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Author Topic: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens  (Read 18825 times)

scottsdaleriots

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I would like to buy a nifty-fifty (most likely the 50mm 1.4). I'd like it for portraits but want it for music/concert photography (right between the stage and the crowd, where the security personnel stand...if I can figure out a way to get a media pass without paying extra to the tour organisers :().

But while some people say everyone should have a 50mm in their lens collections, one of my teachers (I'm a photography student) have said that some people find 50mm lenses boring, etc. So what's the next best kind of lens? I guess my (stretched) budget wpuld be up to $1500 including the B+W filter I would buy. What does everyone think of these 'kits' and which one is better? http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Filter-Accessory-Digital-Cameras/dp/B002PX21JS/ref=sr_1_7?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1331887805&sr=1-7 or http://www.adorama.com/CA5014AFUA.html

I don't need this lens (canon branded or otherwise) but I would like it. I guess the alternatives would be a prime such as the 24mm/35mm or the 17-40mmL. Any suggestions/advice is appreciated.

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peederj

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2012, 05:02:53 AM »
Get the Samyang (Rokinon etc) 35mm for wide and 85mm for tele for half your budget, as good sharpness and light gathering, and double the versatility.

For filters, just cheapies are fine for protection. Save your money, you will need it.

unkbob

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2012, 05:16:53 AM »
For filters, just cheapies are fine for protection. Save your money, you will need it.

Cheap filters are magical - they can turn an amazing lens into a pretty good one.

briansquibb

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2012, 06:16:43 AM »
I would go for a fast lens.

I like to get close and personal so I use the 70-200f/2.8 If that is too much the perhaps the 85 f/1.8

For a wider angle maybe a 28 f/1.8

Flake

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2012, 06:38:33 AM »
Yet another question which assumes the people answering it have second sight!  For the purposes of guessing should we assume you are a Canon 1DX user or that you own an 1100D or maybe a D30 perhaps a 5D MkI?  There are many many cameras now, not all of them new, and by with holding the body you own makes the question impossible to answer accurately!

Assuming you have a crop camera (although you might not have) 50mm is 80mm (fov) so if you want 50mm you will need a 35mm.  For portrait consider the 85mm f/1.8.

Of course the other information you haven't told us is the lenses which you currently have so it's nothing more than a guessing game.

I take it you aren't considering photography as a career?  Music photography is a sure fire way to poverty as every single student in the world seems hell bent on producing images for free and then giving them away for nothing!  Fine is it's for fun and a hobby, but for professional use they really aren't suitable for a portfolio unless they're really stunning.

Tijn

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2012, 06:48:08 AM »
What camera and lenses do you already have? What do you want to shoot / like shooting most, if you were to cross out concerts?

alipaulphotography

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2012, 07:30:11 AM »
The beauty of a 50mm lens is precisely in its simplicity.

The focal length on full frame is roughly what the eye can see, which is perfect for documentary/street photography or simply telling stories and capturing memories of how you saw things with your eyes.

Sometimes I wish I had a little button on my head I could push and take a photo of what I see through my eyes - (Dynamic range is certainly better!) But until then - a 50mm on a full frame/35mm film body will have to do.

They are cheap, can shoot in low light, just the right focal length for getting wonderful shallow depth of field and bokeh without being telephoto.

Wider than 50mm (24/35mm) - you'll be sacrificing that shallow depth of field, but obviously you can fit more into a scene. I use the 35mm a lot at weddings as it allows me to get close and tell stories better by capturing more people in each photo. But if I had to use one lens - it would be a 50.

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2012, 07:30:11 AM »

solarpos

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2012, 08:08:59 AM »
Are you FF or 1.6? If you are shooting crop then the 50 is not a 'normal lens and is better suited for such things as indoor sports or head and shoulders portraits. In that case I suggest a 35 FL lens. If you are shooting with a FF body then I guess you just figured out that the 50mm FL isn't your bag. That's a good thing, knowing what works and doesn't work.

Neeneko

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2012, 08:35:23 AM »
You should slap your professor....

The 1.4 is a workhorse... for the money it is probably the best lens you can get for a Canon, esp if you are only going to have 1 or 2 lenses.   It is simple, versatile, and optically pretty damn good.

