Gear Talk - My Go To Portrait Lens / by Gleb Lapham

How's it going everyone?! Welcome back! This week I'm going to move away from my Summer Travels and talk a little bit about gear. I used to work in retail at an electronics store. That store sold some basic DSLR's and a small selection of lenses and I was known as the camera guy. One of the most common questions I heard from people was "What is a good portrait lens?".

There are certainly a lot to choose from but for low cost options I would always recommend a 50mm f/1.8 as a good and practical first lens to add to their entry level DSLR (it's what I bought for my very first DSLR). For those who were interested in something more I would recommend the 85mm f/1.8 (my work didn't usually carry these, but customers still appreciated the advice). 

The big lens that can do it all!

While those two lenses are fantastic, there is a particular type of lens that almost every manufacturer makes and all of them are workhorses for portrait photographers everywhere. Those lenses are the 70-200mm f/2.8's. Nikon, Canon, Sony, they all have their own specific ones. There are even third party options available from Tamron (the one I have) and Sigma (a little older). 

Why are those particular lenses so good?! Well, there are a couple of reasons.

First, is that they are versatile. They can zoom from 70mm all the way up to 200mm, which means you can adapt them to your needs pretty quick. 

The second reason is the f/2.8 aperture. The aperture on these lenses is constant, which means it stays the same whether you're at 70mm or 200. The lens will always let it the same amount of light and it works really well in low light. Plus the f/2.8 aperture really lets you blur out the background make your subject pop! 

 

The background just melts away.....

The lens that I own is Tamron's version of the 70-200mm f/2.8. This is the lens that I use for a good majority of my portraits. That lens has never let me down. I've used in the snow, in the cold, while it was raining, and on windy days. It has never let me down, it just does its job.

I have used this lens on every portrait related shoot I have done. Its versatility allows me to go from taking picture of an entire family, to getting some close ups without having to switch out my lenses. 

Its also a very sharp lens. A couple of weeks ago I did some portraits for a friend of mine, Kristy Jo and there was a healthy mix of full body portraits to some close ups. Throughout the entire focal length of the lens it always manages to keep the picture nice and sharp. If you're serious about portraits then sharpness is something you want to strive for.  

Even though I am primarily focusing on portraits in this post don't think that the 70-200 lenses aren't good for other things. In fact they are great for a number of things. Remember that I said they were versatile, I wasn't kidding about that! For example I have used mine a lot to take pictures of wildlife. It won't get you super close, but it can definitely get the job done!

The last great thing about the 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses is their low light performance. Because of their wide aperture they are able to let it a lot light. So if you're someone who want to shoot weddings and events that take place indoors investing in one of these lenses would be a great idea.

While there are many other lenses out there that will work great for portraits, in my opinion the 70-200mm f/2.8 is one of the best. But that's just my opinion and the way I work, you could already have your own perfect portrait lens that could be completely different. I would love to hear about your go to portrait lens so feel free to let me know what it is and what you like about it in the comments.

There is very little right and wrong in photography and if something works really well for you, then go ahead and keep doing the good work. If you have a chance to try out a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens I definitely encourage you to do so to see how you like it.

As always thank you very much for reading! If you have any questions, would like some tips, or just want to have a chat please go ahead and leave a comment. Also if you like this blog and don't want to miss the next post feel free to subscribe, like me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram. Until next week! Peace out!