November 28, 2014, 09:28:22 PM

Author Topic: prime focal length choices  (Read 7784 times)

bholliman

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Re: prime focal length choices
« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2013, 06:02:39 PM »
For me it's 35, 50 and 135. 

I recently acquired a 24-70 2.8 II which I've been using in place of my 35L and 50 1.4 most of the time now as its as sharp or sharper and has great bokeh and color.  I generally step-down the fast primes to 2.0 or 2.8 anyway to keep all of my subjects face in focus, so the primes don't have much of an advantage unless I'm looking for a really shallow DOF or am in really low light at greater distance from my subject.
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Re: prime focal length choices
« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2013, 06:02:39 PM »

The Bad Duck

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Re: prime focal length choices
« Reply #31 on: August 28, 2013, 06:47:55 PM »
You have to try them out for yourself. For portraits I seldom go wider than 35mm but I use 28 /1.8, 35L, 50/1.4, 85/1.8 and 135L. The 135 is the best but gets least usage. I do my best portraits with the 50 or the 85... Those are just my focal lengths.

The wider the harder. Distortion is hard to work around. I find that my composition gets static when I use wider lenses. If I don't put the person in the centre he or she will not look too good due to the distortion. 50 or 85 is up close and personal. And it shows. 135 gets me too far away, unless I want a tight headshot. 35 mm for full body or small groups. But it really depends... If I want a lot of compression I back away and shoot long lenses, as long as 300/2.8 for some great portraits.

I'm probably not helping. You need to find out what works for you and the way you shoot and the working distance you want. The advice to set your zoom to certain focal lengths is a great one.

And as my uncle use to say-with a 35 or 50 you get no help from an exotic focal lenght. If you make a great photo with those lenses it's all about content and light. That means that you did a great job, not your gear. I like that!

Good luck.

Policar

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Re: prime focal length choices
« Reply #32 on: August 28, 2013, 07:02:13 PM »
For me it's 35, 50 and 135. 

I recently acquired a 24-70 2.8 II which I've been using in place of my 35L and 50 1.4 most of the time now as its as sharp or sharper and has great bokeh and color.  I generally step-down the fast primes to 2.0 or 2.8 anyway to keep all of my subjects face in focus, so the primes don't have much of an advantage unless I'm looking for a really shallow DOF or am in really low light at greater distance from my subject.

Agreed on those three being great.

GMCPhotographics

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Re: prime focal length choices
« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2013, 07:48:49 PM »
I have a different approach - start with the one focal length you can't live without and build around it.

For me I shoot a lot of contextual portraits. 85 outside is very common for me, 35 is used a lot indoors. That's good, not a lot of overlap. I personally find 50 to be too narrow for moving around indoors, and too wide at the distances I want to use outside. So it's common for me to just bring 35 and 85 and no L zooms, which are large and heavy. To round out my primes I'd like to have a 135 and maybe something like a 20. I think 20 is as wide as you can get without getting into unnatural looking distortion. Sigma makes a 20/1.8, Canon's fastest at that focal length is f/2.8. Unless you step up to 24mm and L glass.

I mix primes with zooms....agast...no...but it's only because no one makes a really good fast prime under 24mm. So for most of my wedding work, I use three 5DIII cameras and I choose either an 85L or 135L (depending on distance) for the long end. A 35L as my wide / medium lens...which is great for close up stuff too and then I use a 16-35IIL as a very wide. This covers most of my needs at a wedding and offers me my most creative options.
I find the "look" I get from the finished photos between the 35L and 85IIL very simular and one is a wider version of the other. I don't see the same relationship between the 24IIL, 50L and 135L. Great lenses but they all have their own look and feel, especially the 50L.

LewisShermer

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Re: prime focal length choices
« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2013, 07:53:16 PM »
I have a 28mm 1.8 which was amazing on a 7D/60D but I never use it on my 5Diii now :(

35mm 50mm & a 100mm 2.8 macro which both doubles as a portrait and macro lens, that does me just great for weddings, gigs & product. I also use the 24-105 when I'm feeling lazy. nothing too long for me, I don't like to be too far from the action :)
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knolla

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Re: prime focal length choices
« Reply #35 on: August 28, 2013, 09:51:28 PM »
6D owner here. I use the 28 1.8 and the 100 f/2.8 L macro (which I'm consdering ditching for a 100 f/2, even though I love the IQ on that lens).

I also have a 50 f/1.4 but almost never use it; the 100mm is a much better portrait length.

