Does anyone use a 50mm as their main lens on a full frame?

Started Jan 25, 2013 | Discussions
paulski66
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Guidenet
In reply to Guidenet, Jan 26, 2013

Do you take pictures of things other than your gear?

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heulwen
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Re: Does anyone use a 50mm as their main lens on a full frame?
In reply to tamasine, Jan 26, 2013

tamasine wrote:

The biggest headache with considering the move from DX to FF is what lens to get. I use the 16-85mm mainly with my D90 and it's been absolutely fantastic. It mixes great IQ with a size and weight that is completely manageable.

Looking at the comparisons in FX, I'm not 100% convinced there is anything comparable, without either 1) spending a lot more, or b) carrying something a lot heavier. The most obvious choice would be the 24-85mm VR, and perhaps that would be fine for me.

However, I also have the 50mm f1.8G, which being 50mm on FF, might do a good job for most of my photography. I guess the biggest issue is landscapes...I realise that there are no 'landscape lenses' as such, but 50mm might be a bit restricting if it's not possible to be the right distance from the subject.

Since it's a relatively inexpensive, small, light but flexible lens, do any of you actually use it on your full frame cameras most of the time? Please feel free to post your pics too - especially landscape ones. Has anyone passed on the pro glass lenses to use the 50mm?

Not on FX, but my main lens on DX was the 35/1.8, a 50mm equalent. I even travelled with that combination alone and didn't feel hindered by it. Now on FX I use the 35/1.4 and the 85/1.4 as my main lenses. But, lately I have come to miss the easiness of having just one lens with me and just concentrate on taking pictures instead of wondering if this scenario would warrant me changing into that other lens. So I'm getting myself a 50mm. The 35mm is just a tad wide sometimes and the 85mm too long. 50 is a perfect in-between compromise when you just want to toss the camera in the bag and be done with it.

Yeah, yeah, we have these cameras to be able to change lenses, but that's not why I'm into it. I just love to take pictures, and sometimes less is more in terms of gear. And less does not equal a p&s for me.

Regarding landscapes, we all have different styles, but I rarely shoot landscapes wider than 35mm, in fact, on my last trip I mostly used my 70-300 for that task. I tried to look for some landscapes I would dare to show you, but I don't really have any worthy of that honour from my pre-FX era (two years back). I was mostly into "closer-up's" it seems. Here's a couple landscape-ish ones (two of them actually being... landscapes) with a 50mm equalent.

If I were you, I'd get the 24-85 if you get it for a good price, and keep the 50/1.8 along with it. That way you can experiment with the 50 alone, but you also have the zoom at hand if you feel hindered by the 50. Maybe you end up getting more primes to go along with the 50, like I did, or maybe you end up digging the zoom and it's possibilites a bit more and ditch the 50 instead. Either way, you'll have a great ride ahead of you, ;).



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tamasine
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Re: Does anyone use a 50mm as their main lens on a full frame?
In reply to tamasine, Jan 26, 2013

Thank you everyone for all your replies and advice - it's certainly making me think more about how I approach the change from DX to FF.

I do actually have a landscape lens - it's an old AI-S 24mm f2.8.  I bought it when I first got my D90 and used to practise with it to learn about exposure.  I believe it might be a nice lens on a FF camera and will meter on the D600 (I'm not sure if it will autofocus though?)  The main thing I want to avoid is excess weight and bulk.  I realise that some of the best lenses are big/heavy so I'm hoping to find a few alternatives that provide most of the IQ but are lighter/shorter.  I would also hope that something like the 24-85mm VR on a D600 would be capable of taking better photos than a D90 with the 16-85?

The 16-35mm would probably be the perfect travel lens for me in terms of focal length, but I think it's quite a big lens and pretty expensive too.  Actually, it's not so much the cost that would put me off but the size.  The 28mm f1.8 is also an option, but how much better would these two lenses be over the 24-85?

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paulski66
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heulen: very nice images
In reply to heulwen, Jan 26, 2013

You have a great eye. The fourth image, in particular, is very intriguing.

Thanks for sharing.

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Joe Porto
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50mm FX is pretty boring...
In reply to tamasine, Jan 26, 2013

If I'm going to take only a prime, it will either be a 28mm, or an 85mm depending on what I may be shooting.

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sroute
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Re: Does anyone use a 50mm as their main lens on a full frame?
In reply to heulwen, Jan 26, 2013

heulwen wrote:

Nice photographs and I too find the last of your series particularly intriguing.

