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Old 01-19-2010   #41
meezy
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excellent thoughts in your post, kuzano. i have a lot to say in response. i am a full-time teacher. i do think that headshots are a more reliable and convenient way to make money on the side. a couple of lights and white background, a couple of hours at the studio/photoshop, cash in your hand, up front, and tax-free... and a line of aspiring actors that goes out the door waiting to be next. although i hear the contradiction you are referring to, lots of people are doing headshots in nyc, yet the competition isn't that fierce simply because there's a high demand... a significantly higher demand, i suspect, than national geographic has for my shots of anything abroad...
every waiter in new york city has headshots!

i would absolutely prefer travel photography - but it looks to me that so does anyone else who travels with a decent camera - and with each passing year there are tons and tons more that do! i can only imagine the competition in that market! yes, maybe i'll sell some shots - but at what effort and at what cost? ...i know plenty of photographers that struggle like that. i'm a bit more of a realist. i'll take travel shots for my own pleasure, thanks.

while i don't share your idealistic vision of me "following my dream" of travel photography as my primary directive, i do like your ideas for gear so that i get good results in that arena. i'll never say no to nat geo if they do find something they like, however! hell, i'll give it to them free, just for the credits.

thanks again... i like your suggestions for lenses, in particular.
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Old 01-19-2010   #42
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If it was me, I'd get a D700 and a 24-120vr lens. Comes to just about the exact amount you got.
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Old 01-19-2010   #43
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Originally Posted by meezy View Post
I would absolutely prefer travel photography - but it looks to me that so does anyone else who travels with a decent camera - and with each passing year there are tons and tons more that do! i can only imagine the competition in that market!
Enjoyed your response and clarity. May not be able to imagine the demand for head shots exceeding the capacity for doing them, but you're in New York and I am far away.

Also, I left out one thing I have read repeatedly about Travel Photojournalism. The secret in Travel Photojournalism seems not to be the image capture, but the ability to handle the journalistic part. In other words, to write pertinent, interesting and clear journalism to go with the images. It has been said often in that industry that the combination of a good photographer AND a journalist combined is a rare find. I hear that many publications that use travel photojournalism (or other photojournalism for that matter) often use photographers who can provide images and have someone else who pens the articles.

But, thanks for the response to my thoughts and very good luck on whatever course you pursue.

I still think that dollar for dollar a good Canon 5D body is a great choice. The 24-105mm IS L lens with 2.8 max aperture is a great lens, and should be attainable for around $1000 shopping carefully and given time.

Last edited by kuzano : 01-19-2010 at 21:49.
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Old 01-19-2010   #44
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I think a 5d and the 85L would be hard to beat for headshots, 5d's skintones are good, which is a blessing for a fast turnaround/less time sitting on your ass. Never used the 5D II so I can't comment on it. Getting a used 400D or something for backup is a must imo if you're shooting for money, at least for peace of mind...
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Old 01-19-2010   #45
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Originally Posted by kuzano View Post
I still think that dollar for dollar a good Canon 5D body is a great choice. The 24-105mm IS L lens with 2.8 max aperture is a great lens, and should be attainable for around $1000 shopping carefully and given time.
I agree that is a good lens and a good choice, just wanted to note that it is an f4 rather than an f2.8...



Canon also has a new 100mm 2.8 IS macro which you should check out. I've shot the similar Nikon, and the stabilization is a joy to use.

Last edited by Ranchu : 01-19-2010 at 22:07.
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Old 01-19-2010   #46
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I'd go for a Nikon D700 and several manual focus Nikkor Ai-S prime lenses. Should be able to buy quite a few lenses with the remaining cash!
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Old 01-19-2010   #47
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Where is this "huge number of National Geographic photographers and Travel Photojournalists"?

What planet?

