Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan. Today on The Slanted Lens we’re going to review two lenses from Tamron (http://bit.ly/20zf8lV). First, a remake of their 90mm 2.8 macro. And secondly, a brand new 85mm 1.8 prime. These lenses are fabulous. Let’s talk about why I love them.
First, the remake of the Tamron 90mm macro. Their old 90mm was a great lens. I’ve used it as a portrait lens many times. I’ve now used this one as a portrait lens. It’s fabulous. The first thing they’ve done to improve it that is so important to me is they’ve switched the focusing direction from Nikon to Canon. So now these prime lenses from Tamron all focus the same way that Canon does. When I’m working with different people on set and they’re going back and forth it’s very difficult for them to make that switch from focus pulls one way to the opposite direction. So that is a fabulous thing that this new lens does. For me, that’s a reason to buy the new version all on it’s own. It’s got a better motion compensation. It’s got ultra silent motors inside so that your autofocus is very quiet. This Tamron 90mm macro lens is built to be more dust resistant. It’s a more resilient, stronger lens. It’s very durable. The new lens bodies look fabulous; I love the silver bands on them. They just feel more professional, stronger, like more workhorse type lenses. Obviously you can use it for macro photography, but you can use it as a portrait lens as well. It’s got an override for the autofocus. So if you’re in really tight, you’re using autofocus and it’s not finding the right point you want you can quickly take it into manual. That’s especially helpful if you’re doing macro work and you need that super precise focus. It still focuses at about 12 inches. Remember 12 inches is from the film plane. Not from the front of the camera lens. You can get right in on top of things.
Next let’s talk about the 85mm. This is the 1.8 aperture lens. Nine blades on both of these, so the bokeh is beautiful. That’s one of the first things you want to figure out about a lens, is what does the bokeh look like? What’s the focusing distance? This is more of a telephoto lens- a portrait lens. This Tamron 85mm is a lens you go to when you want to shoot head and shoulders with people. It’s just a gorgeous people lens. And I think that’s its best application. It’s the perfect go to lens for faces. The face does not compress, it doesn’t balloon. It’s just a fabulous lens to use on a person’s face and that’s why you’ve got to have it. It’s got that same sleek black design with the silver banding. It’s got the switches to be able to switch back and forth with your auto focus and your vibration control. It focuses the same way that Canon does. I don’t know why I keep saying that but it’s just such a wonderful thing to me that they focus the same direction. The whole series of prime does.
In prime lenses you really need that 35, 45, or a 50. You jump up to 85 and of course from there you jump up to your 70-200mm lens. The only one I hope is coming, and I’m sure it will soon, is a 24 or maybe even 20 would be fabulous. This is obviously a prime lens; it’s not a zoom lens. But this is a prime macro lens. This is made to get in close. You use this in dental work. I shot my hummingbirds with it because I can get in close. Use it for that kind of work.
This is a great lens for video because a lot of video cameras do not have full frame sensors. Which means that they can’t get a shallow depth of field. So a 2.8 lens, which you have here, is not going to give you as shallow a depth of field on say, a Red, or on some kind of a motion picture camera that has a crop sensor. Whereas a prime lens that has a 1.8 allows you to open up and to give you that really shallow depth of field. So it’s a fabulous application. The primes that have that 1.8 give you a really shallow depth of field when you’re doing video. Makes them worth their weight in gold.
Would I buy the 85mm over the 90mm? I’m so glad I don’t have to make that decision. The 90 is a macro. It’s made to get in super, super tight. You can get in and do those extremely tight shots. But the 85mm is only gonna focus to about two and a half feet. Which means you’re back out. It’s more of a portrait lens. If I could only buy one I would probably buy the macro and it wouldn’t work as well for me in video and in stills if I want that shallow depth of field. So there you have it; these are two great lenses from Tamron. I’m excited for this series of primes as they continue to grow.
Keep those cameras rollin’, keep on clickin’.