Nikon 50mm Prime lens (1.4g or 1.8g) to big (tight FOV) for nikon d5200?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Chuck-Norris, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    #1
    thinking of getting the nikkor 50mm prime lens 1.8 or 1.4g.

    im concerned because its a crop sensor on my d5200, the FOV will be really big or tight.

    i plan on shooting this indoors and outdoors for portrait and group shots .


    anyone have experience wit the 50mm?
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
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    #2
    Do you have a kit zoom lens now? Zoom to 50mm and see what it looks like.

    50mm may be tight (narrow field of view) on a crop sensor for indoor group shots unless you are shooting across a large room. It may be fine for outdoor group shots where you have more room to back up.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

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    #3
    I'm not a Nikon user, but if you're looking for a "normal" view lens for walk around use, I'd recommend something in the 24-35mm area for an APS-C sized sensor. Most kit zooms have a few different focal lengths on the barrel. Try setting your camera to those focal lengths and see which you prefer. You can also look at the EXIF data from your favorite photos and figure out which focal length you use the most. Hope this helps!
     
  4. MCH-1138, Feb 28, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013

    macrumors 6502

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    #4
    I should add that a lot depends on what type of portrait you are looking to make (i.e., a tightly-cropped head-and-shoulders shot vs. a 3/4 or full-length shot), how big the group is, how tightly they are packed, how big the room is, whether you expect to be up-close and personal or shooting candids from across the room, etc.

    I don't mean to suggest that a 50mm would be inappropiate with a crop sensor. I have made some great shots (in my opinion) indoors with a 50mm on a D7000, but there are many situations that call for a wider lens. Conversely, you might find that 50mm does not give you the reach that you want for a tight shot outdoors.

    So I think the best approach is to try some test shots at (or near) 50mm (either by zooming your kit lens or by borrowing a 50mm if you can) in order to see what best fits your needs.

    Also, I think your D5200 vs. T4i thread mentioned that you already have a 35mm prime. Do you find the 35mm's field of view to be too wide for what you need? If so, then the 50mm might fit the bill. If the 35mm is already just right, then the 50mm may be too tight.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    thanks for your input guys! :)

    well the reason im loking at the 50 1.4g was to see if i get better depth of field (bokeh) and sharper subjects then the 35mm. i wont lie i am worried the 50mm might be tight on a crop sensor but i wont know for sure until real world use.

    i put the 35mm on kijij and got an offer for 235 for it. i paid 200 LOL
     
  6. MCH-1138, Feb 28, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013

    macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Sounds like you struck a good deal selling the 35mm! :)

    I don't claim to be an expert, but be careful not to confuse/conflate depth-of-field, bokeh, and sharpness. You can have a sharp image with or without a shallow depth-of-field, and bokeh generally refers to the quality of the out-of-focus portions of the image (usually the blurred background).

    In terms of isolating your subject from the background, there are a number of variables that come into play, including some which are governed or limited by the lens (i.e., focal length, wider aperture, etc.) and some which are not (i.e., the relative distances between the camera, the subject, and the background). As an extreme example, if you photograph a person who is leaning against a wall from across the room, you probably will not be able to blow the background out of focus regardless of what lens you are using.

    If your space is limited -- shooting indoors, for example -- and your goal is to isolate your subject, you might prefer to use a wider lens (say, the 35mm) with your subject closer to you in order to allow for room between your subject and the background. If you use a narrower lens (say, the 50mm), you might not have enough room to back up (to account for the narrower field of view), so your subject will need to back up, thus reducing the distance behind them to the background. All else being equal (i.e., shooting at the same aperture), you might find that you are able to "better" isolate your subject under those circumstances with the 35mm.

    And as I mentioned before, a lot depends on the type of shot you are looking to make. For what it's worth, I use both the 35mm 1.8G and 50mm 1.8D with my D7000. I tend to use the 35mm more, especially indoors, but that's me. You may find that the 50mm suits your needs better.

    The bottom line is that there is no "right" lens for everyone and for every situation.
     
  7. Chuck-Norris, Feb 28, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013

    thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    thanks for the info ! helps alot in understanding this.

    also, i know there is a 1.4g of the 50mm nikon as well, is it worth the extra money for that one?

    my main goal of getting a 50mm was to get a better quality shot with it then the 35mm but it sounds like thats not necessarily true?
     
  8. logicalways, Feb 28, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013

    macrumors newbie

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    #8
    It all depends on what you're really looking to take photos of and/or are you just looking for amazing bokeh (Depth Of Field). This is just a quick note on APS-C sensors and lenses: 50mm on a crop sensor like the D5200 is equivalent to an 75mm on a 35mm Full Frame like the D600/700/800/D3s/D4. It's a 1.5x Crop factor which can come in handy at times as well can be an annoyance at times.

