Best Portrait Lens?


After owning and renting so many lenses throughout the years, the Tamron 35mm F/1.4 has easily been my favorite portrait lens thus far and surprisingly elevated my work and made shooting fun and free of worry. Like a lot of photographers, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to produce the best work. Whether it's for a client or simply a casual test shoot, I try to maximize every shoot by learning as much as possible while aiming to get the best photos as I possibly can (don't get me wrong, I'm here for a good time but I like to maximize my time). If we're using expensive professional gear we expect it to work right out of the box and work well, but if it doesn't it sometimes can introduce doubt and take away that peace of mind.


The Tamron 35mm F/1.4 has allowed me to never have to worry about missing my shots even when shooting wide open. Besides it being a breeze to work with, here are other reasons why I think you should consider buying this lens:


Functionality

Even though it's a third party lens for Canon EF cameras, this lens has produced great real world results. Unlike other reviewers, I don't dive deep into very specific details and measurements as to what the lens looks like on paper. Instead, I put it to the test in real shoots with real people. At F/1.4 adapted onto my Canon EOS R which uses the new RF mount instead of the older EF, it still focuses amazingly well. After using it on multiple shoots, I have hardly missed any shots (maybe 5 at the most and more than likely due to user error) and I wish I could say this has been the same experience with my Sigma lenses but unfortunately, it hasn't. My Sigma 24-70mm F/2.8 and 70-200mm F/2.8 are amazing lenses but often times they back focus and don't give me the consistent sharp focus that I expect out of $1000+ lenses, but that's for another blog.


Being able to shoot at F/1.4 provides such amazing bokeh and subject separation. But of course, at F/1.4 even though I'm always able to nail focus, it can be a little soft towards the edges so I always stop down to F/1.8-2.8. Within this range, I'm really able to get head to toe sharp focus while still having great bokeh.


Overall, this is my go to lens for portraits and lifestyle work. At 35mm it's a great focal length for contextual and environmental portraits. Of course, there are other scenarios when I might switch over to my 70-200mm for more compression but the 35mm I have on 99% of the time.


Affordability

Canon EF 35mm F/1.4 costs $1799 versus Tamron 35mm F/1.4 costs $899

That's a savings of $900...


If there's anything about me that friends are aware of, it's that I'm frugal with buying gear and research thoroughly and analyze everything. Equipment is expensive and when re-investing into your business you want to make sure it is money well spent.


Tamron and Sigma in the past have had a stigma for producing cheap, budget friendly, lenses that weren't comparable to first parties brands like Canon and Sony. But in my experience, if you're on a budget, Tamron and Sigma are worth looking at especially on the used market like Offerup and eBay (do your homework of course!). Everything from build quality to image quality is there with some lenses even offering more than what first party lenses have like image stabilization. Buying used and online from unauthorized sites will be a separate blog but I will share that I was able to get this lens for less than $899 brand new through eBay with no hiccups.


My thought process when debating which brand to buy came down to essentialy which has the best value? Even though I can afford the Canon version, a question that continuously popped up was "Will the Canon version be twice as good as the Tamron considering that it's double the price?" Both are weather sealed, both can capture beautiful sharp results and while other reviewers say that Canon is the sharper edge to edge lens to which I agree, it's just not worth the extra $$ in my opinion.


Results

Some additional images taken by me with the Canon EOS R + adapted Tamron 35mm

Brand influencer/Model: De'Andre Pierce

Client: Technigadgets


Have more questions about the Tamron 35mm? Want me to review another piece of gear? Feel free to DM me at instagram.com/its.aaronhan !


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