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Author Topic: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?  (Read 6876 times)

bendobb

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Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« on: June 24, 2013, 04:54:37 PM »
Well, after years of procrastination I'm ready to spend some cash on some new gear.
I'm an amateur who mostly shoots family, holiday and landscapes and want to try macro photography too.

I've pretty much decided on a canon 6d; kit 24-105; 100L macro; 600 ex-rt.

But I've a few hundred left over and want something small, light weight and relatively fast.

So 50 f1.4 or 40 f2.8. I think I would like the wider angle and tiny pancake, but is the 50 a sharper lens? Will I miss the extra stops?

Thanks for any help.

Ben

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Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« on: June 24, 2013, 04:54:37 PM »

Pi

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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2013, 05:24:12 PM »
The 40 is 1 stop faster than the 24-105, no IS. It is very light and small but this matters only if you go out with that lens only, not just add it in your bag.

The 50/1.4 (which is not the "nifty") is another story. Old and a bit fragile but it would offer something the zoom cannot even get close to.

EDIT: The 50/1.8 - I would not touch it. Its AF is so inconsistent and wide open is so soft, that using it wide open is a RPITA.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 05:35:35 PM by Pi »

flymoon

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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2013, 05:32:37 PM »
assuming that by nifty 50 you're referring to the 50 f/1.8, i would definitely go with that one, as 1.8 is a huge step up from 2.8 and it would make a bigger difference from the kit lens (f/4)

Drizzt321

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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2013, 05:36:28 PM »
assuming that by nifty 50 you're referring to the 50 f/1.8, i would definitely go with that one, as 1.8 is a huge step up from 2.8 and it would make a bigger difference from the kit lens (f/4)

Well, with the 6D having ultra-fast primes is not quite as important as it may once have been. That said, both are good, but I believe the 40mm is the sharper, and definitely smaller of the 2. Maybe take a couple of rubber bands and put the 24-105 at 40mm and 50mm for a few days, and check to see which focal length you seem to like better.

One other thing of note, even just going to f/2.8 you can take advantage of the extra-sensitive center AF point on the 6D, while on f/4 you don't get that. So even just going to f/2.8 can be worth it.
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Harley

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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2013, 05:37:24 PM »
Find a good condition Canon FL or FD 55mm f/1.2 and get the EdMika conversion kit (eBay).  You'll have an incredible, inexpensive, fast lens that you won't want to take off your camera body. 
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Hesbehindyou

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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2013, 05:38:02 PM »
50 1.8 all the way. Gives access to razor thin depth of field, good fun to play with, whereas the 40 2.8 isn't anything special in that regard.

mrzero

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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2013, 05:42:19 PM »
I have the actual nifty fifty, the 50mm 1.8, and the 40mm.  I don't have the 6d but that is my upgrade kit, so here is what you might want to consider.  The nifty fifty and shorty forty are very similar.  Both are small, lightweight, inexpensive.  The 40 is a little slower at 2.8, but stellar wide open, and good for almost-macro type shots with a close focusing distance.  The 50 is wider aperture with less depth of field, but older, cheaper, and little iffier on autofocus abilities or macro.

If you are really looking at the 50mm 1.4, you might want to wait and see what happens with the upgraded 50mm IS that will be coming out soon (following in the footsteps of the 24, 28, and 35s).  I think that lens could coexist nicely with the 40mm.

If it was me, I'd pick the 40mm now and wait on the upgraded 50mm.  When I bought my nifty fifty, there was no 40mm and no IS primes on the horizon, either.  Shoot with the zoom and the 40 for a while, and decide if you would rather have a wide angle prime, a normal prime, both, neither, etc.  But the pancake will always have a spot in the bag due to its size and quality.
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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2013, 05:42:19 PM »

brianboru

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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2013, 06:40:28 PM »
I have both. 

The 50mm 1.8 is faster but feels and sounds horrid in use.   (Although on my vintage Canon-10s I kinda like it as the plastic body with a plastic lens just seems to match.) 