[email protected]$*%g A please tell me! Not to pick on you but if you count people making a bona-fide and consistent living from travel photojournalism or the National Geographic Society, you can use your fingers and toes. Maybe your friend's too, but only if they're a double amputee.
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Old 01-19-2010   #48
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Originally Posted by meezy View Post
l..... i know that i want to concentrate on getting good glass - especially glass that i can retrofit to film cameras that i already own!
So what film cameras do you currently own? This could help make the most of the $3825 grant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Pentax and LOTS of weird old glass?

Cheers,

R.
I'm partial to Pentax and agree with Roger - hopefully your film camera is a Pentax
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Old 01-19-2010   #49
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Originally Posted by Frank Petronio View Post
Where is this "huge number of National Geographic photographers and Travel Photojournalists"?

What planet?
my thoughts exactly, frank.
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There are both 2.8 L and 4.0 L versions of the lens.
Old 01-19-2010   #50
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There are both 2.8 L and 4.0 L versions of the lens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranchu View Post
I agree that is a good lens and a good choice, just wanted to note that it is an f4 rather than an f2.8...



Canon also has a new 100mm 2.8 IS macro which you should check out. I've shot the similar Nikon, and the stabilization is a joy to use.
Oops... caught me. I was thinking of the 24-70 L f2.8 IS lens. It's a constant 2.8. If the f4 cuts it for your needs I would do the 24-105L lens. Personally, I would probably buy the 24-70, in which case the 70 would do head shots in a pinch, being just a bit short for portrait. With studio head shots the light would not be a problem, so the 24-105 would be good there with the f4.

The 24-70 f2.8 constant is available new on Amazon right now for $1277, while the 24-105 is $1060. One should be able to find the 24-70 used for around $1000.

Since the 5D is full frame, the door is also open to high quality EOS film lenses from the EOS systems which are sharp out to the edges. No factoring for the focal length makes things simpler. Those are some of my reasons for picking the MKI model to save money on the body. I would bet that a lot of people who have moved up the the MKII are spending a certain amount of time each day, justifying the extra expense. Lots of 5D's are showing up on the used market. The reviews from almost everyone were exemplary for that camera.
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Old 01-19-2010   #51
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Do you have to buy new? Please say no.

First thing is first, no matter what you get, get full frame. So either a D700 or one of the two 5ds (mk 1 or mk 2). For headshots, the shallower DOF that comes with that bigger chip size is invaluable. Night and day difference. I would (and did) opt for the D700 because of the (for me) much better ergonomics and the fantastic AF system, which is crucial when you're doing lots of portraits at f/1.4 and want to let people still move a little.

I'd pick up a used D700 over at fred miranda's buy and sell forums for about $2,000, then a 50mm f/1.4 G for another $400 (so much better than the older 50mm f/1.4D, really big difference for my money, glad I made the upgrade), and a 70-200mm f/2.8 for $1,400 if you like zooms OR a 35mm f/2 and a 105mm f/2 (or 85 f/1.4) for another $250 and $900 respectively. Which still keeps you under the limit, with enough left over for some cards, harddrives, or better yet some flash gear. I'd get an old manual flash like an SB24, use either radio popper Jrs or pocket wizards for your triggers, and get some small lumopro folding lightstands from www.mpex.com.

I really think there is a lot to be said for the D700 over the 5dmkII, unless you need video of course, and the prices on D700s are finally coming down a little so that it's really not hard to find one for 1,900-2,000 in very good shape. The high iso performance and quick AF on that camera makes it a true life saver. I do lots of headshots (senior portraits, usually, but lots of seniors want to look like hollywood actors, so really there are many similarities) in the late afternoon shooting at f/1.4 and ISO 800 just so I can keep my shutter speed at 1/1000 and let my subject move, and I never have to think twice. I don't even start thinking until I hit ISO 2,000, and then it's just to make sure I expose correctly, since if I do I still have no issues. It isn't until I hit 3,200-6,400 that I actually think twice, and I still usually just go for it. Don't underestimate how useful those extra stops will be.....I used to shoot on a D2x and never touch ISO 800 and didn't think I was missing anything save for when I was shooting indoor sports, I never realized how frequently I would benefit from bumping up the ISO on a regular basis now that image quality isn't degraded.....

