50mm or 85mm???

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by aprileve, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. aprileve

    aprileve TPF Noob!

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    I'm pulling a photog no-no and switching from Nikon to Canon. Sold my Nikon D50 and switching to Canon 50D. I'm only purchasing one lens to start with and will be doing a few portraits with it. Plus I have a 1 year old daughter who will be the main subject. :) Having trouble deciding which lens I want to go with first. The 50 mm f/1.4 USM AF or the 85 mm f/1.8 USM AF???
    Any suggestions?

    eta: when shooting portraits I shoot outdoors. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2008
  2. Ls3D

    Ls3D TPF Noob!

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    IME The 50 feels tight on 1.6 crop factor bodies (50 x 1.6 = 80) , so the 85 would be even more constrained (136), unless you have a huge house I would go 50 or smaller.

    Maybe take a look at the 28mm f/1.8, it is in the same price range as the 85.

    -Shea
     
  3. deanimator

    deanimator TPF Noob!

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    Well...no problem with the switch. Nothing wrong with the Canon.

    Are you thinking about depth-of-field? Often a portrait is enhanced by having little DOF...in which case the 85 would probably be the best choice. The effect caused by the slightly longer lens is also considered more flattering.

    However, you are talking about photographing your pride and joy...I´d take the 50. She´s not gonna sit very still for you, so the 85 loses it´s advantages immediately.
    If the price is not a problem, I´d choose a mid-range zoom with f2.8
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As a starter lens, the nifty 50 is a good place to start. However, a 50mm prime is very limiting in terms of versatility and you will be bumping into focal point limitations very early into your new camera's lifetime.

    In terms of a better portrait lens, the 85mm is the better choice. It is longer, and because of that will offer less distortion on facial features. Things like chipmunk cheeks will be reduced over a 50mm with a 85mm lens.
     
  5. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would start with the 50mm, the 85 is a great length for headshots, but the fifty is better for a bit wider shots, and indoors you will find that the 85 is pretty useless for anything but tight head shots, the 50 is even a bit tight indoors.

    For just starting with one lens, I say 50mm, for your second either go for the tighter 85mm or a normal lens like the sigma 30mm 1.4,(I just ordered one today, I'll post something in about 2 weeks).
     
  6. notelliot

    notelliot TPF Noob!

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    on cropped sensors, I find my 85 fills up the frame too much, and recently I've been using my 50 or a 35. the thing I prefer about the 85 is a tad bit shallower DOF, which is nice for (my style of) available light.
     

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