Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

Started Apr 2, 2012 | Discussions
jbjose Forum Member • Posts: 60
Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

I'm about to upgrade to a D800 and am now re-assessing my lens, particularly what normal lens to use.

On my current cropped sensor I use the 35mm f/1.8 DX, which would roughly equate to the field of view of a 50mm.

Should I get the much cheaper 50mm f/1.4 or the 35mm f/1.4? A lot of reviews I've read have called the 35mm the "New Normal" and there have been times on my 35mm DX, I wished I had a wider field of view and I was unable to step back.

 jbjose's gear list:jbjose's gear list
Canon PowerShot S95 Nikon D700 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm F1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G +2 more
Nikon D800
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
JoshRtek
JoshRtek Regular Member • Posts: 410
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

I personally find the 35mm focal length of full frame much more useful than 50mm. For me, it's the goldilocks of focal length. Not too tele, not too wide.

Compared to your 35mm f/1.8 DX (which I used to own and loved) the 50mm f/1.4g actually focuses slow, and is not as sharp wide-open. It cleans up quickly though as you stop down.

You might like the 50mm f/1.8g better. I hear it focuses faster, and like the 35mm f/1.8 DX it's sharp wide-open.

I'm sure the 35mm f/1.4g is excellent, but boy is it expensive.

 JoshRtek's gear list:JoshRtek's gear list
Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Canon PowerShot SD1000 Nikon 1 J1 Fujifilm X-T1 Fujifilm X-T2 +11 more
OP jbjose Forum Member • Posts: 60
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

Interesting. I wasn't aware of the 50mm 1.4's relative focus speed.

If I go with the 35mm 1.4, I fear I'll miss the portability of the 35mm 1.8 DX. It's really handy.

And you're right... the 35mm 1.4 is a relatively very expensive prime!

 jbjose's gear list:jbjose's gear list
Canon PowerShot S95 Nikon D700 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm F1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G +2 more
Marc S
Marc S Regular Member • Posts: 343
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

I've got both.

The auto focus of the AF-S 50/1.4G isn't very fast but adequate. The autofocus of the AF-S 35/1.4G is noticably slower.

-- hide signature --
OP jbjose Forum Member • Posts: 60
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

I've done more research since finding out about the focus speed.

I'm now leaning toward the 50mm 1.8. I'm now less interested in the 35mm 1.4 due to the cost and the focus speed.

It'll have to come down to testing the 50mm 1.8 and the 50mm 1.4 at the shop!

 jbjose's gear list:jbjose's gear list
Canon PowerShot S95 Nikon D700 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm F1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G +2 more
slimandy Forum Pro • Posts: 17,161
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

If you are happy with the 35mm f1.8 on DX you will need a 50mm on FX to replicate it. I like the 50mm f1.8 AFS. Lovely IQ and compact like the 35 you own. Cheap too.

Bear in mind the 50 on FX will give you narrower DOF than the 35 on DX so you will see an advantage there and you might not need the 50mm f1.4. Example...

Lets say your subject is 10 feet away.
FX camera, 50mm lens @ f1.8.... DOF is 1.29 feet
DX camera, 35mm lens f1.8.... DOF 1.77 feet

 slimandy's gear list:slimandy's gear list
Sony RX100 II Fujifilm X-T1 Fujifilm X-E1 Nikon D700 Nikon D200
kormendi_adam
kormendi_adam Contributing Member • Posts: 889
How about both: 35 f2 and 50 1.8

Both the 35 f2 and 50 1.8 are excellent on FX (despite some reviews to the contrary), are much smaller and much less expensive than the 35mm 1.4.

Once you make up your mind, you can upgrade to 1.4, but for now, I suggest you get them both. I am sure that you won't be disappointed.

 kormendi_adam's gear list:kormendi_adam's gear list
Nikon D700 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D +1 more
jhanel Regular Member • Posts: 183
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

Based on your comment about always wanting to step back with your previous setup, you should get a 35mm lens.

OP jbjose Forum Member • Posts: 60
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

Wow, I wasn't aware of this. What particular aspect of DOF causes this?

 jbjose's gear list:jbjose's gear list
Canon PowerShot S95 Nikon D700 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm F1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G +2 more
Marc S
Marc S Regular Member • Posts: 343
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

The shorter focal lenght of the 35mm gives more DOF than the 50mm if the distance to the subject is the same.

jbjose wrote:

Wow, I wasn't aware of this. What particular aspect of DOF causes this?

-- hide signature --
joejack951 Senior Member • Posts: 2,682
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

jbjose wrote:

I've done more research since finding out about the focus speed.

I'm now leaning toward the 50mm 1.8. I'm now less interested in the 35mm 1.4 due to the cost and the focus speed.

It'll have to come down to testing the 50mm 1.8 and the 50mm 1.4 at the shop!

The complaints I've read about the focus speed of the 35/1.4G come from those who have never actually used the lens (aside from at the camera shop). In real world use, the focus speed isn't an issue. In AF-C mode, I've had no problems tracking close range subjects wide open in low light (f/1.4, 1/125", ISO3200). Initial lock in AF-S can be a bit slow as the lens micro-adjusts for perfect focus (and adjusts to your movement as well). For anything other than static subjects, you'll want to use AF-C for this reason.

