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New Portrait Lens for D300

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  #1  
Old 01-10-2008, 05:59 AM
longside1 longside1 is offline
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New Portrait Lens for D300

Hi Guys,

I'm now in receipt of my new D300 and boy am I chuffed to bits1

After upgrading my camera I now looking to get a good quality prime lens for portrait work, to do my camera justice!

Ideally I would plump for Nikon glass but at the moment it's out of my price range.
After doing a bit of research i've discovered this Sigma lens:

Sigma 150mm f2.8 APO Macro DG EX HSM

It's appears to have very good reviews and I'm assuming it could also double for portraits.

Does anyone have any experience with this lens or could they reccomend an alternative?

Many thanks!
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  #2  
Old 01-10-2008, 06:13 AM
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Stephen A Stephen A is offline
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Re: New Portrait Lens for D300

Quote:
Originally Posted by longside1 View Post
Hi Guys,

I'm now in receipt of my new D300 and boy am I chuffed to bits1

After upgrading my camera I now looking to get a good quality prime lens for portrait work, to do my camera justice!

Ideally I would plump for Nikon glass but at the moment it's out of my price range.
After doing a bit of research i've discovered this Sigma lens:

Sigma 150mm f2.8 APO Macro DG EX HSM

It's appears to have very good reviews and I'm assuming it could also double for portraits.

Does anyone have any experience with this lens or could they reccomend an alternative?

Many thanks!
Hmm... weird, I don't shoot portraiture very often but I really like my Nikkor 50mm F/1.8... not really sure why you would shoot portraits with a fixed focus 150mm, seems counter intertuitive to me.

Anyways, I like the 50mm for it's speed and bokeh... and the price tag - $130ish
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  #3  
Old 01-10-2008, 06:29 AM
longside1 longside1 is offline
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Re: New Portrait Lens for D300

Thanks for the response Stephen.

From what I can gather the sigma lens I mentioned, although a macro, can also be used with excellent results for portrait work due the ability to set a very large aperture for blurring backgrounds. Due to it's Macro abilities the camera would also be great for picking out fine facial details from the people faces etc.

I also mentioned that I was after a good quality lens for my camera aside from Nikon glass which is I'm assuming is a point you missed.

What does seem "weird" is why anybody would buy a high quality camera like the D300 only to fit it out with a very cheap lens like the one you use.

Going back to my original question, has anyone had any experience with the sigma lens for portrait work or could they recommend a good affordable alternative.
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  #4  
Old 01-10-2008, 06:43 AM
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D Thompson D Thompson is offline
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Re: New Portrait Lens for D300

I would think the 150mm would be a little long for portrait work, especially with the crop factor. If you're looking for primes only, I would think either a 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm would work better. My main portrait lenses are my 24-70 f2.8 and 85 f1.8.
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  #5  
Old 01-10-2008, 02:15 PM
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Stephen A Stephen A is offline
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Re: New Portrait Lens for D300

Quote:
Originally Posted by longside1 View Post
Thanks for the response Stephen.

From what I can gather the sigma lens I mentioned, although a macro, can also be used with excellent results for portrait work due the ability to set a very large aperture for blurring backgrounds. Due to it's Macro abilities the camera would also be great for picking out fine facial details from the people faces etc.

I also mentioned that I was after a good quality lens for my camera aside from Nikon glass which is I'm assuming is a point you missed.

What does seem "weird" is why anybody would buy a high quality camera like the D300 only to fit it out with a very cheap lens like the one you use.

Going back to my original question, has anyone had any experience with the sigma lens for portrait work or could they recommend a good affordable alternative.
Yeouch, I'm feeling a bit of a burn.
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  #6  
Old 01-11-2008, 09:03 PM
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Stephen A Stephen A is offline
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Re: New Portrait Lens for D300

Quote:
Originally Posted by longside1 View Post
Thanks for the response Stephen.

From what I can gather the sigma lens I mentioned, although a macro, can also be used with excellent results for portrait work due the ability to set a very large aperture for blurring backgrounds. Due to it's Macro abilities the camera would also be great for picking out fine facial details from the people faces etc.

I also mentioned that I was after a good quality lens for my camera aside from Nikon glass which is I'm assuming is a point you missed.

What does seem "weird" is why anybody would buy a high quality camera like the D300 only to fit it out with a very cheap lens like the one you use.

Going back to my original question, has anyone had any experience with the sigma lens for portrait work or could they recommend a good affordable alternative.
I was discussing this with the guys in the camera shop I work in, because I found it unusual. And after some thought and discussion I am very confused.

