Full Frame Wide Angle + Fast Primes

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by chammer, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    I always hate making these type of posts. Probably as much as you hate reading them. Over, and over, and over... :mrgreen:

    The last time we talked you all had talked me into a wonderful 5D which I have been floored with. So much so that two days ago my 50D sold, and because of that I'm not at a bit of a crossroad.

    The quick and dirty - My Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 is a crop lens only, so as much as I hate to sell it I am. It's currently listed on CraigsList. I have also finally decided to upgrade my 50mm f/1.8 which has been long overdue. So up it went as well...

    What I'll be left with is the 70-200 f/2.8L IS, and my 100 f/2.8L Macro...

    Depending on how the auctions go that I'm currently watching, the Tamron 17-50 will be replaced with either the 17-40 f/4L or the 24-105 f/4L. Since the 70-200 has been such a perfect focal length on full frame for my indoor work, I no longer require f/2.8 on my wide angle. Looking more towards this being a general purpose lens, and a lens to be used under studio lighting most likely around f/8 anyway. Input on either on a full frame body would be appreciated, but as stated I'm pretty much going with the auctions on this one. I'd be happy with either.

    What I really would appreciate opinions on the most, however, is...

    Both the 70-200L and 100L turn out nice portraits, but I really need to replace the 50 f/1.8 with a similar lens for low natural light work. The obvious choice is the 50 f/1.4, but the 85 f/1.8 has been on my list for a long time as well. Everywhere I go I see 85 this, and 85 that... However, most of this is from crop body people. I know what the 50 is like on the full frame body, and I love the length and the look. What I don't know is how the 85 looks like in comparison.

    I know the 85L gets rave reviews from 5D2 owners, however, that's simply not in the budget at this time no matter how stunning those images from that combo look. :) Would the 85 1.8 turn out images similar, or has the 85L been sprinkled with magic faerie dust to get it to achieve the results it does? :greenpbl:

    The 135L is also on my list, however, until my other two lenses sell I'm stuck with $1100 to work with and the 135L would eat up enough of that to where I couldn't replace the missing wide angle.

    Anyways, thoughts on the 50 and 85?

    Thanks again! :mrgreen:
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I'm so glad to hear that the move from 1.6x to Full-Frame has leveraged your 70-200 2.8 L zoom, and has turned it into the perfect lens for your indoor work, by restoring the full field of view of the lens and by giving your better High-ISO capabilities. Cool!!!

    Seems like you have a bit of a dilemma. Right now you have a 100mm/2.8-L macro,plus the 70-200/2.8, so you have the focal lengths of 70-200 covered at f/2.8 with FTM focus override and good optics. The 50mm/1.4 would bring you the most "new" coverage, that you do not currently have in the 100 macro or the zoom. I have the 50/1.4 and it seems to suffer from periodic AF balkiness...sometimes it sort of refuses to focus, which is kind of disconcerting and annoying. Maybe my 50mm is going to need service on the AF motor, which according to Lensrentals.com is probable. The 85/1.8 EF is a nice lens, not too large, not obnoxious in profile, light, and very sharp, with much,much better AF than my 50 in terms of reliability, consistency, and ease; the higher magnification of the 85mm lens seems to aid the 5D's AF system, which makes sense--shallower DOF, higher magnification, all gives the phase detection AF system more IN/OUT of focus,etc. I think the 85/1.8 on FF would be the better lens for medium-distance action shooting AND for portraiture of people. The focal length of 85mm gives a more-comfortable working distance and a narrower angle of view behind subjects than a 50 does, so that makes the 85 clearly a better choice for studio portraiture.

    The 85/1.8 is an impressive optical performer in its own right. I have owned,let me see, Nikon 85/2 Ai early, 85/2 Ai late, 85/2 AiS late, 85/1.4 AiS,85 1.4 AF-D, 85 1.8 AF, and Canon 85 1.8 EF. So in 30+ years I have owned seven 85mm primes,mostly Nikons. I demo'd the 85 1.2-L Mark II and thought the focus was way too slow and the lens was too big and bulky for me,and very costly too. I think the Nikkor 85/1.4 AF-D, aka "The Cream Machine" has prettier, smoother, better background bokeh and less extreme color fringing at wide apertures. But in terms of sharpness, speed of focusing, handling with FTM override, the Canon 85mm 1.8 EF is probably the best overall 85mm lens designed since, well, 1975. it is really no slouch...it's a damned good,small prime.
    Period. It is clearly, clearly the best "value" of any 85mm lens made since the mid-1970's. Sharp, flare-resistant, reliable AF, easy focus override, smallish, fast focus.

