Is it worth to upgrade 50mm 1.8 to 85mm 1.8..?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
Krzycho Forum Member • Posts: 56
Is it worth to upgrade 50mm 1.8 to 85mm 1.8..?

Hello,

I own a6600 with Sony 50mm 1.8 and I am very happy with that lens, I use it mainly for portraits but not very close ones, not commercial use.

I wonder about trying 85mm 1.8.

I recently read Scott Kelby book about portrait photography where we writes that 50mm can introduce a lot of distortions for closeup portraits. But the question is: is he referring to 50mm on FF or Apsc, so then this is 25mm?

Questions:

1. Has anyone made that switch or have direct comparison of these two lenses for closeup portraits or in general photography?

2. Will I benefit regarding closeups buying 85mm 1.8 instead of using 50mm 1.8? Bokeh advantage is clear of course for 85.

Thanks a lot

Sympa Senior Member • Posts: 2,573
Re: Is it worth to upgrade 50mm 1.8 to 85mm 1.8..?
2

Most important is the distance you will keep from the subject. I think 50 mm on APS-C is like 75mm on FF, which is fine.

If in doubt you can take a little step back and crop the image a bit.

(50 mm on FF is too short for a head-and-shoulders portrait, and so is 33 mm on APS-C. But these are fine to take a bit wider view around a person.)

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José B
José B Forum Pro • Posts: 19,789
Re: Is it worth to upgrade 50mm 1.8 to 85mm 1.8..?
3

Krzycho wrote:

Hello,

I own a6600 with Sony 50mm 1.8 and I am very happy with that lens, I use it mainly for portraits but not very close ones, not commercial use.

I wonder about trying 85mm 1.8.

I recently read Scott Kelby book about portrait photography where we writes that 50mm can introduce a lot of distortions for closeup portraits. But the question is: is he referring to 50mm on FF or Apsc, so then this is 25mm?

Questions:

1. Has anyone made that switch or have direct comparison of these two lenses for closeup portraits or in general photography?

2. Will I benefit regarding closeups buying 85mm 1.8 instead of using 50mm 1.8? Bokeh advantage is clear of course for 85.

Thanks a lot

I shoot a lot of portraiture with my two cameras: FF Canon 5Ds and the Sony A6600/A6500. For me the 85mm on an APS-C is a must own for head and shoulders shots. It's like a 135mm on FF. I find that focal length is very flattering for close up portraits. I do have the 85mm lens on FF and the 55mm on APS-C which is great for portraiture as well but if I have to have just one----it's the 135mm on FF or the 85mm on APS-C.

Check out Stephen Eastwood's article

http://www.stepheneastwood.com/tutorials/Tutorials_Lens_Perspective.htm

 José B's gear list:José B's gear list
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OP Krzycho Forum Member • Posts: 56
Re: Is it worth to upgrade 50mm 1.8 to 85mm 1.8..?

I do have the 85mm lens on FF and the 55mm on APS-C which is great for portraiture as well but if I have to have just one----it's the 135mm on FF or the 85mm on APS-C.

So the main reason behind it is better 85 perspective simply? No distortion aspect, right?

José B
José B Forum Pro • Posts: 19,789
Re: Is it worth to upgrade 50mm 1.8 to 85mm 1.8..?
2

Krzycho wrote:

I do have the 85mm lens on FF and the 55mm on APS-C which is great for portraiture as well but if I have to have just one----it's the 135mm on FF or the 85mm on APS-C.

So the main reason behind it is better 85 perspective simply? No distortion aspect, right?

It's subjective. I find that the 85mm on APS-C headshots are more flattering than the 50/1.8. I used to shoot with the 50/1.8 OSS and traded that in for the 55/1.8 which isn't bad for headshots. However, I prefer the 85mm (on APS-C) more. Just bear in mind that the location matters too. If you are shooting in a small studio or a tight space the 85mm might not be practical. Unless of course you're just shooting headshots not full body shots. I shoot outdoors thus it doesn't affect me.

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Bender79ita
Bender79ita Senior Member • Posts: 1,055
Re: Is it worth to upgrade 50mm 1.8 to 85mm 1.8..?
1

Krzycho wrote:

I recently read Scott Kelby book about portrait photography where we writes that 50mm can introduce a lot of distortions for closeup portraits. But the question is: is he referring to 50mm on FF or Apsc, so then this is 25mm?

Crop factor is 1.5, so 33mm or so on aps-c for comparison.

First, remember that focal length does not introduce distortion on faces. Distance from the subject does.

A longer lens will force you to move back to get the same framing, increasing the distance from your subject and decreasing depth of field.

If you shoot a 50mm lens and a 85mm lens from the same distance, the face will look the same. Of course you will get a wider picture with the 50 mil because the angle of view is larger.

Basicly, it comes down to what kind of portraits you like to shoot and how much background you like including. The "egg head" effect happens the closer you phisically are.

If you shoot a 16mm lens from 10 meters, the face won't be distorted. But you usually want much more magnification than that for portraits, that's why longer lenses than that are recommended. How longer, depends on your preference.

I usually shoot my portraits from 55 to 70mm f2.8 with the zoom. If I had "more", and the physical room to use it (without falling off a cliff), I would use longer.

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OP Krzycho Forum Member • Posts: 56
Re: Is it worth to upgrade 50mm 1.8 to 85mm 1.8..?

Crop factor is 1.5, so 33mm or so on aps-c for comparison.

Yeah, of course, I spoted that mistake too late to edit the original post 🙂

First, remember that focal length does not introduce distortion on faces. Distance from the subject does.

True, but my intention from the original post was to compare the same FRAMING for 50mm and 85mm, so to have closer distance for 50mm for head shots. I wonder if some distortion plays role in that case.

Thad E Ginathom
Thad E Ginathom Regular Member • Posts: 306
Re: Is it worth to upgrade 50mm 1.8 to 85mm 1.8..?
2

Same framing, I cannot say. I am mostly photographing Indian classical musicians on stage, these covid days at private recordings, rather than public performances. There's a stage, there's a basic video set up. I'm limited to keeping out of the way.

I use my 50/1.8OSS and my FE85/1.8 (on a6500) to get different  framing from the same distance. The 50 can place the individual in the context of the group, the 85 will feature the individual more.

I go to headshots with my Tamron 70-180/2.8.

My favourite lens is that 85/1.8. Seems to just have a certain-something magic. Maybe it is something to do with the way it renders perspective: I'm not very technical, I just know that it gives me great pics.

But I wouldn't throw away my 50/1.9OSS. Especially given the value-for-money factor, the 85 was always an addition, not an alternative. I specifically don't use the word "upgrade," They are too different to say "upgrade."

-- hide signature --

Just a taker of snapshots. Getting better at it!

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