Help choosing a lens!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by D.MoralesPhoto, May 30, 2010.

  1. D.MoralesPhoto

    D.MoralesPhoto TPF Noob!

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    So, I'm needing some advice on deciding between one of two lenses, and I was hoping to get some opinions from everyone here.

    My goal: portraits of friends, family, pets (secondary goal)

    My options:

    1. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
    Pros:
    Best physical construction of the two (that's my impression)
    It has a "reputation" as being a decent portrait lens (internet reputation...)

    Cons:
    Highest price tag of the two
    Higher minimum focus distance of the two

    2. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

    Pros:
    Lowest price of the two
    Shorter minimum focus distance

    Cons:
    Possibly bad construction (I've read stories of people buying multiples over a year or two)

    On the photozone.de page, the 85mm is a "Highly Recommended" lens, so I'm sort of leaning towards that pick, but before I drop the money on that one over the 50mm, I'm hoping to get some responses here.

    Overall I'm not concerned with the initial investment of money, but basically the "cost of ownership" of both, and which one would ultimately give me the most use.

    Thanks for any help you can provide!:D





     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The 50 MkII is cheaply made; the lens can snap in two, especially if the lens hood is installed and the hood or camera/lens receives an impact blow. And I mean this lens can literally snap into two pieces. It's the lightest and cheapest prime lens Canon can make,and it does not autofocus all that well under difficult conditions. It does have a shorter MFD than the 85, but I'm not sure if the 85 offers a greater magnification ratio, despite a longer MFD. The 85/1.8 focuses much more reliably, and more quietly as well, which is no surprise since it is longer, has shallower DOF, and phase detection depends upon in- and out-of focus to determine which way to drive the lens. The 85/1.8 is indeed a Highly Recommended lens, while the 50/1.8 is a very low-cost lens that has several known issues. The 50/1.8 has harsh, nervous bokeh, and uses a very primitive 5-sided iris diaphragm, so the shape of OOF highlights is also pentagonal. It's fashionable for beginners to rave about the quality of the 50/1.8, which has earned a couple of nicknames like Nifty Fifty and Plastic Fantastic...but seriously, it's not a 'fantastic' 50mm lens...it's as cheap and light as Canon can possibly make a prime lens. it's got poor flare control as well, whereas the 85/1.8 has very good flare control.

    Let's put it this way: the 85/1.8 Canon EF lens is one of the absolute best values in terms of price/weight/optical performance in the entire Canon lineup; the 50/1.8 is simply the lightest and cheapest-made lens Canon could come up with. They cut out one diaphragm blade and one lens element over comparable 20- to 40-year-old designs from multiple manufacturers...
     
  3. sleist

    sleist Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have the Nikon equivalent 50mm f/1.8 - I don't care how cheap ($) this lens is, it is really terrible in so many ways (IMHO). Out of focus rendering is crunchy and distracting.

    I just rolled the dice on a Sigma 50mm 1.4 and will have it on Friday. I mention it here because there is a Canon mount version. If you get a good copy, it seems the Sigma 50mm gets stellar separation and DOF to make it usable on a DX as a portrait lens.

    Of course, it's 5X as much $ which may be an issue for some. I'll let people know my experiences with this. My 1st Sigma but not my first 3rd party.

    Oh ya, I did have another point ;). Get the 85 if it's really a choice between the 2.
     
  4. D.MoralesPhoto

    D.MoralesPhoto TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies :hail: !

    I really am starting to lean toward the 85mm...now to just get the wife on board and all will go as planned...;)

    Thanks again!
     
  5. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Not to confuse the issue, but there is always the 50mm f1.4. Excellent optics, excellent construction and near the price of the 85.

    I would base my choice on the focal length needed. :D
     
  6. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    Kill her, with kindness...:mrgreen:
     

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