D3200 with (18-55 + 50 1.8) or Tamron 17-50 2.8 ?

Started Jun 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
williamj1
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Re: D3200 with (18-55 + 50 1.8) or Tamron 17-50 2.8 ?
In reply to asif999, Jun 6, 2012

First off, both are excellent lenses and are wise choices. However, there can be no doubt that the 50mm prime is better, as would naturally be expected, in terms of sharpness and low light performance, plus depth-of field.

You say your basic needs are street photography and portrait shooting. I would have said the 50mm is the perfect lens for both of these, without even considering the Tamron. As explained, it will beat just about any lens on sharpness, depth of field and low light performance ... three critical elements to the type of shooting you perform.

Personally, what I love so much about prime lenses (I use my 50mm 1.8 95% of the time now) is that it really makes me think about my shot. I don't have zoom, so I really have to nail the composition and really consider what would make the shot more interesting, what angle would be best and so on. When I use a zoom, I tend to go more "trigger-happy" and just shoot lots and lots.

So for me, I think it is an odd choice to have to make or consider, because for street photography and portraits, a 50mm is perfect in terms of focal length in my opinion. The Tamron is a great multi-purpose lens. But the things you are shooting really don't suggest you need different focal lengths, as for both portrait and street shooting you want to get up close most of the time.

Are you new to photography? If so consider the above. If you already own a camera or have some experience in photography however, I think the easiest way to decide would just be to look at your photos and see what focal lengths you most frequently shoot at.

For example, if you find you are typically shooting at 40-50mm most of the time, then the 50mm is an obvious choice. Because if you are going to be shooting at "around" 50mm all the time anyway, then there is no point getting the Tamron which will perform less admirably than the 50mm 1.8 prime when shooting at 50mm.

Whereas, if you are shooting much wider frames, then the 50mm prime may limit you. So this should help you narrow down your options.

As I've said already, I prefer to shoot with specific purpose lenses. For example, at the moment I have a D90 and I have 3 lenses.

My Nikkor 50mm 1.8 AF-D which I use almost all of the time. For family pictures, pictures with friends, nature, street photography and people in general, this lens cannot be beaten.

My Nikkor 18-55mm which came with my old D40. I only use this for landscapes, and am looking to upgrade this to 10-20mm so it is more specific.

My Nikkor 70-300mm, which I only use for telephoto shots e.g. birdwatching etc.

I find that shooting with specific purpose lenses makes me think about what (and crucially how) I want to shoot, and adapt my shooting style resulting in better pictures. So I would always advise a prime if it suits your needs. My basic point is that the Tamron is a fantastic multi-purpose lens. But if you will only shoot around 50mm anyway, then the prime boasts the best performance. More over, its a smaller, lighter and more discreet (important for street shooting) lens.
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