    I do not see the magic fairy dust of the 85/1.2-L...the Nikkor 85/1.4 AF-D has magic fairy dust in my eyes and is the better people lens, in my opinion. Faster AF, lighter, easier to handle, prettier bokeh. But the Canon 85/1.8 is a superb value, and in many ways, it is the finest 85mm a guy could want.

    I have the 24-105-L IS...it does not focus as well as I would like in low-light,indoor situations on my 5D. It sometimes misses, and sometimes see-saws back and forth indoors in poorer light, and the 5D has a VERY center-weighted AF system. Under modeling lights, the 24-105-L is not a great AF lens with 3x150 watt modeling lamps and umbrellas. I think the 5D really needs the 2.8 max aperture to get the double-precision AF accuracy Canon talks about on the center AF point in the 30D and newer and 5D and newer bodies. Still, the 24-105 is very versatile--almost unbeatable for its size and weight. Optics are pretty good too. The 17-40-L seems,well, limited. It's an excellent range and good value for the money, but, for me at least, I do not like the 17-35 or 17-40L on FF much. I use a Nikon-mount 17-35 with adapter on 5D, occasionally, and I just do not like the range of focal lengths there.

    A question comes up: 100 macro vs 85/1.8: worth it? I say "yes". I think you'll find that the macro lens will miss focus at distances of 7,8,9,10,15,20,25,30-70 feet MUCH more frequently than a field telephoto will, especially under challenging situations/moving subjects/fast action. THis is due to the way macro lenses focus slowly and precisely at close range, but then go into hair-trigger focusing beyond 1 or 2 meters...this is a problem with almost every macro lens--sketchy focusing beyond the close-up realm. For action work, a "field" lens will out-shoot a macro lens over a 300-shot session.

    135-L is a nice lens. It just works. Fabulous optics. Simply fabulous. Light, superb balance, great bokeh, and a wonderful "look" it creates. Long and fast enough to be used with a TC unit too.
     
  3. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    ^^^ Great info! I have the 17-40 on the 50D and I really enjoy it. It is a very sharp lens but somtimes on my 50D I wish it was wider. With a 5d it seems like you cant go wrong with the 17-40 its half the price of the 16-35 but then again you dont get 16mm or F2.8 which is ok if you dont need either. Maybe rent the 17-40 first to see what you think.

    edit: So far I have had no issues with my 50mm F1.4 focusing. If I only had 1 lens it would probally be this one. But everyone else raves about the sigma 50 f1.4.

    editx2: I have the Canon 50mm just to clarify
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  4. ifi

    ifi TPF Noob!

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    I personally will go with Derrel's suggestions.

    But if you are looking for a something with 50mm 1.4 then look at Sigma's version as well. It is more expensive but...... :)
     
  5. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    Derrel,

    I was hoping you'd respond do this, and you didn't disappoint. I love the way you talk things out. The information you provided is pretty much what I've found while doing my own research, but as a new full frame person I welcome the confirmation. :thumbup:

    I will, sadly, have to find another 24-105L. I just lost the auction with 5s left. Seems my auction luck hasn't changed... lol :)

    As far the the 50 vs 85, you pretty much confirmed what I suspected. I will go with the 85. Thank you. :thumbup:
     
  6. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    ifi: I hate bad mouthing people/products, but based on the images that Sigma's 50 1.4 produced (and reviews) I grabbed a copy of this lens a couple months ago. I also picked up that brand new 24-70 2.8 HSM. I never said anything or posted any images from either because I only had them two days, however, the 24-70 was hopeless. I couldn't get anything usable out of it no matter how hard I tried or how much micro-adjustment I dialed into my 50D.

    The 50 1.4 was a bit better, it seemed I could get a clean image...but sometimes at -20 MFA, and sometimes at +20 MFA. It seemed that it couldn't decide between back focusing and front focusing. I could literally press the shutter button half way several times in a row and watch as it decided that something other than what I was pointing at should be in focus.

    Mind you, this was all on a tripod with the center focus point selected.

    The two arrived Saturday morning, and were on their way back to Amazon Monday morning.

    I kind of expected focusing issues based on reviews, however, you usually hear about the vocal minority over the silent majority. I figured if I did get one with an issue, MFA would take care of it. Unfortunately, it did not....and now I have a camera that does not provide me with the MFA option.

    I knew I could send both back to Sigma and (hopefully) get back awesome lenses, however, in my opinion for the money...I should not have to. I don't want to support a company that allows this to happen even if it means not having a 50mm that is clearly MILES above Canon's optically, and thats something that I *can* confirm. There were a few images that were absolutely perfect, and so bloody stunning. I so wished the Sigma would have worked out. :(

    For the time being until I get another body with MFA I just can't take another chance on Sigma.

