Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?

Started Apr 9, 2013 | Discussions
Lawliet
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Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?
Apr 9, 2013

I I know I'll be getting the 50-200 whenever it comes out. Until it comes out I figured I'd get the 35mm (since that would cover like 85% of my subjects)

however. I've been hearing that the 18-50 is quite sharp and quick for a zoom lens. On top of that it has a netoy style of AF that is much faster.

Faster AF and a fear of seeing a 35mm updated with the new AF innards has me a little divided.

What would your general opinion be guys? Is the new zoom really notably faster in real world perofrmance?

if the AF boost isn't huge I would much rather  slap on the 35mm since it's much more discrete.

Al Valentino
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Re: Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?
In reply to Lawliet, Apr 9, 2013

It is a question of style. Do you want a single focal lenth that captures the normal FOV and can Isolate your subject with A creamy background, or do you want the versatility of a zoom with less comtrol of DOF. I'm a zoom  man since I love the versatility and tend towards the wide end. anyway, given the above, only you can decide which fits your style. If. You hunt around you might find a package deal that includes both for a good price.

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AdamJRed
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Re: Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?
In reply to Lawliet, Apr 9, 2013

It's a difficult question and partly why so many own both lenses.

Many of us have a 'knee-jerk' reaction to needing the zoom.  We somehow feel that we will be artistically crippled without zoom.  While I'm not arguing the technical validity, I've found (through the use of an X100 incidentally) that a single focal length lens does not cripple me.

Countless times I've used my cellphone camera to try capture everything from landscapes to portraits, yet it only has a single 38mm FOV (in 35mm equivalent).  Its just another example where we can forget that we don't have a zoom, when there is no option to begin with.

All of that said, the zoom is the sharpest 18-55mm I've ever used, great detail, nice bokeh, it's a very strong lens on its own.

If  I had to choose between just the 35 or just the 18-55, I'd take the later just because I can do more creatively with different focal lengths than I could with just one.   If money was not a concern, I'd have the 14mm, 35mm, and 60mm lenses in my bag instead of the zoom...

Good luck!

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atamola
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Re: Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?
In reply to Lawliet, Apr 9, 2013

Zoom is more practical for sure -but may not be better.

A single focal lenght will force your brain to think and as a result you usually end up with better composition.

The 35 will give you a rather narrow fov. You will have to think harder.

There are many shots you won't be able to make the way you would have wanted to if you pick the 35.

With the zoom you still get the 35 focal lenght -you won't have the same shallow depth of field, but you will have the large dof with the added benefit of IS.

again, the zoom is more practical.

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simon
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18-55mm zoom - no doubt about it
In reply to Lawliet, Apr 9, 2013

The 18-55mm is plenty sharp enough and is a remarkably versatile lens. It's focal range covers alot of perspectives and gives more opportunities.

I found the 35mm FOV too narrow for street work and too short for portraitures, hence I sold it, I just never used it.

As a replacement to the 35mm I got the 18mm pancake. Although you were looking for just one lens I do mention the 18mm FYI.

regards,

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John
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Re: Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?
In reply to Lawliet, Apr 9, 2013

I cannot speak about auto-focus speed, since the pictures I currently take don't deal with that.  But I would ask myself:

  • Do I need to take pictures of moving subjects or subject matter which "spontaneously" changes, or will I sit there and contemplate how the focusing looks?
  • Will I be moving around (on location / hiking) where changing lenses is a pain
  • Is changing perspective (position of shot) not an option and you need to frame the subject differently?
  • Will I be making large prints from my resulting pictures?  How large?  How sharp do I need this lens to be?
  • How large is the largest aperture for low light?

And then go from there...

Although I was apprehensive when I got the kit zoom lens, the results I got so far exceeded my expectations for sharpness.  When bought as a kit with the body and the performance, IMHO the kit zoom is an absolute bargain to me!  But then my requirements may differ from others...

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Joachim Gerstl
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Re: Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?
In reply to Lawliet, Apr 9, 2013

The zoom is more practical but to "release" the magic of the Fuji X you better buy the 14mm and the 35mm lens.

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mr moonlight
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Re: Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?
In reply to Joachim Gerstl, Apr 9, 2013

Contrary to what many feel, for daily photography I feel the 35mm prime is the versatile lens vs. the 18-50mm zoom. You don't have nearly the flexibility of isolating subjects with shallow DOF, more pleasing bokeh or freezing subjects in low light. A good prime beats a comparable level zoom on every level except multiple focal lengths. In many cases you can "zoom with your feet" and in others you can auto-stitch.

If you're doing specialized photography such as headshots, wildlife or interiors, yes you need specific focal lengths, but for most day to day shooting a 35mm or 50mm equiv. will do the job. In a studio you have control over lighting, but when traveling or just out and about around town, you rarely have any control over light. The faster your lens, the better you are able to handle various lighting conditions, especially indoors or in the evening/night.

