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Old Nov 24, 2006, 3:58 PM   #11
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My most used prime on my Maxxum 5D is a 28mm f/2

You can usually move closer to a subject. But, more often than not, you can only back up so far. ;-)

I'd check out the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC AF Lens if you want a good general purpose "standard" lens for a DSLR that's also very bright.

It gets pretty good user reviews. Keep in mind that it can only be used on a DSLR with a sensor smaller than 35mm film (otherwise, you'd get vignetting because it's image circle is smaller).

Here is an album by Lightrules (formerly known as fstopjojo) comparing one to a Canon 35mm f/1.4L and Canon 35mm f/2:

http://www.pbase.com/lightrules/30v35s

Given your apparent concern about low light performance of cameras, you'll probably need every advantage you can get if you plan on a lot of that type of photography.

This Sigma sells for around $400 ($429 at B&H), and is available in popular camera mounts.

If you don't want a lens that bright, there are less expensive alternatives.

Also, as cheap as a 50mm is from major manufacturers, I'd get one anyway for other uses, even if you go with a wider prime. Why lock yourself into one lens if you don't have to?


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Old Nov 25, 2006, 3:23 AM   #12
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BenjaminXYZ wrote:
Quote:
O, I see...

I just wanted to compare the 75 mm focal lengthto my compact digital camera with 3x optical zoom...(I want to know where the 75 mm focal length would fit...So that I can experiment around a bit...)

My compactstarts from 38 mm on wardsto goodness knows what focal length...(3x?) How to zoom in to 75 mm on my compact camera? My dead guess >>> 2x optical zoom; 2.5x optical zoom??? :lol:

My Sony DSC-N1 have a max zoom range of 114 mm (3 x) >>>

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/spec...sony_dscn1.asp (SIGH, just multiply by 3!)

EDIT: Around 2x! (2 x 38 = 76 LOL!) :lol:

Real answer: 1.97368421052x optical zoom on my digital compact N1 = 75 mm focal length. : D


Regarding the X factor.

It only happens to be at the 2X mark on YOUR particular camera!!!

Consider two SLR zoom lenses.

Lens 1: 200-400mm (zoom is 400/200 = 2x)
Lens 2: 17-70mm (zoom is 70/17 = 4.1x)

So lens 2 has got a 4x zoom and lens 1 has a 2x zoom. But which lens are you going to use to shoot landscape and which to shoot a picture of a bird at the end of the garden?

Now assume you're using them on a 1.5x camera. The effective focal length becomes 300-600 for lens 1 and 25-105 for lens 2. The zoom factor hasn't changed but they give you different angles of view.

The human field of view is usually considered to be around 120 degrees horizontally, at the periphery, which is very wide indeed.

However it is more usual to regard the central section of around 45 degrees of "focussed vision" as normal. This equates to approximately 40-45mm (35mm equivalent) focal length. This is why the two most popular of the "normal" focal lengths are 35mm and 50mm.

As it happens however the 50mm focal length happens to be cheaper and easier to make, and so has long been regarded as "normal" for 35mm photography, although many of the great documentary photographers have preferred 35mm focal length on their Leicas.

So this is what has led to the "real photographers learn on a 50mm lens" legend. Quite simply for many years the 50mm lens was the "kit" lens for 35mm cameras. However the crop factor of modern digital SLRS has not adjusted the legend, so there are lots of people who still think that it's a good idea to learn using a 50mm lens, even though with the crop it gives a much narrower angle of view than it would have done on 35mm film.

http://www.acapixus.dk/photography/angle_of_view.htm

If you can afford a fast prime in the 24-35mm range that will put you into the old school style. Of course as soon as zooms of reasonable quality became available and started being bundled as kits most sensible people preferred a zoom, and the old school legends and snobbery began.

As a practical matter today the prime gives the advantage of (usually) slightly better optics and greater aperture compared to the flexibilty of the variable focal length. In practice what you should do if you can is get both a standard zoom and a fast prime for different circumstances.

I use my 28mm f1.8 as a general "snapshot" lens for winter and indoors.
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Old Nov 25, 2006, 6:08 AM   #13
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Quote:
Hi Ben,

Say...what camera did you end up buying? Any pictures to share with us yet?
Eh not yet, I would only be buying one later on; currently have a lot of shifting to be done. P.S., I am also waiting for the Pentax K10D & Pentax K100D review in dpreview. (Which was recently stated to be very soon)

Quote:
Ben,

A 50mm fixed focal length would be very difficult as your only focal length.

You would be much better off using a 28mm or 35mm lens, which will give you much closer to the traditional "normal" angle of view that one gets using a 50mm lens on a FF camera.

