Recommendations for 50mm on APS-C sensor? (re: 1.6x crop factor, etc)

Started Aug 8, 2011 | Discussions
sofakng Regular Member • Posts: 131
Recommendations for 50mm on APS-C sensor? (re: 1.6x crop factor, etc)

I'm using a Canon T1i and I have the Canon 50mm f/1.8 ("nifty fifty") lens and it's great, but it has too much a zoom factor for indoors shooting.

Because of the APS-C sensor crop factor (1.6x), I need a 32mm lens to achieve the same size on my camera.

Does anybody have any recommendations on a prime lens that size?

The most ideal lens is the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM but that is very, very far out of my price range.

Sigma seems to have some lenses in my price range (under $400) but I'm really not sure the quality of them. Everybody talks about how great the Canon 50mm prime is that I'm a bit disappointed I can't use it very often because of my camera's crop factor.

mg_k Senior Member • Posts: 2,772
Re: Recommendations for 50mm on APS-C sensor? (re: 1.6x crop factor, etc)

three choices:- 28 1.8, 35 2, sigma 30 1.4.

I have the sigma myself. Loved it. Sharp as hell.

To me fast aperture and USM matters. The canons are not fast enough and no USM.

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kc1984 New Member • Posts: 20
Re: Recommendations for 50mm on APS-C sensor? (re: 1.6x crop factor, etc)

The Canon 35mm f2.0 is a cracker of a lens. Everyone overlooks it. It's sharp with punchy contrast. Get this for your 1.6 crop. The 1.4L is only marginally better stopped down.

Hombre de Maiz Regular Member • Posts: 273
Re: Recommendations for 50mm on APS-C sensor? (re: 1.6x crop factor, etc)

35L only marginally better? Doubt it.
http://www.wlcastleman.com/equip/reviews/35mm/index.htm

tonyjr
tonyjr Veteran Member • Posts: 5,276
Re: Recommendations for 50mm on APS-C sensor? (re: 1.6x crop factor, etc)

For less than 100 , you can get a used 18-55 . On a crop , there is a bunch of difference between the 24 , 28 and the 35 . It will depend on what you are shooting .
After I got the 18-55 IS the 28 , 35 and the 50 sat on shelf .

The 17-55 is my main lens now - came off camera for about 10 shots at a wedding [ 70-200 ] then the 17-55 went back on .
but I want DOF , not bokeh .
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BAK Forum Pro • Posts: 22,835
Photozome tests

The charts at Photozone.do have the centers of the f2 and f1.4 Canon 35mm lenses both well into the excellent category from f2.8 to f8, which is where the charts end.

For most of the aperture range, the 35mm f2 has better edges.

There's lots of reasons to buy the f1.4 for 4X the price, but most of those reasons could well be described as "marginally better."

BAK

BAK Forum Pro • Posts: 22,835
Best bargain, best value

Best bargain is the Canon 28mm f2.8 lens.

Best value, taking into account the maximum aperture, is the Canon 35mm f2.

The Sigma 28mm f1.8 seems to get mixed feelings, and it is big.

BAK

arty H Senior Member • Posts: 1,375
Re: Best bargain, best value

I have the 35f2 and it is a very sharp lens. The 35L is better at larger apertures. Once you are at f2.8, the two lenses will be hard to tell apart.
The 35f2 has fast and accurate AF, and is sharp at f2 - even better at f2.2.

It does have a fault. It does not do well shooting into the sun. The solution is to avoid this, or you will have lots of flare.
It is a fine lens.

If you don't mind the extra cost and weight, the Sigma 30f1.4 might be worth a try, but be sure to buy from a place with a good return policy.

OP sofakng Regular Member • Posts: 131
Re: Recommendations for 50mm on APS-C sensor? (re: 1.6x crop factor, etc)

Thanks for all of the recommendations.

The Canon 35mm f/2 does look nice but I'd be worried about the f/2 versus the f/1.4 on the Sigma.

