September 18, 2014, 12:13:23 PM

Author Topic: Recommendations for my first prime (5DMK3 with 24-70 II and 70-200 2.8 II)  (Read 4086 times)

Wass

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I have my brand new 5DMK3 on its way, along with the new 24-70 II.  I also own a Canon 70-200 2.8 II and plan on getting the Canon 100mm 2.8L macro.

I've never used a prime before, so want to start exploring with that.  Any recommendations?  I was thinking 50mm, and if so, would probably try the Canon 1.4.  But curious if people would suggest a different focal length for my first prime.  I've also considered an 85mm or maybe a wide angle.  I'd use it for a mix of things, from pictures of my upcoming baby, cat, and probably just walking around outside.

Thanks for any thoughts.

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AmbientLight

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This depends mostly on what you are really interested in. I suggest to take a look at a wide angle prime. As an alternative you can also choose one of the primes suited for portrait photography, if this is more of an interest, such as a 85mm or 135mm L lens. I suggest to test some of those lenses to find out, if they suit your shooting style and interests.

cps_user

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Wass, are you saying that the 24-70 II is out?

TheAshleyJones

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I would wait to see just how good the 24-70 II is to help inform your decision.

But I have a fair few L lenses and I shoot my kids a lot and I hardly ever use anything other than the 85 or the 35.   They are both spectacular lenses. 

If I had to choose one lens on full frame over all others it would be the 85 F/1.2L II. 
650D . 60D . 5D2 .  6D . 5D3
14II . 24II . 35 . 50 . 85II . 100 . 135 . 300
16-35II . 24-70 . 24-105 . 70-200II   .   15  . 12-24

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50mm is good choice, but you might want to experiment with your zooms at 35, 50 and 85 to see which focal length would suit you best.  Because you have/will have good zooms at f/2.8, I'm don't think that f/1.8 or f/2 primes would make enough of a difference over the zooms to make it worthwhile.  f/1.2 and f/1.4 zooms would give more flexibility with DOF and shutter speed.  The f/1.4 24, 35 and 50 primes are fairly compact, the f/1.2 85mm is large and attracts a lot of attention.

Tijn

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50mm f/1.4 is a good value lens, good for experimenting with. However, it's not tack sharp below f/2. From f/2 onwards it's very sharp.

The L version of that lens, the 50mm f/1.2L, is 4x as expensive, sharper below f/2 but less sharp at smaller apertures. Its autofocus is not any faster than the f/1.4 (perhaps even slower) but it is more silent. Build quality (focus ring etc) of the L lens is of course much better, I believe it is also weathersealed.

If you're just going to learn and try it out, I'd say get the 50mm f/1.4. If at some point it becomes limiting to you, and you feel that you need the increased wide-open sharpness and somewhat nicer bokeh of the f/1.2L, then consider upgrading.

Wass

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cps_user: the 24-70 II is not yet out.  I have mine on order from B&H.  I think they're saying mid-April estimated ship date.

random orbits: definitely agree with you that 1.8 or 2 won't make enough of a difference. 

Tijn: definitely agree that the 1.2L would be sweet but way expensive.

I've seen rumors that Canon will (hopefully) update the 50mm 1.4, but who knows.

Thanks for the thoughts, everyone.  I'm probably leaning towards the 50mm 1.4, which I could then sell and upgrade if I decide I like the focal length enough to go for the 1.2. 

At some point, will also likely add the 16-35L II.  I currently have the 10-22 on my 7D, but would upgrade to an L on the 5DMK3 when I get it.

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kimloris

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But I have a fair few L lenses and I shoot my kids a lot and I hardly ever use anything other than the 85 or the 35.   They are both spectacular lenses. 

If I had to choose one lens on full frame over all others it would be the 85 F/1.2L II.

I agree that the 85L is a wonderful lens, it is so sharp but I just hate the slow AF. I prefer my 100L macro a x1000 times for moving things... like for small children or for sports...
[EDIT:] The 85L can feel a little long on crop format, especially indoors (where the 1.2L really helps). I love it for tight portraits and full body baby pictures [END EDIT].

Never tried the 35L though, how does the AF performs on this lens?
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 09:53:26 AM by kimloris »

Enthusiast

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I would take a look for a 50 1.4 of if you prefer portrait, I highly recomment the SIGMA 85mm 1.4. It´s half the price of the 1.2 but pictures very similar and the autofocus is much faster and manual focus is directly connected and not running fly by wire. I took the 50mm also from Sigma to have the same 77mm filter for all lenses.
S95, 40D, 5D MIII, EOS 3, Rolleiflex 3.5F - Tamron 17-50 2.8, Sigma: 15 2.8 Fisheye, 28 1.8, 50 1.4, 85 1.4, 105 2.8 macro, 70-200 2.8, Lensbaby Composer

AmbientLight

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I am with Axilrod here: Just go for one of those nice L primes with f1.4 or f1.2. I don't think it would make sense to switch into a different price segment for a prime, if you already own really good zooms.

