Which Portrait lens to get?


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ombre

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Sep 3, 2008
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#1
Hi guys, I'm in a dilemma wondering which lens to get...

Theres the obvious 50mm F1.8 which is cheap and decent, but I was considering more versatile, something that I can use for concerts, low light candids (a little futher range perhaps) and perhaps macro... In anycase, budget is somewhat an issue, just wondering if the 85mm F1.8 is that much better than 50mm F1.8 for its price tag...

Also considering the following, however wondering if F2.8 is fast enough for portraits:

Sigma 105mm F2.8 Macro
Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro
Tokina 100mm F2.8 Macro

Anyone has experience with them? Or a portrait picture taken with the following lenses?

Also I might just slap on a X2 tele-conversion to get a tele lens... what do you guys think?
 

#2
i own a tammy 90mm myself and use a 85mm 1.8 before.

both lens are ok for for portraits. but 90mm is not a constant aperture. if i have the best of both world(owning a 85mm and 90mm) then i will shoot with the 85mm.
 

dennisc

Senior Member
Oct 24, 2002
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#3
Don't really use 3rd party much, so I'm not suitable to ans. However I doubt anyone can give you a real answer since to each their own. The 85mm F1.8 gives you a more bokeh compared to 50mm. Why don't you search in lens reviews.
 

Jul 15, 2008
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#5
f2.8 is definitely fast enough for portrait. When I am using 50mm f1.8 len, I set aperture to f2.8 instead of f1.8 because i find that photos taken at f1.8 tend to be slightly soft. I prefer my portraits to be sharper. Shooting at f2.8 make my photos sharper and still maintain quite a good boken. If you want a versatile len with longer reach, you may want to consider Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 len. However, this len is more expensive and it cannot be used to take macro shots.
 

ombre

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Sep 3, 2008
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#6
i own a tammy 90mm myself and use a 85mm 1.8 before.

both lens are ok for for portraits. but 90mm is not a constant aperture. if i have the best of both world(owning a 85mm and 90mm) then i will shoot with the 85mm.
Hi, thanks for replying, I don't really understand what you mean by 90mm is not a constant aperture. Isn't F2.8? and its a prime lens too.


Hm actually seems like I should stick to the 50mm F1.8. I pretty much would love a 85mm F1.8 but its kind of expensive, anyone knows the average 2nd hand price these days?
 

ombre

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Sep 3, 2008
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#7
f2.8 is definitely fast enough for portrait. When I am using 50mm f1.8 len, I set aperture to f2.8 instead of f1.8 because i find that photos taken at f1.8 tend to be slightly soft. I prefer my portraits to be sharper. Shooting at f2.8 make my photos sharper and still maintain quite a good boken. If you want a versatile len with longer reach, you may want to consider Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 len. However, this len is more expensive and it cannot be used to take macro shots.
Thanks for answering about the F2.8 part =)

About the 50-150mm, kind of totally out of my budget range...

I guess one issue is that I already own a 20mm F1.8 and 50mm 1.8 doesn't seem like a very big difference, at least when comparing shooting conditions. For instance concerts... I'm usually not that near, but in cases where I am really allowed to be near, I usually am allowed to be on the stage =X (usually rehearsals), so shooting with my 20mm isn't a prob.

Is the 35mm difference a lot?
 

tjhan

New Member
Feb 11, 2007
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#8
f2.8 is definitely fast enough for portrait. When I am using 50mm f1.8 len, I set aperture to f2.8 instead of f1.8 because i find that photos taken at f1.8 tend to be slightly soft. I prefer my portraits to be sharper. Shooting at f2.8 make my photos sharper and still maintain quite a good boken. If you want a versatile len with longer reach, you may want to consider Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 len. However, this len is more expensive and it cannot be used to take macro shots.
Oh so you're the one using the 50-150 on Sunday.
 

zac08

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Feb 21, 2005
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#9
Hi, thanks for replying, I don't really understand what you mean by 90mm is not a constant aperture. Isn't F2.8? and its a prime lens too.