The main purpose of the lens will be for indoor (low light) pictures of my son (8 months old). I do have a Canon 430EX II flash but I'm still learning about the camera (and SLR photography in-general) and it seems like not having to use the flash produces better pictures, etc.

gdanmitchell
gdanmitchell Veteran Member • Posts: 7,730
Re: Recommendations for 50mm on APS-C sensor? (re: 1.6x crop factor, etc)

I hope that you did not succumb to the lame forum advice that says "start out with a 'nifty fifty' to learn composition" or whatever silliness gets passed off as "advice" from time to time!

As you have discovered, for all but an extremely small number of people, having only a 50mm prime on a cropped sensor camera is a big mistake.

I wonder if the same kind of advice ("real photographers use primes! No zooms for you!") is still afflicting your decision making? In virtually all cases, especially if you are getting started or only have one lens at this point, a zoom is a far better option than a prime of any focal length . It has a number of advantages:

  • Its focal length flexibility is incredibly useful for most photographers.

  • If you are not yet intuitively familiar with the effects of various focal lengths, the zoom is the perfect laboratory for learning about this.

  • If you need to shoot at some particular FL like 32mm or whatever, you can simply put the zoom at that FL and you have your "prime."

  • Such lenses as the EFS 18-55mm IS kit zoom produce quite fine image quality.

  • The IS feature is very useful in a number of situations.

  • The cost is the same as or less than that of primes in this focal length range.

Unless you can articulate a very good reason why you think you need a single prime focal length, I urge you to get a zoom instead.

Dan

sofakng wrote:

I'm using a Canon T1i and I have the Canon 50mm f/1.8 ("nifty fifty") lens and it's great, but it has too much a zoom factor for indoors shooting.

Because of the APS-C sensor crop factor (1.6x), I need a 32mm lens to achieve the same size on my camera.

Does anybody have any recommendations on a prime lens that size?

The most ideal lens is the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM but that is very, very far out of my price range.

Sigma seems to have some lenses in my price range (under $400) but I'm really not sure the quality of them. Everybody talks about how great the Canon 50mm prime is that I'm a bit disappointed I can't use it very often because of my camera's crop factor.

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OP sofakng Regular Member • Posts: 131
Re: Recommendations for 50mm on APS-C sensor? (re: 1.6x crop factor, etc)

That sounds like great advice...

Currently I have three lenses:

15 - 55mm kit lens
55 - 250mm kit lens
50mm f/1.8 prime lens

The 15-55mm lens is the one that I use most of the time but I find that it just doesn't work in low light situations (ie. indoors for my son) which is why I'm looking for a prime lens because it seems like you can get a much wider aperture for much cheaper, etc.

Marcos Villaroman Veteran Member • Posts: 5,180
Here's a vote for the 35/2

A friend and I just went through this exercise.

He wanted a 50mm equivalent in 35mm FF for his Canon 7D while I wanted a 35mm lens for my 5D2.

He went with the 35L because the 35L was faster and had better color/contrast than the 35/2. He wouldn't consider the Sigma 30mm because eventually he's going to buy a FF sensor DSLR and wanted to maximize his investment in glass.

OTOH, I went 35/2.0 for my 5D2. I will do the best I can to live with its slower f/2.0, older AF without providing distance info in EXIF, and not quite as good color/contrast. In exchange I get a lens that is significantly lighter/smaller. More importantly the money I save goes towards the 85L.

Going full frame was a game change for me. The extra shallow DOF and the full use of wide angle makes me want to use primes more often, although I'm still addicted to the convenience of zoom lens. If you are thinking of getting a FF DSLR within the next two years, I recommend thinking twice about buying too many APS-C only lens. I could see going APS-C only lens for ultra wide angle and your main walk around zoom lens that you use 80% of the time (e.g., 17-55 or the Sigma, or 15-85), but, I think the 35/2 is good enough that I personally wouldn't go Sigma 30mm.

