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Author Topic: Prime Lenses  (Read 5294 times)

UOduck23

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Prime Lenses
« on: December 20, 2011, 01:19:45 PM »
I'm looking to invest in some L series prime lenses.  I'm working towards owning both the 7d and the 5d Mk2 (or 3 soon).  I've heard nothing but glowing reviews of the 35mm 1.4, the 50mm 1.2, and the 85mm 1.2.  But besides the 35 being a bit faster is there much difference between these lenses?  Would I simply be picking one based on how close I predict being from my subjects or do the lenses actually perform better/worse?

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Prime Lenses
« on: December 20, 2011, 01:19:45 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2011, 01:27:17 PM »
The 35mm L is best for both 7D and 5D MK II, the 85mm L is a portrait lens, and really recommended for someone experienced with portrait photography.

The 50L is even more specialized. 

Other than the 35mm L, I do not recommend them for a first prime lens, the risk of disappointment is too high.

Tell us more about your experience with DSLR's, maybe they are right for you.

Cosk

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2011, 03:01:23 PM »
Primes are fantastic - better than any zoom lens out there. 

But start with the non-L primes.  You can get an entire set of non-Ls for less than a single L.  The a couple years from now, look back at your absolute favorite photos.  Whatever lenses you used to take them... that's where you start upgrading.

On a 7D, I say start with a 50 1.4 (portrait) and 24/2.8 (street/landscape).

Any day you're shooting, pick one prime and use it... keep the other in your bag - but you don't want to be switching lenses every shot you take - that defeats the purpose.   
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 03:22:13 PM by Cosk »
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JR

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2011, 03:15:41 PM »
All three are amazing lenses in my mind.  I agree with "Spokane" that the 50L is more specialized, but I have to say it is always sitting on my 5DmkII!  I love all of these three lenses and I think they can each work with a 7D or 5D.  It really depends on which camera body you get first (APS-C versus FF) and what will be your main needs to decide which focal lenght best suite your need..

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

handsomerob

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2011, 03:46:14 PM »
I'm looking to invest in some L series prime lenses.  I'm working towards owning both the 7d and the 5d Mk2 (or 3 soon).  I've heard nothing but glowing reviews of the 35mm 1.4, the 50mm 1.2, and the 85mm 1.2.  But besides the 35 being a bit faster is there much difference between these lenses?  Would I simply be picking one based on how close I predict being from my subjects or do the lenses actually perform better/worse?

Hmm.. 35mm f/1.4 L is the slowest of these three lenses (by 1/3 EV).

All three have stellar optics. The 35mm is rumored to be replaced very soon and will most probably be even more awesome. What do you like to shoot? 24mm f/1.4 L, 100mm f/2.8 L IS Macro and 135mm f/2 L are also fantastic primes.

If you need anything between 70 and 200mm and can live with 'only' f/2.8, the 70-200 f/2.8 L USM II is definitely worth a look, offering prime quality with the flexibility of a zoom.

Freshprince08

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2011, 04:51:07 PM »
You could get hooked shooting on primes once you start ;)

I'd suggest the 35mm f1.4L out of the three choices! Works well on both the 7D and 5Dii, assuming you aren't planning any tight portraits. You could throw in the 50mm f1.8 for less than £100 too which will give you an idea about that focal length!
www.double-take-photography.com | 5D Mark III | 5D Mark II | EF 35mm f1.4L | EF 50mm f1.4 | EF 85mm f1.8 | EF 100mm f2.8 Macro | EF 135mm f2.0L | EF 17-40 f4L | EF 24-70 f2.8L | Sigma 50mm f1.4 | Sigma 85mm f1.4 | 3 x 580EXii | 430EXii | BlackRapid RS-7 | BlackRapid RS-5 | ThinkTank Airport Security

Flake

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2011, 05:14:38 PM »
I'm always a little cautious reccomending lenses costing so much, but doubly so then the poster doesn't actually own a camera that can use them fully, and to make matters worse doesn't seem to have a grasp on the principles of photography.

Here's my advice, and I don't mean it to be insulting, spend the money on a photography course, there are some very good ones around, it's possible to get very good results with a pinhole camera - you simply don't need expensive lenses to make good images, what you do need is some technical knowledge and some talent.

FWIW longer focal length lenses give less depth of field, the also compress perspective, choosing one focal length can hide facial features of exagerate them.  Wide angle lenses can distort faces, especially if you get close.

Prime lenses are not without their faults, and the 1.2 50mm & 85mm suffer from slow focussing and deliberately defoccused borders - great for portraits, but not for other types of photography, they are specialised lenses. 35mm a bit too short for portraiture.

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2011, 05:14:38 PM »

pwp

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2011, 05:53:04 PM »
Reading between the lines here I see a need to develop your fundamental photography skills and see what direction that takes you. Primes are nice but there is a fundamental trade-off with them...the fixed focal length.

A high percentage of professional photographers will regard the classic zoom trifecta, that is the 16-35 f/2.8, the 24-70 f/2.8 and the 70-200 f/2.8isII as the core kit which will do most of the work. Why do you suppose this is?

Primes will come into the picture for specialized shooting or shooting environments such as 300 f/2.8 and 400 f/2.8 for action sports, macro, tilt-shift for architecture and landscapes, ultrawides for interiors, 85 f/1.2 for specialized portraiture etc. But these purchases often come later as needs and shooting styles evolve, and as income increases!

