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50mm on DX & 85mm on FX.... What am I missing here...

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by soxOZ, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. For years not only on this forum, but others I have heard people say they didn't like the 50mm on DX format as it was an odd ball FL and didn't work on DX format,
    and now that Nikon has come into the FX world, I'm seeing how people love the FL of the 85mm on the FX, and how it produces great shots...

    So what am I missing here, the 50mm on a DX is equal to 75mm, and thats not even a step away from 85mm FL on FX, almost not worth mentioning.
    So why the sudden change of opinion / feeling for this FL which was never popular on DX format and now seems to be a favorite on FX,
    and never mind what lens is being used, its the FL that has a change of popularity.

    And I know some will say the 85 f/1.4 produce superb shots, and it does, just look at some of the recent post, but the 50 f/1.4 & f/1.8 do pretty good as well,
    and they are almost equal in FL between the 2 formats, 50 on DX & 85 on FX...

    The 85mm on a DX format was equal to 128mm, so wouldn't either the 105 f/2 or 135 f/2 or something in this FL be the choice for FX.???
    I guess this is alway just a matter of taste, as I have always liked the 50mm on DX,
    but since the introduction of FX, there seems to have been nothing but praise for 85mm FL which was almost equal to the unpopular 50mm in DX...

    So what are your thoughts about this or am I just barking up the wrong tree with this observation...
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 9, 2008
  2. Actually, the 50mm lenses translate to 76mm on the Nikon DX format (simplified to 75mm using an easy-to-remember 1.5x crop factor). So your argument is even closer than you think.
  3. I love the 50mm DX / 85mm FX focal length. It's wide enough to use as a fast indoor lens (although I'm without one at the moment), and for full length portraits, and it's long enough to be able to use for headshots. Love it, love it, love it.
  4. Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  5. Hi Mike....
    I just had a look at the thread you linked to and its not quite the same as what I was trying to say here.
    What I was referring to was only the 50mm lens and how it was always put down because of its FL being odd with the 1.5x crop on DX format.
    But the 85mm FL seems to be getting very popular on the FX which is almost the same...

    What I guess I was trying to say, is if you put a 50mm on say a D300 and take a shot of a box, and that box filled the frame edge to edge,
    you would then need to almost stand in the same spot with a 85mm on a D700 to replicate that shot... Am I making sense here...
    Therefore these 2 setup are almost identical, so why was the 50mm on DX considered odd, and the 85 on FX is OK...:rolleyes: 
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017

  6. Yes, the simple answer is that to get the same viewfinder fill of the same subject from the same distance with an FX camera as you did with a 50mm on a D300, you would need about 75mm. It will not be exactly the same image (DOF at equal f-stops will vary between 50mm and 75mm), but it will fill the viewfinder the same amount.

    Perhaps the reputation of each lens is based on old tradition for those of us shooting 35mm for many years. A 50mm lens was the "standard" (or I'll use the term photojournalist/documentary) lens, used to document images roughly in the same perspective as they appear to the human eye. 85mm - 105mm were the "standard" professional portrait lenses, probably in an age where most portraits were head and shoulders or upper torso shots (nowadays, seems that senior portraits and portraiture in general is evolving into what we used to call environmental portraiture).

    Just one guy's opinion, but I believe all art critique often resorts back to the historical masters, and preferred lenses are often those which render that classic portrait look. Perhaps we've evolved, and those critiques are no longer valid. I see great work done today from fisheye up through wide angle, and it's selling and effective. Rembrandt may be spinning in his grave, or he may be wishing he'd had a D3 and 14-24. :biggrin:
  7. funny enough...

    Funny enough, I loved the 50 & 85 on DX but don't like them on FX.

    I rather have a 35 or 28mm on FX ... Or 200mm yet I did not like 35mm on the DX format so this comes as no surprise. :rolleyes: 
  8. Well I had always believed the 50mm on DX was a good FL, and one of my favorite things was to put my Kenko 1.4x TC on it,
    giving it the equal in 35mm to a 105 f/2.8 lens, just great for portraits...
    And as Mike mentioned, the norm in the good old days of film, was to have 85 -105 lenses for portraits...

    Even though a lot don't like this FL on DX, I for one love the 50 on DX, I guess this is just a personal preference thing...

