body, etc.).

Randy Lewis , Nov 22, 2008; 12:26 p.m.

A 50mm lens becomes a 75mm on the D300. You can't beat the 50mm f1.4 for price or quality. Will work very close to the 85mm f1.4 I use on my D700.

Andreas Manessinger , Nov 22, 2008; 01:04 p.m.

Well, if a 50/1.4, then it has to be the Sigma. A bit big, a bit heavy, a bit expensive, but excellent quality and a bokeh that's so far unmatched. I can't imagine that the new Nikon will be any better.

Another excellent portrait lens is the Sigma 70/2.8 Macro. It's extremely sharp, usable wide open, without any apparent defects.

I own and love both.

Lil Judd , Nov 22, 2008; 01:34 p.m.

I shoot my daughter's head shots with my 70-200mm VR f/2.8 wide open. That's what I was advised to do on DPR by professional guys who shoot portraits. But now that I also have the 24-70mm f/2.8 I will probably also experiment with it.

What I like with the 70-200VR f/2.8 is that it allows me to stand a little further away when I have a subject that's not all that comfortable with me up close. That worked very well for my daughter's boyfriend when he needed head shots as well.


Lil :-)

David Chu , Nov 22, 2008; 01:41 p.m.

105mm f/2D AF DC? Or 135mm f/2D AF DC?

Donald Olson , Nov 22, 2008; 01:49 p.m.

As you can see, there is no one right lens. My 28/70 works very well as does my 70-200 along with my 85 f1.4, My Voigtlander 58 f1.4 SLII is a perfect mate to the 85 f1.4 and I'm finding out that the Tokina 100mm f2.8 macro that I got is a pip. It depends on many factors. Subject, (full length, waist, chest or head) room and focal length to achieve the desired effect. large diaphragm if isolation is wanted.

Just about anything can step up to the plate and do the job. The 28/105 f3.5-4.5D does a wonderful job.

My suggestion is to start simple and gain experience, then you will know what you need.

Cheers, Don

David Thomas , Nov 22, 2008; 02:15 p.m.

In a 'smallish' studio, if you are looking for just head/shoulder shots, the 85mm is very good on a the D300. Personally, I use the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 lens (about $370)--which, if money is tight, is quite a bit of savings over the f/1.4 lens at over $900. You can decide if the $550 or so difference is worth the partial stop difference. If you are using studio lights I doubt that you'll be opening your lens all the way to start with, and if you do, the DOF will be quite shallow.

If you are looking to go for full body coverage, I found the flexibility of the 17-55mm f/2.8 to be quite good. It goes for around $1200 (new).


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