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sgoldswo
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Re: Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?
In reply to Lawliet, Apr 9, 2013

Lawliet wrote:

I I know I'll be getting the 50-200 whenever it comes out. Until it comes out I figured I'd get the 35mm (since that would cover like 85% of my subjects)

however. I've been hearing that the 18-50 is quite sharp and quick for a zoom lens. On top of that it has a netoy style of AF that is much faster.

Faster AF and a fear of seeing a 35mm updated with the new AF innards has me a little divided.

What would your general opinion be guys? Is the new zoom really notably faster in real world perofrmance?

if the AF boost isn't huge I would much rather  slap on the 35mm since it's much more discrete.

More practical? The 18-55mm. Inevitably, it is a zoom.

The better lens and the one I couldn't do without? The 35mm.

To be honest the 35mm has always had slower AF than some of the other lenses, though it is pretty good now. However, optically it is a stunning lens, particularly wide open, but stopped down too. It compares very well with 50mm SLR lenses both optically and construction wise.

Don't get me wrong, the zoom is good too (very sharp), but it does suffer from distortion and it is slower.

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uniball
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Re: Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?
In reply to Lawliet, Apr 9, 2013

I bought both. 18-55 for travel and 35 as every day lens. In 6 months of ownership, the 18-55 has been used only for comparative testing.

Its a question of what makes you happy. If you need the "proper" focal length then the zoom. I find the 35's fixed focal length is simpler: Concentrate on the image, not what focal to choose.  Lighter and smaller.

IQ wise, both are excellent lenses though I give the 35 an edge here. Low light; the ois should match the 35 at slow shutters.

I'm sure I will use the 18-55 for a travel lens (4 months in Europe and the Far East this year). But, if I had to select one, its no contest.

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Jan Erik Stokke
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Re: Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?
In reply to uniball, Apr 9, 2013

I have both. The zoom is much better than most kit zooms. But the 35 is amazing at f 1.4 and my favorite.

However, you will have to decide what is important to you - zoom range or fast aperture. People are different. You have already decided to get the tele zoom when it arrives - which to me is not a much interesting lens at all.

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mjl699
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Re: Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?
In reply to Lawliet, Apr 9, 2013

Lawliet wrote:

I I know I'll be getting the 50-200 whenever it comes out. Until it comes out I figured I'd get the 35mm (since that would cover like 85% of my subjects)

however. I've been hearing that the 18-50 is quite sharp and quick for a zoom lens. On top of that it has a netoy style of AF that is much faster.

Faster AF and a fear of seeing a 35mm updated with the new AF innards has me a little divided.

What would your general opinion be guys? Is the new zoom really notably faster in real world perofrmance?

if the AF boost isn't huge I would much rather  slap on the 35mm since it's much more discrete.

Very good question. For me the higher optical quality and versatility (shallower DOF and lower F-number) of the Fuji primes outweighs the benefits of the 18-55mm zoom. Having said that, I am getting the 14mm and plan to get the 23mm and I have the 35mm, so I am not restricted to just one lens. Were I restricted to just one lens, I might go for a zoom just to get the benefit of having a lens that can cover 23, 35 and 55mm all in one go. What might stop me is that 18mm is not wide enough for me and I shoot a lot in doors in very low light. In the end I have survived since the XP1 first came out with the 35mm alone. My only regret is that I have been places where the 14mm would have been handy. I haven't missed the long end as much.

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mjl599

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Al Downie
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Re: Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?
In reply to Lawliet, Apr 9, 2013

I completely agree with the folk who have suggested that a prime lens not only frees you from decision-making and focal-length anxiety, but in the case of the 35mm f1.4 vs the zoom, another factor worth bearing in mind is the function of the aperture ring. The 35mm has (beautifully) etched marks on the ring and stops at either end of the range; the zoom doesn't have any marks and rotates freely - you have to look into the viewfinder to read/adjust the aperture. That slows me down - I *much* prefer the feel of a traditional aperture ring...

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brokenhat
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Re: Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?
In reply to Lawliet, Apr 9, 2013

I have both plus the 14mm and prefer the zoom when I don't need the faster aperture for low light, it's the best "kit" lens I have ever seen including the 24-105 F4 that came with my Canon 5D MKII although in a perfect world it would go to 105mm.   I much prefer the quicker focus, IS and multiple focal lengths. I do love the aperture ring, overall look, size/weight and F1.4 of the 35mm though. Guess that's why I have both. hahaha The thing is the kit lens is such a good deal when bought with the body, at least the X-E1 that it may be worth getting and selling if you don't use it.

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Lawliet
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Re: Getting a single lens. Which would be more practical? 35mm or the 18-50mm zoom?
In reply to brokenhat, Apr 9, 2013

Thank you so much for your input guys. I love the DP community! <3

I have decided to get the xe1 with the 35mm and wait for the 50-200.

If its not up to par (not likely) then I will be getting the 18-50 later used. Since its a kit lens I figure it would depreciate in value a little faster in the used market.

I would be shooting mostly in the 35-50 m range anyways so I think it would be smarter to get a faster lens with the smoother bokeh.

Or hell. I might just get the 18-50 used later if I see it for a good price later on.

Thanks again guys!

Now to decide between the silver or black. They're both so pretty....

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