Two-in-One Lens: Macro & Portrait Photography

tamron90My favorite focal length range for portraiture is 85-105mm and in a world populated with LED studio lighting gear a faster lens is appreciated as well. Lately I’ve been shooting Tamron’s 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens, which is part of their Di series which means it works just as well with cameras with full-frame as with those with APS-C sized sensors, like the Canon EOS 60D I used for my initial testing.

In addition to having a useful focal length—144mm equivalent on my Canon EOS 60D—Tamron’s 90mm Macro lens has the company’s Vibration Compensation (VC) image stabilization system built-in which is a big help for shooting at wider apertures when using continuous lighting or just plain eliminates the problem of camera movement when shooting with electronic studio flash as I was doing here.

Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens

1/100 sec at f/10 and ISO 100

The rounded diaphragm should produce some nice bokeh when shooting low light or outdoor portraits wide open, something I’m looking forward to trying. Considering its obvious high quality construction, the lens only weighs 14.1 oz. It’s available in Canon, Nikon, and Sony mounts and the latter version doesn’t have VC, since Sony SLR bodies have built-in image stabilization .

Like everything else in photography every decision involves a trade off or as Rumpelstiltskin is fond of saying “Magic comes with a price.” In this case, it that you should make sure that your subject can handle the extreme sharpness that will show every possible pore and skin defect. Avoid cross lighting that might skim a subject’s face but no matter how beautiful a subject may be this kind of lighting is not flattering for everybody. Keep the lighting simple and soft or you can also just shoot, as I often do, and later use any of the soft focus and diffusion software tools available in the digital darkroom.

Note: Interested in shooting Macro with this lens? That was covered in last Thursday’s post.

Author: Joe Farace

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