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Author Topic: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?  (Read 19756 times)

papa-razzi

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Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« on: August 13, 2011, 03:40:32 PM »
I have a 7D and want to get a fast prime lens that would be close to the equivalent of a 50mm on a FF camera.  I have a 17-55 f/2.8, so I want it faster than that. 

This will be my "learn composition & photography the old school way" with a standard length prime, zoom with your feet, etc.  I would also use this for indoor pics of the family, children, dogs.  Possibly indoor events like kids plays, or sports in a poorly lit gym when I want a wider angle shot (I have an 85 f/1.8 and a 50 f/1.4 and those usually handle the indoor sports stuff)

Sharpness & accurate focus are important to me.

There are several lenses in this range to choose from, and they all get mixed reviews from what I have read.  I can't see a clear winner.

For those of you that have any of these lenses, I could use some of your advice, thoughts.  I am tempted to rent them all and compare them, but that would be somewhat of an expensive experiment.

I assume the 35 f/1.4L is the best, also Zeiss lenses but that is beyond what I would want to spend. (unless someone could convince me to spend 3x the money  8) )

I am looking at the following lenses
- Sigma 30mm f/1.4
- Canon 28mm f/1.8
- Canon 35mm f/2

Any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

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Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« on: August 13, 2011, 03:40:32 PM »

Edwin Herdman

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2011, 04:23:35 PM »
I actually went with the 50mm f/1.4, which is 80mm equivalent (as you know) but I found the telephoto effect ended up a better choice for me than a wider 50mm equivalent would have been.

I suppose that technically speaking the 35mm focal length will be, at 56mm, very close to the traditional normal (almost the same as the old 55mm focal length seen as a kit prime on old Fujica cameras and others).  Wider would be the 24mm or 28mm - 38.4mm equivalent for the 24mm is rather wide, 44.8mm from the 28mm is closer.  However, the EF 28mm is only made as fast as f/1.8, while the 24 and 35mm lenses are both made at f/1.4, but as rather expensive "L" lenses.

I have read good things about the L lenses but they will be more expensive.

About halfway down this page you can find a comparison of the various lenses in these focal lengths.  While the 28mm f/1.8 looks somewhat bad in comparison, especially wide open, it is in many ways close to the 50mm f/1.4 which is still a well-regarded lens and one I had no problems using (although I do feel it could be improved, it's still a good lens even wide open when used appropriately).

neuroanatomist

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2011, 08:25:11 PM »
The 35L is a wonderful lens. You mention sharpness and accurate focus as key, and the 35L will deliver both, whereas the lenses on your list are all compromises. But a budget is a budget. From the choices you list, I'd choose the 28/1.8.  IQ is not stellar (the 17-55mm is better), but it's decent. I'd pick it over the 35/2 for the USM AF motor - AF is fast and accurate.  I wouldn't reccomend the Sigma due to inconsistent AF.  Nor would I recommend the Zeiss - if you can afford that, get the 35L. The Zeiss is manual focus, and one could argue that the Sigma 30/1.4, which is quite sharp, could be manually focused to avoid AF issues. But I'd stay away from fast MF primes with your 7D, unless you've got the skills to change out the focusing screen (Canon does not consider it a user replaceable part, although there are 3rd party screens available (not cheaply).  The stock screen shows you the DoF of f/2.5-2.8, even with a faster lens - that makes it very hard to accurately MF a fast lens (unless you use Live View, which will show the true DoF).   
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papa-razzi

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2011, 08:58:16 PM »
Thanks for the replies.  I just read through reviews on all the lenses again.  Yes, they are all compromises, so I remain undecided.  I was thinking, if I'm going to spend 35L money, I might as well jump up further and buy a used 5D or 5DII and use my 50mm f1.4 and skip the "normal range" on the crop camera thing.  Now I'm talking crazy.

I'm really just looking at this because I have an itch to go more old school and learn on a "normal range" fast prime.  My 17-55 f/2.8 really covers my general purpose lens in this area for the most part.  So I guess that is why I don't want to spend the money to get the L lens.

So, I think I'll rent the 28mm f/1.8 (best of the 3 as you suggest) and if I'm good with the sharpness of the pictures and my experience with the lens I'll go with it.  I think if I don't like that lens, I wouldn't like the others enough to buy them either.

Thanks again.