    I use both the D3200 (Same sensor as the D5200) and my main unit is the older D700. I use both the 35mm F/1.8 on my D3200 and 50mm F/1.8 on my D700 which makes both lenses equivalent. My main work horse lens is the 24-70 though. I find 50mm on a crop sensor such as the D3000 - D7000 is good for single portraits but not wide enough for anything else like walking around town etc... If Bokeh (Depth of Field) is what you're looking for, any 1.8g Nikon lens is excellent. The cheapest but highly under rated lens is the 35mm F/1.8 DX lens. It's far from being a cheap quality lens but is cheapest in price. If you really want to spend the money on a standard Nikon prime lens, then do a 35mm F/1.4g. This lens will give you creamy bokeh and is the closest standard size to what your eye sees.

    Here's a list of approximate focal lengths for your crop sensor camera. it's reversed from what i'm used to writing because I put the DX D5200 first but you'll see that it's a 1.5x crop factor so everything on an FX is multiplied by 1.5

    Crop Sensor DX D3000-D7000 On the Left & Full Frame D600-D4 On the Right: Again these lengths are *Approximate

    DX = FX
    1.5mm = 1mm
    24mm = 35mm
    35mm = 50mm
    50mm = 75mm
    75mm = 112mm
    85mm = 128mm
    105mm = 158mm
    120mm = 180mm
    200mm = 300mm


    So If you were to buy a high quality FX lens such as the 24-70mm F/1.8g and put it on your Nikon D5200, your focal range would be about 35-105mm. 24-70 multiplied by 1.5x. So keep that in mind when making your choices on lenses.


    EDIT: I didn't update the page in the last hour so I'm just seeing the posts above. I have to agree with MCH-1138 about the 35 being more used on a crop sensor and that there really is not a "right" lens for everyone and for everything.

    In most situations, your aperture is going to change as you manually change your exposure or if you use aperture priority. The lower the aperture number such as F/1.4 or F/1.8 the more the background is blured out of focus. So at F1.4 on a 50mm DX camera, you are only going to have a very small portion of the persons face that is sharp and the rest of the frame is going to start getting blurrier and blurrier as you extend to the corners of your shot. Be careful because it will start to get frustrating when you start wondering why your shots are a bit out of focus on the subject. Aperture F/2.8 is normally where I shoot and go up to about F/8.0. If you're doing an event and taking pictures of groups of people such as 3 friends standing side by side (Typical group shot), F/1.4 will leave the two guys on the side blury and the one in the middle in focus. It wont look right when you upload them to your computer. If i'm doing certain types of product photography or small items such as wedding rings, F/1.4 is perfect. A lot of high end pro's like having the extra stop of light at 1.4 but for the cost difference in the lenses to go from F/1.8 up to F/1.4 is not worth is to most people I know or shoot with.

    In summing up, Any F/2.8 or F/1.8 lens is going to give you extremely quality shots. After that, It just comes down to your hand holding abilities and your ability to compose a good shot.

    if you have any questions feel free to give me a shout
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    #9
    thanks so much for your time and effort in explaining it! im gonna have to read it 3 or 4 times to get everything together lol

    so basically its not all about the lower the aperature the better apparently, whch ive been told wrong about.

    so even a 2.8g lens will get as good results basically?

    I also came across a 18-200mm nikon VR 3.5g to 5.6g lens. seems great all around lens but im not sure if i would get as sharp or high depth of field with that lens. its a DX lens to which would suite the camera.
     
  10. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    #10
    haha yeah read it over a few times for sure. The 18-200mm lens is an okay lens but you will be so much more happier with a fixed aperture lens such as the F/2.8, F/1.8, lenses. You'll find with Variable aperture lenses such as the F/3.5 - F/5.6, you'll find when you're at it's longest length, you're aperture will start at F/5.6 and so you're going to have to bump up your ISO or Lower your shutter speed quite a bit because your exposure will be super dark. Indoor, you'll find that your shutter speed will be less than 1/80sec with an ISO of 400-1600 to get a decent shot but you need a steady hand anywhere below 1/60sec. but with a fixed F/2.8 lens, you can have a shutter speed of 1/250th at ISO 400 and have a stable hand held shot with no problems. It makes a big difference. Hope i'm helping and not making it worse for you haha.

    Cheers!
     
  11. MCH-1138, Feb 28, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013

    macrumors 6502

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    #11
    I think that is a fair statement. "Better quality shot" can be subjective, and depends on what you are looking for, but I think the answer is "it depends."

