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Author Topic: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm  (Read 12797 times)

Leopard Lupus

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The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« on: October 02, 2011, 12:03:10 AM »
Canon 50mm F/1.2 L VS  Canon 85mm F/1.2 L

I hate to be "that guy" to bring this question to the table, but I feel as if I need to hear experiences along with the countless reviews I have read.

I am currently working with a Canon 60D/7D (I invest more money in lenses) but am looking to go FF in 2012.

I shoot mainly low light, indoor concerts. I own both the Canon 50mm F/1.4 and the Canon 85mm F/1.8 but I tend to favor the 50mm because I am able to use the flash less with it mounted vs the 85mm. The focal length does not matter for me, as my ability to get closer to the subject is adjustable. I only shoot with primes.

The 50mm F/1.2 L is weather sealed, which is tempting (preventing dust). Yet, 85mm F/1.2 L seems to give a more appealing IQ vs the 50mm. I have tried both in the store, but not on an assignment.

Has anyone owned both, or had experience with both of these fantastic lenses?

« Last Edit: October 02, 2011, 12:06:46 AM by Leopard Lupus »

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The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« on: October 02, 2011, 12:03:10 AM »

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Re: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2011, 01:09:54 AM »
I own and use both a lot.

Is AI Servo AF speed important to you? If so, the 50 is the obvious way to go. If it's not as important, and you're ok not getting critical focus every single time you press the shutter, the 85 f/1.2 gives images that are unmatched in look and feel.


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UncleFester

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Re: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2011, 02:01:20 AM »
I can highly recommend the 50 1.2 on the 7D (it will lock on an eyeball no problem)  but not for the 5DII. For whatever reason the FF will not micro adjust to this lens.

Zuuyi

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Re: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2011, 02:52:40 AM »
50 on 7D/60D

85 on 5DII.


Crop Camera (1.6 x Factor)
50mm = 80mm
85mm = 136mm

And if you like the 85mm on the 7D you might need to look at the 135/2 for you FF switch.

elflord

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Re: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2011, 12:32:27 PM »

I shoot mainly low light, indoor concerts. I own both the Canon 50mm F/1.4 and the Canon 85mm F/1.8 but I tend to favor the 50mm because I am able to use the flash less with it mounted vs the 85mm. The focal length does not matter for me, as my ability to get closer to the subject is adjustable. I only shoot with primes.

Moving closer to the subject with a normal lens won't give you the same picture as a short tele further from the subject. The wider fov will force you to be more careful about the composition of the background. On a crop, both of these lenses are short to medium telephotos -- ideal portrait focal lengths. On full frame, 50mm isn't really a portrait focal length any more.

Do you use a 35 or 28 on your crop at all ?

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Re: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2011, 12:40:33 PM »
I own both lens myself (50mm 1.2L and 85mm 1.2L II ) and they are both fantastic!  I highly recommend both lens and would buy them again if I had too!  As was said earlier, the 85mm 1.2L II is simply amazing and unmatched for portrait.  It is a bot slower to focus compared to the 50mm 1.2L however.  I get very sharp picture with both of them on my 5D Mark II.

Last week-end I swap my 50 1.2L on my camera for my old 50 1.4 and too a few shots outside.  I had forgotten how much better the 50 1.2L is compared to the 1.4.  You should get both but if budget is an issue (like it always is...) then really either one would make a great addition to your equipment.  It really depends on your use.  You said you can move closer which mean the 50mm might work, but can you move backward if you use the 85 and you want to take a larger scene?  If yes I would suggest you get the 85mm 1.2L first.  While the 50mm 1.2L is almost always on my camera, if I could only have one L lens it would be the 85.

Hope this helps.
1DX, 24mm f1.4L II, 35mm f1.4L, 50mm f1.2L, 85mm f1.2L II, 135mm f2L, 24-70mm f2.8L II, 70-200mm f2.8L IS II :  D800, D4, and a whole bunch of Nikon lenses

TexPhoto

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Re: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2011, 06:29:08 PM »
The 85mm is a little long for many situations, so I might favor the 50.  The 85mm and the 35mm or 24mm f1.4 might make a nice combination. :)

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Re: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2011, 06:29:08 PM »

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Re: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2011, 08:11:40 PM »
Just used the 85 1.2 last night at a wedding on my 5d and I gotta say that is going to be the next lens I pick up.  I have the 85 1.8 and its good, but the quality of the photos, low light and better build of the other 85 is un matched.  compared with the 50L the 85 is much more appealing, but I tend to get tighter than wider shots. 

the 50 1.4 is decent but i'm not what to do about getting a 50 for myself.  I have used the 35 1.4 and that is excellent as well.  If I had the money I'd go with the 85 and the 35 hands down and use my 16-35 for my wide and landscape shots.
5D3 + 16-35 + 85 + 135

niccyboy

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Re: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2011, 08:39:03 PM »
I have a 50mm f1.2L, and i have a non L 85mm.

