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Which Lens Should I Buy?


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#41 Trifon Anguelov

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 10:30 AM

Good points. The best should mean the lens which has best application for the type of photography one does.

 

For one mostly doing studio work where the studio dimensions are fixed, I think fixed lenses are as versatile as short zoom. For indoor photography, short tele zoom is out of question unless someone needs fractions of everyone's faces.

 

For weddings, sports, street events where access is restricted, car or motorcycle events, air shows, no question about it: short tele zoom is the way to go. Most wedding photographer actually shoot with two bodies and two type of lenses: 35 or 50mm primes for group and close shots or 24-70mm zoom, and 70-200mm zoom for distant shots, so there is place for both.

 

The answer to your question is based on what type of photography you do. If you can take all the shots you want to take with 70-200 and lower aperture than f/2.8 is not what you are after, no need to buy prime. If you need f/2 or f/1.6 for your portraits, have limited studio space, shoot lots indoors where space is limited, need the best bokeh you can get from a lens, then the f/1.4 and f/1.2 primes are way to go.

 

It's pity that most people don't spend time to consider their needs, sensor size, field or view they need, type of photography they plan to do or not do and rush chasing certain type of gear just because everyone else posts pictures of their latest gear trophy and they get so jealous that their senses are completely blocked out. 

 

There is place for both primes and short zooms and that's why they continue to be manufactured. People buy them both although lately the zooms gain more popularity among starters as they are easy to handle.


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#42 euclid

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:52 PM

I come across scenarios, where I need to  cover events which are primarily indoors and I end with the need to capture group snaps. I think we are hitting the wall on all sides for such a case (?)

 

- We need a wide angle to capture all the subjects in a frame

- Its a low light scenario. We still need F8/F11  (dont want to go higher due to APSC body)

- Even group snaps would tend to be candid as its not a static scenario. Lots of people interacting talking and moving etc.  (Can get them to pose though)

- Need to do hand held shots. As I think tripods would be a deterrent to capture candid snaps and one's own movement in such a case

 

So how does one handle such a scenario?  Some thoughts that I had (still working on it)

 

- Need flash for sure, else no way one can do hand-held at low lights

- Only debate is how to capture group candids? A 10-22 can very easily distort the capture if the subjects are not in the same focal plane. And this can happen most times, if the subjects are moving all the time.

- For a 10-22 we also need to be very close to the subjects. So candids may not be possible. We will need some working distance, which a wide wont be able to provide.

- A short zoom (70-200) or a portrait prime (85/100 mm) would not get every one in frame. 

- May be a 35/50mm 1.4/1.8 Prime to the rescue here with flash? Is that the solution? Or one can resort to something better? 

 

Any thoughts and comments? (Am I asking for too much? )


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#43 Livia Kropf DeBonet

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 07:52 PM

Tony (or anyone else who may know),

Question: I really want to buy the canon 85mm 1.8. When I click on your link above it brings me to model 2519A003 (which looks was released on 2002) and on sale now for $334 on amazon, but there is another canon 85mm 1.8 on amazon with same exact description but different photo and model number -2519A012AA (released on 2007?) and for $359. Is there a difference? Which one is better? I am assuming newer one? But your link is bringing me to the other one so that's why I ask.

 

Thanks a lot!!!



#44 Troy

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 08:10 PM

I use three primes for my portraits: 35mm f1.8, 50mm 1.8 and 85mm 1.8 all on a crop sensor. I mostly use the 85mm for individuals/couples when I have enough room to back up and the 50mm for everything else. The 35mm gets used for groups/enviormental shots when I need a little wider angle. I find any wider then 35mm on a crop sensor adds a lot of perspective distortion even for large groups. I still feel like a bit of a newbie, so my strategy my develop over time. I would love to have a couple fast zooms especially for events, but that will have to be down the road. Regardless, I love my primes, so much fun!