    Maybe. I have not used the 1.8G or 1.4G, but there are plenty of reviews out there. The 1.4 gives you an extra 2/3-stop in terms of aperture, which may be "worth" it if you need the extra low-light capability. I suspect there are differences in the quality of the bokeh. But does that make the 1.4 worth the extra money? To me, no. I'm fine with a 1.8, but your needs may be different.

    Just because a lens has a wider maximum aperture does not necessarily make it "better" for your needs. If you shoot landscapes, for example, a low f-stop may not be important to you. Even if you shoot portraits, you may not want to shoot at the maximum aperture (all else being equal) -- many, if not most, lenses are sharper when stopped down rather than wide open.

    Whether a 2.8 lens will be "as good" is somewhat subjective. If you have sufficient light, maybe. If you are shooting natural light in a dark room, however, you might not be able to get the shot you want (all else being equal).

    I don't have the 18-200, but there are many reviews and I know people who think it is a great all-around lens. Will it be as sharp as a prime lens? Maybe not, but it may be more practical than carrying around multiple primes. Will it have the narrow depth of field or give you the lower ISO/shutter-speed combination of an f/1.4/1.8/2.8 (or even f/4) lens? Probably not. Does that make it better or worse? It depends on your needs. If you are taking your kid (or niece or nephew) to the zoo for the day, it may be your best choice. If you are shooting portraits indoors, maybe not.

    Don't get distracted by the DX designation. In general, that just means that it designed to work on a DX camera rather than a full-frame camera. The focal length is the focal length.
     
  12. macrumors newbie

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    #12
  13. macrumors regular

    MadTester

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    #13
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    #14
    IMHO on a crop sensor, 35mm is much more versatile than the 50. Indoors, in normal sized rooms in a house you'll be stuck doing mainly headshots. You'll also need to stand very far back for group shots.

    If you must sell the 35mm to get the 50, don't do it other than if you plan on doing lots of headshots or studio like or planned portraits. I have both a 50mm and a 28mm (close enough to 35 on a Canon crop). I find myself using the 28 more often even though it's a shabby lens from the 80s (f/2.8 and no auto focus). I really wish canon had something similar to the 35mm from Nikon...
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    #15
    Nikon Lens Simulator

    You need Flash in your browser. If you have it, the above link demonstrates the capability of various lens/body combinations nicely.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

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    Metro Kansas City
    #16
    I have both a 35mm f/1.8G DX and 50mm f/1.8D, and use them on a D300. I find even the 35mm a little tight when shooting indoors and trying to get more than a few people in the scene. The 50mm is almost impossible to get many people in a scene indoors. It's a good single person portrait lens, somewhat similar to an 85mm on a full frame camera. Both the 35mm and 50mm are good lenses that excel in low light and/or throwing the background out of focus. Both would do fine outdoors as you can "zoom with your feet" a bit more than when indoors.

    The 18-200 is a different animal all together. I have a Sigma 18-200 that I use typically on family vacations (Disney World, the beach, cities, etc.). It's a compromise in that it's relatively slow, it has both barrel and pincushion distortion and it's soft around the edges. However, it excels in its versatility.

    The real answer is, what are you trying to accomplish with your photography? When I am shooting "purposefully", I use primes or short range zooms (i.e. 24-60, 10-20), or my 70-300 when shooting wildlife, as I want a high quality, sharp, low distorted image with controlled OOF areas - OR - I'm shooting in low light and NEED the f/1.8. When I am out and about and have no idea what I'll encounter, I'll use the 18-200.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 17, 2012
    #17
    oh true, i have the 35mm , i wanted to try the 50mm out in hopes of getting sharper and mroe blurry images as its a bigger lens. i have had some exprience with the 35mm indoors, as u said the biggest concern is if the 50mm will be to tight in situations but i suppose i wont find that out until real world testing. do you find if its worth the extra money for the 1.4g 50mm over the 1.8?
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    Kent, UK
    #18
    There is a lot of good information here for you. I believe all the current Nikon 1.8g lenses are pretty well regarded. For portrait and group shots, even indoors, I don't think you will get a lot of use out of a 1.4 aperture, the DoF is just too narrow. In a portrait you would end up with sharp eyes but a blurry nose, the DoF is that shallow. I think the D5200 has good enough high ISO performance to allow you to pump the ISO a bit if needed in low light.

    One thing that I don't think has been mentioned yet is that focal length and sensor size also effect DoF. It all gets quite complicated and I suggest googleing about this, there are many good explanations on-line.