You call Nikkor (Nikon) glass cheap? I guess you mean the specific lens I mentioned is cheap, because it's a inexpensive lens? That would be wrong, you see it's actually a very high quality lens glass wise. It's just lower quality body material - the mount is plastic, and most of the body parts are (high quality) plastic - but plastic none the less.

Another neat feature about the lens I mentioned is that it's f/1.8 which means you get very noteworthy bokeh. It's a very highly rated on lens in communities such as Photodo, Photographyreview, Photozone, and also Amazon (admittedly not a photo community, but we all know people will buy anywheres to skirt on a few bucks).

But what makes me most confused is you talk about not putting cheap glass on your camera, then mention buying Sigma Lenses- which is not top-quality glass, whereas Nikkor is a well established Lens manufacturer.

And to add to this confusion you speak of doing portraits with a 150mm fixed focus, which would be VERY close, unless you weren't - which seems impractical. Also, have you seen the macro mode on that lens uses? It's for bugs, and coins... or eyelashes, if people dig that stuff.

If you don't mind the pricetag, Nikon also makes a 50mm f/1.4 which is a shade more expensive ($350)
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2008, 04:16 AM
longside1 longside1 is offline
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Re: New Portrait Lens for D300

Stephen,

I wasn't intending to "burn you" so apologies if I upset you. Also many thanks for taking the time to seek assistance for your retort with your work colleagues you'll have to thank them on my behalf.

Just to clear up a few matters, I don't consider Nikon glass to be cheap, this I thought would be apparent as in my first post I did clearly explain that I can't afford it! My reference to cheap was with regards the Nikon lens that you are using, and yes you are correct I classed it as being cheap due to the fact it is one of the most inexpensive Nikon lenses out there (give yourself a pat on the back for figuring that one!).

However, I have read the reviews for this lens you kindly provided and fully acknowledge your comments that optical attributes of this lens are very good and on that point I stand corrected.

With regards Sigma not producing top quality glass, I suggest you take the same time finding online reviews for the Sigma lens I suggested as you did finding reviews for your Nikon lens, you may be pleasantly surprised.

I don't know what your level of understanding is concerning portrait photography, but I can assure you mine is pretty limited. If you're unsure of the application of a 150mm lens for portrait work take some time to read the following article as it provides a good introduction on the use of longer lenses for portrait work:

http://shutterbug.com/equipmentrevie...ses/1206sigma/

Anyway, I enjoyed this discussion and will certainly look at the 50mm f/1.4.

DWThomp: Thanks for taking the time to comment I'll also take a look at the lenses you referenced!
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  #8  
Old 01-12-2008, 05:11 AM
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Stephen A Stephen A is offline
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Re: New Portrait Lens for D300

Quote:
Originally Posted by longside1 View Post
http://shutterbug.com/equipmentrevie...ses/1206sigma/

Anyway, I enjoyed this discussion and will certainly look at the 50mm f/1.4.

DWThomp: Thanks for taking the time to comment I'll also take a look at the lenses you referenced!
Excellent article, I hadn't considered the compression and the wider frame of cropping - which, with the exception of compression, I usually avoid.

I'm still not so sure about the distance, as I don't think I could do that without losing my patience... and I guess the idea of shooting portraits with what would be on film a 225mm a little unusual, but it does seem like an excellent quality lens.
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  #9  
Old 01-12-2008, 12:10 PM
Panascape Panascape is offline
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Re: New Portrait Lens for D300

Nikon 85mm f1.4. Just picked one up last week and it is unbelievably sharp and is great for portrait work.
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  #10  
Old 01-12-2008, 03:13 PM
Mucker Mucker is offline
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Re: New Portrait Lens for D300

You better be doing a lot of outdoor portraits if you're going to be using a 150mm prime lens on an APS sized sensor, because otherwise you'll be shooting from another room indoors. That lens is really built to give you more working distance while shooting macros. I have a 105mm prime nikon, which was considered a good portrait length on full frame/film, but I'm almost out of the room when shooting anything other that headshots on my digital. I'd go with an 85 or 50 mm prime for portrait work now.

Also, the lens you listed retails about 600 bucks, you could get a faster piece of nikon glass in a 50 or 85mm length for 1/2 to 2/3's the price.

If you were just asking about sigma glass in general, I have a longer telephoto that's just fine, but a bit slow for my liking nowadays.
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