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Very specific Nikkor lens question: 50mm v. 85mm
Old 10-21-2004, 08:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
Kurt_Gearheart
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Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 versus the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8

The 50mm is $98, the 85mm is $285.

Question only to those who have used both: what advantages does the 85mm have that make it worth it?

(I know, it flattens things out better, and allows to shoot further away... what else???)

I'm getting the 50mm soon, want to know how fast I should save up for the 85mm.

Thanks in advance!
 
 
Re: Very specific Nikkor lens question: 50mm v. 85mm
Old 10-21-2004, 01:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It depends on what you like to shoot; landscapes for the 50 and portraits for the 85, for instance. The 50 is possible but a little short for good perspective on closeups. Noses and knees tend to get enlarged.
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Re: Very specific Nikkor lens question: 50mm v. 85mm
Old 10-21-2004, 01:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Kurt:

I have both and much prefer the 85.

They are both good lenses, and both go soft as you open them up.

The softness isn't so bad as to be unuseable, but the difference between tack sharp at f8 and soft at 1.8 is quite dramatic.

The 85 seems to be built incredibly heavy duty. In fact I know of no other nikon lens I have that seems so robust.

It also comes with a screw on metal lens hood that is heavy duty as well.

It's well nigh impossible to get the lens cap on with the shade in place. The only thing I can think is maybe this is considered a working Journalist's lens and they run around without the lens cap on, so the lens hood is so heavy duty for protection.

the 85 is much better suited to model work.

Mark
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Re: Very specific Nikkor lens question: 50mm v. 85mm
Old 10-21-2004, 03:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
Kurt_Gearheart
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Mark,

Thank you very much, that is exactly the information I was hoping for.

Kurt
 
 
Re: Very specific Nikkor lens question: 50mm v. 85mm
Old 10-21-2004, 03:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
Kurt_Gearheart
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Paul,

Thank you very much, that is exactly the information I was hoping for.

Kurt
 
 
Re: Very specific Nikkor lens question: 50mm v. 85mm
Old 10-21-2004, 08:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi,

I also have the 85mm. I leave the lens shade on all the time, and have a 77mm lenscap that fits it perfectly. The ridges inside the rigid shade allow the cap to hold securely.

Tom
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Re: Very specific Nikkor lens question: 50mm v. 85mm
Old 10-22-2004, 03:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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These are both good lenses, but what do you want to do with them? -- there are spoons and there are forks, lol. The 85 is better for portraits and fashion, especially for the native faces of the southwest, and it's brilliant wide open -- but you already know that! This particular 50 does softer background blurs, but since it's a shorter lens tends not to blur as much. Better quality, less quantity in little blurred lights and such.

I'm not a real fan of 50mm in general, but it can be fine for scenery and flowers and buildings. The 50mm focal length just doesn't seem to be a people lens, even though the digital multiplier effect makes it better. Give me a 105 and a 20, lol, and I'll be in heaven.

Glad to see you're looking at prime lenses, and hope all is well out there, best,

Lynn

native American face by Jackie, seen through a Nikkor 105 shining onto Fuji Astia -- ummm, that's film... : )



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Re: Very specific Nikkor lens question: 50mm v. 85mm
Old 10-22-2004, 04:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
Kurt_Gearheart
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[ QUOTE ]
The 85 is better for portraits and fashion

[/ QUOTE ]

That's it then. 85mm it is.

Thank you sir!
 
 
Re: Very specific Nikkor lens question: 50mm v. 85mm
Old 10-24-2004, 05:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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After I responded to your other post about the D70, I realized you were the guy asking about the 85mm lens. As noted below, the 50mm is fine for everyday snap shots, or scenics, maybe even a full-length fashion shot in desperate circumstances, but for portraits of anything from people to animals, headshots or 3/4, you must have at least an 85, preferably longer (unless you specifically want "creative" features like wide noses or bug-eyes). My "normal" lens for headshots and the beach and studio glamour was a 105mm f2.5, sometimes the 180mm f2.8. As stated, it flattens the perspective and reduces the size proportion of features like the nose. The longer the lens, the less depth of field you have at a given f-stop, so you are more likely to throw the background out of focus. Using a larger f-stop (wide open) gives you even less. The ultimate is to shoot with a 300mm at f2.8, like this image below, but which I think was actually shot at f4. Note the out of focus sand in front and behind her. This combination - long lens, shallow depth of field - will make your model "pop" out of the background. Fashion shooters use it all the time on public streets for that reason.



Now I have two caveats about what I said above. First, I don't actually use my Nikkor "prime" lenses much anymore, the 105 and 180 I own aren't even in my bag because of my excellent Tamron zooms with 2.8 diaphrams. (I keep my 85mm f2 only for very low light situations). Second, all of the above mentioned focal lengths apply to my 35mm film camera, not their translation into digtial mode (like the D70 with its 1.5 magnification factor). So right now my most-used lens on digital, is my Tamron 28-105mm, which becomes a 45-150mm on the D70.

One more thing. If you're going to buy someone's used lens, make sure it is compatible with your digital camera. For example, neither my 85 or 105mm lenses are AI (auto-indexing) or AF (auto-focus) which makes them more difficult to use on newer cameras.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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180mm 2.8 ED
Old 10-26-2004, 05:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
RBP
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Man... that brings back memories... my 180mm 2.8 was the first ED Nikkor I ever owned (bought it from Del's in 1983) and gawd was it tack sharp! I still can't bring myself to part with it (of course, it is so dinged up cosmetically that no one would want it!)
 
 
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