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Is there an alternative portrait lens that doesn't break the bank?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by Klikerko, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. Klikerko

    Klikerko New to TalkEmount

    9
    Jan 19, 2013
    Hi guys,

    I finally spent some quality time with my Nex 6 and all lenses I purchased. Aside from stock PZ I also purchased Sigma 19/2.8, Sigma 30/2.8 and Canon 50/1.8, and that's where I think I should make a change. While I like using Canon portrait lens manually I realized I'm wasting way too many good opportunities because shots are not sharp. Most of the time subject is my 3 year old son and boys that age don't spend too much time standing still. I'm also not happy with aperture being stuck wide open. I need more control.

    I would like to know if there is an affordable alternative to SEL50F18, something that would allow me to have full control over lens through camera? I'm OK with used one too. I was considering adapters for Canon but they are way to expensive ($400) and I'm sure my wife would give me stink eye if I suggest purchase ;). Does SEL50F18 ever goes on sale? My budget is up to $200, but please consider that I'm not a professional nor I have aspirations to become one, so I should stay within budget. Most of my photos are taken inside so decent low light performance or optical stabilization is nice to have.

    Here are a few photos I made with that Canon lens.
    https://www.talkemount.com/f17/virgin-photos-camera-thats-not-point-shoot-3071/#post28484

    Thanks,
    Klikerko
     
  2. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Honestly I'd use the PZ until you can save up for a faster AF lens. Bump the ISO up if you need to. The NEX will handle that fine. :)
     
  3. Klikerko

    Klikerko New to TalkEmount

    9
    Jan 19, 2013
    Hi Bimjo, what would be that faster AF lens?
     
  4. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Sadly, I don't think it exists in the price range stated for AF. I don't pay much attention to AF lens prices so I'm really not the best source to answer your question. I believe that to get anything faster than 1.8 you'll have to go A mount with the LA-EA2 adapter.
     
  5. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Agreed, I think you have covered all the available AF lenses in your criteria.

    The kind of control you are looking for is going to push you to the MF world.
     
  6. Grisu_HDH

    Grisu_HDH TalkEmount Veteran

    397
    Dec 16, 2012
    Southern Germany
    Markus
    As said before concerning AF the 50f18 will be your only choice...
    Safe some money and sell the Canon on eBay or here at the market.
    During that time use the superb Sigma 30 for portrait shots or the PZ kit lens...
     
  7. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    In my opinion good portraits equals manual focus. It's very hard to get autofocus to focus intelligently on a face or a person. That means that you open up the whole manual-lens-with-adapter market. Very wife-friendly prices ;)
     
  8. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    SEL50f18 is about $250 used on the fleebay. $298 new. Might as well get new. IMHO it's a fantastic lens and is worth it. 50mm on Next is very versatile. I don't believe there's a cheaper alternative yet, maybe Sigmas.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
     
  9. Klikerko

    Klikerko New to TalkEmount

    9
    Jan 19, 2013
    Thanks for replies everyone. Well, that's too bad. I'm little bit jealous at Canon owners who can buy nice portrait lens for $100 while Nex alternative is 3 times that... in silver.

    I was thinking about Minolta 50/f1.4 as transition solution until I find SEL50F18 cheaper.

    What do you think? Any other sub $50 I could consider?
     
  10. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Yeah, the cheap nifty fifty is one of the best points for beginners in buying into the system. But it got a plastic mount and is built completely out of plastic. While this may seem like a small deal, it's not - I know two guys who broke their Canon 50mm lens mount by accident - out of warranty. They lost only 100, but still ... And the Sony 50mm for E-Mount has pretty much the best bokeh of all the cheap 50s available.

    If you want to go cheaper ... a Canon 50 with adapter, any Minolta 50s or something like this.
     
  11. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    I'm one of these Canon owners and trust me SEL50F18 beats EF50/1.8 even at 3x the price. Canon lens is sharp. But that's it. It has a horrid rendering of out of focus lights that look like little pentagons. AF is slow and unpredictable, hunts in low light. No FTM. MF is very difficult because the focusing ring is tiny - about the width of a UV filter housing. And no stabilization. The other 50mm is 1/4 that's more expensive than Sony's lens and still not stabilized. I think Sony 50mm is the best overall choice in E mount line up.
     
  12. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    The Sony 50mm f/1.8 is the fastest stabilized lens in the world. It's simply insanely hard to stabilize such a lens with its huge elements without making the lens barrel huge too. Was a challenge for Sony for sure - and adds to the price.

    Just take a look at the stabilized Canon lenses: The 28mm, the 24mm, ... - all f/2.8 and expensive as hell.
     
  13. Klikerko

    Klikerko New to TalkEmount

    9
    Jan 19, 2013
    I trust your advice guys since you know much more about lenses than I do. I'll start saving for SEL50F18 and continue practicing with my Canon 50 until I find some good deal on Sony.... Can't wait!
     
  14. demiro

    demiro TalkEmount Regular

    120
    Mar 2, 2012
    There is no reason to be jealous of Canon shooters because of their cheap 50mm. With a little practice using focus-peaking you will get way better portraits with a manual focus 50mm, and likely for a better price as well.

    I started a thread asking for adapted portrait lens recommendations. You can check it out here: https://www.talkemount.com/f12/favorite-adapted-lens-portaits-3035/
     
  15. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Yeah, I have the cheap Canon 50mm f/1.8. While it has better contrast and colours than the usual Canon kit lenses, it's not a super lens. I rarely use mine anymore since I got a couple of Rokkors around the 50mm mark. Legacy Minoltas are simply better in terms of sharpness, colour and bokeh.

    I forgot to mention two good portrait lenses,

    Minolta MC/MD 135mm f/2.8 or 3.5. The four elements versions of those lenses are super sharp and have very smooth bokeh. The f/3.5 version usually sells for around $15-30 and the 2.8 version usually starts at $30 for a decent one.

    Minolta MC 58mm f/1.4. Fairly soft wide open but has really creamy, swirly bokeh. You can find a good one for about $50 and upwards.