Canon 50mm 1.8 vs. 85mm 1.8

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by impressme, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. impressme

    impressme TPF Noob!

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    I was at the camera shop looking at some new glass to add to my collection. Many of you have raved on the 50mm but they actually suggested the 85mm- any limitations from the 85 that I can do with the 50?
     
  2. impressme

    impressme TPF Noob!

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    or is it simply b/c the 50mm is less expensive?
     
  3. rdompor

    rdompor TPF Noob!

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    The 85 1.8 is of much better quality. It has better build and better AF. A much better comparison would be between the 50 1.4 and 85 1.8.
     
  4. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Both lens are nice lens to have. For 50mm, there is a F/1.4 version and the cost of that lens is similar to the 85mm f/1.8

    I have the 50mm f/1.8. The cost of that lens is a lot less expensive than the 85mm f/1.8. The next lens I would like to get is the 85mm f/1.8.

    I found that when I am outside taking pictures of my wife or daughter, sort of like portrait shots. I prefer a longer range. (longer focal length) But the current lens that I have can only do F/4 at that focal length.

    Apart from the build, better autofocus ..... Since it is a longer focal length lens, it will have the less perspective issue.

    For example, if a person lay down on the ground with the foot point away from the camera at an angle, the shorter focal length lens will have more issue of the person's head is a lot larger than the foot. And of course when the person is sitting on the grass and the foot is closer to the camera, the foot MAY appear bigger.

    Of course, it really depends on the situation and how you frame the subject such as how much the subject take up the whole frame.


    Don't get me wrong, both are nice lenses to have. It really depends on what you would like to do. If you want to do a lot of indoor head short type of photography, 50mm of course is going to be a lot more practical unless indoor mean inside a big warehouse. But then again, for less than $90 brand new, the 50mm F/1.8 is a great buy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
  5. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  6. impressme

    impressme TPF Noob!

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    Thanks so much for your help Dao!
     
  7. There is a school of thought (to which I subscribe) that believes that 80 - 85mm is a better focal length at which to shoot a portrait.

    Regarding distortion, if any: The crop factor of your camera does not make a 50mm lens an 80mm lens... it just makes it a 50mm lens with a third of the image cropped. It would also crop a lot off the 85mm lens... think about how tight you want to work.

    F-stops are not the same across all the various lenses, so you must consider the 85mm 1.8 to be a relative of the 50mm 1.4, not the 50mm 1.8.
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree with what has been said. The 85mm F1.8 is a great lens for it's price point, and compares more closely to the 50mm F1.4, than to the 50mm F1.8.

    If you had all three lenses right in front of you, it would be fairly obvious how cheaply made the 50mm F1.8 is. It's optically quite good but the rest of it...isn't so great.
     
  9. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    It's like screwdrivers. In general a particular size screwdriver isn't better than another, it's just that they are either the right size for the job or they aren't. You've got these focal lengths covered in gear you own right now. Which do you think you use more often: 50mm or 85mm?

    The Canon 50mm f/1.8 is an $80 lens. For $80 it's a bargain, but they had to cut corners somewhere to make a lens 1/4th normal price. Physically comparing it to $300+ lenses the differences are obvious. Hang photos from the $80 lens next to photos from $300+, and even $1000+ lenses, and the differences are pretty subtle. It definitely gets the maximum image quality to dollar spent ratio. :)
     
  10. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    From experience, the 85 f/1.8 has some incredibly super FAST AF. When doing some auto racing stuff, this was my lens of choice - even compared to my Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS.
     
  11. TimothyHughes

    TimothyHughes TPF Noob!

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    Basically true. Hence, I bought a 70-200mm which is even > the 85mm. :thumbup:

    That being said, for environmental portraiture or full-body shots you can get away with wider angle focal-lengths.
     

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