I was actually looking at that 85mm 1.8 just a couple of weeks ago. You're right too, it's a pretty sweet lens for the price. I think for the difference though as far as portraits are concerned, my "nifty fifty" should do for right now, which is why I'm leaning towards the longer focal length regardless of use.
Remembering that I'm usually the "odd man out", the autofocus speed isn't really a big concern for me. I'm sure a lot of folks would consider my Tamron's to have really slow auto focus, but to me, having grown up with a manual focus Canon SLR, they seem lighting fast! LOL!!! As for bokeh, while it's something I certainly appreciate in a good lens, considering all the things I do in Photoshop, that's not really that big a deal for me either. With a quick flick of my magic PC mouse, I can usually correct bokeh pretty quickly
. My main concerns more than anything are sharpness (of course), speed and focal length...not nessacarily in that order. I just keep hitting the brick wall of reality here that says a long, fast lens is usually espensive.
Now I do hear ya loud and clear on the flash gear if I do go the portrait route. I was actually considering getting a basic flash package with the money I should be getting in February but (I think) I've decided that I really need a decent lens or two more (I can't really decide here if it's "need" or "want"). I guess my reasoning is just that I've had more people express an interest in my doing weddings than I have for doing portraits. Given a choice, I'd really rather do the portrait work...to me at least, it's a hell of a lot easier! LOL!!! That wedding I shot last year was a nightmare and I can't say that as a photographer, I enjoyed doing it at all. Truth be told, I'm not a big people person to begin with (hence why I work with animals!) and especially so when the people involved are all wound up tighter than a cheap watch because it's their wedding day. I can
do the work and I've proven to myself that I can do it very well, but I really don't see myself ever really enjoying it.
I guess I'm just trying to be pragmatic here...I know there's a market for my services as a wedding photographer, but I haven't seen much interest at all for the portrait work. From what I've seen, most people in my area who want portrait work done, automatically go to K-Mart portrait studios or the mall. In the past couple of years that I've been trying to do this on a semi-pro level, I haven't had a single person express any interest in portrait work at all. Either way though, I need to get something going until I can find a way of making a decent buck doing my animal work...which is what I truly enjoy doing. When I first started thinking from a buisness point of view about my photography, I was really hoping to get into animal portrait work. Initially it seemed like a really great idea since there's not really a lot of people (in my area at least) that really specialize in this sort of thing. Also with the explosion of places like "Doggy Day Care Centers", grooming shops, etc., I thought there would have been a pretty big market for it. Unfortunatly, I just haven't been able to make it work...not one single sale. I haven't given up hope yet, but it is starting to feel like I'm beaing a dead horse.
I dunno...I guess a big part of my problem is that while I do consider myself to be a reasonably decent and talanted artist as a photographer, I'm not a very good buisness man when it comes to selling my work. Selling my music wasn't a big deal...I knew what I was supposed to do, who I was supposed to talk to and how to sell it. I've been doing the music bit long enough that I knew the in's and out's when it came my time to manage. When it comes to the photography stuff though, I guess I'm still really "green". I don't really know many other photographers (outside the internet at least) and certainly none of them that I do know are pro's by any means. Perhaps it's just the downside of not having gone to school for it or anything and I've certainly never "apprenticed" under anyone...I'm completely self-taught. If I had a fair wad of cash to invest, I could see myself opening a studio...an actual proper place of business, and let the people come to me. Since I'm working from home though, it's a bit different (in my mind at least) and I'm not really sure how to proceed.
Anyways, I'm really over-tired and I'm rambling so I'm going to let this go for tonight (just trying to sort it out in my head anyways). Didn't really mean to take this topic so far off on a tangent, but there it is! LOL!!! I still have a couple of months here to make up my mind and hopefully I'll get it figured out. If nothing else as I told Gordon, maybe fate will intervene and drop the right lens in my lap at a price I can actually afford