Looking for a unique 50mm

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
Josh Jones
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Looking for a unique 50mm
9 months ago

I am looking for a unique ~ 50mm prime.  I really want a lens with character to it.  I have been researching lenses such as the nikkor 50/1.2 or 1.4 Ai(s), 55/1.2 SC ai, Zeiss 50mm to the G lenses (50 & 60).  However, I have read that the G lenses, while good, remain "clinical" and I am really looking for that "character."  Amazing micro contrast would be a benefit. However, I understand that the 50 1.2 doesn't have much contrast at 1.2 that makes it appear soft. Yet, the images I have seen from it are amazing. In addition, close focusing distance would be a definite benefit to my style.

I will be using this on a Nikon D7000 for the meantime, with plans to move to FF as a primary body in the future.  As you may infer above, I don't mind MF, especially since I have other lenses in/near this range that I could use if AF is needed. I am also going to purchase a new focusing screen (katzeye) as I continue to build my MF lens collection.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any other suggestions of lenses to look into?

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paulski66
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to Josh Jones, 9 months ago

Josh Jones wrote:

What are your thoughts? Do you have any other suggestions of lenses to look into?

The 1.2 certainly has "character."

It's actually decently sharp at 1.2. The problem is that it's very difficult to manually focus a lens at that aperture; even the tiniest of movements and you've slipped outside of your very this DoF.

I have the 1.8g, which I wouldn't call clinical at all; I think it's a very good performer. But the 1.2 definitely has a different rendering to it.

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larrywilson
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to Josh Jones, 9 months ago

I have the Nikon 50mm f1.2 lens and it has a lot of character, is built really well with a really smooth focusing ring.  It is a sharp lens, but I use it a lot at around f2.0 unless I have a good solid support system.  Yes, the f1.2 requires a very sturdy support since the dof is so narrow.  I believe that I will never get rid of this lens or even the Nikon 20mm f2.8 ais lens.

I also had the Zeiss 50mm f2.0 manual focus lens for a while and its a wonderful lens that can also be used for close up work.  This lens is made really well, all metal as the Nikon.

Larry

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MisterHairy
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to Josh Jones, 9 months ago

Try the Voigtlaender 58mm f/1.4 SLII. If you are happy with manual focusing, it is a very nice little lens and not too costly. It is made by the same people who make the much vaunted Zeiss ZF lenses.

It has the dual personality of a gentle, dreamy rendition wide open (although the in focus areas are pin sharp!), tightening up to become ridiculously sharp and detailed when stopped down a bit. It is sharp right into the corners.

Bokeh is very good indeed and it is really quite a nice lens although, in spite of its "Nokton" designation, it does not do the whole point sources of light in the corners thing very well at all.

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Karl Summers
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to Josh Jones, 9 months ago

Josh Jones wrote:

I am looking for a unique ~ 50mm prime. I really want a lens with character to it. I have been researching lenses such as the nikkor 50/1.2 or 1.4 Ai(s), 55/1.2 SC ai, Zeiss 50mm to the G lenses (50 & 60). However, I have read that the G lenses, while good, remain "clinical" and I am really looking for that "character." Amazing micro contrast would be a benefit. However, I understand that the 50 1.2 doesn't have much contrast at 1.2 that makes it appear soft. Yet, the images I have seen from it are amazing. In addition, close focusing distance would be a definite benefit to my style.

I will be using this on a Nikon D7000 for the meantime, with plans to move to FF as a primary body in the future. As you may infer above, I don't mind MF, especially since I have other lenses in/near this range that I could use if AF is needed. I am also going to purchase a new focusing screen (katzeye) as I continue to build my MF lens collection.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any other suggestions of lenses to look into?

Dude, I'm an ex guitar player, and I couldn't help but be reminded of these parallel discussions taking place in the guitar forums, except they're talking about pickups and their ability to create a unique 'sound'.

Now that I'm in photography I find myself surrounded by artists who basically talk about the same things but they wield a camera instead.

Back to the lens, is 50mm your full frame destination and you're willing to take a 75mm cropped view for the time being? What If you got a 35mm lens now, got 52mm of focal length for the time being, then 'graduated' to 35 once you got your full frame?