7D  | EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM | EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM | EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM | EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS USM |
EF 35mm f/2 | EF 50mm f/1.4 | EF 85mm f/1.8

dougkerr

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2011, 11:31:49 PM »
Hi, p,

I have a 7D and want to get a fast prime lens that would be close to the equivalent of a 50mm on a FF camera.
Well, the lens that, on an EOS 7D, would give the same field of view as would a 50 mm lens on a full-frame 35-mm camera would have a focal length of about 31 mm.

But you might mean something else by "would be close to equivalent".

Best regards,

Doug

chicken

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2011, 11:54:03 PM »
papa I was in the same boat as you, Canon 7D and 17-55 f/2.8.  I was thinking the 35L but my concern is that it is such an old lens and has been rumored for a while that it is going to be refreshed.  So I ended up picking up a Sigma 30mm 1.4 and there was something about it I just did not like.  Seemed to hunt alot for focus in lower light and pictures were just not that sharp.  So I returned it for a replacement and had the same issues.  So I then returned it for a refund and picked up the Canon 50mm 1.4  I loved it but just way to close for a day to day lens.  I liked it so much though that I kept it and use it for portrait shots here and there.  I then ended up buying the Canon 24L II.  All I can say is wow.  I love the lens both indoor and outdoor.  It rarely leaves my camera now a days and my 17-55 which used to never leave the camera, now lives in my bag.  I know its an expensive lens but if you can get it, I would highly recommend it with the 7D.  The colors just seem to pop so much more than my 17-55 (which always seemed great to me to start with) and the ability to go to 1.4 indoors for that low light picture or outdoors to get some great bokeh rocks.  Good luck. 

elflord

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2011, 12:37:36 AM »
I have a 7D and want to get a fast prime lens that would be close to the equivalent of a 50mm on a FF camera.  I have a 17-55 f/2.8, so I want it faster than that. 

This will be my "learn composition & photography the old school way" with a standard length prime, zoom with your feet, etc.  I would also use this for indoor pics of the family, children, dogs.  Possibly indoor events like kids plays, or sports in a poorly lit gym when I want a wider angle shot (I have an 85 f/1.8 and a 50 f/1.4 and those usually handle the indoor sports stuff)

Sharpness & accurate focus are important to me.

There are several lenses in this range to choose from, and they all get mixed reviews from what I have read.  I can't see a clear winner.

For those of you that have any of these lenses, I could use some of your advice, thoughts.  I am tempted to rent them all and compare them, but that would be somewhat of an expensive experiment.

I assume the 35 f/1.4L is the best, also Zeiss lenses but that is beyond what I would want to spend. (unless someone could convince me to spend 3x the money  8) )

I am looking at the following lenses
- Sigma 30mm f/1.4
- Canon 28mm f/1.8
- Canon 35mm f/2

Any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

I went through this, and rented the Canon 35mm f/2, the Canon 35mm f/1.4 and the Canon 28mm f/1.8.

I liked the focal length of the 28mm but was unhappy with the image quality. If you want sharpness, I'd rule that one out.

I liked both of the 35mm lenses. The cheaper f/2 is sharp on a crop body (tests show it doesn't do as well in the corners of a full frame but on APS-C it is nice). It is cheaper, the AF motor gets a bit loud when it is making a large jump and you don't get FTM focus. But aside from the 1 stop advantage, the L lens didn't strike me as that much better. And unlike the longer lenses, I found that I didn't have use for f1.4. So I got the 35mm f/2.

Depending on why you want fast primes, a full frame might be nice to have but you might find the AF system on the 7D more to your liking especially if you're shooting sports.

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2011, 12:37:36 AM »

DJL329

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2011, 12:52:13 AM »
I use the Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 on full frame (5DII) and love it.  It's fast and sharp (perhaps the previous poster rented a 'bad' copy).
Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF 14mm f/2.8L | EF 28mm f/1.8 | EF 50mm f/1.4 | EF 85mm f/1.8 | EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro | EF 300mm f/4L IS

recon photography

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2011, 02:08:19 AM »
sigma 28mm f1.8 u can also use him if u go to the full framess  :P

dr croubie

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2011, 03:13:02 AM »
I've been in the same boat as you since i bought my camera, 7D and 15-35, so i've got more to gain by going a faster 25-35mm ish prime.
So far i've only got the 50 f/1.8, and its sharpness (even wide open) is good enough for me (maybe because i only use it in almost black without a flash, ISO3200 and upwards means softer and smaller images after NR).
One of my main criteria would be a small walkaround lens, sharp, and light, more full-body portraits wide open and f/5-8 landscapes for weight-critical hikes (or i'd just bring my 15-85)