There are a few photojournalists around who use a short telephoto ~75-85mm (35mm equivalent) as their only lens, but for most people it's not very practical.

In fact the group of people who most commonly use just a single focal length (the Leica rangefinder crowd) tend to use 35mm as their focal length of choice, with a smaller number using a 50mm lens. That is full frame of course; on a crop camera that works out at around 24mm or 35mm respectively.

On my 20D I (and a few of the Canon crowd here) use a 28mm f1.8 (*1.6 = 45mm equivalent) as a great low-light prime lens. I could live with that as my only lens, but I certainly couldn't live with my 50mm f1.8 as my only lens.

If you like the Pentax, then you should seriously check out their "pancake" lenses.

http://www.pentaxuser.co.uk/pages/news/pentax_DA40.htm

With the K100D that looks like a really cool documentary setup, very small & light f2.8 and image stabilised. A really nice alternative to a Leica M8!!
I prefer to shoot with certain primes for their better optics, speed, and design. (Compact; non protruding)

I actually experimented with my digitalcamera just now by setting the optical zoom to 2x (76 mm); I generally foundthe focal lengthto be alright, however, I agree that it israther abit long for critical indoor shots. (But what to do if I want to get the Nikon D80 and try to stay under U.S. $1100) :lol:

The Nikkor 50 mm F/1.8 is also a great lens judging by the reviews and user opinions around...Even the Nikkor 35 mm F/2is slower& doesn't haveas shallow a D.O.F. capability (Isn't as fast too). The thing that is very positive for the Nikkor 50 mm F/1.8 is that dpreview uses it. Dpreview uses the 50 mm F/1.8 Nikkor for critical image quality evaluations on Nikon dSLR cameras, and also for comparisons with other dSLR cameras. (Theydidn't used the 50 mm F/1.4 version because they said that the F/1.8 versionwas sharper at F/9)

Generally I would like to use the 35 mm prime lens or the Sigma 30 mm prime lens, but I wouldn't be able to get them with the Nikon D80 (Over budget!!). However looking at it, the 50 mm prime lens doesn't look bad at all; I think it shouldn't be a problem for me to start shooting with it. (Some challenges would be nice too) The big F/1.8 aperture, shallow dept of field, sharp optics of the 50 mm F1.8, and the big pentaprism viewfinder of the Nikon D80 is all just looking very nice to me. :-)

Quote:

My most used prime on my Maxxum 5D is a 28mm f/2

You can usually move closer to a subject. But, more often than not, you can only back up so far. ;-)

I'd check out the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC AF Lens if you want a good general purpose "standard" lens for a DSLR that's also very bright.

It gets pretty good user reviews. Keep in mind that it can only be used on a DSLR with a sensor smaller than 35mm film (otherwise, you'd get vignetting because it's image circle is smaller).

Here is an album by Lightrules (formerly known as fstopjojo) comparing one to a Canon 35mm f/1.4L and Canon 35mm f/2:

http://www.pbase.com/lightrules/30v35s

Given your apparent concern about low light performance of cameras, you'll probably need every advantage you can get if you plan on a lot of that type of photography.

This Sigma sells for around $400 ($429 at B&H), and is available in popular camera mounts.

If you don't want a lens that bright, there are less expensive alternatives.

Also, as cheap as a 50mm is from major manufacturers, I'd get one anyway for other uses, even if you go with a wider prime. Why lock yourself into one lens if you don't have to?

My plan wasto use the Nikkor 50 mm F/1.8 on the Nikon D80 for the time being, then as I make progress in my photography courses next year; I would consider lookingfor suitable lenses. (Must wait for money) :-)

P.S., I don't particularly fancy getting more than onelens currently; I would let my collection add up slowly if it needs to. (For now, I would like to concentrate on having only one lens with camera to handle)

Thanks for your good advice. (I shall keep it in mind for later)

Quote:
Regarding the X factor.

It only happens to be at the 2X mark on YOUR particular camera!!!

Consider two SLR zoom lenses.

Lens 1: 200-400mm (zoom is 400/200 = 2x)
Lens 2: 17-70mm (zoom is 70/17 = 4.1x)

So lens 2 has got a 4x zoom and lens 1 has a 2x zoom. But which lens are you going to use to shoot landscape and which to shoot a picture of a bird at the end of the garden?

Now assume you're using them on a 1.5x camera. The effective focal length becomes 300-600 for lens 1 and 25-105 for lens 2. The zoom factor hasn't changed but they give you different angles of view.

The human field of view is usually considered to be around 120 degrees horizontally, at the periphery, which is very wide indeed.

However it is more usual to regard the central section of around 45 degrees of "focussed vision" as normal. This equates to approximately 40-45mm (35mm equivalent) focal length. This is why the two most popular of the "normal" focal lengths are 35mm and 50mm.