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Dan_168 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,172
Re: Recommendations for 50mm on APS-C sensor? (re: 1.6x crop factor, etc)

Since you already mentioned the 35L is out of your price range, so forget about it, no need to talk about it here even we all know it's a better lens, then the next two closest ones both in terms of price and focal length might work for you are the Canon 35 F2 and Sigma 30 F1.4. I don't personally own those but a 35L and Zeiss 35 F1.4 Distagon, but have some experience with both 35 F2 and 30 F1.4 HSM when shoot out with friends, and my opinion is the Sigma 30 F1.4 is a much better lens, quite a bit sharper than the 35 F2 wide open, better color as well, perfectly usable at F1.4, that's one full stop advantage there for your low light in door shooting or when you need the max background isolation, the only thing is that is a crop format only lens so you can't use it on FF ( if you are planning to get a FF any time soon).

dave_lamb
dave_lamb Regular Member • Posts: 233
Unless thin DOF is desired, learn to use flash.

Greetings,

You've got a great kit for taking wonderful photos of your 8-month old son. My recommendation would be to spend some time learning how to use your flash with your kit lens for wider angle shots. That is, unless you want photos with extremely thin depth of focus (a completely valid desire). You only mention the aperture in regard to its light-gathering abilities, and this makes me think that maybe you just need some more light which can be easily provided by your very capable flash.

If you haven't tried it already, set your camera to M(anual) with your flash attached and pointing directly at the ceiling in ETTL mode. Set your shutter speed to 1/160 s and your aperture to f/5.6 using your 18-55mm kit lens. Fire off a few shots. The flash will bounce off of the ceiling and help illuminate your subject. Try different angles on the flash, and don't be afraid to bounce the light behind you or off of a wall. Sometimes this can result in dark shadows under the eyes, so other bouncing surfaces might help. If the background is too dim, use a slower shutter speed. If the background is too bright (i.e., you have a bright window in the background), use a faster shutter speed (just ensure that you have High Speed Sync enabled if you go faster than 1/200 s).

For what it's worth, I started with the 50/1.4 and kit lens (no flash), and I only shot with my 50mm for the first year (and was VERY satisfied -- it IS possible to be satisfied by shooting only a 50mm lens on a crop camera if those are the types of shots you desire). It wasn't until I added an external flash that I had enough light in my environment to begin to dabble with my kit lens and the joys (and variety) associated with wider angle shooting. I also use the flash with my 50mm now -- best of both worlds!

I'm not trying to dissuade you from a wider angle prime lens (search on these forums for Great Bustard’s wide angle prime shots for some inspiration), but you might already have the solution you need if you're willing to experiment a bit. You said that shots without a flash seem to produce better pictures, and that makes me think that, perhaps, you are not using your flash in an optimal manner. Best of luck!

Cheers,
Dave.

fotofy Forum Member • Posts: 76
Re: Recommendations for 50mm on APS-C sensor? (re: 1.6x crop factor, etc)

I am in similar case with you. Indoor & kid.

below is a sample photo for your reference.

35mm with short focal length allows me to take photo with my daughter while playing with her. It is reasonable in indoor lighting condition.

But it has some drawbacks too.
It is a bit noisy when using, so it cannot be used to take sleeping baby.

As kids grows up, they move faster and walk around. 35mm f/2 without usm is a bit slow to following them. (I open a thread about this situation)

I received advice from the thread that try to use flash. So I will start to explore this option too. using zoom lens with f2.8, such as sigma/tamron 17-50mm, is also suggested.

sofakng wrote:

Thanks for all of the recommendations.

The Canon 35mm f/2 does look nice but I'd be worried about the f/2 versus the f/1.4 on the Sigma.

The main purpose of the lens will be for indoor (low light) pictures of my son (8 months old). I do have a Canon 430EX II flash but I'm still learning about the camera (and SLR photography in-general) and it seems like not having to use the flash produces better pictures, etc.

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