30 or 50mm fast prime on a crop body?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ThunderRobot, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. ThunderRobot macrumors regular

    ThunderRobot

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    Glasgow, Scotland
    #1
    Hi - some advice please.

    I'm using a Canon 50D with an 18-200mm kit lens, which I'm enjoying thoroughly. It covers a great range from wide-angle through to telephoto and I'm very happy with it.

    I want to pick up a fast prime for indoor use - mainly parties and low light situations. It would be used for single portraits and 'unaware' group shots - you know the kind of thing, trying to get as many people in the room in a photo from the corner.

    I've read plenty of reviews on the Canon 50mm 1.4, Canon 50mm 1.8, Sigma 50mm 1.4 and Sigma 30mm 1.4. I don't have the budget to stretch to the Canon 1.2 range.

    I've been out of photography for a long time and in the past would have went for a 50mm without too much thought, but with the 1.6 crop the 30mm seems a good alternative.

    So please, some advice. On a crop - in those low light situations, the 50mm or the 30mm? Furthermore Sigma or Canon?

    I know there's been similar questions in the past and I've read a lot of threads, but I'm really looking for some specific advice.

    Thanks.
     
  2. rKunda macrumors 65816

    rKunda

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #2
    The Sigma 1.4 30mm is a great lens. I'd go for the 30mm over a 50mm. 50mm gets pretty close so it will make groups tougher indoors—though it's very handy, too.

    No point in considering the 1.2 :p That's a very specialized and HUGE lens. If price is a factor, I believe, w/o looking it up, the Canon 50mm 1.8 is a lot cheaper than the Sigma 30. It is on Nikon, but my D40 (which I love) has not the ability to focus the Nikon 50mm.
     
  3. ThunderRobot thread starter macrumors regular

    ThunderRobot

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    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #3
    Thanks for the input. Price is a factor - to an extent. At this stage I'm not ready to drop close to £1000 gbp on a single lens. Having said that, the price difference between the four models I named is around £150gbp and I'm ok with that.

    The 50mm 1.8 is considerably cheaper (around £70gbp delivered), but two or three reviews suggest the AF speed is pretty poor.

    My biggest concern with the Sigma 30mm was reports of a very narrow focus area - is this something people have had experience with?
     
  4. Omegamanstyle macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    #4
    50mm. Done and done.

    I have never used the Sigma 30mm so I can't speak for that, but I've used the Canon 50mm ƒ1.4 quite a bit with the Canon 40D (same crop factor as the 50D), and it's a beautiful lens. It's almost impossible to not take a great photo with it. I was recently shooting at dusk with it and the photos displayed more brightness than I was seeing with my eye - it was unreal. And for the price (≈ $320 USD) it's an amazing bargain.

    That being said, trying to squeeze a group of people into the frame in a small room might prove to be a challenge.
     
  5. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

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    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #5
    I was really happy with my 50/1.4 on a Rebel XT and a 50D ... until I borrowed a 5D and felt 50mm on a full-frame sensor.

    I'm on the prowl for a similar perspective. I'm not happy with what I've read on the Sigma 30/1.4, but I don't want to lose 2/3 a stop of light to get the Canon 28/1.8. Canon's 24/1.4L and 35/1.4L are too short and too long, respectively.

    I'll probably go with the 28/1.8 in the end.
     
  6. ThunderRobot thread starter macrumors regular

    ThunderRobot

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    #6
    I had looked at the 28 1.8 but the review I read suggests that it isn't great until it's stepped to about f4 / f5.6 which kind of defeats the point as my existing 18-200 works well at those levels.

    Link to review.

    Trying to select the right glass is a hard task!
     
  7. VegasPhoto macrumors newbie

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    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    #7
    On a crop sensor camera I think the 35 f/1.4 is one of the best primes available. I would never buy a sigma 30 f/1.4 because of the well known QC issues and its quality dropoff towards the corners. 50 f/1.4 is also a useful lens but I have never purchased one, even though I've used a few at different times. I own an 85 f/1.8 as my only prime now, and it sees very little use since I bought a 70-200 f/2.8 IS.
     
  8. ThunderRobot thread starter macrumors regular

    ThunderRobot

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    #8
    I would love the Canon 35 f/1.4 but just can't justify £900gbp for it. In time, hopefully, but not at the moment.
     
  9. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    #9
    You'll be really disappointed if you get a 50mm on the crop sensor for your desired application... the field of view is pretty small... you're not going to be able to get indoor group shots with it. It's more suited for portraits of individuals and couples, or outdoor group portraits where you can get pretty far away
     
  10. ThunderRobot thread starter macrumors regular

    ThunderRobot

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    Glasgow, Scotland
    #10
    Yeah, that's the assumption I'm coming to after setting my 18-200 to 28, 30, 35 and 50. I think I'm ruling the 50mm out, so now I'm really trying to choose between either the;

    • Canon 28mm f/1.8
    • Sigma 30mm f/1.4

    Of course, as above, I'd love the 35mm f/1.4 but that's not a realistic option for me at the moment. Frustratingly every review / opinion I read about each of the two swings me back and forward.
     
