How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

Started Feb 14, 2012 | Discussions
guitarjeff
guitarjeff Senior Member • Posts: 1,635
How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

How come Cannon hasn't made any sister cheap lenses to the nifty fifty? I would love to have a 100mm version, or a 18mm version, plastic mount, no IS, I wouldn't even care if they were manual focus. I just wish Cannon would help out the folks who own their SLR's who can't afford 400-1,200 dollars for a new lens. If they can make a Nifty Fifty, then they should be able to make the same thing in a 18 and a 100 mm versions, and cut down on the extras if they have to so it won't cut in to their high end lenses, like I say, even taking out AF. It wouldn't bother me a bit to manual focus a cheap Nifty Fifty style lens in a 100 and an 18 mm versions.

I just ordered an M42 adapter for my T1i and will get some of the M42 cheap lenses, but you have to do all the aperture figuring and all that hassle, it's just dissapointing that Cannon won't make some more cheapies for us like they did with the Nifty Fifty

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Shorthand Senior Member • Posts: 2,974
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

The reason is that the 50mm double-Gaussian lens design is by far the simplest lens design for DSLR cameras. It is the shortest focal length that can use a symmetric lens design (like the double gauss) on a DSLR.

(Note: One of the the big advantages of mirrorless cameras is that they can have much wider-angle double-gaussian lenses while DSLRs are obliged to use retrofocus designs at those focal lengths.)

The double-gauss doesn't require anything fancy (aspherical elements, low dispersion glass, etc) to perform very well. The symmetrical design exactly counteract all of the aberrations that are created by the lens.

Read this article: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2011/08/lens-geneology-part-1

Examples:
Nifty Fifty - EF 50mm f/1.8 II

85mm f/1.8 - Notice that this lens has some double gaussian influence but is fundamentally a simple telephoto lens, which is more complex:

35mm f/2 - See how much more glass is involved in a retro-focus (reverse telephoto wide angle) design compared to the nifty fifty?

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 - Notice all of the fancy glass sigma has to put in this lens to make it work

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jvkelley Contributing Member • Posts: 849
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

Shorthand wrote:

(Note: One of the the big advantages of mirrorless cameras is that they can have much wider-angle double-gaussian lenses while DSLRs are obliged to use retrofocus designs at those focal lengths.)

Would it be possible to use this design in a wider EF-S lens? I'm thinking something like a super cheap fast EF-S 28mm

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guitarjeff
OP guitarjeff Senior Member • Posts: 1,635
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

Well that sux, of course there had to be some reasonable explanation, but I wanted something to gripe at Cannon about, I love them, though. Wouldn't ever use any other DSLR.

Still not sure how I can buy the M42 lenses so cheap and they have 28mm 1.8 lenses, manual focus, how do they work and why couldn't cannon do something along those lines? Can i get them simply because they are old and used, but they still have the same complexoptics and such?

jva jnky Regular Member • Posts: 222
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

Try the 35 f/2 or the 85 f/1.8

Very nice lenses. A little more than nifty fifty but still under 400. Also, can be had used for upper 200s to lower 300s. That's how I got mine. Love both lenses.

Shorthand Senior Member • Posts: 2,974
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

As far as I can tell, EF-S doesn't buy very much extra back-focus distance behind the flange. Look at how little EF-S lenses actually protrude behind the flange - its 7-8 mm, no more.

I think a 40mm EF-S double-gaussian would be possible, but probably not a 35mm (otherwise I think Canon would have done it already).

It does enable less extreme retrofocus designs (17-55 f/2.8 & 10-22 are both examples), but it doesn't give a meaningful extension to the range which symmetric lenses can cover.

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Shorthand Senior Member • Posts: 2,974
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

That's it - they're old, manual focus, but they still have advanced retrofocus optical designs.

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photonius Veteran Member • Posts: 6,895
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

guitarjeff wrote:

Well that sux, of course there had to be some reasonable explanation, but I wanted something to gripe at Cannon about, I love them, though. Wouldn't ever use any other DSLR.

