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Author Topic: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?  (Read 14648 times)

Synomis192

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The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« on: October 07, 2012, 03:42:31 AM »
I've always heard photographers that praise a photographer for collecting either a 35/50/85 or 24/50/135 lens collection. Those are really really great lens and I've only got to spend 30 minutes with a 50 f/1.2 and I ultimately fell in love with it.

Is there a non-L prime trinity out there that offers the best images?

Like this is what I'm thinking, if I were to get the non-L versions of the 35/50/135 lens is that a good enough prime collection?
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The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« on: October 07, 2012, 03:42:31 AM »

macrodust

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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2012, 05:27:11 AM »
Both the 50mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.8 are really good value for the money, and I don't hesitate a second to recommend these.

On the wide end it's a bit trickier to find good non-L primes. I have the 28mm 1.8 and while I think it's a great focal length (being in between 24mm and 35mm), it really is a mediocre lens. I haven't tried the 35 2.0, but I frequently use the 40mm 2.8, which is a fantastic little lens considering the price and size!

I don't see any non-L "replacement" for the 135mm 2.0L. Save up for one! It's great, and it's cheap-ish for being an L lens.
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Hillsilly

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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2012, 06:04:03 AM »
A prime lens collection that is "good enough" is a difficult question.  I'm reasonably confident in saying that there aren't any "bad" lenses in the Canon collection.  Most are good and more than adequate for most things.  Some are very good and fill in the gaps for special needs. 

Even the cheapest lens - the 50mm f/1.8 - is actually quite good once you've stopped it down a bit.  In fact, virtually every cheap option is almost essentially as good as the "L" option except that they generally aren't as sharp at the widest apertures, feel a little flimsy, and their out of focus backgrounds aren't as nice.

For most things, the non-L 35/50/100 lenses will be almost as good, and you'd have to look closely to tell the differences.  And even then, "differences" doesn't actually mean "better" (although, admittedly, generally it will).  And as mentioned above, the 135mm f/2 is a very good lens if that's a focal length that interests you.  Its worthwhile saving up.
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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2012, 06:32:56 AM »
the 100mm f2 is better then the 85mm f1.8.

i don´t know why everyone recommends the 85mm.
the purple fringing of that lens, even when fixable in post, is annoying.



Rat

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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2012, 06:37:48 AM »
I don't see any non-L "replacement" for the 135mm 2.0L. Save up for one! It's great, and it's cheap-ish for being an L lens.
There is a non-L 135mm f/2.8 that includes a softfocus setting, which is about half as expensive as the 135L. I have *no* idea how good or how usable that lens is, but it's there :)
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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2012, 08:38:36 AM »
As said, the 100/2.0 and the 85/1.8 are really great lenses. I have the 85 and love it, although if I was to get one of these lenses today it would be the 100. I am using a 5D mkII. If I had used a crop camera I would have prefered the 85 /1.8.

The 28/1.8 has a bad reputation, but I find mine really good; it seems every bit as sharp as my 35 /1.4 L but with less wonderful contrast/colours, and less interesting focal length. On crop, I would get the 20/ 2.8 based on what I read from reviews.

The 50 /1.8 I had only lasted two mounths. It broke in two pieces. The glass was good though.
The 50 /1.4 is rather ok from f/2. I like the focal length but I will probably get the L-version of this lens at some point (but I will not get the L-version of the 85 since the 1.8 seems good enough). On crop, the sigma 30 /1.4 should do the trick.


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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2012, 09:29:55 AM »
I own the 50mm f/1.4, the 85mm f/1.8, and the 35mm f/2 as part of my kit.  I use both a 5D MK2 body and a Canon 60D body.  I would have to say of those three lens that the 50mm f/1.4 is my least favorite.  The 85mm is a well known; a great lens that produces a similar effect/result (just not as pronounced) to the 135mm f/2L.

The 35mm f/2 is an interesting lens.  It is very sharp on a FF body even wide open.  It produces good color.  It is also buzzy in AF and can produce slightly busy bokeh for my tastes.  It is also somewhat prone to purple fringing, but fortunately the latest version of Lightroom makes that a non-issue these days, and from what I understand, the MK3 deals with that in body.  But one of its biggest plusses (besides a great focal length) is that is has great delineation.  You can have more in the frame but yet very nice separation of your subject from the background.  It also focuses much closer than the other two lens.

I wish that Canon would revisit the lens and update it with USM and perhaps a little smoother transition to ooF areas.  Of course, with Canon's revised pricing it would probably cost $800.  Right now it is a bargain.  Light.  Sharp.  An easy lens to throw in the pocket and as is sharper than either my 17-40mm f/4L or 24-105mm f/4L IS by f/2.8.  This shot was taken this week, wide open, with the 35mm f/2.  There is some small processing in Lightroom 4, but more to do with color/saturation than any kind of sharpness.
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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2012, 09:29:55 AM »

elflord

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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2012, 09:45:27 AM »
I've always heard photographers that praise a photographer for collecting either a 35/50/85 or 24/50/135 lens collection. Those are really really great lens and I've only got to spend 30 minutes with a 50 f/1.2 and I ultimately fell in love with it.