Take care not to paint yourself into a corner with narrow choices that could ultimately disappoint. The 35 f/1.4 is probably the most useful and definitely the fastest focusing of these three lenses. But seriously...don't believe all the hype about zooms being inferior. Most times they'll help get you the best shots. Cheap zooms can be awful, yet good copies are plentiful. The L zooms probably account for a very high percentage of all published (Canon shot) photos on the planet.

The update 24-70 f/2.8II may be announced in the new year. It's got your name all over it.

Paul Wright
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 06:00:37 PM by pwp »

briansquibb

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2011, 06:40:54 PM »
A high percentage of professional photographers will regard the classic zoom trifecta, that is the 16-35 f/2.8, the 24-70 f/2.8 and the 70-200 f/2.8isII as the core kit which will do most of the work. Why do you suppose this is?

Nicely put.

Dont forget that most travel photography is done with zooms as well - the 70-300L is gaining favour due to its light weight, but the travel stalwarts are the 28-300L and its predessor the 35-350L

crjiro

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2011, 06:41:12 PM »
Of the primes you mentioned, i have some concern with the 50/1.2 with the things i've read.
The 50/1.4 and Sigma 50/1.4 is often compared and i'm not sure if i would go with the 50/1.2L for what you get with the price. I definitely would go with the 24/1.4, 85/1.2 and 100/2.8IS Macro II. I'd have to look into the 35/1.4 and others.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 06:44:37 PM by crjiro »

tt

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2011, 06:42:15 PM »
I'm looking to invest in some L series prime lenses.  I'm working towards owning both the 7d and the 5d Mk2 (or 3 soon).  I've heard nothing but glowing reviews of the 35mm 1.4, the 50mm 1.2, and the 85mm 1.2.  But besides the 35 being a bit faster is there much difference between these lenses?  Would I simply be picking one based on how close I predict being from my subjects or do the lenses actually perform better/worse?

I'm new to photography, but from what i'm slowly learning - yes - they're great lenses, but they each have unique characteristics, primarily their focal length -

Jasmine Star covers these lenses and their effects here: http://www.jasminestarblog.com/index.cfm?postID=990&review-canon-mm (and here gear guide covers those lenses here http://www.jasminestarblog.com/index.cfm?postID=1233&jasmine-star-lenses-and-camera)
Even if you've got the subject the same position and size in the frame - they're going to look different - think in the extremes fish eye all the way up to compressed at the 300mm look.  You've also got an effect on the compression of the background - the larger focal lengths will compress the background more, magnify it more and vice versa.

7D's a cropped sensor, so your lenses will look different between a 5D Mark II and the 7D. Effectively using the 35mm on the 7D, you'll see a cropped version of what you'd see on the 5D. Great lenses, and i'm sure many would love to get them too! As for characteristics, you've got AF, time till update, sweet spot for their aperture (is similar?).
Your proximity to the subjects is one issue, but as above - they're going to look different, even if you move your feet so the subject is the same size in your shot.

Looking to get all 3 might not help you improve so quickly as getting to know one, then building from there - e.g. choosing to do portraits, you could take the 50mm on the 7D (similar to 85mm due to the crop), then it'll be 50mm on the 5D.

What are your subjects? What do you want to shoot, and how? Do you like tight in close crops of people, or wider views?
(the the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ of these lenses I think goes more into the usual uses of these different lenses).

Final point - it's going to take some getting used to focusing, and shooting with these wide open - the depth of subject that'll be in focus will be very thin. Double edged sword of the lenses!

Axilrod

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2011, 06:42:47 PM »
I would seriously recommend not buying more than a couple lenses when you are just starting.  I went crazy and ended up with like 11 or 12 different lenses and all it did was make things harder.  I gradually narrowed them down to what's left in my signature.  But you have to take the time to learn each lens and its quirks, and sometimes having too many choices just makes things harder. 

You will be happy with any of the previously mentioned lenses, but it doesnt really make sense to buy one of the three you mentioned if its going to be your only lens.  But if you have to have one, I'd go for the 35L, like they said its pretty versatile on APS-C (7D, 60D) and FF sensors (5DII, 1Ds3). 

I also agree with the other poster about photography classes, as it does kind of sound like you know more about the equipment than photography itself. 
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briansquibb

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2011, 06:46:54 PM »
If f/4 is sufficient for you a 24-105 would be a sound start for your lens collection

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2011, 06:46:54 PM »

Axilrod

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2011, 06:49:51 PM »
Of the primes you mentioned, i have some concern with the 50/1.2 with the things i've read.
The 50/1.4 and Sigma 50/1.4 is often compared and i'm not sure if i would go with the 50/1.2L for what you get with the price.
I definitely would go with the 24/1.4, 85/1.2 and 100/2.8IS Macro II. I'd have to looking into the 35/1.4 and others.

I love my 50mm, sure the AF is a little slow (but not as bad as the 85L II) but when you "get the shot" damn does it look good.  A lot of people say its inconsistent, but I suspect this may have more to do with the super short hyper focal length...if the subject moves even an inch it can throw off the focus.
5DIII/5DII/Bunch of L's and ZE's, currently rearranging.

UOduck23

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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2011, 07:07:28 PM »
I think that Flake and PWP misunderstood the nature of my question.  I own the 40D, 70-200 L 2.8 IS II, 24-70 L 2.8, and 50 1.4.  I'm looking to upgrade my camera to the 5DM3 once it's available and then upgrade my APS-C to the 7D.  I have several years of experience with this equipment (70-200 since it's release) and a great deal of technical knowledge regarding the features of my camera and lenses.  Since I do not own the primes I mentioned I was asking about the performance of those lenses against one another.  I understand my style and how close I'd like to be to my subjects.


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Re: Prime Lenses
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2011, 07:07:28 PM »