Buying a 50mm/1.8 for my Nikon D50? Why?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Veritas&Equitas, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

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    Oct 31, 2005
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    Twin Cities, MN
    #1
    Hey guys, quick question. I'm loving my D50 so far (had it a few weeks), and I've got 2 lenses for it at the moment. I have the stock 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6g Nikkor lens, as well as the 70-300mm f/4-5.6g Nikkor Nikon lens w/a few filters. Both have been working great.

    The more I look over forums, especially at portraits, the more I see the 50mm/1.8 lenses. Do you really see a reason to add the 50mm/1.8 to my kit? I guess I'm just trying to figure out if it's worth it to buy it, given the 2 lenses that I have right now...

    P.S. Do you think it'd be worth it to sell my 18-55mm lens and just keep the 50mm/1.8 if I got it? What are the advantages to both? Could the 50mm/1.8 just take the place of my 18-55mm? Thanks!

    P.P.S. If I can get the 50mm/1.8 for $100, or the 50mm/1.4D for $175, would you splurge for the extra speed/quality?
     
  2. terriyaki macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Not only is the 50/1.8 good for portraits but it will also allow you to shoot in low light conditions. It's high performance and low cost pretty much make it a staple for anyone's kit.

    And I'd keep the 18-55 if I were you since it gives you something wide to shoot with.

    But then again this is all subjective and it pretty much boils down to your shooting style and what you want to be able to do with your gear.
     
  3. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #3
    The 50mm is nice in low light, and the wide aperture also helps a lot for portraits. for if you should sell your 18-55 I would not unless you find that you don't use it. because of the sensor size I believe that the 50mm 1.8 will actually not be as wide as your 18-55.
     
  4. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #4
    the 50mm 1.8 or f/1.4 should be in every kit. look at fredmiranda.com for reviews on both. $175 for a nikon 1.4 50mm sounds like a great price.
     
  5. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #5
    It will be roughly the equivalent of a 75mm prime on a film camera. That can be very useful, of course; but personally I think what you're really hearing most of the time is just film advice that never got updated for the dSLR. :D Sorta like how everyone always says "have you repaired permissions?", no matter what the issue, when your Mac has something wrong.

    The 50mm prime has been the recommended "first prime" lens for film SLRs over the past 40-50 years.
     
  6. jayb2000 macrumors 6502a

    jayb2000

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    #6
    $175?

    Where can you get that price?
    B&H is $279.

    As for why this lens, its the light. I ordered a 1.8 last week, should be here soon. But with winter and a fast moving kid, I needed something faster.
    I suppose if you only shot outdoors during sunlight, you would not need it, but I guess it depends on what you are shooting.
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #7
    75mm is an excellent length for portraiture. While its recommendation as a "normal field of view" lens was good, that's not really why it's being recommended now, it's being recommended because it's a great low-light portrait lens for those who can't or won't use artificial lighting.
     
  8. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #8
    For the money, I'd agree - but it's not like there isn't a fast 35mm lens available.

    But that's $300 versus under $100 for the 50mm.
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #9
    I don't see a reason to buy the 50 mm f/1.8 if you don't see one.

    If you don't see a need, then it's not worth it. If you see a need for low light ability and a decent portrait lens, then go ahead and get it. Maybe you'd rather spend more later on and get a 35 mm f/2 instead, which might make the 50 mm f/1.8 a waste of money for you.

    It really depends on what you need, but don't just get it because other people have it.
     
  10. 4np macrumors 6502a

    4np

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    #10
    I was regularly annoyed by the light sensitivity of my standard canon EFS 18-55 lens and my tamron EF 70-300mm lens. When it got a little bit darker i had to use longer exposures, high iso values or use the flash (and I really don't like to use the flash) in order to make proper photographs.

    Looking around for a nice light sensitive lens I came across the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens and I must say I am very glad I got it. It is great in low light conditions and you can shoot very nice portraits with it. Also for regular use it's quite fine.

