35mm and a 50mm on APS-C?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by elemental, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    I got my D200 about a week ago now, and also the 50mm f/1.8 I ordered to go with it. I didn't want to have to try to track down the 35mm f/1.8 and wait for it to come in. I thought 50mm would be a useful focal length on APS-C since everyone else seems so pleased with them, but I feel more than a little constrained. Though I started on a crop-body digital SLR (I'm young), I shot 35mm exclusively the last few months, and used 50mm lenses almost all the time (I played with a 28mm briefly). I shoot mostly urban landscapes and street candids, and for my walkaround style the normal focal length was great, while the 75mm equivalent feels more confining that I expected.

    I'm going to track down a 35 this week (even I have to wait for it, I am not paying more than $199), but I'm having second thoughts about keeping the 50. On one hand, I want to learn portraiture this summer and it would be a perfect focal length. On the other, I could return it and pick up a cheap wide-angle zoom from KEH (other than normals, I've really only ever felt the need for wides and superwides, so that's going to be my next void to fill anyway). I think an 18-35 would get much more use, at least in the near future, despite having much poorer optics. All the speed and sharpness in the world doesn't do much if it never comes out of the camera bag.

    I guess the root of my question is do those of you who have a 35mm-range lens and a 50mm lens (on a crop body) find both of them very useful, or do you use one much more than the other since they're so close? I could also look into an 85mm f/1.8 down the road, which would give me a much bigger jump up for headhots than the 50mm would. I just don't want the 50 to sit unused, which is what I'm afraid of.
     
  2. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have a 30mm and a 50, I do use both pretty often. I would say keep the 50 for a while, get your 35, and 85, then after a while if your 50mm is gathering dust, sell it. Unless you need the money, I would not sell it right away, after all its not going to loos any value in the next few months or year.
     
  3. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    Well, I was actually thinking about capitalizing on a liberal return policy (which was why I need to decide soon), but you're right- we're talking a $125 return vs a $110 used selling price here.
     
  4. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    use both, 35mm is way too distorted for tight portraits, 50mm on aps is ok.
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Why ask us? Grab your kit zoom lens and run around a week without moving it off 35mm and tell us how much you like it. If it's good, then buy a fixed lens.
     
  6. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Keep both. The 50/1.8 is just too cheap not to justify.

    The barrel distortion 35/1.8 is not complex and it's easy to correct, so that's a non-issue. The issue here is that an equivalent 50mm lens is a bit short for portraits.
     
  7. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    I wasn't talking about barrel distortion, i'm talking about perspective distortion. you try and do a tight head and shoulders shot with a 35mm lens and the subjects nose will have it's own zip code.
     
  8. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ah, got it. That's actually exactly what I was trying to say in my second sentence :lol:

    Now we're on the same page ;)
     
  9. amba

    amba TPF Noob!

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    I won't say whether you should or should not keep the 50mm, but clearly (as you mentioned) it's to narrow to serve as an everyday lens.
    I own both the AF 50mm f/1.8D and the 35mm f/2D on a DX body (D70) - and hardly ever use the 50mm (but then I don't shoot any portraits)

    In fact, in most of the cases I wish to replace the 35mm this would be because the lens is too narrow for my taste rather than too wide.

    Still, between a 35mm prime, and two zoom lenses (a 10-20mm Sigma and a 18-70mm Nikkor), I'm feeling pretty comfortable and covered whenever and wherever I need to use my DX sensor DSLR.
     
  10. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, the 35 is definitely something I need. I'm thinking about picking up a 35mm f/2.8 AIS on the cheap though. I love the way the D200 works with the AI/AIS lenses, and while it's a 4/3 stop compromise compared to the DX lens, the DX isn't too great before f/2.8 anyway. If I love the AIS lens but really need more speed (doubtful), I'll get the f1.8 or an f/2 AIS (or, if I win the lottery, the 35 f/1.4).
     
  11. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Keep in mind that that field of view isn't the only thing that focal length affects. It has a huge impact on foreshortening (how big objects in the foreground are in relation to objects in the background).

    50mm has far more natural foreshortening then 35mm.
     

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