Seeking my ultimate portrait lens

Discussion in 'Canon Lenses' started by andrewdoeshair, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. andrewdoeshair

    andrewdoeshair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I just learned so much. Thank you!

    I've just always heard rave reviews about Zeiss, people talk about it like it's the Cadillac of lenses. I figured that's the lens that stops all the debates! I've borrowed the canon 85mm F1.2 and I had fun with it at some parties, but I didn't even try it for one of my haircut photos. I think I'll borrow it again and actually use it. The guy who loaned it to me told me not to buy one, but to get the Tamron 85mm F1.8 instead. His comments aside, I have been reading up on that Tamron a lot today. I mentioned in an earlier post that I've had wonderful results with my Tamron 150-600, so I do have some brand loyalty built up there. The VC claims seem too good to be true. It's reasonably priced and it looks nice, clean, and stylish (not that the looks should matter).

    Now that I haven't been in the studio for a few days I'm wondering why I'm looking for another lens. My 24-70 is good, and my 50mm is good. But I'm sure after I get back in there I'll itch to buy again...


     
  2. andrewdoeshair

    andrewdoeshair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thank you! I just had a friend (who is a pro photographer, unlike me) tell me the same thing.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I recently scrutinized an entire set done with the Tamron 85mm f/1,.8 Vibration Control lens. My verdict? Extremely unpleasant out of focus foreground bokeh, especially on high-frequency detail. Really not a "pretty" imager The in-focus area is nice and sharp...very sharp! But the background bokeh? Rough, and hashy. UN-pleasant in the OOF foregreound area, transitioning to biting sharpness in the focused band, and then nervous, ugly background bokeh. Yikes. A lens designed to be perfect on flat test targets!

    There's no question: the new new Tamron 85mm f/.1.8 VC is NOT a pretty imager...for portraiture and pictorial uses, that lens could be easily bettered by many,many older lens designs.

    The new-school is selling lenses based on DxO Mark test results, and not based on balancing the lens's multiple qualities. If you want to see hard-edged and rough bokeh, the new 85 VC has that in spades. The images I looked at were done by a pretty skilled shooter, a young guy, and his skill wasis very,very good, but that lens is, in my opinion, just not right for beauty/fashion/portraiture.

    Lens rendering is a difficult thing to describe, but you can literally SEE it when you look at a somewhat large portfolio of images made with one lens; the Flickr groups are good for this, but so are the portfolios of individual people There are a number of newly-designed lenses designed to be sold based on lines resolved per millimeter, and there are lenses designed to be great shooters and fine imagers. Zeiss by Cosina has played into the test chart/landscape crowd's on-line fascination with resolution, but manually focusing a lens for portraiture/fashion/modeling.action work makes little sense.

    If you look at the Matt Granger's Zeiss 85mm video from a few years back, you'd see that the lens was a total FLOP in nightclub shooting with the D800....the focusing is just NOT good enough to get the resulkt out of the lens in the real world. (His YouTube channel was formerly That Nikon Guy, but it was apparently renamed "Get Your Gear Out".

    You want to see a GORGEOUS 3rd party portrait lens?Look at the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 pre-OS macro--OMG...to die for....or the NEW Nikkor 105mm f/1.4...
     
  4. jake337

    jake337 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    There is no ultimate portrait lens. Maybe some are favored. A great portrait can be achieved with almost any focal length. Why limit yourself? I find using the same focal lengths to be repetitive and boring.
     
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  5. nickgillespie

    nickgillespie TPF Noob!

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    I shoot Canon. That said, I hate the fact that there is such a huge gap between their L line and the gold ring stuff. The L lenses are awesome. 85 1.2 and 105 2.0 would be my choices... the 85 1.8 is decent... definitely good enough for what you're doing, but trying to compare the L line to the gold ring stuff is crazy; the quality is "walmart bike vs lance armstrong bike". If you're not making money (or if you're not making a good amount of money) from these photos I'd go with the 85 1.8.

    Personally, I hate shooting portraits with the 200. I have the 200 2.8 and I don't like that I'm in the next timezone to get waist-up. 85 and 105 let you get good compression and not have to use a walkie talkie to communicate.
     
  6. andrewdoeshair

    andrewdoeshair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thank you! I tried the 100mm F2 in a store and thought I looked horrible. Low contrast, jarring bokeh, it just didn't "feeeeel" good. I ended up landing on the 100mm F2.8L macro lens that I had been borrowing. It's perfect for my needs (again, I can't go any tighter than 100mm in my tiny studio). I test drove a tamron 85mm and I've borrowed a Canon 85mm F1.2 but I didn't like the Tamron enough to pay full retail and I couldn't afford the canon no matter how I feel about it. I looked into the old looking Zeiss 85mm (I forget their model names) but since I have a perfectly capable 24-70 and a 100mm that I'm more than happy with, I gave up on the 85mm search. Also, during this lens hunt I got some studio strobes and realized that I needed to improve my lighting more than I needed to improve my lenses. I spent my lens funds on a beauty dish, soft box, various reflectors, and some solid stands. This was taken with that 100mm F2.8L. I have a LOT more to learn about lighting, but it's been a nice distraction from just buying all the lenses.

    3G7A0198.jpg
     
  7. table1349

    table1349 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Just curious, Which Canon 105 f2 are you talking about?:biggrin-new:
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Good choice on buying LIGHTING gear instead of a bunch of lenses. Lighting is what differentiates photos very markedly.
     
  9. nickgillespie

    nickgillespie TPF Noob!

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    Oops. I meant 135.
     

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