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Author Topic: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?  (Read 11579 times)

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #30 on: August 01, 2013, 09:30:05 PM »
Those standard focal lengths have been around for a long time :)
 

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #30 on: August 01, 2013, 09:30:05 PM »

privatebydesign

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #31 on: August 01, 2013, 09:54:28 PM »
Due to the mirror,  it is hard (expensive) to make a 50mm standard lens. Therefore 55mm became the standrd SLR lens until the 50's or even early 60's.

It is very easy and cheap to make 50mm lenses, even for 135 format reflex cameras, thought 135 format was adopted long before the SLR became a standard and rangefinders are even easier to design lenses for, 50mm lenses have no technical hurdles to overcome, no retrofocus or similar issues. That is why, even today, you can buy new auto focus 50mm lenses for $100!

Canon and Nikon were selling 55mm lenses well into the '70's, often alongside 50mm versions.
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Rocky

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2013, 01:34:56 AM »
Due to the mirror,  it is hard (expensive) to make a 50mm standard lens. Therefore 55mm became the standrd SLR lens until the 50's or even early 60's.

It is very easy and cheap to make 50mm lenses, even for 135 format reflex cameras, thought 135 format was adopted long before the SLR became a standard and rangefinders are even easier to design lenses for, 50mm lenses have no technical hurdles to overcome, no retrofocus or similar issues. That is why, even today, you can buy new auto focus 50mm lenses for $100!

Canon and Nikon were selling 55mm lenses well into the '70's, often alongside 50mm versions.
Now it is cheap and easy to make 50mm lens for SLR due to the new technology in glass making and grinding process. In the 40's and the 50's it is entirely different story. 55mm was use to avoid retrofocus and keep the price reasonable.  I would suggest you to look into the history a little bit more, pay attention to the price of lens and camera in the 40's and 50's also.

privatebydesign

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2013, 12:47:09 PM »
Now it is cheap and easy to make 50mm lens for SLR due to the new technology in glass making and grinding process. In the 40's and the 50's it is entirely different story. 55mm was use to avoid retrofocus and keep the price reasonable.  I would suggest you to look into the history a little bit more, pay attention to the price of lens and camera in the 40's and 50's also.

Leica's first lens was a 50mm, the 135 format and the 50mm "standard", became popular long before slr's. There is zero retrofocus issue with a 50mm multi element lens on an 18mm- 38mm flange distance, common rangefinder interchangeable lens flange distances. Even with slr's requirement for larger flange distances closer to 42mm-48mm there is still no retrofocus issue with multi element 50mm lenses.

For the Canon FL system, their first interchangeable slr system, from 1964-1971 that morphed into the FD system and shared mount and flange distance, they made six 50mm lenses and one 55mm lens and two 58mm lenses, the later three being the more complex f1.2 version of their standard lens.


I love it when people say stuff like "suggest you to look into the history a little bit more" without having the slightest idea of who they are talking to, nor give references for their own education.

As a primer, read this.

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2011/08/lens-geneology-part-1
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Sporgon

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2013, 01:50:58 PM »
Now it is cheap and easy to make 50mm lens for SLR due to the new technology in glass making and grinding process. In the 40's and the 50's it is entirely different story. 55mm was use to avoid retrofocus and keep the price reasonable.  I would suggest you to look into the history a little bit more, pay attention to the price of lens and camera in the 40's and 50's also.

I love it when people say stuff like "suggest you to look into the history a little bit more" without having the slightest idea of who they are talking to, nor give references for their own


 ;D

Maybe a little history lesson from CR archives would be a good start !  ;)




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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #35 on: August 02, 2013, 02:18:41 PM »

As a primer, read this.

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2011/08/lens-geneology-part-1

Good call! I recognized my 50mm f/1.4 in those configurations!

The lens configuration diagrams beg the question of whether there are inherent "sweet spots" in the lens configurations. Obviously it is easier to make a 50 f/0.95, than it is to make a 500mm f/0.95.

What I'm talking about is shifting the entire prime intervals up or down by +/- 5mm. Would it pose a challenge to engineers? And, obviously, I'm talking actual focal length... not the focal length put on the box by the marketing department. ;-)

I'm assuming that, in the 24-85mm range, lens engineers can create a comparable IQ lens at ANY length in that range. I'm assuming there aren't difficult lengths in that range that engineers struggle with. Please correct me if I'm wrong. :-)

Rocky

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #36 on: August 02, 2013, 03:52:29 PM »

Leica's first lens was a 50mm, the 135 format and the 50mm "standard", became popular long before slr's. There is zero retrofocus issue with a 50mm multi element lens on an 18mm- 38mm flange distance, common rangefinder interchangeable lens flange distances. Even with slr's requirement for larger flange distances closer to 42mm-48mm there is still no retrofocus issue with multi element 50mm lenses.

For the Canon FL system, their first interchangeable slr system, from 1964-1971 that morphed into the FD system and shared mount and flange distance, they made six 50mm lenses and one 55mm lens and two 58mm lenses, the later three being the more complex f1.2 version of their standard lens.


I love it when people say stuff like "suggest you to look into the history a little bit more" without having the slightest idea of who they are talking to, nor give references for their own education.

As a primer, read this.

