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Old Oct 2, 2006, 5:02 PM   #1
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If you wanted to mimimize the number of lenses in your camera bag and needed one good portrailt lens. Which one would you recommend and why? If cost wasn't really a concern. I'm thinking of the 50mm f/1.4 prime and the 85mm f/1.4 medium telephoto. Both great in their own right. One twice as expensive as the other. And maybe the 17-55mm f/2.8 (which I could use for both portrait/landscape photography).

Thanks in advance!
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Old Oct 2, 2006, 10:44 PM   #2
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Aside from the extra speed the 50 1.4 offers, there is no real advantage to owning it over the 50 f1.8. F 1.4 offersan extremelyshallow DOF and softness wide open for twice the price of the f1.8. The extra speed is really of very little use for the quality of the image and the price you pay. Same thing for the 85 f 1.4.
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Old Oct 3, 2006, 12:37 AM   #3
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rjseeney wrote:
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Aside from the extra speed the 50 1.4 offers, there is no real advantage to owning it over the 50 f1.8. F 1.4 offersan extremelyshallow DOF and softness wide open for twice the price of the f1.8. The extra speed is really of very little use for the quality of the image and the price you pay. Same thing for the 85 f 1.4.
Good point. Noted.

But if you had to choose between the 50mm f/1.8 and a 85mm f/1.8...which way would you go. Prime or tele?

And if you had to pick 1 portrait lens which one would it be and why? Assuming we're talking about either Nikkor or Canon lenses.

Thanks.
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Old Oct 3, 2006, 6:58 AM   #4
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That's not an easy question to answer. It would depend on whether I was doing studio portraits or outdoor/location portraits. Indoors, in studio, I'd probably take the 50mm, outdoors probably the 85. In reality, I'd rather have a zoom for the flexibility. THe extra sharpness of the primes doesn't really help my portraits anyway...I prefer slightly softer portraits.
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Old Oct 3, 2006, 8:14 AM   #5
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I have just bought A Tamron 28-75 F2.8 xr di , I am really pleased with the lens as a portrait lens.For landscapes when stopped down to F8 - F10 Its sharp ( it surprised me how sharp it was being a 3rd party lens).I have 2 Tamron lenses in my bag and I`m pleased with the handling of both.

TD
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Old Oct 3, 2006, 8:35 AM   #6
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Thanks for the posts guys. I was thinking of "wide-zooms" too actually like the Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 or the 18-200mm VR Nikkor. Though in the case of the 18-200mm it is probably no where near as sharp as a 50mm prime corner to corner. But sufficient I suppose. Not to mention a good all-around lens for most kinds of shooting.

But I was just curious about the 50 and the 85. Wondered what you guys thought. And if you had any other recommendations for portrait photography. Indoors or out. I shoot mostly outdoors in good natural sunlight.

As for Tamron lenses...never seriously considered third-party lenses. I did, however, have my eye on some Sigma lenses. But heard sometimes they have reliability issues (bad quality control perhaps?). When you get one that works they are golden. Comparable to some Canon or Nikon lenses even. But at the same time I've read about many cases where photographers have ended up with faulty lenses. Sounding almost like a gamble. But, I could be wrong. Perhaps the ratio of good to bad lenses is actually more positive than I think.

Haven't heard much about the reliability of Tamron lenses though. Nor the performance. Though, we do have one happy customer on this thread.


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Old Oct 3, 2006, 2:16 PM   #7
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I have the 50mm prime ,its the sharpest lens in my bag and never fails me in low light conditions. I also have the 18-200 Tamron lens .I have used this on many shoots( mainly interiors for Design & Advertising) and had no complaints on quality or sharpness.I wouldn`t hesitate to buy Tamron again ,however I will be buying Nikon glass when funds allow

1st pic nikon 50mm F1.8 , 2nd Tamron 18-200 (straight from camera)

TD





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Old Oct 3, 2006, 4:44 PM   #8
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Hello TD,

Nice pics! Well done! Your boy and your wife?

As I said, I don't have any experience with third-party lenses. I've only owned Nikkor lenses (back in my SLR days). Though, I have seen good results where either Tamron or Sigma lenses were used. You've been very happy with the reliability and build quality of Tamron lenses so far? And are all Tamron lenses made in the USA? The only thing that bothers me about Nikon cameras (with the exception of the D2Hs/D2Xs) is that they are all made in Thailand. And that their lenses are made in Germany, China, Thailand, Malaysia (not 100% sure on that one) and their "gold standard" (lens with the gold ring painted on the outside of the lens towards the front).

If I had to buy gear not made in Japan I'd at least hope they were made in the USA. Or Canada of course. Given a choice. That's just me.
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Old Oct 7, 2006, 8:45 AM   #9
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I have a Nikon 50mm 1.4, A Nikon 85mm 1.8 and I still prefer to use My Nikon 18/200 "VR" lens for my portraits 99% of the time. I can blur out an ugly background with Photosop CS2 if I ever need to. As long as the subject is lighted properly the lens of choice should be 50mm up on a digital camera, Just do not use a wide angle because of feature distortion.

Lighting is the key to a good portrait.

Ronnie
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