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08-30-2011, 11:20 AM   #1
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sigma 50 1.4 vs Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro for portrait photography

Hey Guys,

I need to get your thought on this. Bought Tamron 28-75 the other day and wanna have one prime portrait lens as well. perhaps for indoors and low lighting to go with my Pentax K-7. In terms of IQ, DOF and more functionality, do you think I should go with Sigma 50 1.4 or Tamron 90 macro 2.8?

Thanks,

Derek

08-30-2011, 11:30 AM   #2
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The Tamron 28-75 is pretty darn good for portraits by itself. I have the 90mm macro, and it's really sharp, you might want to soften in post for some stuff. Why not get the FA50mm 1.4. It's still cheaper than the Sigma and it has amazing bokeh. You could probably pick one up used for $250. A fast 50 will allow you to have a great DOF control and to shoot in lower light. The Tamron 90 is a great macro lens. They both make good portrait lenses, so think about secondary purposes.

P.S. My favorite portrait lens is my Helios 44-2 58mm/2.0 and it only cost me $30.
08-30-2011, 11:33 AM   #3
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You may have to consider how far you'd have to be from the subject with the 50 and the 90.
08-30-2011, 11:48 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
The Tamron 28-75 is pretty darn good for portraits by itself. I have the 90mm macro, and it's really sharp, you might want to soften in post for some stuff. Why not get the FA50mm 1.4. It's still cheaper than the Sigma and it has amazing bokeh. You could probably pick one up used for $250. A fast 50 will allow you to have a great DOF control and to shoot in lower light. The Tamron 90 is a great macro lens. They both make good portrait lenses, so think about secondary purposes.

P.S. My favorite portrait lens is my Helios 44-2 58mm/2.0 and it only cost me $30.
does FA 50mm have AF or MF?

08-30-2011, 11:51 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by dr_romix Quote
does FA 50mm have AF or MF?

It has AF.
08-30-2011, 12:44 PM   #6
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I would highly recommend the Sigma for portraits... Check it out.
08-30-2011, 02:04 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ubuntu_user Quote
I would highly recommend the Sigma for portraits... Check it out.
why would you highly recommend that over FA 50 or Tamron 90?
08-30-2011, 02:57 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dr_romix Quote
Hey Guys,

I need to get your thought on this. Bought Tamron 28-75 the other day and wanna have one prime portrait lens as well. perhaps for indoors and low lighting to go with my Pentax K-7. In terms of IQ, DOF and more functionality, do you think I should go with Sigma 50 1.4 or Tamron 90 macro 2.8?

Thanks,

Derek
My Sigma 50mm f/1.4 is the main lens on my K-7. Very sharp at f/2 and very usable for portraits at f/1.4. I personally think the Tamron is too long and slow for an indoor portrait lens. My next lens for my K-7 will be the Sigma 85mm f/1.4. I had it on preorder, but canceled it until some of the reviews came out and a few batches have been produced. The other lens I would recommend is the 43mm LTD. Really a good indoor lens, but a little slow to focus compared to the Sigma.

08-30-2011, 06:39 PM   #9
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As someone who has the both the Sigma 50/1.4 and Tamron 90/2.8, I would suggest the 50/1.4. I got the Tamron mainly because it's a Macro 1:1 lens, but also because I thought I could use it as a portrait lens. I've never done so to this day because I find my 70-200/2.8 more useful as a general + portrait lens when I'm out and about, and both the 70-200/2.8 are f/2.8 max anyway, while if I'm shooting peope with a prime, I find I go for my Sigma 85/1.4 instead, since it's a faster lens and there's more control of DOF. The one thing that the Tamron does well though, is being a Macro lens.
08-30-2011, 06:51 PM   #10
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I don't think you can go wrong with either. It's a matter of focal length preference.
The Tamron 90 is a very sharp macro lens, whilst the 50/1.4 is a nice focal length for flattering portraits with smooth bokeh.

I have the Pentax FA 100/2.8 macro, and love its portraits, but didn't mind what the FA 50/1.4 produced in comparison when I had it. I since passed it on for the FA 43 limited, which I'd similarly consider as a good portrait option. As well as the FA 77 limited.
08-30-2011, 07:15 PM   #11
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I had the Tamron 90 and sold it. It was great for macro but I didn't do enough macro to make keeping a dedicated lens worthwhile. As for other photography, I experienced a lot of purple fringing which was frustrating. The lens is very good, excellent really, for what it was made for which is macro photography.

Oh and as strictly a personal opinion, I just couldn't get used to that push pull auto focus to manual focus system that Tamron uses. I can never remember do I push or do I pull. But hey, that's just me.
08-31-2011, 12:28 AM   #12
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First, define 'portrait' -- controlled studio, or impromptu, or street-stealth, or what? Headshot, 3/4 body, full body w/ context, or what?

Next, what's your comfort range? I shoot portraits with 16-24-35-50-58-70-85-105-135-200mm lenses, all at various distances, depending.

Then, what portraiture effects do you want? Ultra-sharp or -soft, thick or thin DOF, or what? I get best facial roundness with ~80/4 at ~1.5m.

I really like my FA50/1.4 for portraiture. And my Nikkor 85/2 and 35/2. And an old M42 Sears-Tokina 55-135/3.5 (US$8). And enlarger lenses on fixed-focus tubes, like a fine Schneider (US$5) or Rodenstock (US$10) 75/4.5 on M42 macro tubes (US$8/set) at ~1.5m (and don't forget some cheap M39-PK and/or M39-M42 & M42-PK adapters). For street shots, Enna Tele-Sandmar or Isco Westar 100/4.5 (US$15). But the FA50/1.4 is a good starting point.

Last edited by RioRico; 08-31-2011 at 12:56 AM.
08-31-2011, 04:15 PM   #13
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thank you all. I ordered sigma 50mm 1.4 yesterday adding to my collection.
09-01-2011, 07:32 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by dr_romix Quote
thank you all. I ordered sigma 50mm 1.4 yesterday adding to my collection.
You should have bought it from me... Would have saved you $$$!
09-01-2011, 07:46 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Next, what's your comfort range? I shoot portraits with 16-24-35-50-58-70-85-105-135-200mm lenses, all at various distances, depending.
It must be fun yelling at your subject from 15 feet away

I shot 200mm portraits once, it was pretty entertaining how much stepping 1 foot to one side would turn the background completely different
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