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Samyang 85mm f/1.4 Aspherical

Review Date: Dec 5, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price, image quality, sharpness, bokeh, build quality, color rendition.
Manual focusing takes a little practice to get used to. But if you nail the focus, the image would be ridiculously awesome.

I have tried this and the Canon 85mm 1.8, and both is awesome. This lens however, with its hefty price tag, is an excellent bang for the buck (I'd say even better).

I've had both Rokinon and Samyang and they are exactly the same. Its weight and size feels nice in hand, that large front and rear element is eyegasmic, the barrel and mount are made of metal. Focusing ring is buttery smooth and gives quite a long throw to help you focus carefully. It has a clicking aperture ring also which I like better than the Cine de-clicked version.

I like to use this lens wide open. I shot portrait with it and brought along the 70-200 2.8L vI with me. Although both are excellent for portraits, the shallower DOF the Samyang produced really made me favor this lens over the zoom. And it is pretty sharp at 1.4 that suits my liking, but it's even sharper at 2.8. At that similar aperture as the 70-200, I think I wouldn't prefer one over the other.

There's quite a lot of these jewels on the used market going for around $200. If you wanna step up your portrait game unconventionally (rather than getting a 50mm 1.8), this will be THE secret weapon in your camera bag.

Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF]

Review Date: Jul 5, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, affordable, useful range, fast f/2.8, good AF.
Practically none. But worth mentioning that the AF motor does make buzzing sound; normal for lenses of this value, though.

I had this lens to replace the 18-55 to use with my 60D. The criteria for an ideal lens for me was having a useful range (wide to medium tele) and most importantly sharp. I did my research that included the Canon 17-55, 17-85, 15-85, and both Sigma and Tamron 17-50. What made me decided on the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 non VC was it price point and its sharpness, even wide open.

The fast aperture was somewhat a bonus to me. I didn't care for it at first, but when I learned myself of the benefit of a fast lens, I was thrilled. This lens is really sharp compared to all the other lenses, with exception to the 17-55. The price difference between these two lenses was too much, though; a single canon 17-55 could buy two or three of the Tamron.

Overall, this lens is perfect for any beginner or even pros with APS-C bodies to replace their 18-55 kitlens. AF is pretty fast, and I wasn't really bothered by the AF motor sound. I was yet introduced to how silence L lenses are at that point. Even now when I have owned L lenses, I still have a Tamron 28-75 on my FF camera that I got specifically to replace this 17-50 due to how much I liked it.