Just my .02

Karl

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Josh Jones
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to MisterHairy, 9 months ago

@ pailski: thank you, I haven't completely said no to the 1.8g, I am just looking for something different. The G is an amazing deal at its price point, making it a big contender. However, it could be considered a 2nd prime in that range for activities that require a fast lens with AF in that FL.

@mister: thank you for the voigtlander recommendation. I am interested in this lens and I can still pick it up new from several sources as well. speaking of the zeiss zf lenses, I have been keeping my eye out for a 100 major zf.2, so I definitely respect it

@karl: its interesting how artists, of all fields, tend to look for the same thing, uniqueness. Maybe that's just how the human mind works or it's how we try to grow and differentiate ourselves. I love music and have always wanted to learn how to play the guitar, drums or even piano, but have never taken the time. Regarding your question, it's somewhat difficult to answer as I am not exactly looking for a FF focal length and will make due until then. I currently own the 35/1.8G and will have to upgrade it when I go FF and will likely add an additional tele, such as a 135 as well (I also have an 85). I am really just looking for an interesting prime that is not a FL that I currently own. I am also looking to pick up the infamous 105/2.5 ai or possibly a zeiss 100 makro.

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Josh Jones
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to larrywilson, 9 months ago

Thanks Larry. Why did you get rid of the Zeiss?  Did the nikkor replace it?

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scrane
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to Josh Jones, 9 months ago

Gosh, I can't think of a lens with more character than the Zeiss 50mm f1.4. At f4 and above it is extremely sharp, but wide open it has a dreamy quality. They are very common on the used market and the most affordable of the ZE/ZF lenses.

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brightcolours
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I have the 55mm f1.2 S•C
In reply to Josh Jones, 9 months ago

Josh Jones wrote:

I am looking for a unique ~ 50mm prime. I really want a lens with character to it. I have been researching lenses such as the nikkor 50/1.2 or 1.4 Ai(s), 55/1.2 SC ai

The S•C is not an AI lens. It got replaced by a "K" lens (pre AI lenses with AI looks), which changed the optics a bit too. Then the "K" version got replaced by the AI version (orange f16 marking), which in turn got replaced by the 50mm f1.2 AI.

, Zeiss 50mm to the G lenses (50 & 60). However, I have read that the G lenses, while good, remain "clinical" and I am really looking for that "character." Amazing micro contrast would be a benefit. However, I understand that the 50 1.2 doesn't have much contrast at 1.2 that makes it appear soft.

No, it looks sharp wide open... Even the contrast is pretty good for f1.2. Anyway, contrast is easily enhanced in post processing, even the elusive "micro contrast" (for instance by USM 60/20/0).

Yet, the images I have seen from it are amazing. In addition, close focusing distance would be a definite benefit to my style.

I would try out that 50mm f1.2 (or even 55mm f1.2 S•C/K/AI if you feel like it), it indeed has character. The 50mm is a bit more contrasty wide open, and sharper edges. The 55mm is said to be a bit sharper in center wide open. I am in the process of testing/learning my 55mm f1.2 S•C, comparing it to the Canon FL 55mm f1.2.

I will be using this on a Nikon D7000 for the meantime, with plans to move to FF as a primary body in the future. As you may infer above, I don't mind MF, especially since I have other lenses in/near this range that I could use if AF is needed. I am also going to purchase a new focusing screen (katzeye) as I continue to build my MF lens collection.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any other suggestions of lenses to look into?

The benefit of the 55mm on APS-C is that it is a nicer length for portrait lens (82.5mm vs. 75mm FF equivalent). But the 50mm is better corrected (for LoCA for instance). The Zeiss, while not perfect, has smoother bokeh and less character.

http://www.thephoblographer.com/2011/12/05/review-zeiss-50mm-f1-4-canon/

http://www.samhurdphotography.com/2011/gear-reviews/gear-review-nikon-50mm-f1-2-lens

http://tonycorrea.com/blog/2011/05/nikon-55f12-review/

Meanwhile I em enjoying discovering my Nikkor-S•C 55mm f1.2 and Canon 55mm FL f1.2. Soon I will write a comparison review about them.

By the way, the only meaningful difference between the 50mm f1.2 Ai and the 50mm f1.2 Ai-S is 7 blades vs 9 blades aperture. Not really meaningful then, either.

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Carsten Pauer 2
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to Josh Jones, 9 months ago

I am looking for a unique ~ 50mm prime.