Yeah, yeah, we have these cameras to be able to change lenses, but that's not why I'm into it. I just love to take pictures, and sometimes less is more in terms of gear. And less does not equal a p&s for me.

+1. I had five Zeiss lenses for my go-everywhere APS-C mirrorless (Ricoh GXR) but mostly (90% of the time) used one. We buy interchangeable cameras for many different reasons; I don't feel like I'm getting less out of my camera if I mostly just use two lenses, and certainly my daily carry bag is a lot lighter with only two along for the ride.

In my case I find 50mm equivalent just a little too long most of the time, and too short some of the time, so I tend to use a 35mm/1.4 as my go-to normal lens. For me a 35/1.4 and 85/1.8G meet my needs most of the time. Once in a while I'd like something a little wider, and even less frequently, I'd like the view/reach of a lens a bunch longer. When i pick up another lens for the D800 it will almost certainly be wider, probably a 20mm or something in the range of 18-24mm, and ideally a prime if it means smaller and lighter.

To the OP, you never really know how you'll relate to a focal length until you spend a bunch of time with it. For some a fasti-sh zoom is a good compromise, for others a fast prime fits the bill better. Go with your instinct and past experiences. Or, buy a 50 since a 1.4G or 1.8G can be had for relatively few dollars.

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wasserball
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Re: Does anyone use a 50mm as their main lens on a full frame?
In reply to tamasine, Jan 26, 2013

I do, 50mm f1.8G on D700, if I have a specific application, like being the photographer at a sit down dinner event.

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Guidenet
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Re: Guidenet
In reply to paulski66, Jan 26, 2013

paulski66 wrote:

Do you take pictures of things other than your gear?

Paul, I'm not sure if that's a contentious remark or not. Whether yes or no, you might should have taken a look at my gallery before asking. The link is by each image as well as by clicking on my screenname. I did that to check yours prior to replying. As often is, some people remind be of the old saying regarding black pots and kettles.

For starters, I only have 17 pictures of my gear for the use on forums to point out something or to make a point. That is considerably less than the gear I own. 17 pictures are in an album called Camera images. My gallery here holds presently 649 total images and it's not my only collection online. Secondly, I do this professionally, making pictures almost every workday of my life. I've been involved in photography for around 50 years and make images using cellphones to 8x10 sheetfilm cameras. I own a rather large studio and darkroom. None of my published or contractual work is online on anything but private access, yet still I have a huge assortment if you're interested. You might have looked prior to asking.

My assortment of images have both good images and not so good images, but they are ones I like and chose to share. Where are your huge collections of images such that you'd question me without checking?

So, I took a look at your gallery. I see 6 or 7 snaps and no other listed galleries online. You've been a member on these forums for under two years. Paul, I think your question was annoying and presumptious. Like I said, possibly you should have looked first. I don't know. My return question might be, do you take many pictures of much of anything, gear included or do you just give forum advice and make remarks online?

If you were just being nice and forgot to put in the smiley, please forgive my retort, and I'll apollogize. 

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Leonard Migliore
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No magic autofocus
In reply to tamasine, Jan 26, 2013

tamasine wrote:

I do actually have a landscape lens - it's an old AI-S 24mm f2.8. I bought it when I first got my D90 and used to practise with it to learn about exposure. I believe it might be a nice lens on a FF camera and will meter on the D600 (I'm not sure if it will autofocus though?) The main thing I want to avoid is excess weight and bulk. I realise that some of the best lenses are big/heavy so I'm hoping to find a few alternatives that provide most of the IQ but are lighter/shorter. I would also hope that something like the 24-85mm VR on a D600 would be capable of taking better photos than a D90 with the 16-85?

How could a manual focus lens autofocus? You would have to rig a belt drive motor to the focusing ring.

AI lenses will, as you note, meter on a D600, which they don't on a D90. This is pretty helpful since you can use aperture priority and the lens will operate just like it did 20 years ago.

The 24mm f/2.8 is a very compact lens but it's not going to be sharp until about f/8 and you'll need to correct the chromatic aberration to get passable quality even then. I've relegated mine to a bag at the bottom of a dark closet.

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paulski66
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Re: Guidenet
In reply to Guidenet, Jan 26, 2013

Guidenet wrote:

paulski66 wrote:

Do you take pictures of things other than your gear?

If you were just being nice and forgot to put in the smiley, please forgive my retort, and I'll apollogize.

