Lens advice - 50mm

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Iron Flatline, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. Hi all.

    I've got that New Lens feeling, so I've been thinking about getting a 50mm lens for my Canon 5D. In college 20 years ago we only had 50mm lenses, and I've been feeling nostalgic.

    I've been thinking of a project, and I want to shoot my kids' favorite toys very close up with a very tight depth of field. As such the fixed focal length will allow for the widest aperature. I want to get in even a little tighter than for this shot. I plan on making very large prints for their rooms from these images.

    So there are three lenses that I'm considering:

    Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro (about $230)
    Lens Construction: 9 elements in 8 groups
    Closest Focal Distance: 23 cm/0.8 foot

    Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM (about $310)
    Lens Construction: 7 elements in 6 groups
    Closest Focal Distance: 45 cm/1.5 feet

    Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II (about $75)
    Lens Construction: 6 elements in 5 groups
    Closest Focal Distance: 45 cm/1.5 feet

    So, any relevant advice would be appreciated. Which lens should I consider? Am I missing a 3rd-party lens that I'm unaware of? Do I even need a lens like this?

    Your thoughts and comments would be appreciated.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    The 50mm F1.8 is a bit cheaply made....very plastic. However, it's also inexpensive and optically very good. No EOS owner should be without one.

    The F1.4 is more than 3x the price...and only a little faster...but much better build quality and some say nicer bokeh.

    I don't know the minimum focus distance of those lenses...you might want to check that out. If they don't cut it...then the macro may be a good choice.

    Other options may be the 100mm Macro (F2.8 I think), which is also a good focal length for portraits...or a set of extension tubes to go with the F1.8 or F1.4 50mm lenses.
     
  3. I added the closest focal distance for each lens in my original post.

    I'm tending toward the macro right now - it's priced in the middle, gives me macro ability, is the best built out of the three, and can be used as a regular 50mm as well. I just wish it were a faster lens.

    I still want to hear as many opinions as possible. Should I be considering a Lens Baby? I've read a lot about them, they might work for this kind of photography. Or is that a whole different beast?
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    A lens baby is for selective focus, I don't know about it's close-up ability.
     
  5. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Get a 50 f/1.8 or 1.4, and a set of extension tubes. The opitical and build quality of the Canon 50mm macro is not great.
     
  6. kfoster

    kfoster TPF Noob!

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    The important thing to realize when buying a lens for close up work is the reproduction ratio of the lens, not the closest focusing distance. Of the lenses you mentioned, the f/1.4 and f/1.8, have a reprodution ratio of 1:6.6. The macro f/2. has a reproduction ratio of 1:2 and with a EF converter can be 1:1. This lens is much more suited for close up work. The other two are still great lenses but I think you will be disappointed in how small your subject will look even when shot from 18 inches away.

    K
     
  7. kemplefan

    kemplefan TPF Noob!

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    i dont know about canon but nikon makes a 30m lense i think if you can go lest than 50mm and super or jsu tnormal wide angle i think you should also have you considered a fish eye
     
  8. PachelbelsCanon350D

    PachelbelsCanon350D TPF Noob!

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    *scratches head* I own the f/1.8 50mm, and it says it has a reproduction ratio of 1:1.8. ??? Am I totally misreading something? That's what it says right on the lens: 1:1.8. From 18 inches away I am able to completely fill the frame with something the size of a small shoe.

    :confused:
     
  9. PachelbelsCanon350D

    PachelbelsCanon350D TPF Noob!

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    And while we're at it, can I interject a little question about reproduction ratio? I don't mean to hijack...

    But if the reproduction ratio is 1:1, does that mean:

    If your sensor is (hypothetically speaking) 1.5 inches wide, does that mean you can photograph an object that is 1.5 inches wide, and it will fill the whole frame?
     
  10. ChopstickHero

    ChopstickHero TPF Noob!

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    good thread. i've been wanting to buy a 50mm prime for the past month. i've held the cheap 50mm and it feel....well... cheap. plastic body and very light. the f/1.4 version has a better build quality. i haven't decided on other primes or if i'm just going to get this one.
     
  11. ShutteredEye

    ShutteredEye TPF Noob!

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    I have the 1.8. And it is by far and away my favorite lense.
     
  12. kfoster

    kfoster TPF Noob!

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    The 1:1.8 is the apeture size. That is how they designate what the max apeture size for that lens. Typically they will not put the reproduction ratio on a lens unless it has a macro designation.

    As far as filling the frame with a small shoe. Thats not macro. Macro would be like shooting the shoe lace hole at full size. It would be full size when capture by your sensor or film.

    Here is a link to canon that gives full specs for all of its lenses. Reproduction ratio is not listed. Instead it is listed by Magnification. The macro lenses that are at the bottom of the list show a magnification of 1.00 while the 50mm lenses in the middle of the list show it at 0.15. The quick math is 1.00/0.15 equals 6.6 and change. So they have a max mag of 0.15 which is equal to a reprod ratio of 1:6.6.

    Hope this helps.
     

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