Compared to 50mm the less popular 85mm is a lens that is often understated and overlooked. They are, however, the perfect length for portrait photography while also serving for a variety of other purposes. In this article we are looking at the top reasons why you should invest in an 85mm lens.
I assume you are using a full frame DSLR. If you are using an APS-C DSLR the crop factor will make a 50mm lens either 75mm or an 80mm and close to what you would want. This will make an investment into an 85mm unnecessary.
These lenses tend to have the fastest apertures in business. Look at the lenses manufactured by Canon, Nikon, Carl Zeiss or Sigma and you will notice that the best of the lot all have maximum apertures of f/1.8 and wider. Fast apertures allow you to collect that much more light than compared to a standard kit lens and are perfect for low light situations and create beautiful smooth bokeh.
Fast apertures also has another advantage and that is they create beautiful out of focus areas around the subject. This is widely used to isolate the subject from the foreground and the background just in case they are not as exciting as the subject itself.
Ideal for Portraits
The best thing about the 85mm lens is that they are widely considered as the ideal portrait lens. While a lot of users prefer to use the 70-200mm for portraiture, some even preferring the tele end of the 24-70mm, but the odds are heavily in favor of the 85mm prime. As said “they are not too big neither too small”. Thus the 85mm is a great focal length for covering weddings as well. They are just about compact, not appearing intimidating and yet allowing to capture beautiful candid portraits in social and other events.
Being the ideal portrait length could mean a lot of things, but one aspect that photographers love about the 85mm is that it does not distort the facial features of a subject, chiefly the nose which can appear larger when shot with a 50mm or wider lens.
What makes a lens intelligent, how would you call one as better and clever than the other. I would measure this by making it shoot in low light, 85mm at f/1.8 allows practically 30 times more light to fall on your sensor when compared with the kit lens. 85mm does act as a near zoom lens compared to your other prime lenses be it 35mm or 50mm. This makes it an incredible weapon while shooting in adverse low light conditions with a handy zoom in factor. Without even having to boost your ISO and making your picture grainy this would solve almost all valid problems you must have faced more commonly.
Possibilities are limitless with a 85mm prime lens. Your own imagination is the only limit here.(via Digital Photography Life, via 121 clicks)