Stunning results, especially the 28 1.8. So much better contrast and IQ than the 24-105 at the same focal length.
 
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I used to have a 7D, and on APS-C I used the 50 1.4 most often for portraits (there was no affordable wide equivalent of the 28mm; and for some reason the 28mm focused very inconsistently on the 7D, in contrast to the 6D where it's typically perfect!).

tcmatthews

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Re: prime focal length choices
« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2013, 10:38:10 PM »
If I had to pick three fast prime for your use I would pick the 35,85,135.  I have found that 50mm can be boring at times.  (At least with the cheaper models that I have.)  I actually prefer a lens around 40-45mm over the 35 and 50.  But those are fairly rare it is easier to crop a 35mm or move a few steps forward.

I do not actual own a full frame 85mm lens to go with my film cameras but often use 50mm on a crop.   

I have a bit of Gear not in signature.  So it is not like i have never Used a 35mm film camera. 
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Re: prime focal length choices
« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2013, 10:38:10 PM »

Jim O

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Re: prime focal length choices
« Reply #37 on: August 28, 2013, 11:16:25 PM »
I used to have a 7D, and on APS-C I used the 50 1.4 most often for portraits
+1

The 50 1.4 is wonderful for portraiture on an APS-C camera.


I'm looking to get a few primes, and wondered if others could provide some info on why they chose the focal lengths they own.

For example, I'm considering the two following combinations:  24, 50, 135   or    35, 85.

Anyone with preferences of one of these combinations over the other? (I'm less interested in specific lenses (E.g. 24 f/1.4 vs. 24 f/2.8 IS), but the focal lengths themselves.

I'm shotting with a 5d3, and mostly interested in the primes for portraiture and events.

For studio portraiture with one subject I would choose an 85mm or a 100mm. It depends on how much space you have and/or how close you want to be to your subject. For larger groups I'd choose a 28mm or a 50mm depending on the size. For large groups 28mm is probably adequate. Of course this is personal preference and that's mine. Oh, and I have an 85mm and a 100mm. I bought both with the intention of keeping one and selling the other but I like them both. I think I use the 85mm a bit more but not by much.

Similar with events but with the caveat that neither of those "long lenses" (85mm or 100mm, or even a 135mm) may be adequate from the back of a dark church. You may want a fast 200mm or longer at that point. The times I've shot from that vantage point I've used either a 70-200mm IS L +/- 1.4x or a 300mm IS.
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dgatwood

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Re: prime focal length choices
« Reply #38 on: August 28, 2013, 11:22:42 PM »
They really should offer 23 mm, 37 mm, 53 mm, 89 mm, and 137 mm primes.

Because all primes should be.

Ruined

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Re: prime focal length choices
« Reply #39 on: August 29, 2013, 11:21:40 AM »
Right now I only have an EF 28mm f/2.8 IS, but I plan to get the now patented EF 50m f/1.8 IS when it is released and something in the 100mm range.

My reasons?

First of all I got the 28mm lens super cheap, about $500 brand new when it was retailing for 800.

Second, I have a crop body and 28mm is a fantastic focal length for a general purpose lens on crop.  Not too wide, not to narrow.  Its almost like when I look through 28mm it seems like I am seeing the same FOV that my eyes are seeing where I point it.  I got the f/2.8 IS over the f/1.8 because the f/2.8 appears to have far superior quality and the IS is nice too for low light.  The 28mm is smaller and lighter than the 35mm, though it is a bit slower.  Still, I think 35mm is not quite wide enough on APS-C and if I got that I'd also want a 24.  28, though, sits nicely in between the two.  According to A/B comparisons online, the 28mm IS is also slightly sharper than both the 24mm IS and 35mm IS.

50mm I would like for portraits, but it is all-too-obvious we will likely see a 50mm f/1.8 IS by the end of the year.  So I am not going to spend money on something I will inevitably sell within 6 months.  This is nice for its fast speed and focal length on APS-C.

100mm I will probably go for the f/2.8L IS macro lens.  It again has IS which is nice and it is a better performer than the EF-S 60mm.  Plus, the 100mm allows you to be about 4" further away from your subject which is generally a benefit for macro.  Plus it will give me more seperation from 50mm than 60mm would.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 11:27:27 AM by Ruined »

PhotographiesND

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Re: prime focal length choices
« Reply #40 on: August 29, 2013, 11:38:32 AM »
Big DEAL : All L lenses will be black and no more white.

I hope than it is more than just that...

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Re: prime focal length choices
« Reply #40 on: August 29, 2013, 11:38:32 AM »