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Old Jan 25, 2008, 12:40 AM   #1
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I've been looking to add to my 50 1.4 with either a sigma 28-70 2.8 or the pentax DA* 50-135. I know that this might be apples to oranges here but does anyone have any experience with the sigma?? Or are there better options out there?? The DA* might be a little pricey yet.
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 3:31 AM   #2
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Hi FE4,

My personal favorite is the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 XR Di LD (IF). I've heard that there might be some QC problems recently, but not from anyone that I have any faith in. This is usually my goto lens for events. It focuses quickly and is very sharp. When I was looking for a lens in this range, it was pretty much a tossup between the Sigma and the Tamron, but the Tam seemed to have the edge.

The DA 50-135 would cover most any situation, even fairly distant candids, and it's very quiet on a SDM compatible body, but it's expensive, as are the these:

A*85 f1.4, FA*85 f1.4 (IF) These are considered "legendary" portrait lenses, and usually go for $1000+ on the used market, if you even see them offered. An A* with fungus recently went for over $700 USD IIRC.

FA*77 f1.8 Ltd, DA* 70 f2.4 Ltd. Both are very good, and being Ltds, they are also kinda pricey, but those that have them say that both the optics and the build quality are hard to match. Both are currently being made. The 70 Ltd doesn't have the DOF control of the faster 77 Ltd, but it's smaller and about half the weight if that makes a difference.

FA 85 f2.8 Soft. This is pretty much a specialty portrait lens. Wide open, it gives you that dreamy, glowy look, and as you stop it down, it gets sharper. At f8 it's about as sharp as any good prime. This lens is more often available, and not nearly as expensive as the *85s, but it usually isn't cheap either.

Another idea might be to try a dedicated macro lens -- f2.8 preferred for DOF control, and anywhere between 70 and 105 in FL. AF for macro lenses can be frustrating since the throw is so long, and they seem to hunt more when used as teles but some have focus limiters that will help with this. These lenses are usually sharp enough as short to med teles, and can do double duty both with high quality, but I'd try one first to see if the AF performance will be satisfactory.

There's one more pretty desireable lens that I could mention here, but I happen to be looking for one myself, so I won't be specific. I will give a hint that with a little research will make it fairly obvious. It's a Tamron Adaptall 2 SP zoom. I've seen a few offered, but not at a price I was willing to pay. . .

There are also multitudes of K mount lenses in FLs between 50 and 135mm that can work well as portrait lenses. Some very inexpensive ones can give surprisingly good performance. I'd stick with f2.8 or faster so you can control the DOF, and limit my search to "A" capable lenses, but that's just my preference. It might be fun to experiment a little with some very inexpensive used glass. . .

Scott
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 5:22 AM   #3
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Hi fisheye4,

I have the Sigma 28-70mm f2.8 EX Aspherical. That's the non-DG version, one of the first EX lenses I think.

It's not as new as the DG versions, but the positive side is that it's relatively cheap. I got mine for 190 euros.

From the times I've used it, I can tell you the following things:
  • it's a lens you'll grow into. At first it's a little tricky to get it just right, and with this lens you need "just right". After a while as you get familiar with it, it won't disappoint you.[/*]
  • It's not as sharp as a prime, not by a long shot. But since you're looking for a portrait lens, that's not that bad. It is sharp enough though, especially with todays digital sharpening techniques[/*]
  • it is HUGE. It's got a 77mm filter ring, big lens hood, and the lens tube is big aswell. My *ist DL is actually tilted a bit when I put it on the table with this lens attached.[/*]
  • AF can hunt a little, as is the case with all Pentax AF systems.[/*]
[align=center]Some samples: (the vignetting in all these was added in PS, the lens is fullframe, so there is almost no vignetting)

A portrait, since that's what you're looking for:

taken in the spur of the moment, at a film set





background bokeh:





More bokeh + this one shows how sharp it can be:




DOF:




foreground bokeh:





wide-angle:





Hope this helps

Tom
[/align]
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 5:28 AM   #4
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I can also recommend a macro lens for portraits, I used the Kiron 105mm f2.8 for my little brother's communion photos.

As a rule, a prime will impress you IQ-wise, and is a lot of fun to work with.

These are with the russian M42 lens Jupiter-9 85mm f2:

[align=center]





Tom
[/align]

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Old Jan 25, 2008, 10:34 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. Nice pics TDN... what do you mean by "getting it just right"?

Snostorm, thanks for all the info, very good as usual... good luck finding your Tammy SP.

I've seen a lot of debate over the 70 vs 77, I guess I still have a lot of research to do. Stupid LBA!
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 12:37 PM   #6
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fisheye4 wrote:
Quote:
Thanks for the replies. Nice pics TDN... what do you mean by "getting it just right"?
Thank you

By "just right" I mean it takes a while to get the best out of the sigma 28-70mm f2.8, at least for the older version I have.

At first I got a lot of shots that were front or backfocused a little, and because of the thin DOF, this just ruined the shot. But like I said, after a while you get to know the characteristics of the lens and it'll perform just fine.

Good luck with the lens hunt

Tom
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 10:24 PM   #7
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TDN wrote:
Quote:
fisheye4 wrote:
Quote:
Thanks for the replies. Nice pics TDN... what do you mean by "getting it just right"?
Thank you

By "just right" I mean it takes a while to get the best out of the sigma 28-70mm f2.8, at least for the older version I have.

At first I got a lot of shots that were front or backfocused a little, and because of the thin DOF, this just ruined the shot. But like I said, after a while you get to know the characteristics of the lens and it'll perform just fine.

Good luck with the lens hunt

Tom
ah,, tom,
DUDE!! you've got this street thing DOWN!!!! outstanding shots!!! these are really good..

roy
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 11:02 PM   #8
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Tom

I love your B&W shots. I may some studio shots these two weeks. Likely I will take my macro lens FA100mm for portrait purpose. Hope it works just as well as your Kiron

Daniel
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Old Feb 6, 2008, 12:35 AM   #9
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I bought a Sears 135mm f/2.8 lens on Ebay. I have run it through my own tests, and I think highly of it. When I first tried it I could not focus at infinity. Then I discovered that there isa Macro feature in which you twist out the objective end to one of three stages to get a macro function. When I rotated that end back out of macro I could focus at infinity. This kind of lens appears often on Ebay. I believe it was part of a promotional package sold by Sears. If you can get one of these I believe you will like it for portraitures. They sell cheaply.

Can anyone tell me who made this lens, or where to find that information? For that matter, who, generally, made the Sears and Penney lenses?

Regards, Old Engineer
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Old Feb 6, 2008, 4:10 AM   #10
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Old Engineer wrote:
Quote:
I bought a Sears 135mm f/2.8 lens on Ebay.¬* I have run it through my own tests, and I think highly of it.¬* When I first tried it I could not focus at infinity.¬* Then I discovered that there is¬*a Macro feature¬* in which you twist out the objective end to one of three stages to get a macro function.¬* When I rotated that end back out of macro I could focus at infinity.¬* This kind of lens appears often on Ebay.¬* I believe it was part of a promotional package sold by Sears.¬* If you can get one of these I believe you will like it for portraitures.¬* They sell cheaply.

Can anyone tell me who made this lens, or where to find that information?¬* For that matter, who, generally, made the Sears and Penney lenses?

Regards, Old Engineer
135mm for portrait is relatively long. But its DoF is little even at F9.5. This was taken in Halloween last yr with FA135mm



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