Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: First prime lens for an amateur?

  1. #1
    neverhood311's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    I'm from Seattle and I go to school in Utah
    Posts
    92
    Real Name
    Justin

    First prime lens for an amateur?

    I don't think I have the budget for a new camera, so I'm very seriously considering purchasing my very first prime lens to add new life to my old Rebel XTi.

    I hear the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 is great for beginners, but I'd like a lens that doesn't feel like plastic; something a little more serious that won't break the bank.

    So I've pretty much narrowed it down to the 50mm f/1.4 and the 28mm f/1.8. I'm really leaning towards the 50mm, but I'm not quite convinced since the cropped sensor will make it an effective 80mm. Are there any 50mm owners out there that have a cropped sensor? Do you feel a bit restricted with it 'zoomed-in' so much all the time? (I know it's technically not a zoom, but I don't really know how else to describe it)

  2. #2
    Camellia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Canberra, Australia
    Posts
    719
    Real Name
    Raylee

    Re: First prime lens for an amateur?

    Quote Originally Posted by neverhood311 View Post
    I don't think I have the budget for a new camera, so I'm very seriously considering purchasing my very first prime lens to add new life to my old Rebel XTi.

    I hear the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 is great for beginners, but I'd like a lens that doesn't feel like plastic; something a little more serious that won't break the bank.

    So I've pretty much narrowed it down to the 50mm f/1.4 and the 28mm f/1.8. I'm really leaning towards the 50mm, but I'm not quite convinced since the cropped sensor will make it an effective 80mm. Are there any 50mm owners out there that have a cropped sensor? Do you feel a bit restricted with it 'zoomed-in' so much all the time? (I know it's technically not a zoom, but I don't really know how else to describe it)
    Hi Justin

    I have the 50mm 1.4 on the 500D. It's a great lens for low light conditions and bokeh. I haven't had any problems with it in terms of the cropped sensor. I like the quality of the lens and I'm pleased I chose it over the plastic-y 1.8. It's light weight so it's handy if you don't want to be weighed down. It's a good all round lens IMO.

    What other lenses do you have and what did you plan to use the new prime for? Sorry - I just saw your signature. It looks like you have wide angle well covered. But it does depend on what you want to use the lens for.

  3. #3
    Nicola's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Toscana, Italy
    Posts
    993

    Re: First prime lens for an amateur?

    Hi Justin
    I've bought a 50mm 1.8 at the same time with my new 50D two months ago, and it is my first DSLR, (I entered the photographic world with a "compact" lumix fz-18 two years ago) so I'm not an experienced and skilled user.
    nevertheless my short experience with this lens is quite positive: the 50mm f/1.8 is a very interesting lens for price/performance, I think every dlsr user at the beginning should have it. About the crop factor of the sensor, sometimes I feel the lens too "zoomed", but it depends on your daily use. I mean, if you are interested on "close" portrait (i.e. only the face or "half body", what is the english translation of "primo piano") the 50mm is your lens, if you prefer portrait of the whole subject and also with some environmental details, I think you should find something like the 35mm f/2.
    however, for a not expert and exigent user, the difference between the two lenses can be covered with a step forward or backward... I think

    In the end of the post, I would like to ask a question to CiC members:
    in the last days, I have had some issues with this lens: in case of low light condition, the lens (or the camera) failed the focusing. I shooted two times but neither the first nor the second capture was focused where the central lighting square of AF was pointed.
    Do you think it is due to AF micro motor of the lens? therefore can I improve with the 50mm 1.4 USM?
    Do you think it is due to the camera AF system? therefore changing the lens it is not usefull?

    many thanks to all
    cheers

    Nicola

  4. #4
    mythlady's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Capitola, CA
    Posts
    748
    Real Name
    Elise

    Re: First prime lens for an amateur?

    I highly, highly recommend the 50mm 1.4. It's a wonderful lens for a beginner; it's very versatile, it can create beautiful depth of field effects, you can use it indoors in low light -- you really can't go wrong with it. I have a 40D (and a Rebel), and I've never felt "too zoomed." You can always (or almost always) zoom yourself backwards a bit, if you need to.

    In the end, it depends on what you usually like to shoot, but as Raylee said, you pretty much have the wide-angle end of things covered with the lenses you have. I'd go for the 50 -- I'm guessing it will quickly become your walk-around lens.

  5. #5
    sleist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    483
    Real Name
    Steve

    Re: First prime lens for an amateur?

    Hi Justin,

    I use a Sigma 50mm 1.4 on a cropped Nikon and it's one of my most used lenses. I prefer the effective 75mm focal length as I find the normal field of view (35mm on a Nikon crop sensor) to be a bit uninspiring. I had the 35mm f/1.8 DX and really never used it much. My next prime will be either 85mm or something between 24-30mm. I'm not in much of a hurry though. Kind of content with my kit at the moment.

    Steve

  6. #6
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    12,977
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: First prime lens for an amateur?

    I wonder if you should be considering the problem in this manner: "I want to do _____ with my camera. What lens would be suitable?" Or; "I cannot do _____ with my present lens. What lens would allow me to do it?" Rather than saying, "I want a prime lens."

    I always purchase my lenses to fill a specific need rather than to complete a set or because they are primes or zooms.

