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where is my 40- 105 f2.8 ?

hugh crawford , Mar 24, 2005; 02:25 a.m.

I am looking foe a F2.8 zoom which has a range that includes 40mm to 105mm for portraiture. There seem to be plenty of fast reasonably high quality 2.8x zooms around 24 or 28mm to 70 or 80mm is popular as is 70mm to 200mm It seems that my only alternatives are to swap lenses back and forth or get a second body. Since I'm using a 1Ds neither of those approaches is appealing.

All I seem to find that cover that range are various slow "kit" lenses and "superzooms" and the Canon 28-135 IS lens, that seems to mainly show up as second best in reviews of the Tamron 28-75 ( which I have and like a lot , even if it vignettes horribly wide open at 28mm. }

I really like the look of shooting wide open, and before anyone advises me to zoom/crop with my feet I'd like to say that the lighting setup I use really makes that problematic, and the size I print at really makes you not want to crop.

A fast high quality zoom that centers on 80mm seems like a pretty obvious product to me , but 80mm seems to be always at one end or the other of fast high quality zooms. Nikon had a 50-135 zoom in the 80s, but I can't find anything like that now


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David Lau , Mar 24, 2005; 03:03 a.m.

There is a current Tamron 28-105/f2.8 zoom, though the image quality is average. I also own the previous generation Tamron 35-105/f2.8, which can produce much better quality images. You may be able to find it used.

For portrait work I always use prime as I do not find the need to change focal length frequently. I can always step forward or back to get the framing I wish. My favourite lens is 85/f1.8. f2.8 is too slow for the shallow DOF I am looking for in portraiture.

Stuart Moxham - Finland , Mar 24, 2005; 03:11 a.m.

I don't know if it would be any use to you and but Tamron make a 28-105 2.8 zoom. The photodo rating of this lens was not very high but it could be worth a look if you could make some test shots in the shop and evaluate them before you buy it.

Yakim Peled , Mar 24, 2005; 06:30 a.m.

My copy of the 28-105/2.8 was rather good. Today, however, I'd choose other options, even if that means to give up my desire for a 40-105/2.8 zoom. HTH.

Happy shooting,

Jonas Gustavsson , Mar 24, 2005; 09:46 a.m.

Another vote for the Tamron 35-105/2.8, which is my standard zoom. It is solid and takes 67 rather than 82 mm (28-105/2.8) filters but has pretty slow autofocus. I bought it based on the photodo MTF charts that show good performance at 2.8 and excellent from 4 on without the wideangle weakness of the 28-105. It works well for me.

Another alternative is to get a digital 1.6 crop body and go with a 28-70 or 28-75. :-)

Jon Austin , Mar 24, 2005; 10:49 a.m.

Write a letter to Canon Product Development, and request that they design and build this lens for you. Right now, they're busy developing a new 24-70 (or thereabouts) f/4L zoom for Jim Larson and me, but I'm sure they'll get right on your request as soon as they're finished with this one...

Thomas Gardner , Mar 24, 2005; 11:36 a.m.

"I am looking foe a F2.8 zoom which has a range that includes 40mm to 105mm for portraiture."

Personally? I'm gonna invoke the conspiracy clause:) I think all of the manufactures keep things intentionally inconvenient so as to aid sales by one or two additional lenses.

For all the acumen which Tokina, Tamron, Sigma and Canon have at their ready disposal, they seem to all manage in failing to provide a consistant set of high quality zooms which compliment each other in this middle ground. No matter how you put your lense kit together, you're gonna need three or four lenses to do what two or three zoom lenses should be able to do.


The best Canon will give you is the 16-35mm,(10-22mm)/17-40mm and the 28-300mm IS as a two lense solution. And yes you'll need to take out a second to be able to afford this luxurious set up. Other then that it's a 16-35,(10-22)/17-40mm, 24-70 and a 70-200 (of choice). Notice how there's both a lacking of decent overlap in the long end and a hole if you try to pick-up a 100-400mm IS; to be filled by the 85mm f/1.8?

As a suggestion, one noted NYC fashion photographer, Stephen Eastwood, who I've had a few correspondences with, uses a 35-350mm. He does have benefit of Force 10 studio lighting and softboxes to accomodate the slow nature of the lense but you can see from his book that it serves him well, so it becomes an alternative to consider.

If I had to pick an ideal lense for portraiture, I'd get the very expensive 85mm f/1.2L as the bokeh of this lense is to die for. If I wanted the best tweener, I'd go with either a 50mm f/1.4, an 85mm f/1.8 or the 24-70mm f/2.8L, for portraits. All choices dependent on the sensor crop you might be restricted to.

You state that you have a lighting set up, check out the 35-350mm, should you still be able to find one, as it's much better then many give it credit for and with half-way decent studio lighting you won't be hampered by it's slow nature.

Hope my above gives you some ideas.

Terry Smith , Mar 24, 2005; 05:20 p.m.

I've had the Tamron 28-105/2.8 for over a year and I am VERY pleased with it except that the AF is too slow. The slow AF may not be a problem for portraits. Also, you get the best out of it between 5.6 and 8. On the other hand, it's very softness wide open makes it an excellent portrait lens. I plan on keeping mine for the long haul unless Canon makes the same as an L lens. The increased flexibility you get over a 28-70 or similar is also a very major advantage. When my 28-70 L broke, this is what I replaced it with. OK, it's not as good, but it doesn't miss by a lot and it does go out to 105mm. BTW, mine is a later model with some small cosmetic changes when compared to the original. I don't know if there were any optical changes at the same time or not.

Yaron Kidron , Mar 24, 2005; 10:04 p.m.

"I am looking foe a F2.8 zoom which has a range that includes 40mm to 105mm for portraiture..." -- Duh.. I just mounted my 24-70L on my 20D, and there you, 40-105/2.8 (Fov-clone).

Grant Gaborno , Mar 25, 2005; 05:21 a.m.

Yaron is right...if you use a 1.6x crop camera, it is really, effectively close to the FOV range that you are asking for!

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