As it happens however the 50mm focal length happens to be cheaper and easier to make, and so has long been regarded as "normal" for 35mm photography, although many of the great documentary photographers have preferred 35mm focal length on their Leicas.

So this is what has led to the "real photographers learn on a 50mm lens" legend. Quite simply for many years the 50mm lens was the "kit" lens for 35mm cameras. However the crop factor of modern digital SLRS has not adjusted the legend, so there are lots of people who still think that it's a good idea to learn using a 50mm lens, even though with the crop it gives a much narrower angle of view than it would have done on 35mm film.

http://www.acapixus.dk/photography/angle_of_view.htm

If you can afford a fast prime in the 24-35mm range that will put you into the old school style. Of course as soon as zooms of reasonable quality became available and started being bundled as kits most sensible people preferred a zoom, and the old school legends and snobbery began.

As a practical matter today the prime gives the advantage of (usually) slightly better optics and greater aperture compared to the flexibilty of the variable focal length. In practice what you should do if you can is get both a standard zoom and a fast prime for different circumstances.

I use my 28mm f1.8 as a general "snapshot" lens for winter and indoors.



If I could find 75 mm on my N1 (Which was approximately 2x optical zoom), I bet I would also be able to find 75 mm on other wider P&S too. (Just by using the same method) :-)

Like I already told you just now (And JimC) too, that I would certainly like a wider lens; but currently due to my passion for the "rather expensive" but frankly interesting and exciting Nikon D80, I just have to plan things alittle differently. In the end, the Nikkor 50 mm F/1.8 prime lens (Which I didplanned to fit on the D80 for the time being; if I get it) is also a great and value for money lens. 8) (It is a lens that I can comfortably accept; unlike some others...which I would somehow feel rather uncomfortable about...)

I actually have the desire to shoot with primes only; in the future. Perhaps the next lens to look for after the 50 mm should be the wanted35 mm F/2 Nikkor. :-) (Surprisingly still cost a bit more than the much newer AF-S 18 - 17 mm E.D. glassNikkor zoom) Then perhaps the 85 mm F/1.8 LOL...(Yeah, shooting with primeslooksinteresting to me! :-))

BTW, to recall once again; I zoomed my digital camera's optical zoom to 2x (76 mm), and found the field of view tobe manageable. Ifoundthe 76 mm focal length to be"just" like the focal length of my eyes. (Which is great)

I think it can get rather shaky at 75 mm...but with a heavy dSLR, and higher ISO performance; I guess it shouldn't be a problem right? (The Nikon D80 can afford ISO 3200) :G

The fast F/1.8aperture with the ability to stop down a bit to probably F/2.8, should probably still be plenty fast enough for me to prevent handshake blurring; if I want to havemore D.O.F.. (Correct?)

Generally, with the idea of fitting the Nikon D80 (Reportedly good ISO 100 - ISO 1600; &not badISO 3200)with the fast 50 mm F/1.8; I don't think that handshake blurring will be a problem. (I hope!)

I'll like to make sure actually.

Any idea?

BTW, thanks for your good advices also. (Things to keep in mind for later use..)
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Old Nov 25, 2006, 8:04 AM   #14
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I agree with peripatetic. I wouldn't limit yourself to just a moderate telephoto prime. Even if it mean getting the 18-55.....its inexpensive, fairly sharp stopped down, and can be picked up for next to nothing when bought with a body. Sure its not a pro level lens, but at least you would have some flexibility. I use primes, but only when I have a specific purpose in mind. If i'm out walking or at an event, it's just way too inconvenient to stop and switch lenses. I can't imagine walking around with a bagful of primes and having shooting interrupted by lens switching because i didn't have the proper lens on for the situation. I've seen faboulous images done with kit lenses, and have even done some myself that have made money, and I dare say the average person wouldn't be able to pick out an image shot with a prime vs a zoom. Yes primes do have advantages, especially in low light, but they are just too limiting for me to use as my everyday lens.
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Old Nov 25, 2006, 8:34 AM   #15
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Most makers 50mm/f1.8 primes are their best bang-for-the-buck in their entire line of lenses (usually coming in around $70-80.00 USD). They are usually very fast & sharp (and for those of us that migrated over from 35mm SLR's), something we've grown accustomed to using.

On a DSLR, they tend to make not-so-great landscape or architecture lenses, but do make great portrait lenses (depending on your space constraints). If I were doing (people) street photography, I would likely use one...if I wanted scenic shots, probably not.

