I know that the lenses I am going to talk about are not comparable as one is prime and another is zoom and one is f/1.4 and other is f/4.5-5.6 But still want to have opinions before buying either of two. I shoot with Nikon D7000 and 18-105 mm mostly family portraits.

I am planning to buy either Nikon 50 mm 1.4 G or Nikon 70-300 mm IF VR both are simialar priced at my location

My inclination is towards 70-300 as it covers the focal length gap. On the other side I want crisp sharp photos.

So question is can I get the similar or some what closer results with 70-300mm as compared to 50 mm.

Kindly suggest.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I closed this because I think you can get the information needed out of the duplicate question. As an aside, your current lens is pretty much covers the portrait sweet range. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Nov 3, 2013 at 21:00

1 Answer 1


This is a very personal choice and hard to answer for you. To help you make the choice, I would ask how often you find the 105mm to be a limiting factor. For family portraits (and by that I assume you mean some posed portraits and a lot of snapshots?) I could see using a moderate telephoto at times, but more often something in the 50-90mm range would be more useful. On a full frame at times I've used 200mm for head shots, but on a DX body, the 300mm focal length is 400mm equivalent. Do you need that reach?

The 70-300mm VR is a good versatile lens, but if you want crisp shots, I'd probably stick with the primes.

I have the 50mm 1.4G and it's great. I think for the money, the 1.8G is probably better value. Rather than the 70-300mm VR, for almost the same price you can probably get a 50mm 1.8G and an 85mm 1.8G (or 1.8D). You get several more stops of light with the primes, so they'll be more useful indoors, sharp, nice bokeh. Loads of advantages, as long as you don't mind switching out lenses.

If you have lightroom or another library with your family photos, see if you can get an idea of what focal lengths you use most often. If you're shooting a lot at 105mm then perhaps you do want some more reach. Otherwise I'd go with primes.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Mike W,Very nice and influential answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – V.B
    Nov 1, 2013 at 9:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ 105mm becomes limited for me only When I am travelling. I thought 70-300 is a good quality lens and should be suitable for portraits as well as its longest end as well for maximum bokeh. Otherwise indoor it could be a problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – V.B
    Nov 1, 2013 at 9:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Based on that comment it sounds like the problem isn't so much which lens to get for portraiture but what situation you want to shoot more. For my money I'd consider seeing if you can do a deal on the 70-300 AND a 50mm f/1.8. The 1.8 is a nice bit of glass in it's own right. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 1, 2013 at 10:18

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