Which "Nifty" 50mm ?

Started Jul 21, 2011 | Discussions
devoh
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Re: Which "Nifty" 50mm ?
In reply to spbStan, Jul 22, 2011

I love doing nature/landscape shots... trees, waterfalls, flowers, etc..

I also wanted a lens that could do nice portraits for people.

I'm betting I need the 35mm for landscapes, the 50mm for portraits, and a 85 or 105 micro for flowers/bugs..

Sigh..

-devoh

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devoh
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Re: Which "Nifty" 50mm ?
In reply to spbStan, Jul 22, 2011

Know what annoys me?

That from reports the G lenses are usually optically slightly better than the D's..

I would rather have the D7000 do the focusing.. and put the cost of the lens motor into the optics.. many of the D lenses focus faster than the G's.

-devoh

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Patco
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Re: Which "Nifty" 50mm ?
In reply to devoh, Jul 22, 2011

devoh wrote:

many of the D lenses focus faster than the G's.

Very true, unfortunately - the cheap "AF-S" lenses, with no full-time manual focus override, use micro-motors instead of the ring-type (or rod-type, I think) of the more expensive lenses.

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Patco
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binary_eye
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Re: Which "Nifty" 50mm ?
In reply to devoh, Jul 22, 2011

devoh wrote:

It's interesting to think that one can usually move in but that most times one can not backup. I think it is a valid point.

It seems a good solution until you realize that moving closer changes perspective.

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musashi-miyamoto
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Re: Which "Nifty" 50mm ?
In reply to devoh, Jul 22, 2011

I got the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and it's amazing. It has the same focal length as a traditional 50 mm.

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Thomas Comerford
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Re: Which "Nifty" 50mm ?
In reply to devoh, Jul 23, 2011

devoh wrote:

Know what annoys me?

That from reports the G lenses are usually optically slightly better than the D's..

That's to be expected, since the G lenses are newer and lenses are getting better all the time.

I would rather have the D7000 do the focusing.. and put the cost of the lens motor into the optics.. many of the D lenses focus faster than the G's.

-devoh

Just for the record, "D" means the lens transmits distance info to the camera, and "G" is essentially a D lens that doesn't have an aperture ring. It's the AF-S designation that indicates that the lens has a built-in motor.

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Thomas Comerford
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Re: Which "Nifty" 50mm ?
In reply to devoh, Jul 23, 2011

devoh wrote:

I love doing nature/landscape shots... trees, waterfalls, flowers, etc..

I also wanted a lens that could do nice portraits for people.

I'm betting I need the 35mm for landscapes,

Why 35mm for landscapes? Why not just use a zoom lens, and have a variety of focal lengths at your disposal?

the 50mm for portraits,

50mm can be a little on the short side if you want to do a head/shoulders portrait. Most people prefer an 85mm prime (or longer) for that job. It's partly about perspective (taking a shot at close range tends to result in an unflattering portrait) but being too close can also make your subject uncomfortable.

and a 85 or 105 micro for flowers/bugs..

Popular choices here are the Tamron 90mm, Sigma 105mm, Tokina 100mm or Nikon 105mm (if your budget will cover it). Many people (including myself) buy the Tamron 90mm to cover macro and portraits, but be aware that the max aperture on most macro lenses changes as you focus closer so an f/2.8 macro lens may only give you about f/3.5 at potrait distances. Still works well, though.

Sigh..

-devoh

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unknown member
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Re: Which "Nifty" 50mm ?
In reply to devoh, Jul 24, 2011

Hey Devoh,

All of the recommendation information you've received so far ought to help you make a lens choice--but something you wrote suggested (to me, anyway) something else to think about:

devoh wrote:

I'd love to have a nice fast lens that could help me avoid using flash.. but that being said I like sharpness..

If the critical problem, here, is that you don't like the look of the way your flash photographs are coming out, I'd argue that a fast prime isn't the best solution. Instead, consider re-thinking the way you've been using flash: It might be time to start bouncing flash if you're using one on-camera, or get it off the camera altogether.

For the price of a 50 f/1.4g, you could have an SB-900 speedlight. For a little more than the 50 f/1.8G, you could have an SB-700. Either of these options would allow you to use your D7000's built-in creative lighting system (CLS) commander for very credible off-camera lighting, and decent bounce-lit shots when used on-camera in many situations.

Ultimately, I'd argue that a speedlight is a far more flexible, creative, engaging tool than a new lens (even though a 50 prime is one of the most useful lenses to have in your kit). Particularly if you shoot photographs of people, off-camera lighting will take your art and the quality of your photographs to a whole new level. It's hard and maybe even somewhat unfair to generalize, but I'd still argue that the use of off-camera lighting is one of those essential, pivotal characteristics that separates lots of really "snapshoty" photographs from compelling, artistic, professional work.

A "nifty" fifty will help you shoot in lower light, and it'll allow you interesting latitude with depth of field and selective focus--all good things. But if wanting to avoid flash or not liking the "look" of on-board flash photography is the root of your problems, I have a hunch that a "nifty" fifty won't go far enough to solve them. f/1.8 is only 2 stops away from the f/3.5 of wide end of the D7000's kit 18-105 VR; it might be enough to get you into higher quality ISOs and faster shutter speeds, or it might not. Shooting at 1/125 with a 50 is probably the minimum "high-keeper-rate" shutter speed on DX, so if your interior ambient lighting had you at 1/8 or 1/16 at ISO 3200 with the kit 18-105VR, you'll still be on the edge with the "nifty" fifty at ISO 6400. And that's assuming you can nail the focus wide open (or nearly so, were you to get an f/1.4 design), which takes some practice, too.

(Some credible folks around here (Anothermike comes to mind), argue that the D7000's viewfinder "phase-detect" focus doesn't really have the precision to hit focus consistently with apertures faster than f/2 or f/2.8. My experience corroborates that. Of course, the D7000's live-view "contrast detect" system can nail wide aperture focus easily--but it's slower and not particularly suitable for action / candid shots.)

So: give a CLS speedlight some thought--they're easy to learn and work incredibly well, on camera or off. Websites like "Strobist.com" or even Joe McNally's blog will have you shooting off-camera speedlights and exercising real lighting creativity in no time at all. Take a look at the possibilities (following McNally's work, particularly, is a good way to dream).

Food for thought, anyway.

Cheers!

M.

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devoh
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Re: Which "Nifty" 50mm ?
In reply to MarkJH, Jul 25, 2011

hmmm Flash was on my list to get next.

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devoh
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Re: Which "Nifty" 50mm ?
In reply to MarkJH, Jul 25, 2011

MarkJH: a fascinating thought, thanks for posting it.

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Patco
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Re: Which "Nifty" 50mm ?
In reply to musashi-miyamoto, Jul 25, 2011

musashi-miyamoto wrote:

I got the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and it's amazing. It has the same focal length as a traditional 50 mm.

Technically, no, a 30mm lens has a focal length of 30mm, regardless of camera.

What it does give you on DX bodies, is a field of view roughly equivalent to that of a 45mm lens on an FX, or full frame, body.

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Patco
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