Budget portraiture: Affordable manual focus lenses allow you to take great portraits for less money


posted Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 4:59 AM EST


Autofocus is great, but what if you are on a budget and don't want to sacrifice image quality? There are numerous great manual focus lenses available that offer good optical quality, just without all the perks we generally expect with new gear. In a new episode of Budgetography, Matt Granger uses Samyang lenses (including their 85mm f/1.4 lens) and a Nikon D1X.

To showcase some modern features that help you manually focus, he also uses a Nikon D5, but you certainly don't need to spend that kind of money to get the features he shows off. Later on in the video, he busts out a garden hose to show you how to get great portraits using artificial rain without spending much money.

Manually focusing can be tricky, especially with autofocus lenses because they often don't include focus scales and their focus rings are not smooth and precise. However, a dedicated manual focus only lens is typically better to focus with, says Granger. In the video below, he discusses using cameras with both optical viewfinders and electronic viewfinders with manual focus lenses.

After going over manual focus, it's time for the water shoot. Although Granger and his team forgot their budget flashes and used Elinchrom lighting, you would be able to get good results with cheaper flashes. Check out the video below.

For more tutorials and videos from Granger, check out his YouTube channel and website.

(Seen via ISO 1200)