Breathing new life into an old camera

85mm f1.8 Tamron Lens Tests

November 6, 2020

  • Photography

Instead of investing in an entirely new mirrorless camera system, I upgraded our lens & batteries in our venerable Canon T5i. Here’s a few samples.

Tamron 85mm lens on old canon body
Breathing new life into an old camera

Is 2020 when we go mirrorless?

We’ve been needing an upgrade of our camera systems for a while. We used to shoot professionally and I sort of lost the taste for it after many years. Our 50mm f1.4 has some focus issues, and we have a fixed-aperture 24-70mm f1.8 that’s pretty long in the tooth now.

My wife has wanted a solid portrait lens for a while, and now our kids are turning into amazing shooters in their own right. I have always made it a family value to empower anything creative or productive my kids get into. So that made investing in a decent portrait kit an easy decision!

I have long wanted to go mirrorless, for multiple reasons which include better video and webcam capabilities. I felt like the solid Sony a7 series is what I might go with (or Panasonic Lumix G series), but investing in that is just so expensive — new body, all new lens formats, accessories, etc. Our Canon T5i is a bit old, but the sensor is decent and still works great. We’d lost the battery and charger over time and it was sort of gathering dust.

I wanted to see what we could do for under $1,000, and was pleased to find this excellent Tamron 85mm f1.8 which is close to some of the lenses we used to rent for wedding shoots.

Tamron 85mm f1.8 Tests

Here’s a few quick shots taken with it. Very pleased with the sharpness. It has an optical stabilizer that permits up to 4 stops of additional light with hand-held shots. This is key for our kind of photography, as we like to stay mobile (“run ‘n gun” as we say).

Great detail and sharpness, without too much vignette or softness at the edges when shooting wide open (which is acceptable — even desirable — in portrait work). Stabilization works well.

Kira, our kelpie

New Kit!

Very pleased with the size, weight, and quality of the Tamron 85mm (US$750 as of this writing) and the PowerExtra dual charger (US$30). We’re back in business!

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