As I know 15-35mm lens is a good prime all rounder, but from what I have seen in photo examples and youtube videos for portraits (full body person) it's better to have a 50mm lens.

It's also a very cheap lens and small to carry around. What do you think from your personal experience?

Also I really want to experiment with "Bokeh" effect especially now when a lot of nicely lid Christmas trees are appearing in the town :) I know it's possible to have "Bokeh" effect with 50mm when taking close up pictures, whats about my 15-35mm?



2 Answers 2


Keep in mind that Bokeh is not a result of the focal length but a result of the DOF, so if your kit lens is f3.5 and the 50mm is f1.8, then yes, I'd recommend getting the 50mm for bokeh. It's also worth nothing that prime lenses often have higher image quality and less distortion.

Personally, I shoot almost exclusively with a 55mm f1.8, and occasionally with a 85mm f1.2, so I would say if you are going for portraits and don't mind "zooming with your feet" then go for it, you won't regret it since they are very affordable and they are great for isolating subjects and getting the "blurred christmas tree" effect.


Not everyone wants to hear it, but the classic rule of thumb for proper perspective on portraits (so noses don't appear enlarged, etc) has always been to stand back 6 or 8 feet or more, and then zoom in as desired for framing. So for waist up or head and shoulders or head shots, 50 mm will be too short to allow that proper distance. Standing too close messes up perspective (enlarges noses, etc).

For classic 35mm film cameras, 105mm was always considered a great lens choice for "portrait" (because it forced that distance). That equivalent would be 70mm or 65mm for 1.5x or 1.6x cropped sensors... and the longer lens can have less depth of field too, easier bokeh if that has to be the choice.

But there is no one answer possible, until "portrait" is defined.
Head shot?
Head and shoulders?
waist up?
full length standing?
A group? of 4? Or 44?

And of course, is it a full frame or cropped sensor? They have different fields of view.

The one answer is to just always stand back at least 6 or 8 feet, and then the right lens is the one that will frame the view that you want. It won't be the same lens in all cases (but zooms can work well).

Some think portrait means f/1.8. But that's the last thing I want, I like f/8.

But for minimum depth of field, a longer lens is normally a better choice than an excessively wide aperture (and its lens problems). For one thing, the longer lens only shows a narrow background, so just shifting camera position slightly can better choose the background detail to be shown, or to be excluded.

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