decisions, decisions.... just wanted some input!

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by PatrickCheung, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. PatrickCheung

    PatrickCheung TPF Noob!

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    two things!

    one, my birthday's coming up so i'm probably gonna be spending some birthday money on lenses...

    two, i'm not too satisfied with my tamron 28-75mm/2.8 (newer one, with built in motor)...

    i shoot a d60... and i have the 18-55 kit and that tamron i listed

    here's my two problems!!
    1) i wanna invest in a nice portrait lens, my budget is around $500-$600 max (i'm a beginner, start small, right?) so i'm considering the AF-S 50/1.4 as i've heard amazing things from it, and with my d60's 1.5x crop factor it becomes an 75mm/1.4... which is a decent focal length, rather usable i'd say. i do shoot a lot of my portraits at 50mm. actually i shoot a lot of them with my E-Series 50/1.8 manual focus lens :]

    OR i'm considering the AF 85/1.8, which i can't autofocus, but gives me a longer reach (of about 127.5mm), and i've heard great things about this lens.

    i guess my question is... how important is auto-focus in portraiture in the field? i usually only do self portraits (for my 365) so i'm not that fussy about taking time to adjust focus, but my model might... right? the d60 only has 3 AF points... and i usually have to use the AF-override to get the focus on the eyes... so i'm thinking i'm not gonna miss AF TOO much. the reason why i ask this is 'cause well... the price of the AF-S 50/1.4 is like.. 4-5x the price of the AF 50/1.8... plus i already have a manual focus 50. my main concern is making my model wait, and possibly missing a few good shots due to my... lack of Manual Focus skills.

    2) this one's simple... the tamron 28-75/2.8... slow to focus, loses connection with camera every once in a while, and it's a b*tch to manual focus 'cause the focus jumps from 3m to infinity in a tiny arc. not really great for portraiture... i bought this lens without knowing i'd enjoy portraiture so much ahah :] anyway... i've heard some great things about the tamron 17-55/2.8... and i'm thinking of selling this lens and my kit lens for some money towards that! can anyone tell me about this lens? would it be... suitable for portraiture? :O

    thanks a lot guys :]
     
  2. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Autofocus or not .... for me, I do not want to shoot a portraiture without it especially with a telephoto lens and shooting outdoor where DoF is shadow.

    Is it required? I do not think so. However, for me with a DSLR ( smaller viewfinder and no split circle type focusing screen), it is not as easy. I am sure, just as you mentioned, I can nail the focus. But it take times and may miss a lot of shots. And I am sure the model will not like to wait that long.

    If you are taking photos in an controlled environment such as inside a studio with backdrop or something like that, it allows me to have deeper DoF, manual focus maybe ok. At least I have more room for focusing errors.

    But then again, this is just my opinion and I am not a pro. :)


    Maybe you want to wait a little bit and see if the how the Sigma 85mm F/1.4 HSM perform. Apart from the QC issue, based on their 50mm f/1.4 lens, I expect the 85mm will perform pretty good. And since it is a HSM lens, your camera should be able to autofocus with that lens.

    As for the Tamron lenses, I have the 17-50mm and I tried my friend's 28-75mm before. And their autofocus speed are about the same. However, I do not have any lost connection issue with my Canon camera. You may want to take a look at the contacts of the lens and see if you spot any problem there.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Nikon's AF-D series 50/1.4 and 50/1.8 are not very flattering imagers....the bokeh is poor on both of those lenses. I would not buy either of them new, but only used. And like I said, neither is a flattering imager for portraiture....this is true of most 50mm lens designs; high sharpness, so-so rendering. If you have no autofocus, on the smaller Nikon bodies, the viewfinder quality is not as high as on the pro Nikons, and manual focusing can be tricky for many people. But....if you do want to go manual focus,and you want a lens that's a useful portrait lens on a D60, my money is on a lens that was made and discontinued before you were born Patrick: the 70-150mm f/3.5 Nikon Series E. It's a nice and light single-ring zoom lens; you can zoom out to 150mm where the magnification is high, and then zoom back shorter and shoot. The area between 70mm and 85mm is quite useful to have on a 1.5x body. The lens is light, affordable, and very sharp, and is optically good enough to migrate forward.

    In my book, a used 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor is a "pawnshop lens" or an "e-Bay lens" that you buy on a clunker like a Nikon N6006 for $55; keep the lens and throw away the camera. The last 50/1.8 AF I bought was from a pawnshop, four years ago, and I payed $40 for it in mint condition. I would not buy the 50/1.4 G just as a people lens.

    Manual focusing on baby Nikons is somewhat difficult for me with lenses in the 20-24-35-50mm lengths, due to low magnification and the cameras' built-in viewfinder screens not being optimized for manual focusing. Longer focal length lenses, like 85-105-135 primes allow easier manual focusing---especially if the lenses are older, manual focusing lenses, which have longer focusing ring rotations and allow precise manual focusing. Some lenses, like the classic 105mm f/2.5 Ai or Ai-S are very easy to manually focus. Your comment about the focuysing arc on the Tammy shows that you are aware of just how cranky many AF lenses are when manually focusing them.