I've compared all the options you have, and lots more, in different mounts and ages up to 60 years old.
and what i've come up with (from reviews and opinions, never having used myself):
Samyang 35/1.4 definitely gets my resolution vote, especially for the price, but it's huge. (and apparently not too contrasty wide open). And MF only.
EF 35/2 is definitely up there, and not too expensive (nice and small too).
EF 28/1.8 looks really soft on the borders from what i've seen. but centre res beats the 35/2.
EF 28/2.8 looks nicely sharp, but you've already got the 17-55 so not much point.
EF 24/1.4L and 35/1.4L both look good, but they're L-priced, and L-sized. (and i've thought the same as you, a 2nd hand 5D makes more sense with a 50/1.4 (or 1.8 ) than wide Ls on my 7D)
sigma 20/1.8 is a bit too wide, and soft as butter until f/5.6, not too useful.
sigma 30/1.4 is good for the price, sharp centre but corners are squishy until f/4 at least (not a bad thing if you want a portrait with blurred background though). APS-C only.
Zeiss 35/2. well yeah. if i had the money, i'd have bought it already.

a few other weird places i've been looking, if you don't mind Manual Focus M42 primes:
Asahi Pentax Takumar 35/2, there's 3 versions and 1 is really good IQ and nice colours, not sure which one though.
Also the MIR-24N (soviet ripoff of Zeiss design), apparently has really good colours and really contrasty from wide open, goes for $100 or so on ebay.
But i've never seen any proper MTF reviews, just washy 'i like this lens' statements from consumers (who for all  we know could be comparing it the the 18-55nonIS bathroom-window they're used to).

So for you, i'd be recommending either the Canon EF 35/2 for small, light, AF, or the Samyang 35/1.4 if you don't mind the extra size and MF.

But i'm waiting in the vain hope that one day canon will release their own EF-S 28-35/1.4-2.0. but by then i'll have bought my 5D mk4 and won't need it anymore...
« Last Edit: August 14, 2011, 05:07:30 AM by dr croubie »
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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2011, 04:55:53 AM »
"If someone could convince me"

I can give you the ultimate advice. If you are not prepared to shell out the money for a 35 L, then NEVER try it, not even just for fun. THAT will be the most convincing argument you'll ever come across.
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koolman

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2011, 05:18:33 AM »
papa: I have the 550d + Tamron 17-50 - and was in the same dilema.

I currently have the 50 1.4 + the 35 f/2.

My experience is that on crops, the 35 f/2 is superb. It is a light, sharp, player with a useful field of view.

The 50mm are a little tight, and are more suited for isolated subjects (portraits etc.)

I often walk around with the 35 f/2. it is very light and fun to use.
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papa-razzi

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2011, 06:48:47 AM »
"If someone could convince me"

I can give you the ultimate advice. If you are not prepared to shell out the money for a 35 L, then NEVER try it, not even just for fun. THAT will be the most convincing argument you'll ever come across.

Too funny.  That one really got me laughing.
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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2011, 06:48:47 AM »

Darkn3ss

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2011, 08:41:34 AM »
For what it's worth...
I believe that a 7D plus 35mm f/2 combination would make you reasonably happy when you get the box for the 35mm, but any happiness after hearing the autofocus will last for a week tops.
Selling your 7D and getting a T3i plus a 35mm f/1.4 combination would make you happy until you want to go full-frame.

Too often do I see people with mediocre glass but a prosumer camera, and feel that that is the best that they can do because they cannot afford a better lens.  Flip that mentality my friend!  A sharp "L" glass on a JPG only camera will give you better results than mediocre glass on a camera that can take pictures in RAW format any day.  Plus, the T3i jpg's look sharper with the same lenses than a 7D anyways, because the 7D is meant to be taken and processed in RAW, not JPG, so corners were cut.

I hope that this post can help you make a decision.  I'm 100% sure that you'll love my setup.

macgregor mathers

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2011, 08:59:48 AM »
Too often do I see people with mediocre glass but a prosumer camera, and feel that that is the best that they can do because they cannot afford a better lens.  Flip that mentality my friend!

With that, I agree.

A sharp "L" glass on a JPG only camera will give you better results than mediocre glass on a camera that can take pictures in RAW format any day.


Plus, the T3i jpg's look sharper with the same lenses than a 7D anyways, because the 7D is meant to be taken and processed in RAW, not JPG, so corners were cut.

You have a reliable source for that ?

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Re: Which is the best "normal" prime for a Crop Camera?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2011, 08:59:48 AM »