Still not sure how I can buy the M42 lenses so cheap and they have 28mm 1.8 lenses, manual focus, how do they work and why couldn't cannon do something along those lines? Can i get them simply because they are old and used, but they still have the same complexoptics and such?

well, have a look at the manual Samyang lenses

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filmluvr
filmluvr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,842
Non-Native Lenses

Just so you know, there are two problems adapting MF lenses to Canon. First, crop bodies like the 40D are nearly impossible to focus accurately through the viewfinder. I used a 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor and 28mm f/2.0 Kiron with my 40D, and results were only hit-and-miss. The "focus confirm" chip helped, but it wasn't always correct. This problem will probely be much more severe on a Rebel series. Second, even though I'm now shooting full frame with a better VF (5D), these lenses are only useful for situations that I normally shoot wide open and/or on a tripod. Stop-down metering is time-consuming, and I can't use it for things like street photography or macro, where the camera is handheld and the subject may be moving.

All that aside, I just purchased an older 200mm f/3.5 prime (Mamiya M42), and in preliminary tests, it is extremely sharp. It was also a bargain at roughly $100 including cost of the adapter. I needed this for a special purpose though, one that will entail only very occasional use. If I needed it more often, I would bite the bullet and buy Canon.

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Jim4496 Contributing Member • Posts: 595
Re: Non-Native Lenses

The 18-55mm and 55-250mm are both very good value.

With the those two and the 50mm f1.8 you have a very nice selection of focal lengths available.

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Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee
Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee Veteran Member • Posts: 6,433
secondhand lenses

most of mine are

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Tinu_ch Contributing Member • Posts: 660
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

guitarjeff wrote:

Still not sure how I can buy the M42 lenses so cheap

Many of them would have cost you an arm and a leg back when they were new!

and they have 28mm 1.8 lenses, manual focus, how do they work and why couldn't cannon do something along those lines?

AF has changed a lot in lens construction. Old designs often involve many heavy lenses to be moved for focussing. It was okay because for focussing manually you do not want them to move too lightly. But to move these lens groups by AF you need a strong (meaning big and costly) motor and inertia would interfere with focus speed and precision. New designs focus with less weighty lens groups but often involve more sophisticated lens elements to keep up IQ.

There are still lenses that can't be built along these new lines. The 1.2/85L for example is mortally slow and the driving mechanism is so complex you can't move it manually; if you turn the focussing ring it doesn't mechanically connect to the lens groups, it just gives signals to the AF motor ("fly-by-wire").

Can i get them simply because they are old and used, but they still have the same complex optics and such?

You can get them cheap because the great majority of photographers prefers automatic aperture control and AF but hates CA and flare. A lot of old lenses and only a few buyers and the laws of the market, that's all.

Tinu

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Peter 13 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,301
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

Shorthand wrote:

As far as I can tell, EF-S doesn't buy very much extra back-focus distance behind the flange. Look at how little EF-S lenses actually protrude behind the flange - its 7-8 mm, no more.

I think a 40mm EF-S double-gaussian would be possible, but probably not a 35mm (otherwise I think Canon would have done it already).

Nikon did it. The 35/1.8 design is modified on the front but the back looks double Gauss to me. On the other hand, I am not familiar with the Nikon DX mount:

Nikkor 35/1.8 (crop)

Canon 50/1.8:

photonius Veteran Member • Posts: 6,895
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

guitarjeff wrote:

How come Cannon hasn't made any sister cheap lenses to the nifty fifty? I would love to have a 100mm version, or a 18mm version, plastic mount, no IS, I wouldn't even care if they were manual focus. I just wish Cannon would help out the folks who own their SLR's who can't afford 400-1,200 dollars for a new lens. If they can make a Nifty Fifty, then they should be able to make the same thing in a 18 and a 100 mm versions, and cut down on the extras if they have to so it won't cut in to their high end lenses, like I say, even taking out AF. It wouldn't bother me a bit to manual focus a cheap Nifty Fifty style lens in a 100 and an 18 mm versions.