The 50mm is my absolute favourite lens on my cameras, (i have a 5d2, 7d, 550d). If i never had to take a lens off it would be that. I usually have it on the FF and have not had the focus issue that an earlier poster mentioned.

My non L 85mm is also a beautiful lens, obviously the L is the grandaddy of primes so the quality/focus/iq is different to my shitty non L, but obviously focal length is the same and unfortunately i PERSONALLY don't find as much use at that focal length, if i really did need that focal length I'd switch bodies, although that isn't an option in your case.

I recommend hiring both, and hiring a 5d2 body (or borrowing someones) as they are both exceptional lenses and at the end of the day it comes down to how you are using it, and what works for YOU. They are a pricey bit of hardware and a couple of hundred for hiring is nothing compared to buying the wrong one!

This is just from my personal/professional usage, i'm not an expert that most people on here are!




ayazasifphoto

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Re: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2011, 09:04:41 PM »
I'd go with the 85, esp if you are going full frame soon. I do a fair amount of concert photography with my 5dm2 and found the 85 to be best focal length. Even though you may not be considering it, I would look into the 135f/2L as well. I use the 135L the most at a concert and I find it to be the ideal lens for concert photography. Attached are some U2 shots, the 85L is the one of The Edge and the screen above him, taken about 12-15 feet from the stage. The close up shot of Bono is with the 135L also taken about 12-15 feet from the stage (it is cropped about 20% or so).

Generally I feel in concert photography you want to go with isolation of the subject (ie not shoot as much wide, unless you're really close or just taking wide shots of a band/stage). I think the 50 will seem wide, esp. on a full frame. Now all this depends on the subject and environment too - a small club gig I'd go with more tele shots, a big stadium show with a lot of lighting/effects and such you will want to capture more the stage/production.

Ayaz

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Re: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2011, 09:11:43 PM »
Canon 50mm F/1.2 L VS  Canon 85mm F/1.2 L

I hate to be "that guy" to bring this question to the table, but I feel as if I need to hear experiences along with the countless reviews I have read.

I am currently working with a Canon 60D/7D (I invest more money in lenses) but am looking to go FF in 2012.

I shoot mainly low light, indoor concerts. I own both the Canon 50mm F/1.4 and the Canon 85mm F/1.8 but I tend to favor the 50mm because I am able to use the flash less with it mounted vs the 85mm. The focal length does not matter for me, as my ability to get closer to the subject is adjustable. I only shoot with primes.

The 50mm F/1.2 L is weather sealed, which is tempting (preventing dust). Yet, 85mm F/1.2 L seems to give a more appealing IQ vs the 50mm. I have tried both in the store, but not on an assignment.

Has anyone owned both, or had experience with both of these fantastic lenses?

If you haven't been there yet, go to lensrentals.com and read up on both.  Honestly, vs. choosing either, I'd say 50mm F1.4 AND the 85mm F1.8 are the best choice, hands down.  The short version is that 50mm F1.2 can be that insurmmountable wild stallion you can't bust . . . if you can, you can get great beauty from it, but it will take practice . . . the 85mm is just slow compared to it's F1.8 brother which is fast, damned fast, at focusing.

From the FOV, 50mm is great on crop -- so if you're shooting FF, the 85mm F1.8 is an EASY 'buy'.

If you're on crop, 50mm and 85mm both have their place, but 50mm is necessary.

That's just my observations; my opinion is, of course, worth every cent paid :)
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gene_can_sing

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Re: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2011, 11:54:37 PM »
depends on your style of shooting. Most 50mm has a much shorter minimum focus distance of around 15 inches for both Canon and Zeiss (I own both). Most 85mm have a much, much longer minimum focus distance, usually around 35+ inches. So you cannot get nearly as close with most 85mm which can be really frustrating. I find the 100m Macro L is a much more flexible lens than the 85mm, but it is 2 stops slower than the 85mm Zeiss that I have.

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Re: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2011, 01:30:19 AM »
I'd personally say keep the 50 1.4 and just get a 2nd body (5d2 for better high iso shots). Between the 50 1.4 and 1.2 I honestly couldn't notice a significant difference to justify the large difference in price, i personally find it just mainly paying a premium for build and a red ring that doesn't really add to the final image quality. The 85mm 1.2 is like a grapefruit... i got hand/arm fatigue after a hour so of an event shoot and wish i had gone with the 135mm 2.0 or 85mm 1.8.

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Re: The age old lens question...50mm vs 85mm
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2011, 01:30:19 AM »