Canon EF 50mm f1.4 or 85mm f1.8

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Toanaldino, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. Toanaldino

    Toanaldino TPF Noob!

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    hi guys,

    I have narrowed down to these two as my next purchase. Can someone with knowledge of the lenses point out the pros and cons and which one would suit me most.

    I will use this lens as my walkaround/portrait lens.

    Cheers
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    They are both very good, fast lenses. The only real (and obvious) difference is the focal length...which has to be a personal choice by you. Do you want a shorter/wider lens or a longer lens?
     
  3. Toanaldino

    Toanaldino TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Mike, that's my problem, I'm not quite sure which focal length will suite me best. If they're both good lenses, I might opt for the 50mm (safe choice).
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    On a 'crop' camera...(Rebels or X0D series) the 50mm is a pretty good portrait length...while the 85 may be a bit long for some people.

    A longer lens is usually preferable for shooting portraits though...as it 'flattens' rather than accentuates the distance between things.
     
  5. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I suppose "buy em both" is right out?
     
  6. Bobby Ironsights

    Bobby Ironsights TPF Noob!

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    Walkaround?=50, definitely the 50.
    Portrait?=85, and forget about your lens, you need to think about your lights.

    For Portrait, start developing your studio lighting setup/with homebuilt light modifiers. People talk about the need for 85mm to flatten things out, and perspective and bokeh and all that jazz....but all that stuff is minor detail. (sorry big mike)

    The real reason you need the longer length of the 85 to do portraiture, is to stay back out of the way of your lights/softboxes/diffusor screens etc...and to avoid your own big fat head casting a shadow into your shots.

    Choose your priority first, it would help to know if you have attractive family. If you have mostly ugo-relatives, and you like street/action photog....then the choice makes itself up, get the 50, and you can often leave the tripod at home.

    P.S. If you use a pixel-cam, with a cropping sensor, then these "lengths" don't really apply. I've heard the 50mm often becomes similar to an 85, so I guess you don't have a choice.
     
  7. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    I use the 50mm 1.4 Nikon for portrait work and I love it, if you do want to do some portraits, lighting is a big thing, I have 3 lights now and want to add more.
     

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