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 Post subject: Advice for Portrait lens
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 8:47 am 
Hi everyone,

It might sound silly question but being a newbie I am sort of confused :-(

I have finally purchased 400d body and now am hunting for lens. I have decided that I will go for portrait lens first to play with and then will go for standard zoom/short telephoto lens.

I have read reviews and have short listed the following 2:

Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 XR Di ll LD Aspherical (IF) and Canon EF 50mm f1.8 II

I know that canon is prime and tamron is zoom but what are the other differences? or which out of 2 is better for portraits or am I comparing apples to oranges?

Sorry if my question is stupid :-)

Regards,
Harry


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 10:05 am 
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Hello Harry,

Not a silly question at all. Of the two lenses that you've listed I've only had experience with with the 50mm f/1.8. It was a fine lens and would be my choice, but there are other great lenses to choose from that are inexpensive. The first of which would be the 85mm f/1.8 and secondly the EF-s 60mm macro. They are both around $350. Do a search on pbase and you'll see some photographers taking great portraits with both.

It may seem strange to use the 60mm macro as a portrait lens, but it has great optics and offers beautiful bokeh. The 85mm will also offer great optics as well as that creamy bokeh you want for portraits.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:44 pm 
Hi SeattleSteve,

Thanks for your reply. I appreciate it.

I went to my local shop here who are dealers for canon optics, cameras etc. The salesman over there adviced me to go for 17-85mm canon lens instead as it has IS and USM and covers almost all the focal ranges i.e. from wide to short telephoto.

He said that this lens is good for a newbie like me as it is a good all rounder lens. It is good for potraits and has a decent zoom.

Any suggestions please.. What really will be valuable to me is if someone can suggest me a better lens in same price range i.e. till £350 price range. My needs are clicking pics of people i.e. my family etc and also should be an all rounder lens so that I don't really have to invest till i really improve my skills and become pro's like you all :-)

I must say is that I was really impressed 8) by Tamron 17-55 pics on flickr, its reviews in fredmiranda and its price but the 'IS' in canon is tempting. So friends please help me out.

Thanks,
Harry
Canon 400d body only :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:22 pm 
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Hah, Harry! The salesrep wanted to upsell you, so he diverted your interest away from the 50mm/f1.8, which would make an excellent portrait-lens.
But he is right in one respect: it doesn't serve you as an allround lens, because it's too long for many occasions, esp. when your shooting more than single persons but landscapes or architecture, or try to capture a party in a crowded inddor place...
So a zoom is much more versatile. the Tamron has the benefit of a wide aperture which is also important for good portraiture (and other occasions) as the limited dof singles out your subject. So the Tamron looks like a nice contender plus it gives you the wider focus lengths that you otherwise certainly would be missing.
Btw, there is a brand new review of this lens here. And for the more technically inclined there.
I'd go for it!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:26 pm 
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Hi Harry,

I'm sure you have read Gordon's review of the EF-S 17-85mm f4~5.6 IS USM lens and it's hard to see how you could do better at the price for a general purpose lens. The Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Di II LD Aspherical IF SP AF is optically good and that f/2.8 aperture allows you a little more creativity with shallow depth of field for portraiture but the lack of IS may be an issue in other situations.

The EF-S 17-85mm can currently be had for around £325 if you shop around (please check Gordon's affiliate and partner stores and help support the site) and currently qualifies for a further £20 off as part of Canon's cashback offer. That just about leaves enough in the budget, with a slight stretch, for the EF 50mm f1.8 II which, optically speaking, is probably Canon's best value lens and can be had for under £60. With a full-frame equivalent focal length of 80mm this is a classic portrait lens and, at f/1.8, you can get even shallower depth of field than the Tamron should you wish it.

Bob.

EDIT: Slightly re-phrased.

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Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


Last edited by Bob Andersson on Tue Nov 06, 2007 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:13 pm 
I'd suggest you take a look at my non-professional comparison between a 30 years old 50mm (with mould) and a brand new zoom. Those are Nikon lenses, but I would assume the same kind of thing applies, in general, to primes in relation to zooms of any brand.

As for a portrait zoom, I've heard (read) only good things about the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:31 pm 
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luis wrote:
I...As for a portrait zoom, I've heard (read) only good things about the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM.

I agree - from the SLRGear review "Spending a lot of money on a lens isn't always a guarantee of good performance, but in the case of the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8, every penny of its price is more than justified".