Using one as a beginning learning tool isn't a bad idea...it makes you think ahead & plan your shots, teaches you to use your legs for zooming and takes one more thing to fiddle with out of your learning curve. As time progresses, I wouldn't count on it as my daily walk-around lens, but you'll find it very handy in the future (but who am I to talk...I use a Tamron 35-105mm/2.8 as my main lens. It covers all my needs (for my "style" of shooting) & I can use it as a club if I need one ;-)
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Old Nov 25, 2006, 8:51 AM   #16
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I've got the same Tamron that Kalypso mentioned. It's not a bad lens at all (on a KM DSLR anyway). It's much sharper than the newer Tamron SP 28-105mm f/2.8 according to MTF Charts (probably because it's range from wide to long is not as ambitious). Color and Contrast are also very good from it.

It's focal range is not that appealing to most DSLR owners (because it starts out at 35mm and most DSLR owners are looking for a zoom starting out wider than that). So, you can find these at great prices on the used market if you're a patient shopper and wait for a bargain (I only paid $119 for mine).

Using a 35-105mm lens on a Pentax, Konica Minolta, Sony or Nikon DSLR model, you'd have roughly the same angle of view as you would using a 52-157mm lens on a 35mm camera.

I've got two Tamron zooms right now. The Tamron SP 20-40mm f/2.7-3.5 and the Tamron SP 35-105mm f/2.8. I probably use both about the same amount.

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Old Nov 25, 2006, 8:55 AM   #17
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I agree with most of what is said above. Given that you are on a tight budget, get the kit lens with whatever dSLR you get - that is almost always a good price for apretty good lens.

For the next lens, thef/1.8 (or so) 50mm lens would be a good choice. The price is almost always good andthe quality excellent when stoped down a bit. Having a fast lens of any focal length is worthwhile, and a good quality lens will be usefull as a comparison to the kit lens. That will teach you if you need high quality lenses or if the cheaper ones are good enough for your use.
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Old Nov 26, 2006, 7:45 AM   #18
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Thanks guys; all of youradvises in here are certainly very good.

I will most likely be following Kalypso's advice; that I can use the 50 mm F/1.8 as a walk-around lens for the start (Try to get used to it), then perhaps look for a zoom at the later stages.

rjseeney's advice will be ideal if I was seeking out convenience and versatility, or flexibility. (A zoom lens is definitely more versatile in terms of focal lengths)

I know that there'll be bound to be limitations walking around witha 50 mm prime lens, but I think that it will eventually pay off well in the long run for my photography learning curve. IMO a nice punishment for a bad boy like me who wants the Nikon D80! Who asked me to want the Nikon D80 huh??? :G(Just kidding only!)

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Old Nov 26, 2006, 2:55 PM   #19
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OK Ben, it seems you're determined to ignore everyone's advice; your money - your choice.

I hope you like portraits, because you're going to be taking an awful lot of them.

Just to make me happy....

Please make it clear to us that you understand that 50*1.5=75mm effective focal length.

Please also make it clear that you understand that EVERYONE who contributed to this thread (including Kalypso) thinks that:

1. The 50mm f1.8 is a very nice lens.
2. It would be a mistake for a beginner to buy that as his ONLY lens to learn with.
3. Everyone who contributed to this thread thinks that you would be better off buying the 18-55 kit lens.
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Old Nov 26, 2006, 11:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
OK Ben, it seems you're determined to ignore everyone's advice; your money - your choice.
Alright, at first Iwas confused/bewilded...Then...

Quote:

Please also make it clear that you understand that EVERYONE who contributed to this thread (including Kalypso) thinks that:

1. The 50mm f1.8 is a very nice lens.
2. It would be a mistake for a beginner to buy that as his ONLY lens to learn with.
3. Everyone who contributed to this thread thinks that you would be better off buying the 18-55 kit lens.
Eh...I see...But I didn't recalled anyone in here saying that it will be a "Mistake" for me to start with the 50 mm prime lens?

OK...I didn't hear any of you said (Except Rejeency) that I would be better off with the 18 - 55 mm kit lens...Even that, I thought Rejeencyy was aimingat the idea of versatility...(Which I didn't disagreed with)

(???)

Quote:

I hope you like portraits, because you're going to be taking an awful lot of them.

Just to make me happy....
I agree that itwas rather nice to be sarcastic inthere, because I certainly liked it very much indeed...So no worries here...

Quote:

Please make it clear to us that you understand that 50*1.5=75mm effective focal length.


You meant 50 mm on 1.5 crop factor CCR???

If I am not mistaken: 50 mm multiply by 1.5 = 75 mm.

:?

BTW, thanks for allyour GOOD GOOD advice. (Maybe I should just follow all your good advice)

P.S.: I wonder if you'll were to be in my position right now, I'll wonder what would you'll do; and why...(The Golden Question) A separate thread would be more appropriate hmmm?
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