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theonlychuck May 13, 2013 1:53 PM

Lens question Canon 85mm 1.8 vs Sigma 70-200 2.8
Hello, new member here and I have a question for those of you that have used the above lenses. I already own the kit lenses (18-55 and 55-250, both IS), a Canon 50mm 1.8, and a Tamron 28-75 2.8. My question is for my next lens, do you suggest the Canon 85mm 1.8 or the Sigma 70-200 2.8? I have a Canon T1i and shoot on the side (not my main business obviously). When I do have jobs, they are typically family shots or birthdays (which the 50mm and Tamron 28-75 have served well for). I am a second shooter for a couple weddings coming up and wanted your opinions on if the lighter, faster, and cheaper Canon 85mm 1.8 might be a better choice than the Sigma 70-200 2.8. I do have an external flash so 2.8 isn't hindering the wedding reception, but also enjoy shooting natural light portraits.

I just did a test shot in my living room with no flash and found with my 50mm I can shoot at 1/40 at 1.8 and only 1/10-1/15 at 2.8, which is way too slow for my needs.. I have always liked the idea of the 70-200 2.8, but now I'm starting to think the 85mm might be a better choice for me as my next lens, and maybe save up for the 70-200 2.8 after that. I'm thinking the faster indoor (ie reception hall) and faster auto focus motor might be the winning attributes right now. Any comments and feedback are appreciated, and no, the Canon 70-200 2.8 IS is not in my budget =/

wave01 May 13, 2013 2:13 PM

i have tried the sigma 70-200is and its a fine lens except for the fact it is heavy.

SIMON40 May 13, 2013 2:29 PM

If you intend to stick to portraits at the wedding,then the 85mm should do fine... otherwise you may find the focal length quite restrictive...
If you plan to shoot some "group" shots indoors with natural light,maybe consider the 28mm f/1.8...

theonlychuck May 13, 2013 9:37 PM

Thanks for the quick replies. If I do group shots indoors at the reception it will probably be with the flash and I can use the 28mm range on the Tamron for that. Heavy doesn't bother me too much right now and I do love the convenience of a zoom. Does anyone have any experience in auto focus speeds in low light conditions, like a reception hall, between the two?

JohnG May 14, 2013 6:13 AM

Not surprising, the 85mm is faster to focus. I have the 85mm, I owned an older sigma and now own the canon 70-200 2.8. My recommendation is for the 85mm 1.8. Considering you are the secondary shooter at weddings, a 70-200 2.8 is not essential at this point. But a wide aperture portrait lens is beneficial for both wedding and portrait work. That would be my vote.

wave01 May 15, 2013 2:33 AM

Hi i have re read your post and you dont mention an external flash. i would, if you dont already have one get a powerful external flash.

theonlychuck May 16, 2013 12:01 AM

Yes, I have an external e-ttl flash. It's a cheaper YN-468 II, but I have been happy with it so far.

I am really leaning to the 85mm. I brought my 50mm 1.8 out and took a couple shots of my youngest today (11 months old) and the image quality and sharpness are a bit better over the 28-75, with both wide open. I appreciate all of the feedback.

JohnG May 16, 2013 8:18 AM

If you think the 50mm 1.8 has good IQ you'll be blown away by the 85mm 1.8. I have to say I've never used my 50mm 1.8 since getting the 85 - you just can't look at the images from it after you see images from a better lens. At some point, I really need to get the new sigma 35mm 1.4 - THAT looks like an exceptional lens (assuming no focus issues which seems to be an issue on Canon 5dIII and 1dx cameras).

NHL May 16, 2013 8:48 AM


Originally Posted by JohnG (Post 1346914)
...the new sigma 35mm 1.4 - THAT looks like an exceptional lens (assuming no focus issues which seems to be an issue on Canon 5dIII and 1dx cameras).

If I understand it correctly you can micro-focus the Sigma @ 4 different ranges setting instead of just 1 allowed by the body:

-> It get even better with the 120-300 f/2.8 as you can further micro-focus its zoom settings @ 4 different focal ranges!!! :cool2:

JohnG May 16, 2013 9:30 AM

NHL - I'm sure that's helpful. But the dock is just coming out so I haven't seen anyone discuss how well it works. I do know people are complaining that the lens has issues - again some tied to distance from subject. I think this ties back to sigma having to reverse engineer the communications - Canon comes out with changes to their focus system and sigmas lenses don't play well with it. Will the dock help some of these people solve their problems? Maybe. Who knows. It's just nice to have an expensive product WORK right out of the box. And again, what is interesting is the problem seems associated with certain bodies - so the lens might work well on say an older 60d or 5dii but has issues on a 5diii. That's why I think it's tied to reverse engineering sigma must do.

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