Hm actually seems like I should stick to the 50mm F1.8. I pretty much would love a 85mm F1.8 but its kind of expensive, anyone knows the average 2nd hand price these days?
The 90mm f2.8 changes the aperture size as you focus closer (closer to the macro ranges) It's due to a fixed aperture size but the lens length is increasing as you focus closer. Thus the aperture does not maintain at f2.8.

But this is not a concern as when you shoot portraiture, you will not focus So close. :bsmilie:
 

ombre

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Sep 3, 2008
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#10
Sigh! So, 85 or 50? =(

*tearing my hair out*
 

Headshotzx

Senior Member
Dec 14, 2007
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#11
The 90mm f2.8 changes the aperture size as you focus closer (closer to the macro ranges) It's due to a fixed aperture size but the lens length is increasing as you focus closer. Thus the aperture does not maintain at f2.8.

But this is not a concern as when you shoot portraiture, you will not focus So close. :bsmilie:
..aperture depends on physical lens length? 90mm f/2.8 means the aperture is always at f/2.8 (2.8 times smaller than 90mm, so 32.14mm to 2sf), so why would aperture sizes change?
 

zac08

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Feb 21, 2005
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#13
..aperture depends on physical lens length? 90mm f/2.8 means the aperture is always at f/2.8 (2.8 times smaller than 90mm, so 32.14mm to 2sf), so why would aperture sizes change?
Because the Tammy will extend when focusing closer ;)
 

ombre

Senior Member
Sep 3, 2008
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#14
Haha sure, if you're paying!

I think for now i'll stick with the cheapo 50mm. Wonder if i'm missing out anything... but saves me some 250 dollars I guess.

Is the 85mm dead sharp wide open?

Hey Headshotzx, I remember you have both of these lenses right? Care to comment a little about them? Is the difference that huge that its worth the money?
 

#15
85mm is a good potrait lens but working disance may be quite tricky. If you're looking for a potrait lens, I would go for the 50mm. Then for macro, I would go for the 90mm (cheaper than the 105mm). Like wat Zac08 said, get both.

Personally, I have both.
 

ombre

Senior Member
Sep 3, 2008
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#16
85mm is a good potrait lens but working disance may be quite tricky. If you're looking for a potrait lens, I would go for the 50mm. Then for macro, I would go for the 90mm (cheaper than the 105mm). Like wat Zac08 said, get both.

Personally, I have both.
Thanks =)

Hm by the way, how much is it for a 2nd hand Tamron 90mm?
 

Headshotzx

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Dec 14, 2007
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#19
Because the Tammy will extend when focusing closer ;)
And so the aperture will change? Doesn't make sense to me. It's a 90mm f/2.8 constant aperture lens. I believe you were talking about internal focusing, not aperture ;)

Haha sure, if you're paying!

I think for now i'll stick with the cheapo 50mm. Wonder if i'm missing out anything... but saves me some 250 dollars I guess.

Is the 85mm dead sharp wide open?

Hey Headshotzx, I remember you have both of these lenses right? Care to comment a little about them? Is the difference that huge that its worth the money?
What lenses? 85mm f/1.8 yes, 50mm f/1.8II yes, and I also tried out my friend's 50 1.4 (until he dropped it and it has a lensbaby effect now, pretty cool!).

None are very sharp wide open. Doesn't mean they're unusable, just not sharp to me. It's not ever going to be 70-200 f/4IS quality wide open.

With that being said, 85mm wide open is better than 50mm 1.8 wide open, which is better than 50 1.4 wide open. If they're all at f/2, the sharpness difference is negligible.

Buy the focal length that you need.

And ombre, just don't think about teleconverters. They won't work.
They work well on 70-200 series, 200 2, 200 2.8, 300 2.8, 300 4, 400 2.8, 400 4, 500 4, 600 4. They "just about work" on 100-400L, 400 5.6, 800 4.

As you can see, you don't need to think about tcons until you spend a sizable amount of money.

Cheers,
Zexun
 

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