Unfortunately it costs around £768 (c.f. the £350 budget :!: ).

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:34 pm 
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But PhotoZone.de has to say: "During the last two years four lenses has seen the lab with only one within specs - this is disappointing especially for a lens of this price class". :(
So make sure if you invest that amount of money to test it thoroughly and give it back if you got a bad copy :?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:24 am 
Hi Bob/Tom/luis,

Thanks a lot for your responses.

24-70 is out of my reach for now as justifying that kind of expense to myself will be difficult keeping in mind my little knowledge about photography.

I think I have made up my mind that I will go for Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Di II LD Aspherical IF SP AF (£245) and EF 50mm f1.8 II (£65) through partner sites (provided they can offer me at this price as this is market price).

Now my only concern will be long range zoom 70-200 which I will buy from canon or sigma having IS or OS later.

Bob, Thanks for your advice... but unfortunately 17-85 canon review elsewhere is not that great (too much distortion at 17mm etc).. it is always being compared to kit lens and I want something much more than kit lens but cheap..

Tom, Thanks for the review of Tamron...

luis, Thanks for 50mm review..

I will appreciate if anyone of you can give me some links to master my 400d and other bits in photography step by step..

Not to mention that this site and all of you guys rock...keep up the excellent work.. you all are so helpfull..

Harry

400d body only :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:04 pm 
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Hi Harry,

I am sure you won't be disappointed with the Tamron that Thomas suggested as it's a great lens but, if I were you, I'd hold off the purchase of the EF 50mm f1.8 II for a while, even if only for a few weeks. The reason is that you may find that at f/2.8 the depth of field you get with the Tamron is already shallow enough for your needs. If you find the 50mm lens isn't needed then that's extra in the budget for the telephoto zoom. :idea:

By the way, if you are in a position to buy the telephoto before year's end then don't forget to check the Canon cashback promotion when you compare prices.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:08 pm 
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Hi Harry, we're working on some tutorials as we speak...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:43 pm 
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May I suggest the Sigma 24-70mm EX

I currently own a Sigma 28-70mm EX and it is really good for general purpose stuff, and is great indoors with the wide open aperture and for blurring the background on portraits.

If you have the money, I've heard that the 24-70 is a little bit better in terms of build and optical quality, but they are both pretty darn good so either should do.

If the image quality isn't to much of a problem, both Sigma and Tamron offer 18-200mm lenses for the Canon body, and they also offer models with IS (OS or VR as it is also known) as they offer a great zoom range, ensuring you will almost never need to change lens for most things.

One of the 18-200s or the Sigma 24-70 f2.8 or 28-70 f/2.8

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:20 am 
Hi,

Gordon, It will be great to see some tutorials on the site. For people like me who are still on learning stage it will be a great help. The site also will be comprehensive i.e. one stop shop :-) But please keep in mind that there will be people like me who are in their early stages of learning.

Thanks Bob for the suggesting to hold on 50mm purchase.. makes sense not buy if Tamron does the job and use it to buy telephoto..

Daniel, Thank you so much.. I will look into Sigma and its reviews on the web and compare it to Tamron. Sigma 24-70 would give me some extra zoom as well. 18-200(or 250)mm on Tamron does not come with OS or VR or IS so that will be a problem and pic quality at both extremes is bad....versatile vs quality. There are not many reviews for Sigma 18-200 with OS.. Gordon, When will you do one with 400D?

Thanks a lot everyone.

If any more valuable suggestions then please let them keep coming :-) I will appreciate it..

Regards,
Harry
Canon 400D body only :-)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:49 am 
Hi Harry.
I have the tamron 18-200 with 350D and if you look at the forum you can find a post that I wrote becuase I want to replace it.
It's a very versatile lens, and the quality is good but not great. The tamron 18-250 gets much better reviews.
By the way, when I bought mine I checked and many people and reviews said that the tamron 18-200 is better than the sigma 18-200.
The problem with my lens is slow focus time and difficulty in focusing under low light. Now, when I say difficulty, I mean that sometimes it can't focus, even when an external flash is attached (I have the 430EX) and throws red grids. After several tries it usualy does focus. You need to take this into account.

I'm not a portrait guy, and I'm looking for a zoom lens, but in my opinion, don't compromise on quality, go for good lenses like the L series, or at least lenses that got good quality reviews.
Good luck.
Liron


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:08 pm 
Harry, get the 50mm f1.4 :twisted: you'll love it :P


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