The interesting thing about entry level point-and-shoot digicams is that the simplest, least expensive of the lot is capable of taking wonderfully sharp, angst-free photographs. The costlier, more "'complicated" digicams can perform more "tricks" or have wider or longer lenses than entry-level digicams, but at the end of the day, each of these econo-cams capture surprisingly fine stills and video.
In the right hands, almost any lens—including a fisheye lens—can be used for portraiture. Wide angle, normal, even super-telephoto lenses can be used successfully for portrait work. But if you had to narrow them down to select an optimal focal length for shooting portraits, it would have to be a lens in the range of 85 to 105mm.
A professional photographer is someone who can take a photograph that's technically and aesthetically right on the money with even the most basic of imaging tools, though few, if any, would bet their reputations on entry-level cameras on a regular basis. That's because as feature-packed as under-$500 cameras are, they're simply not up to taking the pounding pro-quality DSLRs are subjected to on a daily basis. But ruggedness is only part of the equation when it comes to the top guns of DSLR cameras.
It wouldn't be wrong to say many of today's pro, full frame 35mm-based DSLRs capture image files that rival or surpass the quality of medium-format film cameras. As for medium-format digital cameras... they've come quite a ways too. They've become quicker, more nimble and the image quality of the higher-res capture backs now approaches the image quality of larger-format film cameras, which brings us to the Mamiya 645DF.
Lensbabys are the photographic equivalent of puppies. And just as a puppy can turn the heart of the toughest of blowhards into mush, Lensbabys have a tendency of pulling the MTF charts out from under the starchiest of optical snobs simply because they inject a great measure of fun into the act of picture taking.
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