Wass

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Axilrod: I have constantly upgraded my kit over the last 10 years, from my first Canon Elan 7E film SLR with a 28-135 lens over 10 years ago to all the stuff I have now (including the 5DMK3 and new 24-70, which I've been waiting forever for).  The whole time, I've gone through several bodies and lenses and have always just had zooms.  I've figured out over the years which zooms I liked and didn't like, and sold the ones I didn't like in order to upgrade to ones I like better.  It's part of the learning process.  I didn't just plop down $10k for all the stuff I have now.  I'm paying for the 5DMKIII and 24-70 II in part by selling my 24-105 and 7D.  I paid for my 24-105 and 7D in part by selling my 50D and 18-200.  I paid for those in part by selling my film SLR and 28-135.  So yes, I have all this expensive gear and never shot primes before.  That doesn't mean I can just drop $1,500 on my first prime like it's nothing.  That's why I was asking people's advice.  If I thought I was "Mr Bigshot" who could just make it rain, I wouldn't be on here asking for people's advice.

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I agree that the 85L is a wonderful lens, it is so sharp but I just hate the slow AF. I prefer my 100L macro a x1000 times for moving things... like for small children or for sports...
[EDIT:] The 85L can feel a little long on crop format, especially indoors (where the 1.2L really helps). I love it for tight portraits and full body baby pictures [END EDIT].

Never tried the 35L though, how does the AF performs on this lens?

Kimloris, the 35L is my favorite indoor lens on a crop body (hopefully moving FF soon).  AF works well and its much sharper wide open than the 50 f/1.4.  The 35L is the lens that got me into the prime game.

AmbientLight

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Let's not discuss incomes here.

What is important is the difference between a prime and a good zoom. If you already own a good zoom and then add a much cheaper prime, you are likely to end up in a situation, where you won't use that prime often enough to make the prime a valid investment in the first place. The 50mm f1.4 may be somewhat of an exception to this.

The price of your equipment does not matter once you have bought it. You will just want to use it or not and this decision will be guided by the selection of lenses you have available.

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Let's not discuss incomes here.

What is important is the difference between a prime and a good zoom. If you already own a good zoom and then add a much cheaper prime, you are likely to end up in a situation, where you won't use that prime often enough to make the prime a valid investment in the first place. The 50mm f1.4 may be somewhat of an exception to this.

The price of your equipment does not matter once you have bought it. You will just want to use it or not and this decision will be guided by the selection of lenses you have available.

+1.  Couldn't agree more.  Borrow/rent the prime first and see if it meets your expectations.  Shooting at f/1.4 or f/1.2 is a lot different than f/2.8, but the results are worth it.

RustyTheGeek

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You have a long focal length range covered with the zooms you currently have.

If I were you, I would enjoy two of the best L zooms ever made and buy a 16-35 L (my favorite lens ever) to complete your kit.  However, if you dead set on buying primes, do this....

Buy a roll of high quality gaffer tapeBlack.  Why high quality gaffer tape?  Because it won't leave a bunch of nasty adhesive goo all over your equipment.  You'll use it for all kinds of things in photography but for now, you can use it for two things...

1.  Use a short length to "lock" the zoom at the focal length of different prime lenses you are interested in.  Shoot all day like that.  See if you can accept that focal length before you buy/rent one.  Then rent one.  Then buy one if you really need it.
2.  Cut 1/4" wide strips that will fit around the shiny black/red ring circumference on your black L lenses and protect them when they rest/touch on a table, etc and hide the red ring from potential thieves.  (Also, put a small piece over the 5D and Mark III logos on the body too!)

If you want to experiment with a prime without breaking the bank, the EF 28mm f/1.8 USM is still one of my favorite lenses and it is only around $300 used.  My suggestions for great L primes would be a 24 f/1.4, a 35 f/1.4 or a 15mm f/2.8 FishEye.  I've never warmed up to longer primes because I do a lot of casual indoor shooting of people and I don't like to stand 15-20 feet away from them.  Once you get past 24-35mm, you will start feeling rather boxed in with what you can shoot candid unless you are doing studio work.  You'll back up into people, walls, small dogs and children and eventually off of curbs and cliffs trying to get everyone in the shot or compose it a certain way.  People will wonder why you ask them for a photo only to run away from them and shout from across the room to get the shot.  Really.  Unless your goal is to fill the frame with one face, not a couple or a threesome.

Take a look at what Pete Souza has done as the White House photographer with a 5D Mark II and the 35 f/1.4.  He shoots with that more than anything.  (You can look at the EXIF data to see how he shoots.)  He also uses the 50 f/1.2 but he's shooting in larger venues than most.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse

In conclusion, try the gaffer tape on your zooms, simulate the focal lengths and then see what works best for your style.  Don't buy three $1000+ primes just to try until you are sure that you need/want them.  You may find that primes are too much trouble and the 16-35 is a much better idea!

Have fun!!!
Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

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