EFS 60mm f2.8 vs EF 85mm f1.8 on Portrait What would be the better choice?
asked by Jason on September 22, 2011
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Showing 1-8 of 8 answers
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Forgot to mention that 60mm being too sharp for portraits is also true. Everyone praises portraits taken with 50mm 1.8 but when i tried 60mm - the older people didn't like their portraits - these were tack sharp - a bit too much showing each and every detail of facial features. Experienced it first hand.
MEJazz answered on December 30, 2011

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MEJazz: Maybe so but you can easily soften those pictures in post processing. I personally would rather have too much sharpness than not enough. I'm considering this lens and the EF 100 f/2.8 macro and plan to rent each one for a day and make my final determination. I would suggest anyone shopping for a lens to try it out first before buying.

Oh, and I too have the 50mm f/1.8 and the bokeh really isn't all that great since there are 5 non-rounded aperature blades. Even at 1.8 that lens is a better performer stopped down to 2.8 and even 4 as the maximum. I like the shots I get from it but from my limited experience you get a very limited window for optimal performance. YMMV.
Bob answered on March 21, 2012

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I'll vote for 85 1.8 (or maybe even 50mm 1.8). I have recently bought the 60mm 2.8 Macro to use mainly for portraits - Even though it takes GREAT shots, I find myself missing my nifty-fifty (50mm 1.8) for its low-light capabilities and better bokeh due to having a 1.8 aperture. Before i got the 60mm, I tried the 100mm 2.8 Macro and though the portraits taken with it outdoor in light are absolutely flattering, i was not able to take a steady shot indoor of children under normal light (w/o flash as i like available light photography). Plus the 100 was a bit too long on my crop-sensor body. Even though 60 has addressed these concerns mostly, the portraits still seems not to have a nifty-fifty level bokeh (quantity-wise, not quality-wise i.e. how deep or not it is). I find myself longing for a 85mm as well as i would like to keep 60mm for product shot and macro work. But for purely portraits; i feel 85 is a better choice. 60 works as well and do double duty and is not as long as 85. And you can't beat that nifty-fifty for portraits - the best $100 you can spend that gives all these other lenses a run for their money when it comes to portraits. If you rather have 60, maybe also cough-up another $100 and get the 50mm as well - you will appreciate it more in low light over the 60.
MEJazz answered on December 30, 2011

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I had originally purchased the 100 f2.8 (non-IS) and though i LOVED the creamy bokeh it created, it was hard to get a steady shot hand-held in even slightly lower light. That is when i replaced it with 60mm which definitely is a lot better at getting steady shots hand-held and also bought the 85mm f1.8 to get the creamy bokeh portraits. I was planning to return 60 but i just loved its sharpness and ability to focus so close. The 85 can't focus unless you are more than 3ft from the subject - can't take candid shots that are tight crop. If you use a flash, the 100mm is perfect as a portrait lens as well as a macro. Otherwise i guess it will come down to what you want from it: Macro (60mm) or Portraits (50mm or 85mm).
MEJazz answered on March 21, 2012

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I agree with Bob, you can't really compare the bokeh between the pentagon-shaped aperture blades of the 50mm 1.8 and the nearly round aperture of the 60mm 2.8 macro - which is also much superior in optical quality.
Carlos answered on May 30, 2012

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Yeah, that 60mm is soooo good, it makes it really hard to move up to a full frame - i can't stand losing it.
MEJazz answered on May 30, 2012

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85mm is known as the portrait lens. f/1.8 gives you better depth of field control, and the 85mm is an absolutely amazing lens.

However, the 60mm is no slouch in the IQ field. It takes incredibly sharp photos and has absolutely brilliant color. Whereas I'd give the nod to the 85mm for portraits, the 60mm, with its shorter focal length, is probably more versatile. So, if you can only afford one, and you don't have a "walk around" lens, you'd do just fine with the 60mm.
Gatorowl answered on November 6, 2011

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[Deleted by the author on Nov 18, 2012 2:47:25 PM PST]
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