Another point about longer focal lengths. If you go from 50mm to 100mm, and want to maintain f1.8, you need to double the diameter of the lens (at least front).

If you just want a small number of glass elements with the same diameter like the 50mm f1.8, then longer lenses will have smaller f-stops.
You can make a cheap 500mm lens, but it's f8, and not so great I guess:
http://www.samyang.pl/index.php/en/samyang-500-mm-f8-preset-if-mc

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GarageBoy Contributing Member • Posts: 924
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

Lenses are expensive, just a fact of life

You're not looking for more Canon "Nifty Fifty" (can we agree to stop using that term?) and looking for what Nikon did in the 80s with the Series E (aka Economy)
Okay glass, low prices, intended to be used with the Nikon EM

jvkelley Contributing Member • Posts: 849
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

photonius wrote:

Another point about longer focal lengths. If you go from 50mm to 100mm, and want to maintain f1.8, you need to double the diameter of the lens (at least front).

I think is true for longer focal lengths, but it doesn't seem to be true in the 50mm range. The 50mm f/1.8 II has a filter diameter of 52mm. The 100mm f/2 USM has a filter diameter of 58mm.

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chromeshadow Junior Member • Posts: 42
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

I haven't seen my nifty fifty for a while, but I recall that the front glass diameter is a lot smaller than the filter ring size, so the point about doubling glass diameter/area may still be true even if the filter ring diameter doesn't scale.

photonius Veteran Member • Posts: 6,895
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

jvkelley wrote:

photonius wrote:

Another point about longer focal lengths. If you go from 50mm to 100mm, and want to maintain f1.8, you need to double the diameter of the lens (at least front).

I think is true for longer focal lengths, but it doesn't seem to be true in the 50mm range. The 50mm f/1.8 II has a filter diameter of 52mm. The 100mm f/2 USM has a filter diameter of 58mm.

Well, the filter diameter is only a rough approximation, and of course we are talking about a hypothetical thin lens, which none of the above lenses are.
Here are the measurements (focal length divided by max aperture):
100mm / 2 = 50mm the diameter needs to be 50mm. (100 / 1.8 = 55.56mm)
50mm / 1.8 = 27.8 mm
200mm / 2 = 100mm
500mm / 2 = 250mm
500 mm / 8 = 62.5mm

If you look at the block diagrams of the lenses, you will see that the glass diameter in the 50mm is a lot smaller than the mechanical diameter (especially the front lens), while for the 100mm lens, the front lens goes very close to the edge of the barrel.

For wide-angle lenses it doesn't work anymore either, since they are retro designs. Otherwise a 24mm f2 lens would only need to be 12mm in diameter - would be nice. Well, you have some smaller wide angle lenses for mirror-less cameras.

block diagrams are at the canon museum.

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photonius Veteran Member • Posts: 6,895
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

jvkelley wrote:

photonius wrote:

Another point about longer focal lengths. If you go from 50mm to 100mm, and want to maintain f1.8, you need to double the diameter of the lens (at least front).

I think is true for longer focal lengths, but it doesn't seem to be true in the 50mm range. The 50mm f/1.8 II has a filter diameter of 52mm. The 100mm f/2 USM has a filter diameter of 58mm.

Just a small note about filter diameters. There are limits in what is usually offered. Each manufacturer favors certain sizes and tries to maintain some standard so people don't have to buy too many different filter sizes.

Canon uses 52, 58, (any 6x ?), 72, 77, now 82mm.

So, I think while Canon could have made the 50mm f1.8 smaller, they left it bigger for handling reasons, and the mount throat is about 54mm diameter anyway, hence a filter of 52mm makes sense, even if a filter diameter of 42mm would have been enough.

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jvkelley Contributing Member • Posts: 849
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

chromeshadow wrote:

I haven't seen my nifty fifty for a while, but I recall that the front glass diameter is a lot smaller than the filter ring size, so the point about doubling glass diameter/area may still be true even if the filter ring diameter doesn't scale.

That's a good point. Looking at the block diagram, I'd estimate the front lens on the nifty 50 is around 32mm or a little less. I stand corrected.

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