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10-03-2011, 12:47 PM   #1
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Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM ?

I tried posting to a old thread but it wouldnt let me. So I am creating a new one.

So I am thinking about getting this lens. How would you rate it for doing portrait (glamour) head shots to full body. Also be used for indoor studio and outdoor shots.

It's between this lens and a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8.

Thanks for any advice you can give me.

Craig


Last edited by Cregar; 10-03-2011 at 01:13 PM.
10-03-2011, 12:56 PM   #2
axl
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I'm not much of a portrait person and definitely not glamour shots but for me 50-55 feels touch long for full body. 24-40, more specificaly 31-40 feels best for me. Regards
10-03-2011, 02:02 PM   #3
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axl is quite right. The 28-75/2.8 would be more appropriate for the kind of portraiture you mention.

If money is a consideration, think of this: AF isn't necessarily needed in controlled portrait shoots. My favourite head+shoulders and headshot lens is an old M42 Sears-Tokina 55-135/3.5 (US$8 shipped). And for some work, you may want more DOF control than an f/2.8 or f/3.5 zoom would give. That can be somewhat handled by careful placement of camera, subject, and background. But you can also use faster manual-focus prime lenses. I like a 28mm or 35mm f/2 for full-body shots, 50-55mm f/1.4 for H&S, 75-80/3.5 for sharp headshots (with good rounding of features) and 85/2 for 'romantic' headshots, and 135/2.5 for more flattened features. With careful shopping, such a prime set can be found pretty cheap.

Those are my budget solutions. If budget is unlimited, get some Limiteds, eh?

Last edited by RioRico; 10-03-2011 at 03:10 PM.
10-03-2011, 02:37 PM   #4
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Wow RioRico... you just made my life a whole lot more confusing :-)

I had spent most of the weekend researching lenses and pretty much came to those 2 as my final decision. I already have the Pentax 18-55mm kit lens, the Pentax 55-300mm lens, a manual SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.7 and a manual Sears 135mm f/2.5.

I was looking for something sharper then the AF lenses I have and from my research those both are sharp lenses.

Funny thing was Friday I was all gunho to use the extra income ($500.00) on a AlienBee light, large softbox and 22" beauty dish. Maybe I should just use the lenses I have and get the lights.


Last edited by Cregar; 10-03-2011 at 07:12 PM.
10-03-2011, 03:11 PM   #5
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Honestly, your 50mm 1.7 won't really be outdone by another lens in terms of sharpness. I would go for the lights, they will give you a lot more "creative control" then another 50mm lens...
10-03-2011, 03:35 PM   #6
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Lighting gear will sure help! Your manual 50 (which is superb!) and 135 should do well with existing or controlled light; if they aren't A-type, then flash can get tricky. The Tamron would be good for its flexibility and (reputed) sharpness. (I don't have it so I'm trusting the reviews.)

I have a circa 1960 Kodak guide: Studio Techniques For Portrait Photography. It mentions lenses exactly twice in one paragraph in 64 pages, recommending the APS-C equivalent of 43mm for 3/4 portraits and 50-60mm for H&S. (Extrapolating slightly, the 28-75 is perfect for everything from full-body to headshots.) All the rest of the book is about lighting, background, posing, makeup, and presentation. That's the important stuff. So if you got the Tamron, you could stop worrying about lenses and concentrate on the important stuff!

Hope this helps.

Last edited by RioRico; 10-04-2011 at 02:03 AM.
10-03-2011, 04:45 PM - 1 Like   #7
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If you're going to be shooting portraits with strobes, I think you would be wiser to invest in the lighting gear at this time, and wait until later to get the faster aperture lens.

For most studio portrait shooting you will probably be using a smaller aperture somewhere between f/5.6 and f11. At those apertures, the kit lens should be sharp enough for now. If you've never done studio shooting before, you'll spend a lot of time perfecting your technique and you don't need to be distracted too much by pixel peeping for extreme sharpness. I guess if you wanted to get really creative you might use a large aperture, but if that 's your intention then you would probably be fine with some hot lights.

By the way, I think that the Tamron 28-75mm mentioned above is a wonderful lens for using in the studio. That's what I mostly use in my home studio, and it's extremely sharp. I actually find myself using the zoom quite a bit, so I don't think I would usually want a prime. If I have some time when I get home tonight, I might post some samples with that lens in my studio.

I don't really understand the school of thought that dismisses autofocus as unnecessary. I use the single autofocus point in the center, and the Tamron pretty much always focuses exactly where I want in the studio. Why would I want to bother with a manual focus lens, when the Tamron can do it without a thought in a fraction of a second? Just because you're shooting in a studio, doesn't mean the situation is necesarrily "controlled". Just try shooting my 2-year-old sometime and tell me how "controlled" the session is. When I'm shooting little kids, I want to be able to shoot very quickly, because their patience can run out quick, and you have to be fast to catch that perfect smile.
10-03-2011, 07:16 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the great advice everyone. I think with the lenses I have they will be good enough for now. I am going to upgrade from my speedlight and umbrella to the AlienBee and softbox/Beauty dish.

Thanks again

Craig

10-03-2011, 08:17 PM   #9
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Which AlienBees strobe are you getting?
10-03-2011, 11:21 PM   #10
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I am content with 5-6 manual flashes, 15$ each, 4 umbreallas & light stands, color/temperature gels, snoots, grids, clamps, radio triggers, etc. You can go far with 500$. i also ended up with 14 manual flashes in total. I am cheap ;-)
10-04-2011, 02:10 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoanpham Quote
I am content with 5-6 manual flashes, 15$ each, 4 umbreallas & light stands, color/temperature gels, snoots, grids, clamps, radio triggers, etc. You can go far with 500$. i also ended up with 14 manual flashes in total. I am cheap ;-)
Cheap is good. Thrift-shop flashes, five bucks each, fired by SYK-3 triggers for four bucks each, with ten-buck thrift-shop umbrellas clamped to five-buck thrift-shop floor lamps. The clamps may be the most expensive items in such a setup. Fancy equipment is for AFTER money is being made. But IMHO the Tamron 28-75 is still a good investment.
10-04-2011, 06:36 AM   #12
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I also started cheap with my studio lighting. My first off-camera lighting that I purchased was a pair of old Paul C. Buff White Lightning 10,000 monolight strobes that I got for $70 each. They aren't as fancy as modern strobes and don't have as many power settings, but they put out way more light than any speedlight and are a great bargain. I now have two White Lightning Ultra 600's that I use for my mains, but I still have three of the old strobes that I use for background or supplemental lighting.
10-04-2011, 02:25 PM   #13
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I already have a Sunpak 433D, Sunpak 422D and a 45" and 60" umbrellas with radio triggers, light stands, color/temperature gels.

I was thinking about getting the AB800 for a main light so that I would have a little more power when outside.
10-04-2011, 03:51 PM   #14
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I just scored a used copy of this lens from B&H in 9+ condition and I should have some samples by Sunday night. I'm not much of a portrait guy though.
10-04-2011, 04:57 PM   #15
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I own the Sigma 50mm F/1.4 and it is an excellent lens. I have not complaints. If I were strictly working in a studio I might go for the 43mm LTD. Either of those lenses fit in your price range and both of them are capable of profession results.
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