    I know others have had much better luck than I with Sigma's 50 1.4, and it's a wonderful lens that I'd still recommend to someone that has more patience than I and the time to send it back to Sigma for calibration.
     
  7. ifi

    ifi TPF Noob!

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    That's not fun. I agree, you shouldn't have to send lenses back to Sigma for calibration.

    EDIT: Found the information online.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  8. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    ifi: It's fine. I was asking a question, and I received the answers I figured I'd get. So I think it's resolved. Hi-jack away! :)

    Both lenses were received Saturday morning at around 10am. Naturally, as with any "kid on Christmas morning", I ran inside and tore open the packaging. I tested the 24-70 first as I already had a feeling how the 50 was going to be based on reviews...

    This was at the beginning of April, so early spring time morning whether. It was clear and sunny. I tested both in direct sunlight and in the shade since both are environments I knew I'd be shooting in (and purchased the lenses for).

    The 24-70, I have to admit, was quite decent at 70mm. However, at 24mm it seemed to refuse to focus. I would get the AF confirmation sound but the image in my viewfinder was still blurry and completely out of focus. In the shade it did better, but still would return to confirming focus on something which was clearly out of focus more times than it properly focused.

    One thing I did as well, which it should have had no problem doing, was shooting from my shaded walkway into the sunlight at my mailbox about 25-30 feet away at 70mm which was located in sunlight. I can't tell you how many times I tried to get it to lock focus on the mailbox, but something about it that it didn't like and it was unable to get focus even once. However, shifting my focus to an object closer and it had no problem grabbing focus. To rule out some funky contrast/user error I swapped lenses to the closest one I had in comparison at that time...the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8. First time, and every time it locked focus without issue.

    It seemed that the 24-70 HSM wanted things at 70mm, and wanted them close. Any other variable and it would just refuse to play ball. To be honest, if I wanted a 70mm close up lens...I would have bought one. That is not, however, what I ordered. :)

    The 50mm, as stated previously, did a lot better. I actually got things in focus but it wasn't even close to being consistent. I would have had no problem if the lens needed maximum MFA values to be set, but for it to need to be set and then suddenly decide it wants to change...well, that was just irritating.

    I was shooting a door hinge in the shade as one of my more specific examples, and was intentionally focusing on the middle of it so that the middle screw would be the focal point. I snapped a few pictures and got confused by the results and having to constantly be playing with the MFA. So I did like what I did with the 24-70...I just sat and kept half pressing the shutter button to see what the lens was doing. That's when it hit me that the lens was just randomly choosing spots either on the focal point, an inch in front of, or an inch in back of with no adjustments being made by myself. I was shooting from about 4ft away from the object in question as well.

    However, all that said, I have to say that Sigma's optics are indeed top notch. The shots I got in focus out of both lenses bested both my 50 1.8 and my 70-200L very very clearly. I have some shots I did under flash with both lenses of my cat, and at 100% crop the sharpness is out of this world. It makes me really sad that Sigma couples such excellent optics with such an unreliable AF system.

    The 24-70 under flash at f/8 would indeed make a stunning studio portrait lens if the AF were able to be trusted. At $900 it's quite the bargain over the $1300 24-70L, and while I haven't owned or used the 24-70, I wouldn't imagine that it would best the Sigma's optics. Not enough to justify an extra $400 anyway.

    ...and the bokeh on the 50, oh man. Don't get me started. I have heard that sometimes lenses don't always come back from Sigma working as they should, and needing to be sent 3 or 4 times...but if I thought for a moment I could send it in and receive a perfect copy back...I'd seriously have NO issue about purchasing it again. I just hate that I'd get one shot at either getting an excellent lens, or a $500 door stop since I'd be unable to return it at that point. :(

    I don't have access to the images as I'm at work, but when I get home I'd be happy to post them as they came straight out of the camera, and with full EXIF.
     
  9. ifi

    ifi TPF Noob!

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    Now I am thinking of returning my Sigma and getting a 70-200 2.8 IS II which is already on my wish-list :confused:

    My copy of Sigma does not hunt for focus but since I read your post I feel that it is not focusing 100%... or it could be just me. I got this less than 2 weeks back so I am well under 30 days to return if I have to.
     
  10. ifi

    ifi TPF Noob!

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    It does back-focus - confirmed :grumpy:
     
  11. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    Rent whatever lens you want to know about and there you are...
     

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