It might not be 'fun' or 'sexy', but it gets the job done, which if your goal is taking pictures is exactly what you want, especially if you are just learning.  Get good with that one first then start playing with more interesting (but less flexible) lenses.

That being said, I would also recommend this one if you are looking for a good general purpose lens usable across a wide range of subjects:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006I53S/ref=oh_o04_s00_i00_details

Good lens, nice range, low cost.

unkbob

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2012, 09:03:26 AM »
You should slap your professor....

I don't agree. The 50 is very useful and versatile but a wider lens like the 35L on a FF add more drama. Since I bought the 35 my 50 gets very little use. The 50 is more flattering but for portraits you probably want to go a little longer than that. If all you've got is one lens, sure I'd probably go for the 50, but if you have two, then a 35 (or 24-70) and an 85 / 100 / 135 / 70-200 are nicer to have, at least for the way I work.

AJ

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2012, 12:15:56 PM »
Quote
one of my teachers (I'm a photography student) have said that some people find 50mm lenses boring, etc. So what's the next best kind of lens?

Who cares what someone says what some people think?  What matters is what you think.

Focal length is very personal.  Don't let other people decide focal length for you.  Pick it yourself.

I suggest going to a gig with a zoom lens.  Crank up the iso and start shooting.  Don't worry about a bit of noise or some blur.  Afterwards, have a look at the exifs of the photos that you like, to see focal length.  Buy a prime accordingly.


D_Rochat

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2012, 01:34:30 PM »
For filters, just cheapies are fine for protection. Save your money, you will need it.

I'm not the first to say it in this thread, but he couldn't be more wrong. The cheap ones are going to take away from your image quality. If you're going to spend the money on a good lens, get a Hoya or B&W.

ksuweh

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2012, 01:52:16 PM »
If you are going to be right up front next to the stage a lot of artists like to show off & get right there in your face. That is why I prefer a wide angle lens for those events.

I assume that you have a 1.6x crop body. If that is the case a Canon EF-S 10-22 would be a good option, a Tokina 11-16 is a great option & a Canon EF-S 17-55 would be another good option.

Two pieces of advise:

1. Buy the best glass that you can. The lenses are the investment & no matter how good of a camera you have, if you use a crap lens you WILL get crap photos.

2. This one ties into the last comment......buy good filters! A crappy filter isn't any better than a crappy lens.

For filters I suggest B+W Multi-Resistant Coating (MRC) UV filters. They are well worth the investment!
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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2012, 01:52:16 PM »

David KM

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2012, 02:27:02 PM »
For filters, just cheapies are fine for protection. Save your money, you will need it.

Cheap filters are magical - they can turn an amazing lens into a pretty good one.

Awesome !!!! So true, but if he's using a cheapy filter on a Rokinon then it may be an upgrade. I use a thin smear of vaseline to protect all my lenses, slightly better than a cheap filter ;o)

35L would be my vote for this thread.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2012, 02:31:44 PM by David KM »

peederj

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2012, 02:44:16 PM »
I had a feeling that would be controversial around here. Like saying coat hangers are just as good for speaker cables as $2000 oxygen-free cables in an audiophile forum. Lots of peacocks in photography, and lots of sunk costs.

Anyway for a film student on a budget the $10 Chinese UV protector models (e.g. Zeikos, Opteka, Maximal Power, etc.) are every bit as good as B&W and Tiffen. Hoya years ago _was_ the cheapie filter, but people realized that they were just as good as the fancy German ones (not to mention they make much of the glass for the rest of the industry anyway) and now they aren't so cheap. Of course some filters (of any price) may be damaged or just poorly done...and yes I've sent some of those back.

I have a huge variety of filters of various price ranges, all the way up to 4x4 Schneiders etc. And the rare moments I have a flare problem or something with a filter, I look down expecting to find it's a cheapie but there is my fancy B&W with all its multicoatings. When one has a problem with a filter, don't blame the filter, just unscrew it.

Anyway if you'd like me to set up a double-blind test of lens filters using the 35L or 135L or whatever lens you feel is worthy of trophy status, I'll be happy to do so, but we're going to be betting something that's gonna hurt or it's not worth the time.  8)

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Re: Recommend me a lens that's better/more useful than a 50mm lens
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2012, 02:44:16 PM »