    My Canon lens was not so expensive (about 95 euro) and I guess it's about the same price for your camera.

    Get it :)
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #11
    If you sell the 18-55 first off you will not get much for it. You will have to practically give it away. Second, then you would lack a wide angle lens the 18-50 range is very useful. I have the f/1.4 After a while you forget what you paid. $75 is not much.

    That f/1.8 is good for two things you can't do with the 18-55, low light and very short depth of field.

    If cost is an issue buy a used 50mm lens.
     
  12. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

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    #12
    I have to disagree. Canon Australia sells just three prime lenses for under $AU500 (RRP): the 50mm f/1.8 ($149); the 35mm f/2 ($489); and the 28mm f/2.8 ($359). The 50mm f/1.8 is their cheapest prime, and there are only two other lenses that are as cheap, or cheaper: the 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6, and the 35-80mm f/4-5.6 ($149 and $129, respectively). The fact that those two zooms are so cheap suggests to me that they're not much chop optically - feel free to prove me wrong. (There are plenty of other zoom lenses under $AU500 RRP, but none of them are L series, or even close to it in quality.)

    The purpose of the 50mm is not the same as it was/is on a film SLR body, it's true (unless you spent a small fortune on the EOS 5D or an EOS 1Ds series body). But that doesn't alter the fact that, for the money, you cannot buy a faster, nor better quality, lens. I have no doubt that it's a similar story for Nikon; I just don't know where to look up their product range online. :p
     
  13. Veritas&Equitas thread starter macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

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    Twin Cities, MN
    #13
    Wow, thanks for all the responses! There is a guy locally that would be willing to sell his used 50 mm f/1.4d for $175, so that's where I got that from. Anyways, I guess I've also been really frustrated with my 18-55mm's ability to get decent shots in low lighting around my house, and at my brother's basketball games. I guess, based on your guys' recommendations, that a good 50mm would help me in this regard, so I think I'm going to pull the trigger!

    I guess I'll probably end up getting one from Amazon for like $110 shipped? Anyone else have any other ideas? Thanks again for the help guys!
     
  14. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #14
    The 50 will be too short for BBall, you really want ~200 or so for that. Otherwise it'll be useful.
     
  15. gooseman macrumors newbie

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    Near London
    #15
    Another thing to consider.

    Zooms and DSLRs don't go too well. What happens is when you ramp the barrels in zooming (only one way of course) you force air out of the lens cavities and into your mirror box, together with all the crud that's been collecting there while you've had the lens out of the bag. From there it's just a matter of time before it finds its way onto the sensor.

    The faster lenses are easier to focus (as more light gets to the the prism and your eye) tend to be MUCH sharper (especially near the edges/corners where you see a lot of degrading on the higher end sensors), and it's a more disciplined approach to your photography (DR&Hs)!
     
  16. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 22, 2006
    #16
    Wow...

    Dust is going to get to the sensor no matter what. The pumping action of zooms is no reason to avoid those lenses.
     
  17. techster85 macrumors regular

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    Lubbock, TX
    #17
    so..if you're not going to be buying that used 1.4 from your buddy...you wanna pass on his information ;) haha. I think if I were in your shoes, poney up the extra cash and get that extra half a stop on your lens, I don't think you'll ever regret having a lens that opens up too far, but you might regret not having that extra stop someday...
     
  18. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #18
    I'm thinking that either I am misunderstanding you, or you misunderstood me. In that particular post (mine, that you quoted) I don't believe I mentioned zooms at all. I did say that the 50mm prime was roughly the "film equivalent" of a 75mm lens, in answer to a question; and I said that I didn't think the argument for the 50mm in particular is all that compelling (which I realize I'm in the minority on). Personally, I ponied up the extra $200 for the 35mm f/2 instead of the 50mm f/1.8 - and I think I made the right call.

