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FO­CAL LENGTH AND APER­TURE ARE KEY CON­SID­ER­A­TIONS, BUT they ’re NOT THE ONLY FAC­TORS

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DI­APHRAGM BLADES

A larger num­ber of di­aphragm blades tends to pro­duce a more rounded aper­ture when stop­ping down. This helps to en­hance the qual­ity of the lens’s bokeh.

OP­TI­CAL STA­BIL­I­SA­TION

It’s very rare to find op­ti­cal sta­bil­i­sa­tion in a fast lens with an aper­ture rat­ing wider than f/2.8. The two Tam­ron VC lenses are the only op­tions on test to fea­ture this.

AUT­O­FO­CUS SYS­TEM

All of the lenses on test have ring-type ul­tra­sonic aut­o­fo­cus, which works with all Nikon D-SLRs. It’s whis­per-quiet and en­ables full-time man­ual over­ride.

SEALED MOUNT­ING PLATE

All of the lenses in the group fea­ture a weather-sealed mount­ing plate, apart from the Sigma 50mm lens. As­sum­ing you don’t shoot por­traits in the rain, this might be a moot point

FO­CAL LENGTH

50mm and 85mm lenses are ideal for DX and FX por­trai­ture, re­spec­tively. 50mm lenses work well for wider en­vi­ron­men­tal por­traits on FX-for­mat cam­eras too

APER­TURE RAT­ING

An f/1.4 aper­ture is two-thirds of a stop faster than f/1.8. This en­ables a slightly tighter depth of field, but in re­al­ity it can be hard to tell the dif­fer­ence

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