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2011/08/lens-geneology-part-1

All the example that you have quoted are either Range finder lens (Leica) or post 50's SLR lenses
Ziess Biotar is from the 30's till early 50's It is even at 58mm.  if you can spend time to look at ebay,  you will find  a lot old 55mm lens.
The reason that I mention 55mm (or 58 mm) for early SLR to to show how arbitrary the standard lens can be. I have not yet mention the 40mm for the fully auto 35mm film camera in the 80's t0 90's and Canon's 'shorty forty" yet.
But if you think that you are right and know them enough, then you are right. Let us not to waste any more time on this pointless discussion.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 04:17:39 PM by Rocky »

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #36 on: August 02, 2013, 03:52:29 PM »

dirtcastle

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #37 on: August 02, 2013, 04:10:04 PM »
Lots of good information from everyone here. No need to get hung up on a few details. :)

gtog

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #38 on: August 02, 2013, 04:16:28 PM »
For the Canon FL system, their first interchangeable slr system, from 1964-1971 that morphed into the FD system and shared mount and flange distance, they made six 50mm lenses and one 55mm lens and two 58mm lenses, the later three being the more complex f1.2 version of their standard lens.

Actually, a visit to the Canon Camera Museum would show the Canon Flex http://www.canon.com/camera-museum/camera/film/data/1956-1965/1959_flex.html?lang=us&categ=srs&page=r&p=1 to have been Canon's first SLR in May 1959, with one 58mm f/1.2 and three 50mm f/1.8 lenses in the R lens mount line-up.

I would also note that even the older S mount series lenses shows the "standard" focal lengths, supporting the notion that those focal lengths are not reflex oriented or constrained.

I would certainly add the Canon Camera Museum to the list of sources commended to readers attention for further historical research.

privatebydesign

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #39 on: August 03, 2013, 10:28:03 PM »
gtog,

You are right, how could I have forgotten the little R mount? I hang my head in shame....

Having said that, as you point out, history, as evidenced by the lenses available at the time, doesn't actually support the problematic 50mm theory, and it is worth noting the R mount had the same 42mm flange distance the FL mount did, and that was the same as the FD and FDn.

I'd hardly lump the 1950's into "modern lenses" but each to their own.

But back to more interesting stuff, didn't Olympus push for shorter "standard" lenses in the '70's, I remember seeing kits with the 40mm and OM-? Though even they had a proliferation of 50's from a 1.2 to a 3.5 macro and the one 55mm 1.2.

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #40 on: August 04, 2013, 04:55:03 AM »


But back to more interesting stuff, didn't Olympus push for shorter "standard" lenses in the '70's, I remember seeing kits with the 40mm and OM-? Though even they had a proliferation of 50's from a 1.2 to a 3.5 macro and the one 55mm 1.2.

I think you're getting Olympus OM system and Pentax M mixed up. It was Pentax who introduced the 40mm M series lens as a 'budget' alternative to the 50mm f1.7 M in 1975.

It was a great little 2.8 lens, recently revived by Pentax as the 40mm Limited. If you look at the lens design it is a very basic Planar design. They market it as an APS lens but actually it has the full image circle as it is a 1970s 35mm lens.  The new Canon 40mm is basically identical, and makes for a really good 'standard ' lens on FF.

Don't ever remember a 40mm Zuiko lens being available for the OM 1 and 2, but could be wrong, it's a long time ago  ;)
« Last Edit: August 04, 2013, 04:58:44 AM by Sporgon »

privatebydesign

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #41 on: August 04, 2013, 09:38:46 PM »
Sporgon,

You could well be right about that, I looked up the Olympus and they didn't introduce their 40mm pancake until 1984.

It does seem that 40mm lenses are the smallest and cheapest to make for the typical 135 format slr, even today with the EOS 40mm pancake, they obviously don't present technical issues even with 44mm flange distances so it begs the question, why isn't the 40mm pancake the "standard" lens?
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dirtcastle

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #42 on: August 06, 2013, 02:32:48 AM »
It does seem that 40mm lenses are the smallest and cheapest to make for the typical 135 format slr, even today with the EOS 40mm pancake, they obviously don't present technical issues even with 44mm flange distances so it begs the question, why isn't the 40mm pancake the "standard" lens?

I would much prefer a 40mm L standard prime. I know this is just a self-centered observation, but for me 50mm is just about 10mm too long and 35mm is about 5mm too wide.

As far as my lens quiver lineup goes, I wouldn't mind not having a prime between 24mm and 40mm. In fact, that would free me up to carry a 24mm, 40mm, and something a bit longer.

But ultimately what I crave, like many people, is a single prime that will cover all-day, all-night, multipurpose shooting. I think most shooters agree that 50mm is just a bit long for that. An approximate 35mm length seems to be the survivalist length of choice. But c'mon, we all know it's just a bit wide for most portraits. Right? ;-)

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #42 on: August 06, 2013, 02:32:48 AM »

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #43 on: August 06, 2013, 03:44:35 AM »

But ultimately what I crave, like many people, is a single prime that will cover all-day, all-night, multipurpose shooting. I think most shooters agree that 50mm is just a bit long for that. An approximate 35mm length seems to be the survivalist length of choice. But c'mon, we all know it's just a bit wide for most portraits. Right? ;-)


It's called the 24-70 f2.8L. lol
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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #44 on: August 06, 2013, 03:46:58 AM »

But ultimately what I crave, like many people, is a single prime that will cover all-day, all-night, multipurpose shooting. I think most shooters agree that 50mm is just a bit long for that. An approximate 35mm length seems to be the survivalist length of choice. But c'mon, we all know it's just a bit wide for most portraits. Right? ;-)


It's called the 24-70 f2.8L. lol

Oh, I want one of those too! :'(

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Re: Where does the 24/35/50/85mm standard originate? Is it arbitrary?
« Reply #44 on: August 06, 2013, 03:46:58 AM »