The 40mm feels nice and is fun for a walk-around prime.   I also include it my sports kit for occasions where I'm expecting my 70-200 to be in use constantly but want a small, wider, faster lens lurking in the kit.

For shallow DOF I have a Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC (crop) that I like as well as a couple of old Mamiya/Sekor 55mm f1.4's on adapters.
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Dylan777

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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2013, 06:46:03 PM »
1. 50 f1.4 seems to be a better choice for low light, even stepping to f2 for sharper image.

2. 40shorty is sharp @ wide open, but still might not enough for low light shooting.

Build quality on both lenses are crappy, but hey! it's way cheaper than my 50L and it delivers high quality images for everyday photos.
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distant.star

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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2013, 07:03:12 PM »
.
Drop $150 on the 40mm today. The 50mm f/1.4 you mentioned is $350, and as has been said already, it's old and can be cranky -- and the 50mm focal length Canon line is probably to be updated sooner rather than later.

The 40mm gets you the f/2.8 for the AF. If you shoot any video, it also has the STM AF to hold the noise down when focusing during shooting.

I have a hard time believing the light and DOF from f/2.8 to f/1.4 is worth an extra $200 in an old technology package. But, it's your call. That seems to be the crux of the decision to me.

Good luck, and enjoy the new equipment.
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jdramirez

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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2013, 07:06:14 PM »
My initial response was... 40mm if you are on crop, 50mm if you are on full frame.  Since you have a 6D, I think the 50mm f/1.4 is a good option.  Put a hard plastic hood on their and you should be safe from any AF issues. 
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captainkanji

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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2013, 07:55:18 PM »
I own them both.  I often use the 50 1.4 if I'm in lower light and want sharper than the 24-105 or want that DOF.  I don't really use the 40mm.  I bought it for a backup lens.  At the price, I couldn't resist.  The 40mm will be my lens of choice if I go to an event that eyes "professional" cameras with suspicion.  If I remove the battery grip, the 40 makes my 6D look like a rebel :p  If I had to choose, I would take the shorty 40 over the plastic fantastic 1.8.  It fits better in my pocket and is better built.  I've read lots of stories in the forum of the 50 1.8 falling apart for no apparent reason.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 08:00:24 PM by captainkanji »
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FTb-n

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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2013, 09:35:58 PM »
Here's another vote for the 40 2.8.  I own this lens and the 50 1.8.  The 40 is quieter, focuses faster and is sharper corner to corner with both lenses at 2.8.  As for the 50 1.4, TheDigitalPicture image tests shows it to be quite soft wide open.  Niether 50 is really sharp until you stop them down close to 2.8.

The 50 1.4 and 1.8 will give you an edge at lower light if you're ok with softer images.   But, the 6D is great at higher ISO's.   You may not need that edge.  You also may find the DOF too be tighter than you want on the FF body.
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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2013, 09:35:58 PM »

jdramirez

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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2013, 10:11:58 PM »
Here's another vote for the 40 2.8.  I own this lens and the 50 1.8.  The 40 is quieter, focuses faster and is sharper corner to corner with both lenses at 2.8.  As for the 50 1.4, TheDigitalPicture image tests shows it to be quite soft wide open.  Niether 50 is really sharp until you stop them down close to 2.8.

The 50 1.4 and 1.8 will give you an edge at lower light if you're ok with softer images.   But, the 6D is great at higher ISO's.   You may not need that edge.  You also may find the DOF too be tighter than you want on the FF body.

In regards to the 50 f/1.4, you are right, it does sharpen up substantially around f/2.8... but it is more than just tolerable at f/2... so if you are in a low light situation, that extra stop of light might be just the key.
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

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adhocphotographer

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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2013, 02:29:05 AM »
I would go for the 40 if i were you...  :)
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Re: Nifty 50 or Shorty 40?
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2013, 02:29:05 AM »