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03-13-2010, 12:08 AM   #1
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Should I keep my FA 50mm F1.4 or buy the Tamron 28-75 F2.8

Hey guys,

I have a Pentax K2000 with a FA 50mm F1.4 lens and I like the lens alot but I found a new Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 lens at a store for $400 brand new and was very interested in it because it gave me longer reach and a wider angle and a fixed 2.8 aperture. Would you recommend that I get the Tamron? How does the image quality compare? I do portraits and would like the flexibility the Tamron offers but I want to make sure my shots come out as crisp as possible. I don't want to sacrifice image quality. I like that i can get f1.4 with the FA 50mm and that it's rather sharp at f2.8 but the Tamron seems soft at f2.8 from what I saw and read online. Has anybody owned both of these lenses and if so can you please give me some information on what you liked and disliked about each one? Thanks a lot.

03-13-2010, 12:48 AM   #2
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The Fa 50 1.4 is a nice prime--no doubt about that. But if you want both longer reach for portraits. and wider angle too, the Tamron will in no way disappoint you. I can't imagine where you read the Tamron is not sharp wide open--that is silly. The lens is known for its sharpness, throughout its range. What you will lose are 2 stops, if you trade off the Fa. Can you afford to lose the 2 stops?

If I could only have one of these lenses, it would be an easy choice to make for me: Tamron 28-75!
03-13-2010, 12:56 AM   #3
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I see thanks, well i guess I can afford the 2 stops of light loss since I will be shooting mostly with off camera flash but I just hope it's sharp at f2.8, some tests i've seen showed it was a little soft at f2.8 and really sharp at f4-f5.6...So the image quality is comparable to the FA 50mm?
03-13-2010, 01:01 AM   #4
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Why don't you look in the Tammy Club thread--I've seen wide open shots with the Tamron in there, and they are sharp!

03-13-2010, 01:26 AM   #5
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I'm on the other boat. I have the Tamron 28-75 but I'm longing for the
FA 50 1.4
03-13-2010, 02:14 AM   #6
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I have both and will never get rid of either.
Both used in different applications and are invaluable.

I've used the FA 50 for scenes where I can control the distance between the camera and the subject, and when the subject is generally a compliant person or object.

The Tamron is versatile in situations where you have less control over composition and need to zoom to get that shot right, particularly in weddings. It's fast enough for most shots, but the fast fifty renders a beautiful f/2 image, which the Tamron obviously can't. Nevertheless the Tamron is sharp wide open at all focal lengths (mine is anyway).
03-13-2010, 02:33 AM   #7
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If you look at Photozone's reviews, purely from MTF values the FA-50 beats the Tamron. (FA-50 peak performance is around f4-5.6.) But in real-world use the Tamron is a great performer and an excellent value.

Only my opinion of course, but wide open the FA-50 seemed pretty soft and a bit lacking in contrast. It benefits from a decent lens hood. Stopped down it is very sharp- I used mine mostly for night photography on a tripod, usually at f5.6 and focused at infinity. At those settings it was one of the sharpest lenses in my collection.

Both lens being screw-drive, AF speed is pretty comparable. (And I think faster than my SDM lenses.) I have read from other Tamron owners who have had a little trouble with the AF, in that it may be accurate at the wide end but a little off at the long end, or vice-versa. (With regard to FF/BF.) I found that mine was a little off when I had my K10D but now with the K20D AF adjustment, it's fine. The Tamron 28-75 is a very versatile lens with excellent image quality. Really, if I were to cut down to say a three-lens kit, I'd keep the DA12-24, the Tamron 28-75, and the 70-200, and be quite happy, and of those the 28-75 would probably get used the most. And if it was a choice between FA-50 or Tamron 28-75, I'd definitely go with the zoom.
03-13-2010, 05:44 AM   #8
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Like the others, if I could only have one of these lenses, it would definitely be the 28-75. It is an outstanding lens, and I do think sharp from wide open. It would be a shame though if you'd have to get rid of the 50/1.4 to buy the Tamron. I still love my fast fifties, even if I don't use them all the time.

