50mm 1.8G & 85mm 1.8G - redundancy? what do you think? D800

Started Oct 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
konoplya
Regular MemberPosts: 213
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Re: 50mm 1.8G & 85mm 1.8G - redundancy? what do you think? D800
In reply to phototrope, Oct 31, 2012

phototrope wrote:

The 85 is a "short tele". It is primarily used for portraits because it doesn't cause distortion BECAUSE you don't have to get to close to the subject. But it can also be used for landscapes where you want to compress perspective a little. Also it obviously has narrower depth of field than a 50 which may or not be applicable in different situations.

The 50 is a "normal", which means that it is closer to the field of view of the human eye than the 85. Strictly speaking, for 35mm film/sensors the "normal" focal length is about 43mm. Practicaly speaking what this means is that the 50mm can be used as a tele or as a wide depending on how you use it. That may sound like a banal statement, but the more you use a 50mm lens the you get to love it precisely for that fact. If want distortion-free headshots using a 50mm you can always stand a bit further back and crop as necessary.

In the early days of 35mm film cameras (ie., leica) 28,50,85mm lenses were a very common combination. Later, the "double the focal length difference" combination became more popular (24,50,105,200). More recently the 35,85,135 became highly sought after - as far as I can see, because these were the best DSLR primes you could get for a while, thanks to Canon. I think the term "holy trinity" was coined for these Canon lenses. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Nowadays, we are spoilt for choice with Nikon fast primes. Choose the best combo as the situation demands. For example, if you're taking portraits of the girl the 85mm should be perfect . If you were going on holiday with her, however, the 50 would be more suitable. Of course, if you want to shoot an "environmental portrait" of the girl you'd use the 28, and if you want to shoot a details with some narrorow DoF the 50 would come in handy.

There's a lot more to learn about primes than what I've stated above. It all comes with experience (and nothing else). The lenses don't take to the pictures. We do. So, to sum up: there are no redundant lenses, only redundant photographers.

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"The job of the photographer is not to record indisputable fact but to try to be coherent about intuition and hope."
-- Robert Adams

thank you for that information! much appreciated.

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