    Here's a shot with the 50mm f/1.8 + Kenko 1.4x PRO300 DG = 105mm on DX
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  9. mycom


    Apr 24, 2006
    50mm on DX is 75mm - 10mm off the 85mm - which is noticable

    PLUS - and that is a big one in my book - the 50 on DX just has not that shallow DOF as a 85mm has on FX !

    Thats why I also didn't like the 50mm on DX - at leats not for portraits.
  10. Zachs


    Feb 25, 2006
    my favorite lenth on DX was my 50 1.4 (until the focus became fubar'd)
  11. 50mm/1.8 on my D80 at ISO 1600

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    85mm/1.4 on my D80
    View attachment 251287

    50mm/1.8 on my D80
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    85/1.4 on my D80
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I know the 85 shots aren't on FX like you said, but considering the 50 shot was at f/1.8, I think it's pretty close to the shallow DOF when you get close enough to fill the frame.
  12. I didn't like either the 50 or the 85 on DX. They were awkward to me, both too long for what I wanted (low light shooting in and around the house). My 35/2 was my daily "go to" lens.

    To me, the difference between 75 and 85 is noticable. As well, FOV changes too. It's not just that the lenses on DX give more reach, they also have less FOV then they do on FX.

    I love my 50 on FX, it's now my go to lens. I almost never use the 35/2. The 85 is nice, but I find I'm enjoying the 180 even more. I like to fill the frame in camera, as much as possible. I am finding that (for me), the 85 is for larger subjects. It's got a relatively long minimal focus distance, and with smaller kids, I can't fill the frame as much as I wish in camera. As an example, for yesterday's pic-of-the-day, I wanted the frame mostly filled with the 3 glasses I was shooting. Probably, if I didn't have the borrowed 180, I would have grabbed the 85 and tried to make it work. However, yesterday, I knew the 180 was what I wanted......it would fill the frame (has similar working distance as the 85). 85 is still a bit odd for me, but not nearly so much as it was on DX.
  13. I *liked* my 50mm on DX, but LOVE it on FX. I like the 85 on both, but IQ has more to do with it than focal length. I have used my 50mm lenses SO much more since having the D700. I still stick to the Sigma 30 on the D300.
  14. I would be for me. I loved the telephoto compression and blurred backgrounds that my 135mm lens gave to head & shoulder shots on my Minolta SR-T 101 back in the good old days. So it's no surprise that the 85/1.4 is my favorite head & shoulder lens on a DX platform. If I ever go to FX, I'll surely buy a 135.
  15. [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]
    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Well I used my 24-85 to see what 70 look compared to 85, and its not really that much, Maybe a step difference. But anyway, I wasn't comparing the DOF between these lenses, what I said was how everybody canned the 50mm for its FL on DX and 85mm hasn't received any negative feedback on FX...[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]
    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]I'm like you Frank on how I have a preference with how the telephoto lens makes the photo feel.

    I did a quick check on what FL I use the most with my mid range zooms and its between 45-85mm is 80%.
    I even checked what FL on my longer zooms (up to 200mm) and the majority was between 135-200mm...
    I guess I like the long end more than the short side... [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]
    Anyway, it all comes done to personal preference and everyone has their likes and dislikes...
    Otherwise I guess they wouldn't make the range of lenses that are now available, everybody to their own...:smile:[/FONT]
  16. rvink


    Mar 21, 2006
    New Zealand
    Actually, the crop factor is closer to 1.54, and the true focal length of most Nikon "50mm" lenses is 51.6mm, giving an equivalent 79.5mm on DX - very close to 85mm on FX.

    I'm fully aware of the differences in DOF and background blur between a lens on FX and the equivalent lens on DX, but I have no problems at all using the AF 50/1.8 on a D50. The lens works as a very fine short telephoto, perfect for people shots.
  17. mood


    Jun 27, 2007
    So Fla
    I agree
    my 35/2 and 50 are my most used street candid lenses
  18. I absolutely love the 50mm and 85mm focal length on a DX body. This type of preference is generally based on shooting style and what you're shooting. If you shoot street and candid you may have a completely different preference than if you shot in a studio and in my case I have a small studio but my preferences may be different if I had a much larger space to shoot.

    It's a very subjective and personal thing.
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