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Old Nov 19, 2010, 12:27 PM   #1
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Default Tamron 90mm f/2.8?

I am toying with getting the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 for my D5000. I currently own and am pleased with the Tokina 12-24 f/4 DX II, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8, and the Nikon 55-200 f/4-5.6 VR. While I have started playing around with macro photography a bit, the thing that is pushing me into considering this lens is my experience with shooting a school play that my daughter directed. I used the 35mm, and was not entirely happy with the results. You can see the album here: http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/63...9581F57AB30AFD
which will give you some idea of my low standards in photography...

I was reasonably happy with the 35mm except that I kept missing focus. The stage was a typical high school auditorium, and I was in the fourth or fifth row. I would guess that I was about 25 feet away when folks were on my side of the stage, and about 100 feet away when they were cross-stage. The big problem in focusing was that, as the distance grew longer, I would just plain miss my focal point. My post-mortem has led me to believe that the problem was that the focusing rectangle is on a single plane -- as the distance grows, any off-axis alignment with my eye is exaggerated, and when I look at the actual focus box in Capture NX2, I see that I really did miss what I was aiming at. While I'm sure my technique can be improved (a lot!), it occurs to me that a longer focal length would make the target larger in the viewfinder, and thus easier to hit reliably.

So, with that as a preamble, would I have been better off with the Tamron at this event? I was reasonably happy with the exposure of the 35mm (I left it at f/1.8) when the ISO was set to 1000. With the Tamron, I would presumably need to be at 3200 for the same shutter range (it ranged mostly between 1/100 and 1/250. I'm enough of a nervous Nelly that I don't recheck all settings with each shot during a live event, so I need to be mostly in the right range and just worry about quickly framing the shot.) Is f/2.8 bright enough for this kind of use, or do I need to get a brighter lens? If I need at least f/2, I am interested in these things:
1. Relatively cheap (under $500 if possible);
2. Macro if possible;
3. Good optics, of course;
4. A built-in motor (I'm not going to manually focus live events);
5. Focal length between 80 and 120mm.

Is Tamron right for my needs? If not, what is? TIA.

Last edited by tclune; Nov 19, 2010 at 12:30 PM.
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 2:10 PM   #2
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The Tamron 90/2.8 Macro won't AF on your D5000. Neither will the Sigma 105/2.8.

If you kept your 35/1.8 at f/1.8 to shoot that play, using an f/2.8 lens instead will double your exposure times. There's a little bit of motion blur in your images as it is; there would have been more. Either that or there'd have been more image noise.

If you want to kill two birds with one stone, you can go for the Tamron 60mm f/2.0, the Nikon 60mm f/2.8 AF-S macro, or you can really push it and go with the Nikon 85mm f/3.5 AF-S VR-II, all of which are in that same price range.
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 3:15 PM   #3
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The Tamron 90/2.8 Macro won't AF on your D5000.
You're out-of-date. Tamron's Nikon mount lens has had a motor for AF on lower-end Nikons for over two years now. Also, f/2.8 will more than double my exposure times -- it's closer to triple, but we can split the difference and call it 2.5x. That was why I had some concern about the f/2.8. The Nikon 85 lens is way too slow.

Last edited by tclune; Nov 19, 2010 at 3:18 PM.
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 5:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
The Tamron 90/2.8 Macro won't AF on your D5000.
You're out-of-date. Tamron's Nikon mount lens has had a motor for AF on lower-end Nikons for over two years now.
Oops. My bad. Sorry.

But still, the D5000 has painted you into a corner. The only real option is the Tamron 90/2.8 macro (with the built-in motor), unless you want to go with the 60/2.0, which would have been better for that play than the 35/1.8, and would still have had an aperture large enough to have gotten fast enough shutter speeds without the extra image noise that comes with using ISO 2500 instead of ISO 1000. Either that, or go with the Nikon 50/1.4 AF-S or Sigma 50/1.4 HSM and give up the macro.

My choice would probably have been the Sigma 70-200/2.8 HSM, and stand in the back.
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Last edited by TCav; Nov 19, 2010 at 5:26 PM.
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 6:31 PM   #5
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That does look like an attractive lens, but it's more than I want to spend -- and it's heavier than I want to carry! Still, I'll have to give it some serious thought. BTW, the D5000 has painted me into the nicest corner I've ever found myself in...
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 8:34 PM   #6
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That does look like an attractive lens, but it's more than I want to spend -- and it's heavier than I want to carry! ...
... and, of course, it won't do macro.
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Old Nov 19, 2010, 9:28 PM   #7
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... and, of course, it won't do macro.
Actually, there are four Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 lenses. Two of them are macro and two aren't. All but the OS version (not macro) are around $800, while the OS version is about $1600. They all weigh in around 3 pounds, which seems too heavy to me. I was looking at a macro version, but it's about twice the cost of the Tamron when you factor in the rebate through the end of this year. I just don't think I can swing that much on a lens right now. But I am seriously thinking about the Tamron, which seems like a good bargain and would serve a number of uses for me that aren't well-covered by my current kit.
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Old Nov 20, 2010, 6:37 AM   #8
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Actually, there are four Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 lenses. Two of them are macro and two aren't.
There's macro and then there's macro. I'd hesitate to call Sigma's 1:3.5 or even Tamron's 1:3.1 "Macro".
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Old Nov 20, 2010, 10:28 AM   #9
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There's macro and then there's macro. I'd hesitate to call Sigma's 1:3.5 or even Tamron's 1:3.1 "Macro".
Yeah, it does seem to be pushing the envelope to call that "macro," although Sigma does. I hadn't noticed the actual magnification until your post -- I have only heard the term applied to 1:1 or, in a casual way, 1:2 magnification lenses. Macro isn't the main thing I'm looking for, but the Tamron 90 does do 1:1. The more generally-useful things to me are the bright aperture and the mid-range focal length. Nonetheless, I would like to have a real macro lens in my kit, and that focal length seems just about right to me. I've casually mentioned to my wife that I'm thinking of getting it, and she didn't go too ballistic -- which I take as ascent...
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Old Nov 20, 2010, 11:16 AM   #10
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