No matter what you do, best of luck to you in your choices, and congrats!

Last edited by robinsonphotography : 01-19-2010 at 23:20.
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Old 01-19-2010   #52
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Given that you have Minolta beercan lenses, how about the Sony A850 or A900? More pixels than you can shake a stick at and in body image stabilisation?

You can use any old Minolta lenses, of which there are quite a few crackers, and the new sony zeiss lenses which are expensive but stunning.

High ISO isn't as good as some other brands, but for your usage, for portraits, thats not a big problem?
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Old 01-20-2010   #53
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Just want to burst the Canon 5D bubble, I mean more power to you if you own one, but the two friends of mine that own them always shoot it as a manual camera because the exposure automation is so bad and the auto-focus is so unreliable.

After playing with theirs, going back to a Nikon was such a relief, even though it's a smaller sensor body. If you are going to use the metering and auto-focus, it is hard to beat Nikon's.

The other advantage of the smaller APS sensors is that the lenses are a much better value. Rather than blowing $1000 on an 85/1.4 for full-frame, you can use a $100 lowly 50/1.8 (or the $400 50/1.4) on an APS camera and get pretty much the same results. The viewfinder is pretty good on the D300 series.

Last edited by Frank Petronio : 01-20-2010 at 09:11.
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Old 01-20-2010   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acliff View Post
Given that you have Minolta beercan lenses, how about the Sony A850 or A900? More pixels than you can shake a stick at and in body image stabilisation?

You can use any old Minolta lenses, of which there are quite a few crackers, and the new sony zeiss lenses which are expensive but stunning.

High ISO isn't as good as some other brands, but for your usage, for portraits, thats not a big problem?
i've considered going sony... but if i'm gonna be dropping a couple G's, i may as well get a camera that can handle high iso decently, you know?
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Old 01-20-2010   #55
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Originally Posted by Frank Petronio View Post
Just want to burst the Canon 5D bubble, I mean more power to you if you own one, but the two friends of mine that own them always shoot it as a manual camera because the exposure automation is so bad and the auto-focus is so unreliable.

After playing with theirs, going back to a Nikon was such a relief, even though it's a smaller sensor body. If you are going to use the metering and auto-focus, it is hard to beat Nikon's.

The other advantage of the smaller APS sensors is that the lenses are a much better value. Rather than blowing $1000 on an 85/1.4 for full-frame, you can use a $100 lowly 50/1.8 (or the $400 50/1.4) on an APS camera and get pretty much the same results. The viewfinder is pretty good on the D300 series.
excellent information... i'll consider all this while making my choice.
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Old 01-20-2010   #56
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I shoot 5D's and never have had any exposure problems with them. And have 10's of thousands of exposures on both of them. The auto-focus is dead on and fast with all kinds of glass. The 24-70 2.8 L is an outstanding lens.
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Old 01-20-2010   #57
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Since you have quite lot of cash get a 2 camera system, one DSLR, one FILM SLR
and some glass!
Either Nikon Canon, or Pentax will do fine, is more a matter of your taste.
I personally have only 1 AF camera (Pentax) and have nikon MF glass, so whenever I decide to buy a DSLR it'll have to be a Pentax
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Old 01-20-2010   #58
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An older/lower spec body and seriously good new lenses? ZF lenses make my D70 look an awful lot better.
Any problems with focusing on that camera? I, personally, replaced the screen on my D80 because I could not focus properly without split prism.

(unless they changed, I believe those are manual focus lenses, right?)

