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-   -   50mm 1.8 or 85mm 1.8 (

stoltzy Jan 26, 2007 10:21 PM

Just got the Canon 20D and would like to get either the 50mm or 85mm 1.8 lens for shooting HS basketball and volleyball. I am able to get on the floor under the basket.
Is the 85mm focus length going to be to much for that close of shot. Is there a difference in the quality of the pics between the two lens. I know the 85mm is a higher priced lens, but that would not be a factor in the decision.

Mark1616 Jan 27, 2007 6:19 AM

I know that JohnG uses both lenses and depends where he is going to position himself. If it is under the basket then the 50mm is choice if it is in one of the corners the the 85mm is the weapon to use. As for quality and focus speed I will let someone else answer who has used them both in anger but wanted to get you started.

k1par Jan 27, 2007 8:32 AM

I shoot basketball under the basket and use only the 50mm f1.8. As tight as some of the gyms I work in the 85mm would not be suitable.

JohnG Jan 27, 2007 10:19 AM


No doubt the 50mm is one of the greatest values in the Canon lineup. Great lens. But the 85mm 1.8 is much better - faster focusing.

Here's the thing - the 50mm is great for players right in front of you -about 10 feet away. But that's about it. In many gyms, there isn't a lot of space between the court and the back wall and officials/coaches aren't very happy about a photog camping under the basket in such tight quarters. So, it's more practical to shoot from the corners of the baseline rather than under the basket. From that location, the 85 is a much better choice of lenses as you'll get more reach. The only time it's a bit too tight is when a player is making a jump shot or 3 point shot from your location. But if your technique is good you can get amazing portrait shots during that time.

As Mark said, I will only use the 50 if I'm under the basket and there aren't many gyms with enough room to camp out there so I probably use the 85 90% of the time.

stoltzy Jan 27, 2007 10:52 AM

JohnG is 85mm on the 20D actually that length, I was told that on the Minolta 5D a
50mm was really a 75mm because of it being on a digital camera. The reason I ask is
because with the Minolta and the 50mm with lay-ups and shots in the post its a little tight but not that bad. Do you think I will get better result with the 20D over the 5D or will there even be a difference. I just thought that with the Canon there are more lens choices and hopefully better results.

JohnG Jan 27, 2007 11:35 AM


The crop factor applies to all the entry level DSLRs. So an 50mm lens on a Canon is actually 80mm (canon's non-pro DSLRs have a 1.6 crop factor).

Mark1616 actually shot with the minolta system before switching to Canon - so he can better tell you how the CAMERAs compare.

Mark1616 Jan 27, 2007 5:42 PM


I did make the switch from the KM5D to the Canon 30D mainly as I wanted fast AF, vertical gripand a higher continuous shot rate, I also gained better results in low light than with the KM5D as the ISO rating on a KM is pretty much spot on where as the Canon at ISO 3200 is actually pushing ISO 4000. I had the Minolta 50mm f1.7 which worked OK but have not yet tried the Canon 50mm to compare, however I did have the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 on the Minolta and also use the same on my Canon and have noticed very positive improvements. I would say that when working in Jpg the KM is slightly better are resolving accurate colours especially with the reds but that is a small price to pay to get the other gains.

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