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Which lens for D7000?

R. Bond , Oct 17, 2011; 10:01 a.m.

I have a D7000 and just purchased the Nikon 85mm 1.4G. I have begun to get more into portrait photography recently, and have heard nothing but wonderful things about this lens. I have the 50 1.4G as well, but found I was having to get real close to my subjects and found that it could be uncomfortable. I wanted more working distance between my subject, so that is one reason I got the 85. Although, I haven't used the 85 in all types of situations yet, I don't know if I feel that this investment was truly worth it. I know this is an amazing lens on a full frame camera, but I doubt I will go full frame any time soon. I just don't know if I am fully benefiting from what all this lens can do with my current camera. The other lens I have had my eye on for quite some time is the 70-200 2.8. I discarded this thought as the price was just too high, but but the time I paid taxes on the 85, the prices of the two are not that different. I have rented the 70-200 before and fell in love with it. The only thing I couldn't stand was the weight and how big it felt attached to my D7000. I know the 70-200 makes an amazing portrait lens as well. So I guess my question to everyone here would be...
Do you think I will get more out of the 70-200 2.8 lens or the 85mm will my current camera (mainly for portrait and family photography)? I like the idea of a zoom as I shoot a lot of children and dogs, but I know the 85 does such a wonderful job of isolating the subject and producing pleasing bokeh. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.


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Peter Hamm , Oct 17, 2011; 10:46 a.m.

There isn't a "perfect" portrait lens (for the traditional portrait lens guys) for DX from Nikon. The 85 is a touch long, but no doubt awesome if you have tons of space. I've done outdoor portraits with an old 105 that I adore. 50 is the field-of-view of about 75mm on FX, closer to what you are looking for, and one of those might come in handy. I've used the cheaper 1.8D model for portraits in a pinch. Great results. Loads of guys use the 70-200, I'll let them pipe in.

But another one I hear about and that lives on my wish list is the Voigtlander manual focus 58mm. It's PERFECT in focal length if you're looking for the classic 85mm look. Perhaps somebody who uses it can pipe in. I've only read reviews.

Also some guys use the 60mm (either the f2.8 from Nikon or f2 from Tamron). I've only used the older Nikon. I prefer the 50mm f1.8 or portraits.

Georg S , Oct 17, 2011; 10:57 a.m.

I would stick with the 50/1.4 and 85/1.4. I've used the 70-200 for portraits as well, but on a DX-body it's for sure not my first choice.

Bob Sunley , Oct 17, 2011; 10:59 a.m.

Not AF, but Nikon did make a 5.8cm f1.4 when the F model was introduced. It would have to be modified for AI metering.

Elliot Bernstein , Oct 17, 2011; 11:02 a.m.

I would sell the 85mm f1.4, get a used 85mm f1.8 and a used 70-200mm (version I). If I had to choose one over the other, I would pick the 70-200mm (I love the 70-200mm for portraits).

Shun Cheung , Oct 17, 2011; 11:35 a.m.

Since the OP already has the 50mm/f1.4 AF-S and 85mm/f1.4 AF-S, I think she has the portrait area well covered for DX. The 70-200mm/f2.8 may be a good for portrait on FX; on a D7000, most of its zoom range is on the long side. Another issue is that a 70-200mm/f2.8 is on the heavy side. You need to be sure that you want to carry that around for an extended period, although the 85mm/f1.4 is not exactly light, either.

I am not an advocate for shooting portraits at f1.4. If one wants the 70-200, I would wait a bit and hopefully Nikon will have an f4 version in the next few months.

Craig Shearman , Oct 17, 2011; 01:14 p.m.

The 70-200 is a workhorse lens that you can use for everything from portaits to sports, so if you can afford to make the investment you won't regret it. My favorite focal length for head and shoulder portraits in film days was 105, and the DX sensor equivalent is 70, so this lens gives you both. The only reason I can see not to buy this lens is the price. If you are not shooting sports, you might consider the 80-200 Nikon 2.8, which covers the same lengths but doesn't autofocus as fast, or the Sigma and Tamron 70-200s. As for weight, that's just part of the game when you use professional gear. The math that goes into making a 70-200 a constant 2.8 requires glass elements of a certain size, and it adds up.

Michael Kohan , Oct 17, 2011; 01:20 p.m.

The Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 sounds like it would fit your needs very well, If you can find a good used one, if you can find a good used one (it's discontinued, but will soon be replaced by an optically stabilized version). I've used it for portraits and like it very much.

Cyrus Procter , Oct 17, 2011; 01:57 p.m.

I have a D7000, and the 85mm F/1.4G and the 70-200mm F/2.8. I've also used both lenses on FX, and the idea that you are not getting full benefit on DX is absurd. The 85mm F/1.4G produces one of the most pleasant blurs this photographer has ever seen from a Nikon lens (and I've used every fast prime Nikon currently makes from the 24mm F/1.4G all the way up to the 400mm F/2.8 and everything in between). This kind of quality is irrelevant on the sensor whether it be full frame or DX, although in the real world if you shoot the exact same frame size the FX will have more blur because you will have to be closer to get the same field of view. I will concur that the 85mm F/1.8 is excellent and for the price there is no comparison between it and the F/1.4G version. If you are going to take Shun's advice and shoot portraits at settings other than F/1.4, then you had better sell that bad boy pronto and get yourself something else. I have the F/1.4, because I shoot at F/1.4 and I love it there, if you like at F/1.4 then I wouldn't be in a hurry to get rid of it. If you like F/1.8 or more, get the 1.8D, if you like F/2.8, then the 70-200 is excellent wide open and will do everything you need and there is no point in owning a F/1.4 lens shot at F/2.8 unless you just really hate the extra size\weight of the zoom. I think the suggestion to sell the F/1.4G to get a VRI & 1.8D is an excellent idea. Gives the flexibility of the zoom with the speed of the prime. And you can't go wrong with either because they are both worth excellent prices used so if you decide you don't like one or the other you can always get rid of them with minimal loss.

If you've already fallen in love with the 70-200 then maybe that's the way to go. The VRII isn't super important to get, unless you plan on pushing it to its VR limit. Optically on DX cameras there isn't much difference, a good example of not getting the most out of a lens designed for FX, since the main optical differences between the VRI & VRII is visible on FX only. Your question is an age old one, a jack of all trades, or master at one? There is no right answer here.

Eric Arnold , Oct 17, 2011; 02:11 p.m.

Do you think I will get more out of the 70-200 2.8 lens or the 85mm will my current camera (mainly for portrait and family photography)? I like the idea of a zoom as I shoot a lot of children and dogs.

hard to say. the 70-200 is definitely geared more for action, and is "good enough" to be a portrait lens. but it's also so big and heavy as to sometimes be inconvenient, whereas a 50 or 85 is much more manageable and of course also has the option of shooting at sub-2.8 apertures. i dont think anyone can really answer this question but you, but you might consider selling the 85G, getting the (very well-reviewed) sigma variant, and an 80-200 nikkor, which works out to roughly the same cost. unless you really need VR, that could be a way to go.

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