Whether the cost of the lens can be justified by you is a personal decision but don't let the unfounded complaints of slow AF turn you off from it. On the plus side of the cost, if you can swing the $1600 for the 35/1.4G, the extra $200 for the 50/1.8G should barely sting

 joejack951's gear list:joejack951's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P7700 Nikon Coolpix AW100 Nikon D300S Nikon D3S Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm F2.8G IF-ED VR +5 more
Marc S
Marc S Regular Member • Posts: 343
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

I actually use the AF-S 35/1.4G for about a year now, as well as the AF 28/1.4D, AF-S 50/1.4G, AF-S 85/1.4G and a couple of other AF-S and AF Nikkors and do complain about the slowish focus speed of the 35/1.4G.
I wouldn't complain at all if the AF speed where as quick as the cheap 50/1.4G.
On the upside, the 35/1.4G has quite a precise AF and great IQ.
--
Marc
http://marcschlueter.wordpress.com/

Dennis DH Senior Member • Posts: 1,241
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

You might want to consider the 60mm AFS-G focus is very fast and image quality is among the best of Nikons lens. And the price is unbeatable for the quality of the photo. Plus you can focus as close as you want.

(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 1,053
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

Back when I was shooting film all the time, I often thought that the 35mm lens rather than the 50 should have been the stock lens.

They're both good choices. There should be lots of used 50 Ds around to help save you money. You may wish to consider what you ideal portfolio of lenses will look like, so you can avoid clustering.

For example, if you get the 35, getting a 50 may be too similar. Instead, consider getting an 85mm. That being said, you want to have one fast lens and the 50 1.4 is comparatively inexpensive and certainly available used.

-- hide signature --

I like the colours. Your camera takes good pictures.

OP jbjose Forum Member • Posts: 60
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

Speaking of the ideal set of lens, I fear I may have overlap once I get a normal lens since I've got the 24-70mm f/2.8 but a normal in my limited experience is the better walk around lens.

That's also good input about clustering. I have an 85mm f/1.4 and a 50mm might be to close.

However, having said that, as per another comment above, if I can spend the ~$1600 on the 35mm f/1.4, another $200 wouldn't be a lot for a 50mm f/1.8.

So, I ordered an 50mm f/1.8. If it proves inadequate, it's an affordable and small enough lens to keep.

Once I've had some time with this 50mm, I'll drop into a shop and try out the 35mm.

Thanks for all the feedback!

 jbjose's gear list:jbjose's gear list
Canon PowerShot S95 Nikon D700 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm F1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G +2 more
joejack951 Senior Member • Posts: 2,682
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

Marc S wrote:

I actually use the AF-S 35/1.4G for about a year now, as well as the AF 28/1.4D, AF-S 50/1.4G, AF-S 85/1.4G and a couple of other AF-S and AF Nikkors and do complain about the slowish focus speed of the 35/1.4G.
I wouldn't complain at all if the AF speed where as quick as the cheap 50/1.4G.
On the upside, the 35/1.4G has quite a precise AF and great IQ.

In what situations do you find the "slowish"? By "slowish", do you mean too slow to keep up with your subject or just slow to lock on a stationary subject?

 joejack951's gear list:joejack951's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P7700 Nikon Coolpix AW100 Nikon D300S Nikon D3S Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm F2.8G IF-ED VR +5 more
Marc S
Marc S Regular Member • Posts: 343
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

A bit slow to keep up with a subject. I don't do sports but I missed shots (street, wedding) with the 35/1.4G on the D700. It's probably my slowest Nikkor.
--
Marc
http://marcschlueter.wordpress.com/

ricko5 Senior Member • Posts: 1,339
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

Ugh. The 50mm 1.4g is the slowest and sloppiest focusing lens I own, and I find it's accuracy hit an miss aswell.

I wouldn't complain at all if the AF speed where as quick as the cheap 50/1.4G.
On the upside, the 35/1.4G has quite a precise AF and great IQ.
--
Marc
http://marcschlueter.wordpress.com/

joejack951 Senior Member • Posts: 2,682
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

Marc S wrote:

A bit slow to keep up with a subject. I don't do sports but I missed shots (street, wedding) with the 35/1.4G on the D700. It's probably my slowest Nikkor.

Which focus mode?

 joejack951's gear list:joejack951's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P7700 Nikon Coolpix AW100 Nikon D300S Nikon D3S Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm F2.8G IF-ED VR +5 more
Marc S
Marc S Regular Member • Posts: 343
Re: Normal lens for a full frame first timer: 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 1.4?

AF-C, single point.

I know what I'm doing, I know how to do it, I do it for a long time and neither the lens nor the camera are new to me. The lens is simply a tad too slow sometimes. That and the stupid 67mm filter thread are the only weaknesses of the 35/1.4G. Manageable for sure, but annoying non the less.
--
Marc
http://marcschlueter.wordpress.com/

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads