24mm -70mm zoom lenses - a must have for portraits
Many photographers, magazines and photography forums seem to be of the opinion the best lens for portrait photography is a fixed focal length prime lens, however I don’t agree with this. In my experience, and opinion, the best portrait lens is the 24mm – 70mm zoom lens, and the reasons for this include:-
1. Zoom lenses are more versatile than prime lenses
With a zoom lens you can change the framing and composition without moving from the spot. This is perfect when space is tight and you can’t move closer to, or farther away from the subject and also when the subject is a little bit apprehensive and doesn’t want a lens stuck in its face. Using the zoom you can get in nice and tight, or pull back for a wider shot and the subject won’t have a clue what you’re doing.
2. All “portrait” focal lengths are covered
A 24mm – 70mm zoom lens is an effective 38mm – 112mm on a crop sensor dslr camera, and this covers the popular portrait focal lengths of 50mm (for the head and shoulder shots) and 85mm (for the full body shots). The other focal lengths can, of course, be used to capture portraits but the 50mm and 85mm are considered key.
3. A zoom lens is an “all in one” solution
A zoom lens is an all in one solution and means you only need one lens with you, which will be on the camera at all times. When using prime lenses you need a whole collection of lenses to shoot at different focal lengths. Carrying around several lenses adds weight, bulk and there is also the risk of damaging the lenses that are not on the camera.
4. A zoom lens leads to an uninterrupted and more efficient shoot
With a zoom lens there is no need to keep stopping, and hence interrupting, the shoot to change lenses to capture different types of portraits. When using a zoom lens you can change the focal length in a split second and carry on shooting. Keeping the shoot moving not only makes everything run smoothly but also keeps the subjects/models happy too, and a happy model results in great photos.
Disadvantages using a zoom lens?
The maximum widest aperture of zoom lenses is typically narrower than prime lenses, and this is the biggest disadvantage of using a zoom lens for portrait photography. That said, is a maximum widest aperture of f2.8 really a disadvantage? An aperture of f2.8 is still wide and the depth of field is shallow enough to capture tack sharp subjects and intentionally blur the background.
There are times when f2.8 is actually too wide to get everything that should be sharp in the frame actually sharp, and you have to narrow the aperture a touch. In these instances a maximum widest aperture of f2.8 isn’t a problem.
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Top rated 24mm - 70mm zoom lenses
If you want the best lens out there to capture portraits the 24mm – 70mm should be at the top of your list, and some of the best available include:-
CANON EF 24 MM - 70MM F2.8L
Focal Length – Full frame/APS-C:- 24mm - 70mm/ 38.4mm - 112mm / Aperture:- 2.8 - 22/ Min focus:- 15"/ Dimensions:- 3.48" x 4.45"/ Weight:- 28.4 oz/ Image stabilization:- No/ Price (approx.) $USD/£ GBP:- $1,750.00/£1,000.00
TOKINA 24 – 70 F2.8
Focal Length – Full frame/APS-C:- 24mm – 70mm /38.4mm – 112mm/ Aperture:- 2.8 - 22/ Min focus:- 15.0”/ Dimensions:- 3.53” x 4.23”/ Weight:- 25.8oz/ Image stabilization:- No/ Price (approx.) $USD/£ GBP:- $880.00/£900.00
SIGMA 24 – 70 F2.8
Focal Length – Full frame/APS-C:- 24mm – 70mm/38.4mm – 112mm/ Aperture:- 2.8 - 22/ Min focus:- 15.7”/ Dimensions:- 3.5” x 4.7”/ Weight:- 24.7oz/ Image stabilization:- No/ Price (approx.) $USD/£ GBP:- $500.00/£490.00
TAMRON 28 – 75 F2.8
Focal Length – Full frame/APS-C:- 75mm – 75mm/44.8mm – 120mm/ Aperture:- 2.8 - 32/ Min focus:- 13.0”/ Dimensions:- 2.17” x 3.62”/ Weight:- 18oz/ Image stabilization:- No/ Price (approx.) $USD/£ GBP:- $500.00/£400.00
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