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Guide to Tamron Lenses for Portrait Photographers

tamron-lenses

Guide to Tamron Lenses for Portrait Photographers

As of the time of this blog, I’ve been using Tamron lenses for the better part of two years now, in both my portrait and fashion photography. I thought it was about time that I put together an article that described how I’m using each lens on set for those of you interested in investing in a Tamron lens. At the present moment, all of my personal lenses are EF mount for Canon but the information is still applicable to both Nikon and Sony lenses.

 

Am I Safe Investing in a Third Party Lens?

There are many things in life that I would NEVER buy third party, e.g. cereal and soda (yes, I’m a stickler for the good stuff), but that’s not the case with lenses. Now, I’ve used some pretty awesome lenses that Canon has produced in the last few years, as well as other third party manufacturers. I will honestly say that I’m thoroughly impressed with the lenses that Tamron produces. Rather than spend time putting them on a pedestal, I’d rather just show you some images I’ve taken with their products.

 

What is Vibration Compensation?

Have a shaky hand? Make sure to invest in a lens with vibration compensation (VC). Handheld camera shake can lead to images that are blurry and / or unsharp. Their patented image-stabilization technology corrects the effects of vibration both horizontally, vertically, and diagonally.

 

What is Ultrasonic Silent Drive?

Simply put, Tamron's Ultrasonic Drive (USD) technology provides their lenses a fast and smooth auto-focus drive.

35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD

SPECS

  • Maximum Aperture: Maximum: f/1.8
  • Minimum Aperture: Minimum: f/16
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 7.87" (20 cm)
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9, Rounded
  • Filter Thread: Front: 67 mm
  • Weight: 16.9 oz (479.12 g)
  • Image Stabilization: Yes

tamron-35mm-f:1.8-Di-VC-USD

How I Use This Lens: The 35mm lens is the cinematic lens and that’s not a subjective comment. Historically, the 35mm lens has been used in many production films because it enables photographers and videographers to include a great deal of the background without much lens distortion. Because it’s a prime lens, you’ll find that most 35mm lenses are much lighter in comparison to their tele-zoom counterparts.

 

The 35mm lens is a great lens for fashion sets or sets where you’d like to include the background in frame. Because it’s a wide angle lens, it’s typically to wide to be used as a portrait lens as it will distort the face and make it look wider in camera.

 

  • FOR CANON EF
  • FOR NIKON F
  • OR SONY A

24-70mm f/2.8 DI VC USD

SPECS

  • Maximum Aperture: Maximum: f/2.8
  • Minimum Aperture: Minimum: f/22
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 15" (38.10 cm)
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9
  • Filter Thread: Front:82 mm
  • Weight: 29.1 oz (825 g)
  • Image Stabilization: Yes

tamron-24-70mm-f:2.8-DI-VC-USD

How I Use This Lens: If I had to take a single lens with me anywhere, it’d be a 24 – 70mm lens. Why? I find it to be the most versatile lens in my kit. Whether, I’m shooting fashion or portraits, I have a combination of focal lengths to tackle any situation. It allows me to photograph my subjects in a cinematic length, like 35mm and then quickly convert to a 70mm focal length for a beautifully compressed portrait.

  • FOR CANON EF
  • FOR NIKON F
  • FOR SONY A

85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD

SPECS

  • Maximum Aperture: Maximum: f/1.8
  • Minimum Aperture: Minimum: f/16
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 2.62' (80 cm)
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9, Rounded
  • Filter Thread: Front: 67 mm
  • Weight: 1.54 lb (700 g)
  • Image Stabilization: Yes

tamron-85mm-f1.8-Di-VC-USD

How I Use This Lens: The 85mm lens is a great portrait lens, with a beautiful shallow depth of field and it’s a lot less bulky than carrying around a 70-200mm as a portrait lens. You’ll also have better lens compression compared to using a 50mm lens.

  • FOR CANON EF
  • FOR NIKON F
  • FOR SONY A

90mm f/2.8 SP Di MACRO 1:1 VC USD

SPECS

  • Maximum Aperture: Maximum: f/2.8
  • Minimum Aperture: Minimum: f/32
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 11.8" (.30 m)
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9
  • Filter Thread: 58mm
  • Weight: 19.40 oz (550 g)

tamron- 90mm-f:2.8-SP-Di-MACRO 1-1-VC-USD

How I Use This Lens: The Macro Lens is one of the most underrated and underutilized portrait lens options in my opinion. While macro lenses are specifically designed for macro photography, they make amazing portrait lenses because they’re designed to minimize lens distortion and also have a really shallow depth of field.

Some photographers would argue that the reason most photographers don’t use macro lenses is because of how razor thin the depth of field actually is. And they are right. In untrained hands, this narrow plane can be burdensome to nab focus and you may find you’ll need to take an extra photograph or two in order to nail focus. I find that shooting at higher shutter speeds and using “back-button” focus however, really enables me to nab focus almost every time.

  • FOR CANON EF
  • FOR NIKON F
  • FOR SONY A

70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

SPECS

  • Maximum Aperture: Maximum: f/2.8
  • Minimum Aperture: Minimum: f/32
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 51.2" (1.30 m)
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9
  • Filter Thread: Front:77 mm
  • Weight: 51.85 oz (1470 g)
  • Image Stabilization: Yes

tamron-70-200mm-f:2.8-Di-VC-USD

How I Use This Lens: The 70 – 200mm lens is by far one of the most popular lenses among portrait photographers because of it’s beautiful and realistic visual compression. The 70-200mm lens usually comes in either a f/2.8 or f/4 model. Price aside, if I had to choose between the two, I would recommend going with the f/2.8 because of the more aesthetically pleasing bokeh they create.

  • FOR CANON EF
  • FOR NIKON F
  • FOR SONY A

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