    When it comes to your comments on zooms: I don't know that the "decent" Nikon consumer zooms (a subjective term, I realize) are quite that inexpensive - the one that came with my D70 still costs more than $300 if you buy it separately. But I do know that the zooms have , all in all, been getting rather good reviews from people like Thom Hogan. Of course in Nikon's case we're comparing prime lenses that work for film and digital with zooms that are engineered only for dSLRs, which apparently saves them money to engineer and build (how much, I have no idea). BTW does Canon do that (have a line of lenses that only really work with the APS-sized sensors like on the Digital Rebel)?

    But in any case my original intention was simply to say that I don't personally think the 50mm on a dSLR is quite the be-all and end-all that some people think it is. I freely admit that people can and do disagree with me :) and that what's best for one person isn't always best for another.

    Before I bought that first prime, I did an experiment. I walked around with my D70 and the kit 18-70mm lens, set at 50mm; and looked for the types of shots I thought I'd likely be taking using a prime. For the majority of them, the 50mm would have been fine; but there were a non-trivial number where it was bringing me in too close - and it wasn't always a simple matter to move further away in a timely manner. With the 35mm I don't have that issue, and I can move in faster than I can move away.
     
  19. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #19
    Are you sure the air path is through the rear element and lens mount? I've always thought the air path on my zooms was out at the lens barrel.
     
  20. techster85 macrumors regular

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    Oct 17, 2006
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    Lubbock, TX
    #20
    I've heard both ways of thinking, and I almost wonder how much of a wives tail the idea that air is getting pushed back into your chamber is...Because if its true...then someone needs to find another way to vent the lenses, b/c its kinda stupid to be pumping air(and the crap inside the air if you live in west Texas) into your camera chamber....but then again...maybe it is what happens...someone set me straight on this please?
     
  21. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

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    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #21
    Correct. My mention of zooms was in comparison: this is how much you would spend on this lens, and these are other lenses that you can buy for similar money.

    Which is good to hear. I'm not saying that the 35mm f/2, or indeed any other cheap-ish prime, is not worth the money. I'm simply saying that, for the price you pay, you cannot get a better quality lens than the 50mm f/1.8.

    Is it useful for everybody? Probably not. But it's so cheap, handing over the cash for it to find out is no big deal - unlike some primes which cost tens of thousands of dollars (super telephoto, so highly specialised, but anyway.) Even five hundred dollars for a lens is getting into territory that a lot of people are reluctant to explore.

    Yes. Any Canon lens with the label "EF-S" is specifically designed to work only on bodies with a 1.6 crop factor (with the exception of the EOS 10D, which, although it has a 1.6 crop factor, does not have the modifications to the EF mount to allow it to use EF-S glass.) There are currently just five lenses with this specification: the EF-S 10-22mm, the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8, the EF-S 18-55mm, the EF-S 17-85mm, and the EF-S 60mm macro.

    I don't think anybody is saying that it's the be-all and end-all of lenses. All I'm saying (and I think a fair number will agree with me in this) is that the 50mm f/1.8 is so cheap, any given photographer can afford to plonk down the cash and try it. It's not useful for every shot, even on a film (or film frame) SLR. The reason it's recommended is because it is a superb lens at a very cheap price point; even if you only use it a couple of times a year, it's worth the money, simply because it's so cheap.

    It's all about getting a lens that suits your needs. A 35mm prime fits your needs better than a 50mm prime, and that's great - you know your shooting style, it works for you, no problem. I just find it much easier to recommend a $AU145 lens than a $AU400 lens when I don't know exactly where the budding photographer will go with his or her photography down the road, and at that price, I strongly believe that no semi-serious photographer should be without it.
     
  22. MT37 macrumors regular

    MT37

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    Oshawa, ON, CA
    #22
    I do have a 50mm 1.8 for my Canon Rebel, and I use it a lot for band photography both live, and for promo. I love the lense. But then again my lense is from Canon, but I'm sure it's roughly the same as the one for the Nikon.

    I recommend it for the price, and it's a good lense to have around.
     

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