#45 euclid

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 03:29 AM

I have still not mastered the art of using the 50mm perfectly.  Some how all snaps I find a lot more to be desired. Results are not that satisfactory.  May be its because of the 50mm on the APSC body. Maybe I should try the 35mm range once to see what am I missing on the working length. On outdoors there are absolutely no issues. 70-200 F4 and 100mm Macro IS L F2.8 are just too good! The 100mm F2.8 macro with the IS doubles up nicely as a brilliant portrait lens. 

 

EDIT : 

 

I hear contrasting views on usage of 50mm Lens for portraits. Many say its not good as working distance is small  and it may not flatten-up the perspective that well. But the other school says a 50mm on an APSC body should give 80mm (1.6X crop) which is good enough for portraits.  I do see valid points on both sides of the argument. But personally I some how am still not convinced on the image quality part on the extreme edge of the functionality curve of the lens (e.g. use around 1.8/2.2 etc). 

 

It gives amazing images at F4/F5/F8 which is its sweet spot.  But then we also buy those lens to use them at their edge of specifications also. 

 

Any thoughts? 



#46 Shivakrishnan

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 05:38 PM

Olympus 75mm f1.8 is a masterpiece for portraits for m4/3. Well worth the price in my opinion.
 



#47 László Péter Varga

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 05:15 AM

Hi

 

I need your help. I take pictures at home with my 50mm 1.8 Nikon lens. Sometimes it is too long and  I can`t frame everyone into the picture. I don`t have lots of money to spend on a Nikon 17-55 f2.8 lens (~£1100) not even £600 for a Sigma 24-70 f2.8. I`m thinking about the 35mm f1.8 Nikon lens as it is only £160. My background is 10` wide and I have space to move in-out around 15`. Do you think this lens could cover the background?

 

Thank you



#48 Bill Peppas

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 05:26 AM

Hi

 

I need your help. I take pictures at home with my 50mm 1.8 Nikon lens. Sometimes it is too long and  I can`t frame everyone into the picture. I don`t have lots of money to spend on a Nikon 17-55 f2.8 lens (~£1100) not even £600 for a Sigma 24-70 f2.8. I`m thinking about the 35mm f1.8 Nikon lens as it is only £160. My background is 10` wide and I have space to move in-out around 15`. Do you think this lens could cover the background?

 

Thank you

 

Hello Laszlo, yes, the 35mm f/1.8g lens will most likely allow you to shoot your group portraits without missing people.

To give you a better "image" of what's going on:

 

Your 50mm f/1.8g lens is acting like a 75mm lens on your D3100, giving you a 27 degrees horizontal coverage angle.

The 35mm f/1.8g lens will be acting as a 52.5mm lens on your D3100, giving you a 37.8 degrees horizontal coverage angle.



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#49 László Péter Varga

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 05:31 AM

Thank you

 

As see the degrees of horizontal coverage it can cover nearly 50% more. I think it won`t be able to cover the whole background but I`ll be able to take photos of 4 people easily might be 5.



#50 Bill Peppas

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 06:01 AM

If you need more people in your frame, you need an even smaller lens, like a 18mm like you initially thought of but couldn't afford it.

 

The lower your focal length, the more the geometric distortion usually is, keep that in mind as well.
You could opt for an ultra-wide angle lens like the Tokina 11-16 AT-X Pro but you'll have to deal with heavy distortion in post-processing, which isn't totally fixable in quite a few cases when it comes to architecture and people shots near the frame's edges.

 

You can also try blending two photos, like you'd do with a panorama.



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#51 Steven Brener

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 08:50 AM

Hi

 

I need your help. I take pictures at home with my 50mm 1.8 Nikon lens. Sometimes it is too long and  I can`t frame everyone into the picture. I don`t have lots of money to spend on a Nikon 17-55 f2.8 lens (~£1100) not even £600 for a Sigma 24-70 f2.8. I`m thinking about the 35mm f1.8 Nikon lens as it is only £160. My background is 10` wide and I have space to move in-out around 15`. Do you think this lens could cover the background?

