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Thread: 50mm on APS sensor

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    Hans's Avatar
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    50mm on APS sensor

    Does anyone use a 50mm on smaller sesnor for portraits?

    Going too close with a 50mm can still distort generous facial proportions (like noses...especially like mine - hence the common use of 85mm - 100mm portrait lenses). Just wondering if putting a 50mm on a smaller digital sensor would force the photographer far enough away from the subject to mitigate this property (of the lens) since the effective focal length will be around 75mm.

    Does it actually work like that or does the lens retain its original properties? I've been fantasizing about buying the very cheap Nikon 50mm 1.8D and using as a small portrait lens since my 105mm acts like a 155mm on my D90 (which isn't a huge issue unless you only have a wall to back into).

    Thanks for any advice,

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    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Does anyone use a 50mm on smaller sesnor for portraits?

    Going too close with a 50mm can still distort generous facial proportions (like noses...especially like mine - hence the common use of 85mm - 100mm portrait lenses). Just wondering if putting a 50mm on a smaller digital sensor would force the photographer far enough away from the subject to mitigate this property (of the lens) since the effective focal length will be around 75mm.

    Does it actually work like that or does the lens retain its original properties? I've been fantasizing about buying the very cheap Nikon 50mm 1.8D and using as a small portrait lens since my 105mm acts like a 155mm on my D90 (which isn't a huge issue unless you only have a wall to back into).

    Thanks for any advice,
    Yes, it does work like that. A 50mm lens on a crop (1.5-1.6x) sensor works fine for pictures of people. It gives a natural undistorted look (I think) and you don't need a huge amount of room. You can always crop a little bit more if you want to. It's also useful for many other purposes.

    Will

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    Hans's Avatar
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    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    Ta Will

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    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    Does anyone use a 50mm on smaller sesnor for portraits?
    Quite a number do .

    Going too close with a 50mm can still distort generous facial proportions (like noses...especially like mine - hence the common use of 85mm - 100mm portrait lenses). Just wondering if putting a 50mm on a smaller digital sensor would force the photographer far enough away from the subject to mitigate this property (of the lens) since the effective focal length will be around 75mm.
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...era-lenses.htm

    Many will say that focal length also determines the perspective of an image, but strictly speaking, perspective only changes with one's location relative to their subject. If one tries to achieve the same subjects filling the frame with both a wide angle and telephoto lens, then perspective does indeed change because one is forced to move closer or further from their subject. For these scenarios only, the wide angle lens exaggerates or stretches perspective, whereas the telephoto lens compresses or flattens perspective.
    I'm pretty sure you know this already, but I'll reiterate it. Perspective distortion is caused when the lens is too near the subject, not because of focal length or properties of the lens. However, as the above quote mentions, a short focal length forces you to get closer to fill up the frame, thus causing perspective distortion.

    So a 50mm on a cropped frame becomes a short telephoto lens ideal for portraits.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by will_c View Post
    Yes, it does work like that. ... It's also useful for many other purposes.
    Hans
    I agree with Will. It was a local professional who first put me on to Canon's 'nifty fifty', saying it was an excellent portrait lens.

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    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    Hi Hans,

    Greetings to a fellow Sydney-sider! I recently purchased a Canon 50mm f/1.8 II for my 450D and it's absolutely brilliant (and it only set me back $135!). If you are in metro Sydney, check out d-d-photographics (North Sydney) as their prices are the cheapest I have found in Sydney (and if you know of any cheaper, please let me know! )

    The Nikon 50mm f/1.8D is around $165 at that shop. The only thing to be aware of though is that apparently it doesn't auto-focus on the D5000 (you might need to check with others on the forum as I'm a Canon shooter) so this may be something that needs to be considered when purchasing. Apart from that, the lens is absolutely fantastic for shooting portraits (in my experience) and does very well indoors with and without a flash. With my 1.6x Crop Factor, I need to stand around 80-100cm from the subject to fill the frame.

    Dan

  7. #7

    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    @dan88. Thankfullly the OP's D90 has a built in autofocus motor so it will AF with the 50mm f/1.8 D. Thanks for pointing that out!