03-13-2010, 05:53 AM   #9
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What do you normally shoot with your 50? I ask, because you can get an older manual focus 50 for 20 or 25 dollars and have the best of both worlds. Obviously if you use it to shoot sports or chase your kids around, that wouldn't work so well, but for a lot of things manual focus is better anyway. I just find that my camera tends to mis focus the FA 50 wide open. Just a little bit off on an f2 photo and you look soft. Anyway, that's my two cents.
03-13-2010, 06:12 AM   #10
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Yeah, with the last advice, if you could have one or the other, I'd sell the FA 50/1.4, buy the Tamron 28-75, and then pick up an A 50/1.7 (usually around $75-$100 USD), or if price is really an issue, an M 50/1.7 for about $50-$75.
03-13-2010, 06:44 AM   #11
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golden rule of thumb: when in doubt, buy them all..
03-13-2010, 07:06 AM   #12
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I have both & they both have their place. If I could only have one of them, the Tamron would get the nod hands down for the way I shoot.
03-13-2010, 09:32 AM   #13
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Wow, well it seems it's pretty clear that I should sell the FA 50mm, by the way (going to sell my kit lens too, I wouldn't need it), I actually do have a manual focus 50mm f2.0, so I could just keep that if I ever need it. The type of photography I shoot is portraits...babies, engagement, headshots, outdoor portraits, etc. I did a family shoot last week and I had to scoot back a lot to get the framing I wanted on the FA, it would have been a lot easier if I had the zoom, and quicker. But anyways i'm going to buy the tamron today, the 6 year warranty is great and even more so figuring my FA was used and the warranty is expired I believe. Thanks guys.
03-13-2010, 11:11 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by tokyoso Quote
golden rule of thumb: when in doubt, buy them all..
There goes all the gold...

Hey, I just started using a very different sort of 'portrait' lens. Originally US$2000+, I got this new-in-the-package for US$70 on eBay last year. It's a Schneider-Kreuznach Betavaron 3,5...11/0,08 that weighs 820g and has an objective about 65mm across. What? It's a friggin 2-pound enlarger zoom, 50-125mm, and it's kinda hard to say just the aperture is because the stops are just marked 1-2-3-4-5.

In fact, it's kinda hard to tell ANYTHING about the optics, other than it's a complex zoom. Fixed-focus, but zooming changes the focus point. It's meant for production darkroom work, where you need to make a zillion prints with the enlarger at the same focus but you use the lens to quickly change reproduction sizes. Right now I have it on M39-M42, flanged M42-PK, and tubes, with extension about 28mm, and it focuses about 0.5m (18 inches) to beyond infinity. With a bit more extension, it'll be wizard for macro work. And that flanged adapter enables it for trap-focus.

Wide-open (whatever that is) it is NOT soft. Stopped-down at all, it is brutally crisp and contrasty. Even with its pentagonal iris (star-shaped when stopped down) the bokeh is utterly smooth. This is not for romantic lovey-dovey sweetheart portraits; it's for HE-MAN pictures.

[/me makes simian noises, thumps chest, scratches armpits, etc]

It's not easy to use. Of course, I only really started last night, and I suppose I'll learn a few tricks soon. But since you zoom to change focus, it's hard to be quite sure of what will be in the frame. It takes a lot of bobbing back and forth. On a tripod, subject at a known distance, it's OK. Walking around, the trap-shoot is a crap-shoot. But at least it's not boring.

Back to the subject: Yeah OP, get the Tamron. It's only money. Keep the 50. Buy more lenses. Buy them all. Get the complete set.
03-13-2010, 12:07 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by crossover37 Quote
(going to sell my kit lens too, I wouldn't need it)
Why do you say that - are you planning on buying a wide angle lens in addition to the 28-75?
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