Note, I have moved to rangefinder full time since I did that, so it is mostly idle curiosity.
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Old 01-20-2010   #59
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Canon 7D
Canon 35mm f/1.4 L
Canon 85mm f/1.8
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8

The lenses I already own, and love. The 7D? Let me put it this way: I have the Canon 5D mkII, and I'm trading it for a 7D. The speed and autofocus alone is worth it. Full frame or not. YMMV.
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Old 01-20-2010   #60
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If I had $3k to spend, and I had to buy into the dSLR world I'd buy the following...

Nikon D90 body
Nikon 17-50mm f/2.8
Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
Manfrotto Tripod
Nikon SB-600 Speedlight
Wireless Remote
Extra Nikon Battery
(2) Hoya 77mm UV lenses
Some kind of camera bag

Which will put you right at $3800 at Amazon.
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Old 01-20-2010   #61
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NIKON D700 plus a dk17M eyepiece magnifier and
NIKKOR 28mm AIS f2.8 stunning lens, must be the AIS manual focus
Nikon AFD 50mm 1.4
and for portraits either
85mm 1.8 which has been AI'd, another stunner of a lens or
105mm 2.5 AI version because it has a longer focus turn, a classic.

I use this kit for pretty much everything and although the body is pricey, the lenses can be had for realistic money. Plus the lenses fit on close to all Nikon film cameras.
Good luck
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Old 01-20-2010   #62
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for travel full frame body and bag full of primes can be too much. I'd choose D90 & gen purpose 18-200 Sigma (DX).
rest the money two Zeiss ZF primes, perhaps 25 (in DX 37.5) & 50 (in DX 75). the later especially wont cost too much so the kit should stay within budget.
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Old 01-20-2010   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by degruyl View Post
Any problems with focusing on that camera? I, personally, replaced the screen on my D80 because I could not focus properly without split prism.

(unless they changed, I believe those are manual focus lenses, right?)

Note, I have moved to rangefinder full time since I did that, so it is mostly idle curiosity.
Not really. I mean, the D70 finder is like looking down a railway tunnel, but all the lenses I tried focused OK. Yes, the ZFs are manual.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-20-2010   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meezy View Post
hi folks.....

my interests are travel photography & portraiture too.

what "kit" would you assemble, considering my interests and plans? among your other suggestions, i am particularly interested in which lens you'd recommend for low light portraits.

looking very forward to your responses.
~m
M,

For travel and portraiture (low light) I would recommend this approach:

Ricoh GRD III
Cosina Voigtlander Black Metal 28mm Finder
Cosina Voigtlander Plastic 21mm Finder
Ricoh Hood and Adapter GH-2
Ricoh Wide Conversion Len GW-2
2 Ricoh DB-65 batteries

This gives you a world class 28/1.9 equivalent lens on a great body that fits in your pocket. The GW-1 makes it a 21mm lens (again 1.9) with no additional distortion.

Nikon D300
Nikkor 35/1.4
Cosina Voigtlander SL II 58/1.4
Nikkor 180/2.8 ED (manual focus)
Nikon TC-14
Two extra Nikon batteries are a must.

World class primes lenses on a DSLR or on film.

As an alternative to the D300 you might look at:

Used M8

Cosina Voigtlander 28/2 Ultron (36mm equivalent)
Cosina Voigtlander 50/1.1 Nokton (75mm equivalent)
Filters and batteries.

I really like think the approach of a used M8 and two lenses and a GRD III as the perfect kit. If you have $500 left over pick up a D60 and Nikkor 300/4.5 ED-IF both used for long stuff.

B2 (;->
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Old 01-20-2010   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nobbylon View Post
NIKON D700 plus a dk17M eyepiece magnifier and
NIKKOR 28mm AIS f2.8 stunning lens, must be the AIS manual focus
Nikon AFD 50mm 1.4
and for portraits either
85mm 1.8 which has been AI'd, another stunner of a lens or
105mm 2.5 AI version because it has a longer focus turn, a classic.