 

Thank you

The 35mm f1.8 may or may not be wide enough for your purposes, but it is a hell of a good lens and one of the best values around.  You should get it, it is hard to believe it is only about $200 given how fast and sharp it is.


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#52 ewan

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 02:37 PM

Hey Stunners, I have a Canon SL1 (crop censor) would you still recommend the Tamron 70-200 even though it is a EF lens and not an EF-S? Tony Northrup, I cant find any specific recommendations here or in the book for Canon crop censor cameras in regards to this subject.



#53 Bill Peppas

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 03:23 PM

It's a good lens, but with your crop body it will be very long to go after anything but close up portraits and wildlife mainly.

 

If you plan on upgrading to full frame later on it's a good buy, otherwise unless you're interested in wildlife and perhaps astrophotography, it ain't the best thing you can buy for your SL1.



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#54 ewan

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 05:40 PM

So the 70-200 EF lens on my SL1 would be around 320mm. I'm figuring this stuff out. I do hope to get a MarkIII some time in the future. Thanks for the advice. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good outdoor portrait lens for a cropped censer Canon. Have my eye on a Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom for around $500.

 

#55 Bill Peppas

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 06:08 PM

 

So the 70-200 EF lens on my SL1 would be around 320mm. I'm figuring this stuff out. I do hope to get a MarkIII some time in the future. Thanks for the advice. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good outdoor portrait lens for a cropped censer Canon. Have my eye on a Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom for around $500.

 

 

 

Yes, on your SL1 it will be... 112mm - 320mm.

Depends on your budget.
For cheap, a 50mm is nice.
Pricier, but godly = 85mm .

And then we move on to 70-200 f/2.8L and 105mm Macro, etc.



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#56 glynmarlow

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 07:51 AM

Hi, i just love my sigma 105 2.8 macro its so sharp and a grate portrat lens when used with my Nikon D7000 



#57 BillSargent

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 08:04 AM

Tony, I am a newbie here, and a newbie (sort of) returning to the world of photography, in a semi-pro way. I love what you and Chelsea do and teach and, between your book, Facebook, your videos and this forum, I have become a "fan". I am attempting to learn everything I possibly can as quick as possible. Doing things with excellence is hugely important to me.  

I used to have a small, but successful studio with darkroom back in the film days centuries ago. Back then, my camera was a Nikon F2 and my portrait lense was a Nikon 105mm. I was totally self-taught and the finer points of photographic science were beyond me.

When I was gearing up for my current business, and before I came across this forum and had not reached the chapter in your book covering such, I was under the assumption that my 50mm 1.8 was a very good portrait lense, due to the crop factor. I was ignorant of the "perspective and proportions" aspect.

Due to my drive for excellence IN ADDITION TO the fact that I have to shoot a couple of International Junior Miss champions and contestants tomorrow, I need to know, considering the lenses I already have, what you would do. Would you use my 105mm or one of my zooms, or would you go out today and add the 85mm 1.8 to this assortment? Not just for tomorrow, but for all work in the future. (I just got a call to do 25 headshots for a company staff) Obviously, my shots need to be flattering and make these people look great.

I would assume, that at a distance, for groups, the 50mm 1.8 would still be fine for group portraits . . . yes?

 

I should also mention, I do NOT do weddings. :)

Thank you so very much in advance for your response. I appreciate you and your efforts.



#58 BillSargent

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 08:27 AM

Nevermind. Couldn't wait. So, I just went out and got the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G, and, while I was at it, picked up the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G.



#59 Bill Peppas

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 08:31 AM

Good choices Bill.

The 85mm is an ideal portrait lens for a crop Nikon camera body.
And the 35mm is also a sharp beast that allows you to do some group portraits without hassle or IQ compromises.

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#60 BillSargent

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 08:43 AM

Hey Bill, quick question: Would you use the 50mm or the 35 mm for small group portraits. I imagine the 35 would be a go to for large groups, but would you opt for 50mm for groups of 3 or 4?






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