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Looking to buy a Prime

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by t3han0maly, Aug 19, 2009.

  1. t3han0maly


    Jun 30, 2008
    Atlanta GA
    Hi everyone,
    I only have zoom lenses as part of my gear but I was thinking of picking up a prime. I've been thinking about this for a bit and am unsure which one I want to get. I've looked though the lens sample thread and have seen how they shoot and everything.

    What i'm curious about is which would be the most useful prime to have? From what I've seen, 50mm's seems to be the popular choice. Why is one focal length better than another?

    Any guidance and schooling will be much appreciated :smile:
  2. A question Rishi...
    At what focal length do you find you do most of your shooting?
    Have you checked your pictures to see what you have that you
    seem to like the best?
    This might be helpful in deciding upon which prime you might want...
  3. t3han0maly


    Jun 30, 2008
    Atlanta GA
    I spend most of my time shooting between 30mm to 50mm. My primary lens right now is the 18-55kit that came with the camera. I was leaning more toward a 35mm.
  4. I personally found 50mm to be a little congested for small indoor spaces and a little short for portraits on the DX format. I see that you have the 18-200 range covered in zooms. If you like landscapes, indoor, or group photos, go 35 mm or lower. If you like portraits, close-up (macro), or sports then go 85mm or higher. I have both the Sig 30mm and Tamron 90mm and couldn't be happier!
  5. Hi Rishi,

    As you didn't state what particular type of photography you may be using your new prime for so i would suggest you start with 50mm if you shoot on FX or 30/35 if you shoot on DX.

    This FL is known is normal and is a very good starting point. There is no better focal length as such, only what you need/want and end result you wish to achieve.

    As you may be aware primes start at fish eye/extreme wide (about 10mm)and end at extreme telephoto (1000+). As you go towards extremes price goes up too, particulary on extreme telephoto end.
  6. chuckh


    Feb 17, 2009
    For your D80, the best bet is probably a 35mm to start with. It gives you an approximately 'normal' 52.5mm after the DX crop. That focal length is a very natural extension of one's field and perspective of view, which is why it's considered rather 'normal'. It's a good length for indoor shooting, and I love using it (recent DX AF-S version) as a small walkabout combo.

    The 50mm f/1.8 was extremely popular as it's one of the cheapest primes that will AF and meter on a D80-class body. However, the equivalent 75mm focal range on the DX crop is a bit tight for indoor shooting where the low-light capabilities of these primes is useful.
  7. braver


    Apr 2, 2008
    50mm (on FX) is a focal length that can be used in many situations because it is neither very long or very short. They are also easy to design, resulting in small, leightweight and cheap lenses that are also fast (1.8 or faster) and optically very good (sharp, low distortion). Because they're cheap, a 50mm is also popular on DX. A traditional 'normal' for DX would be about 35mm however, and the new 35mm is a great choice. You may not need anything else...
  8. is there a budget?

    As for the length, depends on what your photographing?

    I only have one prime, the 20ml F1.8 Sigma. Its a great lens, did some great travel/holiday photos with it.
    I just dont use it enough in work or personally, saying that i hardly ever take personal photos:( 
  9. A 50mm on a FX sensor closely approximates the field of view of you eyes. On a DX sensor, this would be a 35mm ( 1.5 * 35mm = 52mm ) and traditionally, when you bought film cameras, the 50mm usually came in the box.

    Above 55 there are lots of good primes, 60mm f2.8 micro, 85mm f1.4 and f1.8, 105 f2.8 VR micro, 135mm f2, 180mm f2.8, 300mm f4 and the family of super-telephotos.
  10. t3han0maly


    Jun 30, 2008
    Atlanta GA
    Most of my shooting is outdoorsy stuff. I wanted to pickup a prime with a low f-number to primarily help with shooting in low light areas when I'm out hiking or indoors. 35mm was also what I was leaning towards.

    I shoot on DX.

    Any recomendations on which lens would be a good starter?
  11. t3han0maly


    Jun 30, 2008
    Atlanta GA
    I havent really set a budget, just trying to gauge what would be a good focal length which looks like 35mm so the next challenge will to be pick one out.
  12. t3han0maly


    Jun 30, 2008
    Atlanta GA
    Edward, that was exactly what I was looking at. B&H is back ordered but looks like Ritz has it for $10 more. I'll wait a couple of weeks and see if B&H gets it in stock otherwise order it from Ritz.

    Thanks for the help everyone.
  13. DangerKilo


    May 14, 2009
    Definitely start wtih the 35 1.8. Fast wider than the 50, and a lot of fun. (i dont have a DX version). I shoot mostly film, but my 50, while fun, in no way keeps up with my 28mm for a great walkaround lens.

    Welcome to prime, you will have one heckofa ride here. I truly believe primes make you a better photographer, and if that isnt true, they will give you a workout... leg zoooooooommmmm

  14. Weston


    Dec 29, 2008
    Springfield, OR
    The 35mm f1.8 is the standard DX prime now. It is very sharp and focuses close.
  15. goffer


    Nov 22, 2007
    San Diego
    sigma 30mm 1.4 or the nikkor 35mm 1.8 would suite you just fine.
  16. Flynn


    Jun 28, 2009
    Livermore, CA
    Another vote for the 35mm 1.8 Had both the 35mm and 50mm on my D90. The focal lenght was just a little bit too long with the 50mm. Kept finding myself backed up against a wall.
  17. bigshot


    Aug 17, 2008
    Hollywood, USA
    I use my Sigma 30 1.4 about three times more often than my Sigma 50 1.4 with my D200
  18. start with the 35dx (if you can find one). then get ready for dwindling savings and credit card limits, since once you step into the world of primes, you fall deeper and deeper into this wonderful abyss.

    the old 50/1.8 and the new 35/1.8 should be classified as gateway drugs; very addiciting and can lead to more powerful and expensive stuff.
  19. t3han0maly


    Jun 30, 2008
    Atlanta GA
    That sounds pretty dangerous but I think I'll take my chances anyways :biggrin:
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