    As an example; I once shot with three lenses (often on a trio of cameras). My lenses were 12-24mm f/4 Tokina and the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L and 70-200mm f/4L IS. When I needed to shoot available light, I used a 50mm f/1.8 Mark-I Canon and a 28mm f/1.8 Sigma.

    Although I had the focal range of 12-200mm covered with no breaks and had a pair of lenses providing an f/1.8 aperture, the kit weighed a great deal and was bulky and cumbersome. I began to seriously look at switching my lens grouping.

    I did not want a "do it all wider range zoom lens like the 18-200mm because I demand an f/2.8 aperture in my mid range focal lengths and have been used to excellent image quality. The long focal range lenses are normally have a slower aperture, less critical auto-focus and not quite optimum image quality.

    First, I definitely wanted the 70-200mm range of the f/4L IS lens. I shoot about 1/3 of my imagery with this lens and absolutely love it.

    Now, I looked at the 12-24mm and the 24-70mm plus my two f/1.8 lenses and wondered how I could lighten that load. Both these zoom lenses are fairly heavy (the 24-70L is not called "THE BRICK" for nothing) and if I used two extra cameras and carried the f/1.8 lenses, my load really went up.

    I thought of possibly using one or two primes due to their large aperture and small physical size. However, this would lead to less versatility and a need to change lenses in the field and even a heavier load if I wanted focal length versatility.

    When the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens was introduced, my problems seemed to have been solved. Since I am not a great fan of UWA work, the 17mm side would be wide enough for me to work with. The 55mm was close enough to 70mm that the gap would not be a great hindrance. The constant f/2.8 aperture and IS capability made this a fairly competent low light glass.

    I decided on this lens to fill a need and it accomplished that task quite well. I am totally happy with carrying my 17-55mm + 70-200mm lenses everywhere on a pair of cameras. I use older 30D and 40D cameras because I like the xxD size and control capability but, really believe that it is the lens which determines the ultimate image quality. I am quite happy with my lenses I shoot 90% of my imagery and all of my travel and general photography with this pair of lenses.

  7. #7
    neverhood311's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    I'm from Seattle and I go to school in Utah
    Posts
    92
    Real Name
    Justin

    Re: First prime lens for an amateur?

    Yeah, I do think the better question would be what type of photography am I into.

    I'd like to dabble in portrait work a bit. That's one of the main reasons why I want this 50mm lens. I really want a chance to experiment with good bokeh and low-lighting and haven't really had much of that with my 17-85mm f/4-5.6 lens (Don't get me wrong, though. I absolutely LOVE that 17-85 lens. Ever since I got it, it has rarely come off my camera).

  8. #8
    inkista's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    1,408
    Real Name
    Kathy Li

    Re: First prime lens for an amateur?

    50mm on a crop is only going to feel too narrow if you're in small spaces, or trying to get full-length shots most of the time. For head and torso shots, I found it to be a good length on a crop body (although I'm actually happiest shooting with my 135L on my 50D, I'm very weird and atypical). For street shooting, though, I'd usually go with something wider and closer to the much-vaunted "normal-on-a-crop". If the 28/1.8 USM is too expensive, you may also want to look at the EF 35/2. One does wish that Canon would come out with a $200 EF-S 35mm f/1.8 USM, like Nikon's AF-S 35/1.8 DX lens.

    I'm not sure the50/18 II's plastic build thing matters, really, since optically it's pretty much identical to the 50/1.4. The main differences are the USM motor, 2/3 of a stop more max. aperture, and the features of the lens for manual focusing. But optically, on a crop, the 50/1.8 II is actually nicer than the 50/1.4, according to dpreview's test data (it flips on full frame). You could go for a used EF 50mm f/1.8 Mark I, which has build quality, metal mount, and manual focus features (decent MF ring in the middle of the barrel, distance scale) similar to the 50/1.4's. But it goes for about $200 on the used market.

    My personal druthers (but I'm insane) would be to grab an old used Contax/Yashica-mount Zeiss 50/1.7 and adapt it, but this is not for the faint of heart. You lose autofocus, wide-open metering, EXIF information, and the ability to shoot in anything but M or Av mode.

  9. #9
    sleist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    483
    Real Name
    Steve

    Re: First prime lens for an amateur?

    Quote Originally Posted by neverhood311 View Post
    Yeah, I do think the better question would be what type of photography am I into.

    I'd like to dabble in portrait work a bit. That's one of the main reasons why I want this 50mm lens. I really want a chance to experiment with good bokeh and low-lighting and haven't really had much of that with my 17-85mm f/4-5.6 lens (Don't get me wrong, though. I absolutely LOVE that 17-85 lens. Ever since I got it, it has rarely come off my camera).
    Have you considered going in a different direction and perhaps getting a macro prime. For similar $$ as the 50 f/1.4, you could get the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro. It has stunning bokeh, can be a decent portrait lens (though a bit close for some), and is a very nice macro performer. I just bought this in the Nikon F mount for my son to use in just this way on his D5000 and it's quite a nice piece of glass. US $450 with a $50 rebate until 12/31/2010. If you only dabble in portrait work, it might be a good choice that will allow for some added fun in the macro side of things. Shorter macros in the 60mm range may also work for you, but I'm not as familiar with the Canon side of things for macro glass.

    I like the idea of getting more options when money is tight. Just a suggestion.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •