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50mm fast lens on a digital SLR. What is it good for ?
Old 07-02-2005, 09:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I have herd people say they use a 50mm lens but I have to say I don't see anything looking that good when I shoot with mine. I have the 50mm fast lens from Nikon and I like the images I get with my 24 - 85 zoom much better. I figured I have better use in low lite with the 50mm but it just does not compare to my zoom.

So what do you guys see in it ?

That Look Photo
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The greatest DOF...
Old 07-02-2005, 09:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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control has always been recognized in the 50mm lens. I used to have nothing but 1.4 and 1.2 50mm lenses so I could get that great focal plane control with no distortion nor compression. A zoom lens is always going to have a much deeper plane, just the way it goes... and if you find a telephoto with a 2.8 say, you still have to deal with the compression that the 50 doesn't share.

I always carried 2x and 4x ND filters so I could knock down light and still shoot at f1.4 for the effect even when outdoors. Kodachrome (slow film) was great for shooting people with that fast of a lens, you could really open that baby up and get great beautiful skin color. Ah, those were the days...

Robert
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Re: 50mm fast lens on a digital SLR. What is it good for ?
Old 07-02-2005, 09:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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got to shoot it wide open and focus carefully. Wide open not one stop down either. That is 1.2 or 1.4 lens, a 1.8 is ok but can you really see a difference between the 1.8 and 1.2.

Also get fairly close 3/4s or less.

Also Robert mentions the neutral density filters, those filters are a great unrecognized tool to use, check it out.

hope this helps
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Re: 50mm fast lens on a digital SLR. What is it good for ?
Old 07-02-2005, 10:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I mostly use mine for low-light, especially action photography (like belly dancers) because I can't afford a really fast zoom. It takes nice clear pictures with *no flash* in clubs and auditoriums.

I also use it for portraits because you can, as has been pointed out, do good things with the DOF, and you can get close. I'm quite glad I have it, really.

M
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Re: 50mm fast lens on a digital SLR. What is it good for ?
Old 07-02-2005, 12:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yep...what they said....my $60 50mm is my favorite lens, followed by me 70-200m which is a little more expensive. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img]
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Re: 50mm fast lens on a digital SLR. What is it good for ?
Old 07-02-2005, 12:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've also had a 50mm 1.4 when I was shooting Nikon, and liked it quite a bit. My current favorite is a Canon 85mm f1.2. I'm not even sure if I've ever shot it past f1.8 [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Slap on a ND, open it wide, then adjust just a tad to get the focal plane deep enough to capture the eyes. Love it.

So yes, play with that lens more wide open before you make up your mind. Its also possible that you just got a bad quality lens if your zoom looks that much better to you (I'm assuming your talking sharpness, contrast, etc, and not composition, compression, or framing).

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Re: 50mm fast lens on a digital SLR. What is it good for ?
Old 07-02-2005, 06:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Mike

Check out the first image in this post.
Ron Davis' pinup post

That first image was shot with a 1.4 aperture. Notice how the eyes are in perfect focus, but the hands are a little out and the legs with the interesting hose and heels are completely out of focus? That's what you can do with a 50mm 1.4 lens.

BTW - if you don't like yours and are willing to make a deal, contact Ron. He's now looking for one - he shot that image with mine!

Bob
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Re: 50mm fast lens on a digital SLR. What is it good for ?
Old 07-02-2005, 07:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks Bob,
I will have to play around a little with the lens. I am so used to my other lens that I guess is my comfort zone in a way. I will take it out tomorrow and see what I can do.

Mike
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Re: The greatest DOF...
Old 07-02-2005, 07:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Amen sir, I still shoot with the great primes when I can. And after they stopped making Kodachrome 10 it was all downhill. ...only half kidding -- though Astia isn't bad for skin tones : ) Never used a ND for this, hmmm,

Lynn
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