Nikon 85mm f/1.8 or 50mm f1.4?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by RushNP774, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. RushNP774

    RushNP774 TPF Noob!

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    My D90 came in about a week ago and I only have the kit lens for it (18-105 VR). It's fine as an all-around lens, and I like having some extra on the wide end over my old lens as well. Just got done with a photo shoot today in an old warehouse (and am planning on doing much more there) and REALLY missed a prime like the 50mm f/1.8 on my Dad's Rebel XT. It's funny that the cheapest lens on this planet was the one I've taken my best photos with.

    I'm debating between the 85mm f/1.8 & the 50mm f/1.4, primarily for portraits (usually in a controlled studio setting or outside with plenty of space to move around) and maybe a few general shots. I love primes because they force you to actually move to compose the picture and I personally spend too much time trying to zoom.

    Don't think I'd actually need the extra f-stop @1.4, so maybe the 85mm would be better. Does it all really come down to which focal length you like better? One of the guys I shot with today has an 85mm for his 40D said he thinks it's a little long for him, but I'm not sure.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Applefanboy

    Applefanboy TPF Noob!

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    The 85mm is a fantastic portrait lens, I think the 50 is a bit wide for portraits. How about the 85mm and a 50mm f/1.8?
     
  3. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'll assume that the Nikon lenses are about the same as the Canon lenses...

    I have both the 50 1.4 & 85 1.8 (Canon). They're both great lenses, but for portraits I would go with the 85.
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm confused... for the 50mm the F/1.4 is not an issue, but it is for the 85mm. Wouldn't your low light requirements be the same in either case?

    Also, the 85mm is not just about the F/1.4... it is about superior optics and incredible results. Yeah, it is definitely sharper than the F/1.8 at any aperture, and gives you the extra F-stop gratis to boot. It's not affectionately known as the "King of the Cream" because of it's incredible bokeh for nothing. :D

    It is a lot more expensive, though... if you want to settle for a good lens instead of a GREAT lens, the 85mm F/1.8 is for you. :)
     
  5. RushNP774

    RushNP774 TPF Noob!

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    First off, thanks for all the replies!

    What do you mean by "the f/1.4 isn't an issue?" For what I am using it for (mainly studio and outdoor well-lit shots), I was merely saying that I don't think I'd benefit a whole lot more by having that extra (1.4) stop for the 50mm. I was just considering it vs the 85mm f/1.8 because it was closer in price (my budget is about $300-400 for my next lens), and I've heard that at any given aperture, the f/1.4 would be sharper than the f/1.8. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    I wasn't really considering the 85mm f/1.4 because of its price, but now you're making consider saving up for it. All I find is absolutely STELLAR reviews about it. I'm sure it would be worth it in the long run for such an amazing lens, but the $1,000 price tag is just a bit tough to justify on a grad student's budget :mrgreen:. Anyone have any pictures they took with it?
     
  6. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Leave us not forget that an 85mm lens on an APS-C camera gives an effective FL of something like 127mm; a bit long for most portrait work. The 1.4 50 gives an effective FL of 75, a good length for general portrait.
     
  7. shivaswrath

    shivaswrath TPF Noob!

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    agreed on portrait work, 50mm on the D90 is perfect. . .
     
  8. notelliot

    notelliot TPF Noob!

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    for my tastes I find them both too tight for portraits. I tend to use wider lenses to get more of the environment in the frame. 20-35mm range wins for me, I've been using my 17-55/2.8 almost exclusively for shooting portraits. it also allows me to work closer to my subjects, which I like more so I can interact with them easier.
     
  9. RushNP774

    RushNP774 TPF Noob!

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    Glad to hear you like it. I broke down last night (before reading your post) and got the 50mm f/1.8. Can't wait till it gets here.
     
  10. photogmatt

    photogmatt TPF Noob!

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    I have the 50 and the 85/1.8, both are sharp and great lenses to work with.
     
  11. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You cant really go wrong there, You will probably end up buying both anyway, The 50 is pretty good all around, you will find the 85 more useful if you do a lot of tight headshots.
     

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