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    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by Blazing fire View Post
    @dan88. Thankfullly the OP's D90 has a built in autofocus motor so it will AF with the 50mm f/1.8 D. Thanks for pointing that out!
    Thanks for pointing that out - I mentioned the D5000 as it was something that Captn Mike mentioned in this post - I was unaware until that point (being a Canon shooter myself) as well as which bodies didn't autofocus with certain lens.

    But I didn't realise until just then that the OP mentioned he had a D90!

  9. #9

    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    No, I meant no sacarsm. It is something which is often overlooked by most, including myself. So it's a good thing that you mentioned about the lack of AF on certain bodies with certain lens. Fortunately, this is not a problem with the D90.

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    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    oh no, I was aware of that! I just wanted to clarify that I was a Canon user, hence my knowledge level not being that great about the Nikon's. That's all

  11. #11

    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    Oh okay! I'm glad you did not take offence.

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    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    Thanks Donald, Dan and Blazing fire,

    I just read through that post and this one:

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...ensor-size.htm

    If I'd done it earlier I'd not had to have bothered everyone with a fundamental question like that . Great tutorials!

    The only thing to be aware of though is that apparently it doesn't auto-focus on the D5000
    You are right to mention that, sonce the D40, D60, D3000 and D5000 all need AF-I or AF-S lenses for auto focus...which is a bit of a drag if you decide to get a semi-pro or pro model later

    if you know of any cheaper, please let me know
    I usually do Dirt Cheap Cameras in the CBD, but do mail order since I am 6 hours from Sydney (though did a couple of years in Drummoyne, Blacktown and Penrith as a paramedic before taking the lifestyle option). However, DDP is quite a bit cheaper and I'll be mentioning that to DCC when I order my 50mm, so thanks for the tip!

    Anyway, gotta run and figure out how to get this lens without the minister for finance noticing...Doh! She does the budget

    Cheers and regards,

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    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    Nikons have a 1.5x magnification factor so a 50 mm will actually give you the equivalent of 75 mm. When purchasing lenses, just multiply the focal length by 1.5 (including the Dx models) and you're all set.

    Found this video for you:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/snapfact.../5/7MNvYqUymQc

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    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    Amberglass, great tutorials! thanks for the tip

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    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Amberglass, great tutorials! thanks for the tip
    You're welcome. Honestly there is no such thing as a portrait lens. It's all about personal preferences to the angle, compression, and perspective that a particular lens provides. Often times an image will appear to be "off" despite having everything else (exposure and composition) all correct, simply because the wrong lens was used (aka depth of field).

    The 85 mm f1.8 is among the most popular focal length for portraiture work for primes. It's a medium telephoto prime and a poor man's version of the more expensive f1.4 version. This will give you the equivalent of 127 mm and a good comfortable working distance from subject.

    Two of my all time favorites for portrait work Nikon primes are the 200 2 and 85 1.4 for the dreamy bokeh (blurring of the background to make your subject stand out).

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    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    Amberglass,

    Thanks for your comments again, and appologies for late reply (work+kids=busy!)

    Often times an image will appear to be "off" despite having everything else (exposure and composition) all correct, simply because the wrong lens was used (aka depth of field).
    Have looked long and hard now at the 50mm, I've decided to put the 85mm 1.4 on my wish list (though financial considerations may force my hand to the 1.8 which is still a great liitle lens). Though I'd have a perceived focal length of 75mm on my APS-C sensor, the 50mm would still be performing like a 50 mm in terms of depth of field so I don't feel it would adequately immitate a focal length of 75mm lens on a full sized sensor and thus would not produce as narrow a DOF that I'd be looking for in a portrait lens...besides, my Sigma 105mm EX 2.8 (old version) will do anything I need to do for now.

    Kind regards

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    Re: 50mm on APS sensor

    Hans,

    Depth of field is not only effected by the aperture that you use, but also it relates to the distance that you are from the subject, and also the distance behind the subject that you're photographing.

    Shooting wide open with Nikon 50mm ƒ/1.4G AF-S will result in "soft images". If you read the lens manual on your prime, it will tell you this right off the bat. Just because you can shoot wide open doesn't necessarily mean that you should.

    The gradient blur/bokeh that you're after can easily be achieved if you know how position yourself from the subject, even at f/4. Here's a video that demonstrates what I am saying:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRJMisfK_-Q

    Demonstrations/info for Nikon's 85 1.8 and 1.4:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwhDwg0igqE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYIL6...eature=channel

    Hopes this helps.

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