    Don't get too hooked up with sharpness, MTF charts and spec sheets. You really need to think about what kind of photos you want to take and what kind of look you are after. For individual portraits corner to corner sharpness is often not needed as these parts of the frame usually do not contain the subject, conversely, for landscape work, corner to corner sharpness is often crucial. One thing I often think about is that even the cheapest, worst equipment available today is better than the equipment many of the greats ever had, and look at the shots they produced! Composition, framing, exposure, knowing how to post process (with a light touch!) should be much higher priorities than the choice of equipment.
     
  19. macrumors 6502

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    #19
    I suspect you will get different answers to this question from different people.

    For me, the 50mm 1.8D is adequate. The 50mm 1.8G or 1.4G or 1.4D may (or may not) be a "better" lens in terms of overall sharpness, sharpness in the corners, quality of bokeh at a particular aperture, AF speed, etc., but I find the 50mm 1.8D to be "good enough." I'd prefer to put the difference toward, say another lens, rather than an incremental improvement in some (but probably not all) of these categories.

    If you need the extra 2/3-stop to get the shot you want, then the answer may be different.

    If this is going to be the only lens you ever buy and use, then maybe you splurge and get the 1.4G. But if getting the 1.8G also allows you to get a different lens (or keep your 35mm), is that "better" for your needs?
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    I've just scouted around in my library to find an example portrait at f1.4
    This portrait was taken (quickly) using a Nikon D700, 24mm f1.4g at f1.4, and I'm pretty close to the subject. You can clearly see the eyes are sharp with a nice twinkle, but the nose, lips and ears are blurry. Be aware that this focal length distorts features, which is why longer focal lengths are considered better for portraits,. but I think it nicely demonstrates how shallow the DoF is at 1.4.
     

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  21. macrumors 6502a

    milbournosphere

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    #21
    [​IMG]

    50mm 1.8 on a DX camera at f/10. Note that this is a really old example, the Series E pancake. Even the midget nifty-fifty is plenty sharp, has good bokeh and a good focal length for portrait work (on a DX camera, at least; I think the crop factor puts it at about 75mm or so). Unless you're working in very dark/fast settings, save your money and get the 1.8.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Good question, and a personal one. I have seen many online fora conversations get quite heated on comparing the merits of say, the 85 f/1.8 vs. the 85 f/1.4 "Cream Machine". I have no personal experience with an f/1.4. I know that FOR ME, my money was better spent on getting both a 50mm f/1.8 and 35mm f/1.8 versus just the 50 f/1.4.

    You could get a 50mm f/1.8D (old one with aperture ring) from KEH, a good reputable used equipment dealer, and save a little money that way. If you find you like the focal length, you could sell it back to them, take a bit of a hit, and then go for the f/1.4. However, the 50mm f/1.8D can be found for right around $100 new. The 50mm f/1.4D can be found for $100 more. It's not like buying a 70-200 f/2.8!
     
  23. MCH-1138, Mar 1, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013

    macrumors 6502

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    #23
    But keep in mind that you will have to manual focus with these lenses because the D5200 does not have an autofocus motor. You'll need the 1.8G or 1.4G if you want to autofocus.


    +1 (again, a personal question, but this is where I came out, as well).
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 26, 2010
    #24
    Lots of very good questions and comments here.

    Hopefully, I can live up to the standard.

    I own the 35mm 1.8G DX and it is a very good lens. That's my personal opinion and I have yet to find a review that disagrees. There are sharper 35mm lenses, but they are 4 or 5 times the cost.

    I was recently looking to purchase a 50mm prime. I went with the 1.8D (which can autofocus with my body, but not with the 5200). Several people have compared the 50mm 1.8G to the 50mm 1.4G. Their conclusion was that the 1.4G had some advantages, but the 1.8G could actually provide sharper images than the 1.4 at some apertures.

    I have no affiliation with this, but it helped me when making my decision:
    http://photographylife.com/nikon-50mm-f1-8g-vs-f1-4g

    The man that runs the site is very meticulous and much pickier than I am (I mean that as a compliment). So my attitude is "if it is good enough to make him happy, then I won't be disappointed."


    Personally, between the 35mm 1.8G, the 50mm 1.8G and the 50mm 1.4g, I don't think you'll see a much of a difference in image quality. So many other things (lighting, iso, shutter speed, camera vibration, filters, white balance, etc) will have a larger impact on sharpness and bokeh.
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

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    Metro Kansas City
    #25
    Ahhh, thank you so much for pointing that out! I haven't kept up with all the Nikons over the years... I'm focused more on the illusive D400 that may never appear. So, never mind all my prior comments regarding getting the "D" versions.
     

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