I use this kit for pretty much everything and although the body is pricey, the lenses can be had for realistic money. Plus the lenses fit on close to all Nikon film cameras.
Good luck
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcrawfo2 View Post
If I had $3k to spend, and I had to buy into the dSLR world I'd buy the following...

Nikon D90 body
Nikon 17-50mm f/2.8
Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
Manfrotto Tripod
Nikon SB-600 Speedlight
Wireless Remote
Extra Nikon Battery
(2) Hoya 77mm UV lenses
Some kind of camera bag

Which will put you right at $3800 at Amazon.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZebGoesZeiss View Post
Canon 7D
Canon 35mm f/1.4 L
Canon 85mm f/1.8
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8

The lenses I already own, and love. The 7D? Let me put it this way: I have the Canon 5D mkII, and I'm trading it for a 7D. The speed and autofocus alone is worth it. Full frame or not. YMMV.
this is good, guys... these are the kinds of visceral reactions i was hoping for, in addition to the thoughtful dissections i've already read. this forum is awesome...
thanks.

Last edited by meezy : 01-20-2010 at 15:51.
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Old 01-29-2010   #66
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hi everyone.
for those interested, after much thought stimulated by your postings and talking to my instructor, i have decided to get the 5d mkII kit which includes the body, of course, plus a 24-105mm lens for $3200. with the remaining $600, i will be getting the 50mm 1.4 lens, some memory, and a 250 gig hard drive.

additionally, i may spend some of my own money to get a wide angle sigma lens of some sort - 35mm?

the class i'm taking is great, focusing on an artistic approach to photography, and covering the history starting with camera obscuras to bresson to cappa.

again - thanks for the flurry of responses. it was a fun decision to make.
cheers,
~m
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Old 01-29-2010   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meezy View Post
hi everyone.
for those interested, after much thought stimulated by your postings and talking to my instructor, i have decided to get the 5d mkII kit which includes the body, of course, plus a 24-105mm lens for $3200. with the remaining $600, i will be getting the 50mm 1.4 lens, some memory, and a 250 gig hard drive.

additionally, i may spend some of my own money to get a wide angle sigma lens of some sort - 35mm?

the class i'm taking is great, focusing on an artistic approach to photography, and covering the history starting with camera obscuras to bresson to cappa.

again - thanks for the flurry of responses. it was a fun decision to make.
cheers,
~m
Heretic!

But thanks for letting us know your decision.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-29-2010   #68
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hey, man... don't worry... my beloved 7sz isn't retiring - i'm just bringing home a new friend for it.
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Old 01-29-2010   #69
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That much money is dangerous. I have meticulousy researched, and worked hard to pay for the 'right kit'.

Had I had a lump of cash just to throw at a system, it probably wouldn't be half as good as what I have now.


EDIT; Upon seeing your choice. Fair enough, but no fast portrait lens? a Leica R 90mm with an EOS adapter would be a good idea?
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Old 01-29-2010   #70
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yes, a good,fast, modern portrait lens would be great... but i do have an old helios 40 (85mm/1.5). if i get a m42-->canon mount adapter, that could satisfy me for a while. it was great on my film cameras.

if worse, comes to worse, i can make do with the helios and the 85mm setting on the zoom with proper lighting... i dunno... maybe not...
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Old 01-29-2010   #71
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I just figured that if you want to make some money from headshots and portraits, you may well need something a bit faster that the zoom which is f/4 right?

85mm f/1.2 L?
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Old 01-29-2010   #72
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you are absolutely right, dude... headshots were my plan - and the lens you suggest would be ideal... don't really know what to do about that... maybe i won't get that 50mm 1.4 and get the one you recommend instead. DAMN!!
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Old 01-29-2010   #73
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The Canon 85mm f/1.2 L is pretty darn expensive though perhaps you should look at the Zeiss ZE 85mm f/1.4 Planar which is plenty less expensive, and no doubt a very fine lens.

Best of luck anyway.
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Old 01-29-2010   #74
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hell of an idea, my friend... will check it out.
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