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04-02-2008, 01:51 AM   #1
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Sigma 70/2.8 EX DG Macro - for kids' portraits too?

Hi!

I am considering to buy some budget macro-lens. It should be short tele-lens or standart.
My choices till now are:

Sigma 70/2.8 EX DG Macro
Sigma 105/2.8
Takumar 90/2.8

I wish the lens being sharp еnough and having good colors-quality.
And because I have 2 little kids - to be a good choice for portraits too.

Your advices?

04-02-2008, 03:58 AM   #2
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I have the sigma 105mm, and I am satisfied. I think the 70mm is more suitable for portraits. The 70mm is also rated to have higher resolution than the 105mm. I don't have a clue about the takumar.
04-02-2008, 04:14 AM   #3
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I think the Sigma might be the most expensvie of the bunch. I have read (I think in a PopPhoto review) that it was Sigma's sharpest lens as of Spring last year. I think it's brilliant both for macro photography and for portraits. It has a focus limiter which you'll find handy when doing portraits. Here are some photos taken with the lens:
siderean's sigmamacro70mmf28exdg slideshow on Flickr
04-02-2008, 06:49 AM   #4
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The Pentax D FA 100mm Macro isn't that expensive and I'd probably pick it over any of the other lenses you mentioned if you "must" have a macro/portrait lens.

If you just want a great portrait lens without the need for macro I'd suggest the DA 70mm Limited.

I used to think the FA 77mm Limited was the best portrait lens in Pentax's current lineup, but the DA 70 sold me as soon as I had it in my hands. The DA 70 has FAR SUPERIOR sharpness compared to the 77 and the difference between bokeh at f/2.4 and f/1.8 is minimal.

As much as I love the DOF on the FA 77 for portraits I love the fine detail in my subjects that the DA70 captures even more.

04-02-2008, 09:38 AM   #5
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I would not try and use a macro on kids that won't stay still, they will run around and most macros have slow AF. For portraits I will second the 70mm Ltd, it is as sharp as the sigma macro but you'll get more use chasing kids with it than the macro.

If you do need a macro and can't afford 2 lenses then try the sigma 70 or tammy 90 and keep the focus limiter on.
04-02-2008, 09:57 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Torphoto Quote
For portraits I will second the 70mm Ltd, it is as sharp as the sigma macro but you'll get more use chasing kids with it than the macro.
While we're on the subject of "chasing kids" here is a photo I took with the DA 70 (@f/5.6) after my daughter decided she didn't want to sit for a formal portrait anymore:

04-02-2008, 11:53 AM   #7
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.. now that is a bold statement to a lens that some professional have considered "the best lens ever made". anyone else can chip in on this?

I understand that sharpness is not everything on a lens. I dont have either of these but they are certainly on my envy list for portrait photography

[QUOTE=JJJPhoto;210462]The Pentax D FA 100mm Macro isn't that expensive and I'd probably pick it over any of the other lenses you mentioned if you "must" have a macro/portrait lens.
"I used to think the FA 77mm Limited was the best portrait lens in Pentax's current lineup, but the DA 70 sold me as soon as I had it in my hands. The DA 70 has FAR SUPERIOR sharpness compared to the 77 and the difference between bokeh at f/2.4 and f/1.8 is minimal."
04-02-2008, 12:11 PM   #8
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I'll chip in on it

The 77mm ltd is super sharp in the center but if your a portrait photographer and shoot using rules of thirds your point of interest won't be in the center any more. The 70mm ltd is as sharp ( to the eye pixel peeping not a scientific test ) but maintains the sharpness right through the frame! the 77 does get a little soft away from the center so for rule of thirds use the 70mm is "better". As for the bokeh the 77 just rocks! I will be the first to say the 70's bokeh isn't even close to the 77's, it's not as bad as the 35mm F2 vs the 31mm ltd for bokeh but it can be noticeable.

Now take into account the 70mm's cost, it's a bargin!

As for the said Pro ( who's work I can only dream of emulating ) probably knows something I don't or just must have that better bokeh of the 77mm over the 70.

04-02-2008, 01:07 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=truonganh;210652].. now that is a bold statement to a lens that some professional have considered "the best lens ever made". anyone else can chip in on this?

I understand that sharpness is not everything on a lens. I dont have either of these but they are certainly on my envy list for portrait photography

QuoteOriginally posted by JJJPhoto Quote
The Pentax D FA 100mm Macro isn't that expensive and I'd probably pick it over any of the other lenses you mentioned if you "must" have a macro/portrait lens.
"I used to think the FA 77mm Limited was the best portrait lens in Pentax's current lineup, but the DA 70 sold me as soon as I had it in my hands. The DA 70 has FAR SUPERIOR sharpness compared to the 77 and the difference between bokeh at f/2.4 and f/1.8 is minimal."
I likewise used to consider the 31 Limited and the 77 Limited to be two of "the best lenses ever made." However, that was before plenty of real life use and before I tried the 70.