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Well, I was being playful. Actually, they're quite nice, the images of your gear.

That said, if it were me, I'd be far more swayed by seeing a few great images from the lens in question (here, the 50mm 1.8g) than one great image of the lens in question. So you including the image of the lens always struck me as a bit curious.

Still, apologies if that was taken the wrong way.

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paulski66
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Just for good measure, though...
In reply to Guidenet, Jan 26, 2013

Here's one of my daughter taken with the 50mm 1.8g llast week. She was kind of grumpy and didn't feel like posing...



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Guidenet
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Re: Just for good measure, though...
In reply to paulski66, Jan 27, 2013

Sorry, I was grumpy too.

Oh and what a beautiful image of a very pretty young lady. Thanks for sharing.

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Guidenet
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Re: Guidenet
In reply to paulski66, Jan 27, 2013

paulski66 wrote:

Guidenet wrote:

paulski66 wrote:

Do you take pictures of things other than your gear?

If you were just being nice and forgot to put in the smiley, please forgive my retort, and I'll apollogize.

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Well, I was being playful. Actually, they're quite nice, the images of your gear.

That said, if it were me, I'd be far more swayed by seeing a few great images from the lens in question (here, the 50mm 1.8g) than one great image of the lens in question. So you including the image of the lens always struck me as a bit curious.

Still, apologies if that was taken the wrong way.

Here's the thing and if you notice, those gear images of mine are recent. One problem I've often had here is the need to point out something on a lens or camera. I'm a horrible illustrator so I thought I'd take a series over time of various types of gear I had so I could add an arrow or something in a discussion. Also, people often ask if you own such and such. I sometimes put it up to show I'm talking about what I indeed own or have tried. I've got a couple of images at strange angles to show something specific in some past thread. That's all. It's not a brag on gear I own. For Heaven's sake, I have way less than some of the full time pros and amateurs here.

I have also started taking images for my files for insurance reasons. I've included them with serial numbers and stored against theft. It's now required by my insurance company. It's so boring, I haven't finished nor do it that often, but I'll have to continue and be done by renewal end of June, so you'll see more. LOL.

I also try to take images that show something I'm trying to explain. For instance, sometimes a person asks what a DX looks like on an FX camera. I've taken some and will take more to show the various levels of vignetting with the few DX lenses I still own. It also can explain the lack of real reach of DX and on how crop works. If by chance you see my gallery in the future, more of that will be in the Camera album.



Images like the below help explain various buttons and dials.



If I"m bored of a Sunday afternoon after church, I do some of these while enjoying the Florida weather in the back yard. This was taken to show a Canon user how Nikon centers their LCD under the viewfinder. *shrugs*

Finally, I have never felt that web based 8 bit Jpegs displayed on the average 6 bit twisted neumatic uncallibrated monitor most use can in any way help a person make a buying decision about an optic. Besides the photographer and post production have as much impact as anything else in what is displayed online. That's why I don't show the image taken by the lens that often. Make sense in a way?

Have a great rest of the weekend.  



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General Toner
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Re: Does anyone use a 50mm as their main lens on a full frame?
In reply to tamasine, Jan 27, 2013

To show other use of a 50 1.8G beyond 'norm', here's a link to an iterior GigaPan of Washington's Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge, PA. Final results is a 1.72 Gigapixel image from D800.t  Shot this afternoon.

http://gigapan1.gc.cs.cmu.edu/gigapans/122289



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General Toner
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Re: Does anyone use a 50mm as their main lens on a full frame?
In reply to General Toner, Jan 27, 2013

Other link worked on tablet but this one works on pc.

http://gigapan.com/gigapans/122289

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Art_P
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In reply to tamasine, Jan 27, 2013

In my film days, I bought a 50mm 1.8 w my OM-4  Think I used it once on that camera.

Wasn't until I moved to 4/3 (2x factor) that this lens got any use- sometimes alone (100mm effective) or w 2x converter or extension tube.

With my zoom lens, I found most shots were at 60mm (120) or 12-14 (24-28)  Hardly any in the 'normal' range.

For landscapes, I'd think a 50mm FoV too narrow, something in the 24-30 range more useful.

Some people love the normal focal length, the question is does it work for you?