    The real problem though is the area between 50mm and 85mm is quite a wide expanse; it might not seem like it is, but the difference between a 50 and a 55 or a 60mm lens is pretty wide; at each of those steps, the angle of view changes quite a bit and the 1.5x FOV factor makes it even more-pronounced. This is why I am suggesting the 70-150mm f/3.5 Series E as a portraiture lens; it has a lot more range than many lenses, decent look to its images, and pretty good manual focusing.

    The other alternative is to look at the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8...that's probably going to be your best choice as a portraiture lens in an AF lens 50-150mm F2.8 EX DC APO HSM II - Telephoto Zoom Lenses - SigmaPhoto.com
     
  4. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Some excellent advice... a good manual focus lens is great for portraits since you are so often shooting with very small DOF where autofocus becomes untrustworthy.
     
  5. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    Good advice.


    Also if your shooting portraits in a controlled enviroment, and understand manual controls and focusing, dont over look older nikon AIS lenses. I shot portraits for a while with an old 180mm 2.8 ais ed lens on my d90. Sharpest lens i have ever owned, even at 2.8, the thing was incredible, and it only cost 175 bills. Now im not saying go for that lens but the list of these lenses is HUGE.

    Nikon 85mm f/2 Review

    Nikon 100mm f/2.8 Series E

    Nikon 105mm f/2.5 AI-s

    Nikon 135mm f/2.8 AI-s Nikkor Test Review © 2004 KenRockwell.com

    Nikon 180mm f/2.8 Review

    Now obviosuly there not for everyone, and it looks like you have some money ready to spend, but dont overlook these, i wish someone pointed this idea out to me earlier

    me, 180mm 2.8

    [​IMG]
     
  6. PatrickCheung

    PatrickCheung TPF Noob!

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    wow! i wasnt expecting ANY reply to this thread, come home from school and here we are. :p

    humm... shooting with old lenses seems pretty reasonable! the only problem i see is the loss of metering. from what i understand, the D60 can't meter with old manual focus lenses (well it can't meter with my e-series 50/1.8)... right? D: i'll definitely look into these lenses though, see what fits my budget and all. nice jacket by the way, jimmy!

    :p derrel, you mentioned the frustration of manual focusing an autofocus lens, but i guess my question is... if that's true for all autofocus lenses. i havent seen too many lenses in my life, but i'm sure there ARE AF lenses with bigger arcs right? maybe not as big as those manual focus lenses... but big enough to work with? i'm just wondering if the AF 85/1.8's one of those lenses... :p

    does anyone have photos taken with the AF-S 50/1.4? derrel mentioned that the bokeh wasn't too great on that lens... is it bearable for portraiture though?

    i guess my biggest problem lies in the fact that i only have three autofocus points... left, centre, and right. as stated before, i find myself autofocusing on the eyes, recomposing, then using the AF override to correct any change to the focus that could've been made when i was recomposing... while all that makes AF sound a little useless in my case, i can't seem to get over the feeling that i NEED AF as a safety net 'cause i really don't want to make my models wait.
     
  7. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    From what im getting from what your saying sounds like you maybe need a body upgrade along with the lens upgrade ;)

    As great as the d40/60/3000/5000 line of camera is for beginers, the sad truth is eventually your gonna need to upgrade if you wanna get serious. Honestly the major reason for me upgrading to a d90 was so i could use the normal AF lenses.
     
  8. PatrickCheung

    PatrickCheung TPF Noob!

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    i know eh? D: i was considering an upgrade to a d80 to hold off for now (someone offered me his d80 + 18-105 kit + flash and tripod for $600... but i dont have that kinda money. wonder if he still has it). but then i realized that my lenses aren't really that great. i think i should invest in glass first, then a body. iunno... quite the dilema. D:
     
  9. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    What you dont want to happen is get a whole slew of AF-S lenses then end up upgrading and realizing you could have the same kit of lenses but for cheaper with normal AF lenses.

    When i had a d40x i built up a quiver of sigma hsm lenses: 10-20, 18-50, 70-200 while they werent to bad i ended up selling every last lens once i upgraded.

    Your say you have 500-600. Well you could sell your d60, buy a d80, and get an 85mm 1.8 and be set and have AF and metering.

    Just a thought
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    One of the things Darrel mentioned, but didn't elaborate on, is the lens he referred you to is a parfocal lens.

    In other words you zoom in tight and focus on the eyes, then zoom back out, but the lens stays focused where you were zoomed in to.

    That's something Auto Focus lenses don't need to do these days, but was a fairly common feature on zoom lenses in the days before AF.
     
  11. PatrickCheung

    PatrickCheung TPF Noob!

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    i'm thinking of taking jimmy's route :p

    theres an offer for a d80 + the 18-105kit (i think... or was it 135) + a tripod + a flash for $600... pretty irresistable if you ask me. might sell the 18-105kit or my 18-55kit and that tripod for some money... and possibly my d60 and use it towards that 85/1.8.

    how much is a d60 worth anyway?

    oh and kmh! thanks! iunno :p we'll see what happens come march 17th. born on st.patty's day... named patrick. how original.
     
  12. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    Im gonna say you could sell the body for 325, then maybe get atleast 75 for the kit lens. So that gives you 400, and it looks like d80's go for between 400 and 425 for body only. Easy as that. Then spend the rest on that 85mm or maybe even a 80-200 2.8 if you think your gonna be shooting sports. I would just keep that tamron for now becuase your gonna want to have a walk around lens.
     

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