As Torphoto was kind enough to point out, the 70 has the technical edge (pun intended) over the 77 in terms of edge-to-edge sharpness. Wide open the 77 loses almost 50 percent of its absolute sharpness at the edges of the frame compared to the center. The 70 loses about 10 percent. Now those figures are based on pixel-peeping tests done with imatest, but even an untrained eye can see the difference in edge sharpness between these lenses.

I'll also go as far as to say CA and purple fringing is less of a problem on the 70 than it is on the 77.

As for bokeh, the 77 does come out on top ... but wide open I still believe the 70 has fantastic bokeh and I'd rather have sharp photos with a slightly less fantastic bokeh than fantasic bokeh with soft detail unless I'm shooting in the center of the frame.

Although the shape and number of a lens' diaphragm blades is not the primary factor contributing to bokeh, the number of blades does have some degree of impact on bokeh ... and both the 77 and the 70 have 9 diaphragm blades.

The main benefits of the 77 are the wider aperture, the slightly superior bokeh, and the cool old-school lens construction. In my opinion (and that's all we're talking about ... my opinion) the 70 is the better choice for most people.
04-02-2008, 01:28 PM   #10
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i'll spew my rhetoric again... take it with a grain of salt


with the advancement in digital post processing techniques, a lens's colour rendition and the so called "3d" qualities become somewhat meaningless,

hence the only real benchmark that is left is lens sharpness

as for bokeh, thats entirely subjective.
04-02-2008, 04:37 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
i'll spew my rhetoric again... take it with a grain of salt


with the advancement in digital post processing techniques, a lens's colour rendition and the so called "3d" qualities become somewhat meaningless,

hence the only real benchmark that is left is lens sharpness

as for bokeh, thats entirely subjective.
Bokeh is subjective but a lens is great bokeh is still great bokeh in everyones subjective opinion.

As for post processing, a true photographer rather get that 3d effect without photoshop

Plus the limited still have the coolness factor
04-02-2008, 06:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
i'll spew my rhetoric again... take it with a grain of salt


with the advancement in digital post processing techniques, a lens's colour rendition and the so called "3d" qualities become somewhat meaningless,

hence the only real benchmark that is left is lens sharpness

as for bokeh, thats entirely subjective.
I doubt very very very seriously that you can reproduce the 3D pop of the 77 with photoshop or any other photoediting software out there. And that is not to mention the bokeh, especially the way the 77 renders specular highlights.
I will grant you that color rendition can be duplicated, but why would you want to spend hours tweaking hue, saturation and brightness on all six channels? Personally I prefer to shoot photographs, not spend hours in front of a computer trying to reproduce something that I could have gotten automatically with a careful lens purchase.

NaCl(but to each his own)H2O
04-02-2008, 09:05 PM   #13
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Even you can reproduce the 3D quality from photoshop, how many extra time you are going to spend on postprocessing your photos? IMO, lens like FA limiteds are time savers. Producing eye catching results instantly is just a click most of the time.

Back to the topic, my current solution on macro/portrait lens is the DA* 50-135mm with the Canon 500D close-up lens on a step-up ring. It won't be a true 1:1 macro but it is at around 1:2.5 to 3 at 135mm end according to some web sites. This setting is very convienience, light weight, cost effective, and produces high image quality. I can upload some images taken by the 500D lens if you want. You can also consider the Nikon 6T. But if you are aftering 1:1 macro, probably the Sigma 70mm is the way to go. It is highly rated in many reviews including Photozone.

BTW, the DA* 50-135mm is comparable to the DA70mm in terms of sharpness and bokeh. Color of the DA* is cooler. The 70-90mm is its "sweet spot". My friend has the DA 70mm, and I can't spot the difference except the sightly warmer color, but we never did a formal testing. The FA77 is always on my envy list along with the A* 85mm, but DA*50-135mm serves me well for portrait and casual macro at the moment.
04-02-2008, 11:53 PM   #14
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Thank you, guys, your opinions are very useful. I am still doubting, so keep on commenting.
04-03-2008, 07:56 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Torphoto Quote
Bokeh is subjective but a lens is great bokeh is still great bokeh in everyones subjective opinion.

As for post processing, a true photographer rather get that 3d effect without photoshop

Plus the limited still have the coolness factor
it always surprises me how people tend to forget that "true" photographers spent countless hours in a darkroom

photoshop is the digital age's dark room... hence the adobe program, lightroom.....


also there is such a thing as "preset", once you know how your lower-grade lens shoots, and once you find how to fiddle with your low grade lens photographs to make them look high grade, you just save that preset and off you go.



in any case, i would love to own a 31 or a 77, but what i'm saying is that one doesnt have to go bannana's hording the best glass to produce awesome pictures.
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