The term “standard lens” had long been forgot since the time camera manufacturers started equipping their cameras with relatively slow (variable max. aperture f3.5-5.6) mid-range zooms like the 28-80mm (or 18-55mm for a APS-C format DSLR) instead of a much faster (at least f2 for an entry-level one), simpler and higher image quality 50mm prime. In today’s digital world, with the 1.5 crop-factor from APS-C sensors, the 50mm becomes a short telephoto more suitable for portrait shots.
Unknown to some, world famous street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson used a Leica rangefinder with a 50mm standard lens for most of his shots. Although the 50mm (35mm equivalent) focal length is not as wide as even a 35mm wide-angle and not as long as a 90mm short telephoto, it is still preferred by many photographers even today. To get a 35mm equivalent focal length of about 50mm on an APS-C sensor, a focal length of about 35mm is needed. For me, I would prefer a slightly wider angle which some people would call a “wide-normal” lens (usually an equivalent focal length between 35 to 50mm). Thus, I picked the focal length 28mm which gives a 35mm equivalent of 42mm. This gives me wider angle to encapsulate more of the environment while maintaining very low perspective distortion on the image. To minimize budget and on the other hand maximize image quality, I again went for a manual focus prime. Based on my positive experience with the Tamron Adaptall-2 135mm f2.5, readings from the Internet and opinion from a good friend of mine, I bought a Tamron Adaptall-2 28mm f2.5 (with a bonus Nikon F-801 body) from a local Internet classified.
Well, optically, how does this lens perform? I have to say it is really really good. It is amazingly sharp with contrast and color saturation better than the Tamron 135mm I have. However, like the 135mm, it is quite soft at f2.5 and by stopping down just half a stop to f2.8, the result is much better. The fast aperture of this lens enables me to do hand-held street shots at night with the DSLR set at ISO1600. Recently, I used this lens with my D40 on my night tram ride during a visit to Hong Kong. The results are quite satisfactory:
Of course, it is also a great lens when used for daytime street shots like this one:
Status: In Collection