Is there a non-L prime trinity out there that offers the best images?

Like this is what I'm thinking, if I were to get the non-L versions of the 35/50/135 lens is that a good enough prime collection?

The Sigma 85mm is an obvious choice, though at its price point and quality it really plays with L glass. 35 f/2 / Sigma 85 f/1.4  / 135L would make a pretty solid budget trinity.

The only issues with your proposed trinity are that 35mm and 50mm are pretty close together (if you have a 50, you might start looking at 24mm instead of 35mm), and there's not much point getting a budget 135 (the 135L is one of the best values in the lineup).

If you can live with manual focus, Samyang's lenses are a steal at the wide angle.


sandymandy

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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2012, 09:48:37 AM »
100mm macro 2.8 is as good as the L version of it.

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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2012, 10:32:49 AM »
I think the 40 2.8 is my solution for a great low priced 35mm on FF. This little gem has more going for it than cons. I had the 35 f/2 and used it on both crop and FF and just couldn't deal with the CA, buzzing and hunting/seeking AF. I liked the color rendering and FL but the low blade count made the blur too choppy.

If I was to buy Primes on a semi-budget I'd get:

Sigma 30 1.4 (crop)
Canon Pancake 40 (FF-it's a weird FL on a crop)
Sigma 50 1.4 (both)
Canon 100 f/2 (Very underrated, no CA issues like the 85)
EF 135 L (This and the 70-200 f/4 L are two L lenses you should really get, best bargains in the Canon lineup)
Another great portrait lens is the Canon 100 f/2.8 Macro. Almost too sharp for some folks. Better on kids and youth portraits.

neuroanatomist

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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2012, 10:40:07 AM »
I've always heard photographers that praise a photographer for collecting either a 35/50/85 or 24/50/135 lens collection.
Point of order - the phrase 'holy trinity of primes' usually refers to the 35-85-135 combo.
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LostArk

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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2012, 11:43:16 AM »
I've always heard photographers that praise a photographer for collecting either a 35/50/85 or 24/50/135 lens collection.
Point of order - the phrase 'holy trinity of primes' usually refers to the 35-85-135 combo.

While I wouldn't hesitate to call the 35-85-135 a "holy trinity" of lenses, I find that the difference in perspective between 85 and 135 to be minimal, so to have both in one's trinity strikes me as redundant.

As for the "unholy trinity" of non-L primes, that's easy:

24mm f/2.8 IS, Sigma 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8 (or 100 f/2)

CharlieB

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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2012, 11:51:31 PM »
the 100mm f2 is better then the 85mm f1.8.

i don´t know why everyone recommends the 85mm.
the purple fringing of that lens, even when fixable in post, is annoying.

Yup +1

I've got the 28/1.8, and have tested it against the 24-105L at 28mm and F/4.0.   The 28/1.8 is much better than the 24-105L at F/4.0.  And, you can let things suffer a little, and open it up 2-1/3 more stops if need be.

If I had three, and only three CANON lenses to pick... whew... tough choice. 

I'd go 100/2.8 macro, non-L over the 100/2.0

I'd go 50/1.4 but if I could find a version-I of the 50/1.8, I'd get it.

And,  28/1.8 easily for wide.

And thats IF my only choice was three.

People hate it, but the 20/2.8 is not a bad performer... especially when you have peripheral illumination correction.

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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2012, 11:51:31 PM »

dr croubie

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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2012, 12:04:07 AM »
I've got the Samyang 35/1.4, 40/2.8 Pancake, Takumar 50/1.4, EF 50/1.8 II, FL 55/1.2, EF 85/1.8, EF 100/2.0.

Pick any of those and you've got your 'unholy non-L trinity' (my best suggestion would be the Samyang 35, FL55/1.2, EF 100/2.0, that's generally what's in my bag if there's only space for 3).
Lack of AF at the wider ends really doesn't bother me, there's always Live View and Katz Eye screens...

Edit: I just realised I've also got the 40 Pancake (it's so small I forget it's there sometimes). That can replace the Samyang 35 in some situations, but then nothing's really wide. So it could replace both the 35mm and 50/55mm lengths, then add in the Tokina 17/3.5 or Mir 20/2.5, or any number of 28/2.8s I seem to have to cover the wide end, and keep either the 85/1.8 or 100/2.0 (of course that will depend if i'm shooing crop or FFFilm)

Aren't interchangeable lenses great?
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 02:19:05 AM by dr croubie »
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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2012, 01:59:07 AM »
My current Non L Unholy trinity

20mm Voigtlander color skopar f3.5 SLII
40mm Canon f2.8 Pancake
85mm Sigma f1.4

I basically carry these everywhere with my 5Dmk3

however I am eagerly awaiting the new sigma 35 f1.4 which will most likely replace the 40mm pancake in this trinity

I also have the 50mm sigma f1.4 which is really good too but much bigger than the shorty forty.
The 20mm and 40mm both take 52mm filters so they can share, and i have CPL, 10stop ND and IR filters in 52mm which stay in the bag with these guys.
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Re: The Unholy Trinity of Non-L Primes?
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2012, 01:59:07 AM »