There is no "unique" 50mm Prime.

I really want a lens with character to it.

All 50mm Lenses have there own "character".

I have been researching lenses such as the nikkor 50/1.2 or 1.4 Ai(s), 55/1.2 SC ai, Zeiss 50mm to the G lenses (50 & 60).

Is there no one Lens from this List for Your wanted "character" ?

However, I have read that the G lenses, while good,

The 50mm 1.8G has a bit less bad swirl High-Lights.
If You like this, search for some old Zeiss Lenses.

remain "clinical" and I am really looking for that "character."

A You looking for a special "character" in the Lens like swirl High-Lights or creamy Bokeh/DOF ?

Do you have any other suggestions of lenses to look into?

Yes, check the "character" of the 35mm F/1.4 Samyang Lens or the 50mm F/1.4 Sigma.

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low3llSD
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to Josh Jones, 9 months ago

58G

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rmrcu
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to Josh Jones, 9 months ago

Take a look at the Nikkor AIS 45mm f2.8P.  I've been using this on my D700 and am liking it more and more.  It's slow but the images have something special.

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Clueless Wanderer
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to Josh Jones, 9 months ago

Josh Jones wrote:

I am looking for a unique ~ 50mm prime. I really want a lens with character to it. I have been researching lenses such as the nikkor 50/1.2 or 1.4 Ai(s), 55/1.2 SC ai, Zeiss 50mm to the G lenses (50 & 60). However, I have read that the G lenses, while good, remain "clinical" and I am really looking for that "character." Amazing micro contrast would be a benefit. However, I understand that the 50 1.2 doesn't have much contrast at 1.2 that makes it appear soft. Yet, the images I have seen from it are amazing. In addition, close focusing distance would be a definite benefit to my style.

I will be using this on a Nikon D7000 for the meantime, with plans to move to FF as a primary body in the future. As you may infer above, I don't mind MF, especially since I have other lenses in/near this range that I could use if AF is needed. I am also going to purchase a new focusing screen (katzeye) as I continue to build my MF lens collection.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any other suggestions of lenses to look into?

I have the Zeiss zf.2 makro and sheeze what a beaut. Suuuper sharp, great bokeh and the best thing about it, is the 300 degree's barrel turn taking it from 24cm's - infinity, making it a breeze to nail the desired point of focus.
..Unless you want to upset, don't use one as a portrait lens as it will offend (unflatteringly sharp)

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brightcolours
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to Clueless Wanderer, 9 months ago

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

Josh Jones wrote:

I am looking for a unique ~ 50mm prime. I really want a lens with character to it. I have been researching lenses such as the nikkor 50/1.2 or 1.4 Ai(s), 55/1.2 SC ai, Zeiss 50mm to the G lenses (50 & 60). However, I have read that the G lenses, while good, remain "clinical" and I am really looking for that "character." Amazing micro contrast would be a benefit. However, I understand that the 50 1.2 doesn't have much contrast at 1.2 that makes it appear soft. Yet, the images I have seen from it are amazing. In addition, close focusing distance would be a definite benefit to my style.

I will be using this on a Nikon D7000 for the meantime, with plans to move to FF as a primary body in the future. As you may infer above, I don't mind MF, especially since I have other lenses in/near this range that I could use if AF is needed. I am also going to purchase a new focusing screen (katzeye) as I continue to build my MF lens collection.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any other suggestions of lenses to look into?

I have the Zeiss zf.2 makro and sheeze what a beaut. Suuuper sharp, great bokeh and the best thing about it, is the 300 degree's barrel turn taking it from 24cm's - infinity, making it a breeze to nail the desired point of focus.
..Unless you want to upset, don't use one as a portrait lens as it will offend (unflatteringly sharp)

Since he is looking for a lens that is 1 stop or more faster, not an option. By the way, the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 is very sharp also, stopped down to f2 and up. Can't complain about my Nikkor 55mm f1.2 either, sharpness wise. And even though it "only" has a 180 degree focus path, it is great to nail focus too. That is because the macro lens does not need that much near infinity, and at the MFD end there is more than enough movement distance in the focus path.

My 55mm f1.2 even is sharp at f1.2.... Your Zeiss f2 just breaks when you try to fierce it to f1.2 Horses for different courses.

