The lens I use for Headshots - JBHelms Photographic

May 26, 2017

The lens I use for Headshots

Occasionally people ask me about the lenses that I use to shoot headshots. There's no question that good glass is a must for creating a quality headshot, but a good 70-200 2.8 can be out of the question for many photographers on a budget. So what do you do if you're like me and either don't want to spend the money, or just can't afford the nearly $3000 price tag for one of these beasts?

Nikon ED AF Nikkor 80-200mm  1:2.8

I asked myself this very question while hunting for budget glass. I combed forums, YouTube, and anywhere on the web that had information about budget Nikon lenses. I will say this, most of it is garbage. Like most information online, the lack of valuable, decisive user experience and quality knowledge is overwhelming. And the worst part about it, after my search, I was left with several choices that cluttered my ability to make a rational decision. To solve this issue, I went with the basics.

Now most of us know that companies like Sigma and Tamron make killer glass for folks on a budget, BUT these lenses are still a little pricey even on the used market. I knew that I wanted fast glass (2.8 or lower) when I was looking for a new lens. It needed to be a 85mm or higher focal length. And auto focus was a must! With all this in mind I hit eBay with a mission.

Above Image was shot at 1/250 sec f3.5 ISO 100

The first lens that I considered was the Nikon 85mm af 1.8 d. It's a killer lens that can be purchased used for under $500., but I wanted the versatility of a zoom. My second option was the Tokina 100 2.8 macro. Also, a great lens for the price, but there again, I had my heart set on the zoom. I finally settled on the Nikon 80-200 2.8 ed 'push pull' zoom lens.

Why the push pull? Well, because inside, the lens is almost identical to the second generation ed lens, but about $300 cheaper. Sure, it doesn't have vibration reduction, but I can work around that.

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