  11. mdwsta4 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #11
    having had canon's 50 1.8, sigma's 30 1.4 and now sigma's 50 1.4, i can say that on a cropped sensor sigma's 30 is the best. but it really boils down to personal preference. yes, the extra half stop is nice, and yes, build quality is extremely better, but what you shoot makes your decision.
    since you have the 18-200 do this... set the lens to 30mm and walk around taking photos at that length. then set it at 50 and do the same. which length do you feel more comfortable shooting at?
    i, personally, found the 50 f1.8 from canon much too long for my tastes and what i shot. yes it was noisy focusing, yes it was cheaply built, but for the price it's hard to beat how well you can shoot in low light conditions. i upgraded to the 30 f1.4 and was blown away. it became my day to day walk around lens replacing my 17-40 f4L. the focal length was perfect (for me), build quality was great just like all Sigma EX lenses, the ability to stop down to 1.4 at night was fantastic. since purchasing a 5D mkII, the 30 would no longer fit. having been pleased with sigma lenses in the past (i know some people get stuck with bad copies), and the fact that it's gotten better reviews than canon's 15 year old 1.4 lens, i jumped on it. on a full frame camera 50 is perfect, just like 30 on a cropped sensor.

    but again, the decision is up to you. if you have the money to spend, buy the sigma. if you prefer the longer reach, go for the 50. if you are on a tight budget, but want to be able to use a lens in low light, get canon's 50 f1.8.
     
  12. ThunderRobot thread starter macrumors regular

    ThunderRobot

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    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #12
    Great post - thanks for the input. At this stage the only thing putting me off the Sigma 30mm is the occasional post knocking the build quality. I'm guessing from your post you've not experienced a problem with any of your Sigma's?

     
  13. mdwsta4 macrumors 65816

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  14. mdwsta4 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 23, 2007
    #14
    while i do know people personally that have had problems with front/back focusing on sigma lenses, after sending it back for recalibration, the lenses work perfectly. i've had 3-4 sigma EX lenses in addition to multiple canon L lenses and they're of great quality when you get a good copy.

    don't forget, everyone complains when they get a bad copy, not as many people praise when they get a good copy. unless you have experience or know someone personally, take what other people 'hear on the internet' with a grain of salt.

    canon 50 f1.8 on a 350D
    [​IMG]

    sigma 30 f1.4 on a 30D
    [​IMG]

    sigma 50 f1.4 on a 5D mkII
    [​IMG]
     
  15. ThunderRobot thread starter macrumors regular

    ThunderRobot

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    Glasgow, Scotland
    #15
    Nice shots, thanks. I've been able to order a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 at a local Jessops for £235GBP which I can pick up tomorrow. Just in time for some party shots for Hogmanay.

    Can't wait to get my hands on it.

     
  16. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #16
    +1 for the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 -- love it !! (even more with a circular polarizing filter attached)
     
  17. hhlee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    #17
    50mm 1.8 mark ii is <$100 new or $50 used on fredmiranda or photography-on-the.net

    its too good and too cheap not to own.
     
  18. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #18
    I used to own a Nikon 50 mm f/1.8. I actually bothered to sell that $100 lens because I found that I never needed it. My Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 is a 50 mm lens killer on crop sensors. ;)

    That said, I'd love to own a Sigma 50 mm f/1.4. It's quite future-proof since it's full frame, and the results are excellent.
     
  19. ThunderRobot thread starter macrumors regular

    ThunderRobot

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    Aug 10, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #19
    With thanks to all who contributed. I picked up the Sigma 30mm this morning and from some basic testing it seems to be exactly the lens I was looking for.
     
  20. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #20
    Thunder -- after a little time with this lens, I'd be interested in hearing what you think of the focal length on your crop body. I've got a D40, and I'm also trying to decide if I want to get a 30mm or 50mm. I don't like being in people's faces when I'm shooting, which inclines me toward the 50mm, but then I don't want to miss group shots because I'm too tight.

    I also am wondering if any of you Sigma owners have experienced the shallow focus problem that some have seen, where it seems to focus a little in front of your intended target.
     
  21. ThunderRobot thread starter macrumors regular

    ThunderRobot

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #21
    I used the 30mm at two house parties on Hogmanay and loved it. It's wide enough for group shots at a few meters and allows you to be far away from people to get some great 'unaware' portraits. Stepping it to 1.4 for a low-lit room produces some really interesting bokeh but the subject was sharp as a tack.

    AF seemed reasonably quick - even in a low lit room, which was a slight worry I had, but the MF ring feels good to use. It's 'stiff' enough that it won't be turned accidentally but fluid enough that it's comfortable to use.

    To be 100% honest the amount of alcohol ingested ensured there was a number of shots which were shallow focused, but for the moment I'm putting that to my problem, not the lens!

    *I'm still learning a lot of photography terms so if I've used any term wrongly or out of place, my apologies.
     

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