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paulski66
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to brightcolours, 9 months ago

brightcolours wrote:

Since he is looking for a lens that is 1 stop or more faster, not an option. By the way, the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 is very sharp also, stopped down to f2 and up. Can't complain about my Nikkor 55mm f1.2 either, sharpness wise. And even though it "only" has a 180 degree focus path, it is great to nail focus too. That is because the macro lens does not need that much near infinity, and at the MFD end there is more than enough movement distance in the focus path.

My 55mm f1.2 even is sharp at f1.2.... Your Zeiss f2 just breaks when you try to fierce it to f1.2 Horses for different courses.

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The op never said anything about lens speed being a requirement. While many of the lenses he has considered are fast, his only listed criteria is that the lens have "character" and be ~50mm.

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rmrcu
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to rmrcu, 9 months ago

Here are a couple of recent photos with 45mm f2.8P on the D700.

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bogrod
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to brightcolours, 9 months ago

brightcolours wrote:

Since he is looking for a lens that is 1 stop or more faster, not an option. By the way, the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 is very sharp also, stopped down to f2 and up. Can't complain about my Nikkor 55mm f1.2 either, sharpness wise. And even though it "only" has a 180 degree focus path, it is great to nail focus too. That is because the macro lens does not need that much near infinity, and at the MFD end there is more than enough movement distance in the focus path.

My 55mm f1.2 even is sharp at f1.2.... Your Zeiss f2 just breaks when you try to fierce it to f1.2 Horses for different courses.

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I second that the 50mm f/1.2 is substantially better from an objective standpoint at f/2.  Wide open, it is decent in the center, but the edges drop off considerably.  With that said, some people do like that look, and it can be exploited to great effect.

I took this photo below years ago with the 50mm f/1.2 wide open.

To the thread starter, if you're willing to extend your selection to 58mm, I would highly recommend the new 58mm.

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brightcolours
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to paulski66, 9 months ago

paulski66 wrote:

brightcolours wrote:

Since he is looking for a lens that is 1 stop or more faster, not an option. By the way, the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 is very sharp also, stopped down to f2 and up. Can't complain about my Nikkor 55mm f1.2 either, sharpness wise. And even though it "only" has a 180 degree focus path, it is great to nail focus too. That is because the macro lens does not need that much near infinity, and at the MFD end there is more than enough movement distance in the focus path.

My 55mm f1.2 even is sharp at f1.2.... Your Zeiss f2 just breaks when you try to fierce it to f1.2 Horses for different courses.

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The op never said anything about lens speed being a requirement. While many of the lenses he has considered are fast, his only listed criteria is that the lens have "character" and be ~50mm.

Yes, you are right.

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EKB
EKB
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to Josh Jones, 9 months ago

50mm f/1.8D. Not an expensive lens. Not a "great" lens. But it does have a certain nifty character to it.

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Clueless Wanderer
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Re: Looking for a unique 50mm
In reply to brightcolours, 9 months ago

brightcolours wrote:

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

Josh Jones wrote:

I am looking for a unique ~ 50mm prime. I really want a lens with character to it. I have been researching lenses such as the nikkor 50/1.2 or 1.4 Ai(s), 55/1.2 SC ai, Zeiss 50mm to the G lenses (50 & 60). However, I have read that the G lenses, while good, remain "clinical" and I am really looking for that "character." Amazing micro contrast would be a benefit. However, I understand that the 50 1.2 doesn't have much contrast at 1.2 that makes it appear soft. Yet, the images I have seen from it are amazing. In addition, close focusing distance would be a definite benefit to my style.

I will be using this on a Nikon D7000 for the meantime, with plans to move to FF as a primary body in the future. As you may infer above, I don't mind MF, especially since I have other lenses in/near this range that I could use if AF is needed. I am also going to purchase a new focusing screen (katzeye) as I continue to build my MF lens collection.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any other suggestions of lenses to look into?

I have the Zeiss zf.2 makro and sheeze what a beaut. Suuuper sharp, great bokeh and the best thing about it, is the 300 degree's barrel turn taking it from 24cm's - infinity, making it a breeze to nail the desired point of focus.
..Unless you want to upset, don't use one as a portrait lens as it will offend (unflatteringly sharp)

"Your Zeiss f2 just breaks when you try to fierce it to f1.2 Horses for different courses."

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