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Thread: 50mm or 35mm on APS-C

  1. #1
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    50mm or 35mm on APS-C

    Hi,

    I am looking for a prime lens on my APS-C camera 7D.
    I have short listed two lenses 50mm f1.4 or 35mm f2. I am wondering which lens will be more useful for an APS-C camera. Basically I want to use this lens for portraits and low light scenarios.
    If you have any other lens suggestion please provide that too. My price range is with in $400.

    Greatly appreciate your help.

    Thanks!
    Satheesh

  2. #2
    Senior Member ham's Avatar
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    I've had both and far prefer the 50mm f/1.8

    The 35mm (perhaps my copy at least) wasn't anywhere near as sharp. The 50mm is far more fun for playing with depth of field too.

    I recently shot a rock concert with it with a reasonable amount of success (I might share some here later).

  3. #3
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    Hi, I have some primes that I use with my 7D. The by far most used one is Sigma 30/1.4 that I really like on the 7D. I use it as a general purpose lens almost as much as my zooms. I also have the Canon 85/1.8 that I use a lot, mainly for indoor sports. In-between I have the Canon 50/1.8 that I actually don't use too much. The FOV it gives on a crop body just doesn't seem to fit very well with what I mostly shoot. But then I don't do too much portraits - the 50 mm focal length on a crop body would be close to a classic 85 mm portrait lens on film/FF cameras. Even if I don't like it too much it could be the best choice for you. The standard answer to a question like this would be to fix your zoom on 35 mm and 50 mm respectively to get a feeling of the FOV. Afterwards you may have the answer yourself. Good luck!

  4. #4
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    The 50/1.8 is generally considered better IQ than the 35/2, but it's kinda soft at f/1.8, sharpens up nicely by f/3.5 or so.
    I'd agree that it's better to consider the focal lengths used most, setting your zoom to one and playing around is the best way.
    Or just split the difference and get the Shorty Mc40mm (but then you don't get faster than f/2.8).
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
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  5. #5
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    I love the bokeh and sharpness of the 50mm f1.4, but I rarely use it because I prefer something wider. I sold my 35mm f2 and bought a Roki 35mm f1.4, but that's quite a bit above the 50 f1.4/35 f2 price range. No AF either.

    Do you shoot mostly outside or inside? If you shoot in tighter quarters, the 35 may suit you better, even if it gives up a bit of speed, IQ, and bokeh-bility.
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  6. #6
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    For portraits you tend to want a slight telephoto to compress facial features (nobody is happy with their nose). Typically you want 85-135mm (or more).

    While the 50mm "acts" like an 80mm on your crop body, that's only in terms of framing. In terms of compression it's still a 50mm. We love our 85mm f/1.8 for portraits, and people like it for indoor sports, but it's a bit long for indoor general purpose. If you're solely doing portraits, I'd recommend it over the 35 or 50. If you're hoping for multiple uses out of the lens, you'll have to figure out what those uses are and which are most important.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEccleston View Post
    For portraits you tend to want a slight telephoto to compress facial features (nobody is happy with their nose). Typically you want 85-135mm (or more).

    While the 50mm "acts" like an 80mm on your crop body, that's only in terms of framing. In terms of compression it's still a 50mm. We love our 85mm f/1.8 for portraits, and people like it for indoor sports, but it's a bit long for indoor general purpose. If you're solely doing portraits, I'd recommend it over the 35 or 50. If you're hoping for multiple uses out of the lens, you'll have to figure out what those uses are and which are most important.
    The compression is actually determined by the distance from your subject, so a 50mm on APS-C would require the same shooting distance as a 80mm on a FF, and thus have the same compression. Depth of field will be different IIRC, because on FF you have a longer lens but are closer to the subject (also the Circle of confusion eehm contusion also plays into this equation).

    Back to the original question:
    50mm on APS-C is okayish for portraits, and also okayish as a low-light general purpose, but IMO not great for either one. For portraits is should be longer, for general purpose in low light it might be a little too long. I would also recommend the 85mm f/1.8 for portrait and low- light short telephoto, and something in the 30mm range for general purpose. The Sigma 30mm has many happy owners, maybe the old 28mm f/1.8 used is another option, or the 35mm f/2.

    If it can be only one lens to cover both use cases, then the 50mm 1.8. 30mm is not a recommended portrait focal length.

    I personally started with the 50mm 1.8, added the 85mm 1.8, and have not yet added a 30mm low-light. I might in the future, but I don't miss it desperately yet. Really depends on personally preferences. So far I make due with the 50mm 1.8
    If you find a good deal or buy refurbished or used, you might get the 85mm and the 50mm within or slightly above your budget. You can then add a 30ish mm lens later if you miss that focal length
    Last edited by ahab1372; 12-11-2012 at 04:14 AM.
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  8. #8
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    You're right about the compression. I'm not sure what I was thinking. I had in mind a photo I took with a Sony H1 at 432mm, and how it looked like my wife and dogs were crossing a median near some houses when really they were about 2 football fields away from the houses. Somehow, I thought "I don't think you'd get that effect with the crop sensor effect". But, duh, the H1 is a 6x crop factor body. I was seeing that effect with a 72mm lens. So yeah, compression works with the cropped effective focal length. I still recommend the 85mm.

  9. #9
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    Given your price range and desire to shoot at faster apertures I'd recommend the 50 mm f/1.4. If you spend a bit more, consider the Sigma 30 mm f/1.4. With the 50 mm on a APS-C body, watch your DOF. It gets very narrow.

    I've been going through a bit of this myself. I recently upgraded from the 50 mm f/1.8 to the 50 mm f/1.4. Huge difference IMO. The reasons are simple--faster more accurate AF on the f/1.4 compared to the f/1.8 and the f/1.4 is sharp at lower apertures (I've been using it at ~f/1.8-f/2.8), a range where, IMO (with my copy) the 50 mm f/1.8 was less sharp.

    Both the 30 mm (~48 mm FF equivalent) and 50 mm (80 mm FF equivalent) on a APS-C body are within the "portrait" range (50 mm to 135 mm). The 30 mm corresponding to the "wide" end of the range and the 50 mm about right in the middle. So, get the 30 mm if you are working in tight spaces and/or planning on taking pictures involving many people. I've been using the 50 mm f/1.4 (and f/1.8 before it) for portraits on my 7D. But it is of smaller groups. For example, I just shot my sister's family of 6 and had ~20 feet to work with. The 50 mm was great.

    Granted, these are out of your budget range, but there have been some recent releases that are making the 30-35 mm range really interesting. Canon replaced the 35 mm f/2 with the 35 mm f/2 IS. Bryan has already speculated it is going to be good, but no reviews yet. Sigma just released the 35 mm f/1.4. Early reviews seem very good. Both of those lenses are ~$850-900. But wait a bit and they may drop.

    Good luck....

  10. #10
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    Thanks guys for the replies. Those were valuable informations. After analysing your suggestions and reading the reviews I kind of lenient towards Sigma 30mm 1.4. Then I saw Bryan's review on Canon 40mm 2.8 stating that it is a very good lens with image quality. What is your take on that?

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