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joneil
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Re: Does anyone use a 50mm as their main lens on a full frame?
In reply to Guidenet, Jan 27, 2013

Guidenet wrote:

Sure there are those who are happy with one lens for everything, but those folks must have a fairly narrow interest in photography overall. The ability to interchange lenses with an interchangeable lens camera is ther reason for these type cameras, obviously. We are able to match the correct lens to the job at hand. There are many various jobs and therefore many various lenses to do them with.

-snip-

Actually, I have a number of lenses (lost count, but two of them are 50mm nikkors), for my DSLR, lenses for my medium format, a number of lenses for my large format cameras (4x5 and 8x10), a number of lenses in my darkroom for my three enlargers, and a a few telescopes and microscopes.    You are right, having the right lens for the job is important, and you are always looking for a "new need" to justify that "new lens you need for the job. " 

but you know something, at some point, it can grow tiring too.  There is an aspect of simplicty and simple enjoyment in walking around for a couple hours with just one lens.

If you ever find yourself in something of an "artistic dump", and by  that I mean, you just feel quite lost and uninspired in regards to your photography, this is a good way to get "the muse back."

Take just one lens - I find a prime is best - and take a day trip some where.  Far enough away once you get where you are going, you will not be tempted to go back and get another lens or lenses.  Then just shoot for a couple hours or a whole day with just that one camera and that one lens.

What happens is once you know for a fact inside your head this one lens is all you got, your brain then switches over to thinking along the lines of "how do I make this the best shot with what I got?"    It also forces you to adapt to the situation,  instead of expecting the situation to adapt to you.

I find such an exercise can inspire some self confidence.  Once you get back and you see what you can truely do with just that one lens, then you start to become excited about what you might be able to do with more lenses, and that's where the "muse starts to come back."

good luck

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Guidenet
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Re: Does anyone use a 50mm as their main lens on a full frame?
In reply to joneil, Jan 27, 2013

I really agree with you. I love it as well, but often use a couple of primes. When on vacation, my gal loves to shop many of the small towns we visit. This is about the only time I partake in street photography. I love one prime or maybe two. This year it will be the 28 f/1.8 and maybe the 85 f/1.4. I often keep one on the camera and one in my pocket or an old belt pouch. It is refreshing leaving my big kit away and just looking for something God let me come up to at the right time. It isn't as stressful as my day job. LOL You're right.

I shoot sheet film also and have done so for many years. My favorite one lens combo is an older Deardorff 5x7 and a Nikkor 90 f/8 SW. It might be the sharpest lens I own. Fortunately it covers the format with plenty of movements. It can be a real pleasure and challenge on the weekend to get one really good shot you wanted. My passion is Florida wetlands. How about you?

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heulwen
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Re: heulen: very nice images
In reply to paulski66, Jan 27, 2013

Thank you, :).

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heulwen
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Re: Does anyone use a 50mm as their main lens on a full frame?
In reply to sroute, Jan 27, 2013

sroute wrote:

heulwen wrote:

Nice photographs and I too find the last of your series particularly intriguing.

Yeah, yeah, we have these cameras to be able to change lenses, but that's not why I'm into it. I just love to take pictures, and sometimes less is more in terms of gear. And less does not equal a p&s for me.

+1. I had five Zeiss lenses for my go-everywhere APS-C mirrorless (Ricoh GXR) but mostly (90% of the time) used one. We buy interchangeable cameras for many different reasons; I don't feel like I'm getting less out of my camera if I mostly just use two lenses, and certainly my daily carry bag is a lot lighter with only two along for the ride.

In my case I find 50mm equivalent just a little too long most of the time, and too short some of the time, so I tend to use a 35mm/1.4 as my go-to normal lens. For me a 35/1.4 and 85/1.8G meet my needs most of the time. Once in a while I'd like something a little wider, and even less frequently, I'd like the view/reach of a lens a bunch longer. When i pick up another lens for the D800 it will almost certainly be wider, probably a 20mm or something in the range of 18-24mm, and ideally a prime if it means smaller and lighter.

Thank you. I too love the combination of 35 and 85, that's the kit I travel with and use for both weddings and portraits. I'll throw in an old ai 20/4 or the 70-300 when I need something more on both ends, or grab my lensbaby or Soviet Helios 58/2 if all I want is to goof around, :). Yes, one lens does not fit all "missions", but I would not be lost and clueless if I had only one lens for the rest of my life. Maybe it depends on style or the reasons you got into photography in the first place? For me it's about capturing moods, emotions, something behind the, in comparison, sterile and lifeless lines and shapes of what we see with our eyes. And I can do that with any lens. Just as a thought, :).

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