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Overcoming "Prime Paranoia" , 50mm 1.8 !

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Desmond, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. Having had an 18-70 with my first D70 , then having an 18-200 for quite a while now , I have always felt extremely limited with a prime . Heck , I even feel limited with the 70-200 since it can't go wide if I suddenly need it .
    I think it's all part of mostly doing ''walkabout'' photography where I don't know what I will be photographing next .
    A while ago I read a statement in the people section " I could photograph almost an entire wedding with my 50mm 1.8 lens !" and it made me shudder .
    Even when people ask "what should be the first lens I buy ?" I see most answers are "50mm 1.8 !" which also makes me feel a little uneasy .
    I've had 50mm 1.8 in my bag for almost 2 years now and have never used it besides a test shot to see that it works .
    My opinion started changing a bit last saturday night when I was photographing a dance event sitting in the same seat the whole time .
    Quite a few of the shots from my tamron 17-50 2.8 were taken at 50mm and could have used a bit more speed . A few from the 70-200 as well .

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    That's when I wished I had the 50mm 1.8 on my D70S rather than having the D70S and 18-200 on a wireless trigger further back .

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    So today I actually took the 50mm 1.8 for a proper 'test drive' and did some comparisons .

    1.8 .....

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    as opposed to 5.6 ....

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    another 1.8 ...

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    and then the rain picked up a bit so I obeyed this sign ...

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    A few times I tried to grab the lens and zoom in a bit so luckily none of you guys were watching me but I think with a little encouragement from you lot along with a few samples I may put the lens back on the camera again .:Teeth:
  2. Good zooms have become so ubiquitous that it's hard for many folks to imagine how one could get by without their convenience. Yet, as your example shows, the smaller, lighter, faster, and usually optically-better prime has much to recommend it.

    There's a progression that we photographers often go through - starting out with consumer zooms with their relatively vast focal range choice built into that zoom ring; then moving on to "pro" zooms with their usually much more limited focal range (but faster speed); and finally on to prime lenses when we finally begin to understand and appreciate that optical excellence requires a trade off in other things.
  3. rotxlk82


    Jul 20, 2007
    It's odd, when I first moved up to SLR cameras with the D50 I too could never imagine working with a lens that has no zoom. Now, as you can see by my signature the kit 18-55 is the only zoom I have!

    As long as I prepared to think ahead and guess what I will be shooting I am happy to use my primes for the bulk of the time.

    That said for some strange reason I never get on with the 50mm focal lenght on DX cameras, I think it's wonderful when I use film and are spared the problems of the crop factor however I could never really visualise images with the 50.

    As for samples... I don't think I've eve posted anything here on the Cafe not taken with a prime!
  4. So has anyone got any samples to add from the 50mm 1.8 ?
  5. I just want to say that I absolutely love the 50 1.8 as a portrait lens. I also have the 80-200 2.8 AFD which excels in that capacity but I do find that sometimes people tend to freeze up a little when they see that great big lens pointed at them. People tend to relax when all they see is the tiny little 50 1.8.
  6. truflip


    Jul 28, 2008
    Ottawa, ON
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  7. I have the opposite problem, I can't use anything but my 50 1.8!
  8. Some good samples there , I've taken one further step and ordered the 85mm 1.8 as well so maybe I can get into primes a bit more .
    I'm wondering if it is better to use af-c with such a shallow depth of field so I don't mess up with my movement once focus is locked .
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  9. truflip


    Jul 28, 2008
    Ottawa, ON
    I never used the 85mm 1.8 but I don't have issues with the DoF (@1.8) of the 50mm.
    I find the AF isnt fast enough (combined on camera and lens) to warrant relying on the AF-C feature. Just my personal experience though.
  10. I appreciate the input anyway , it all helps toward making a decision :smile:
  11. 04749s


    Sep 20, 2008
    east bay area
    All wet on a hot day
  12. 50/1.8 make me happy:

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  13. Overcoming "Prime Paranoia", 50mm F1.8

    October 6, 2008

    You can overcome your "prime paranoia" by going out and using this lens, I own two of them. This lens is optically superb and if you stop the lens down to the middle apertures say f5.6 to f11, you will find that this lens will produce outstanding results.

    Part of the fun in photography, is the willingness to experiment, I encourage that you do so and I think that you will then understand just how good this little lens is.

    Get yourself the HR-2 lenshood that Nikon makes for this lens, it is an optional accessory that sells for around $20.00. If you can't find it or don't want to spend as much, a rubber generic lenshood will work as well for less cost.

    Good Luck, go out and use that lens and then post some images for all of us to see just how well it worked for you.

    Steve Zalewski
    Syracuse, NY
  14. The lens hood sounds like a good idea though I suppose the design of the lens does mean not much light can strike the element .
    From now on I will have the 50mm 1.8 or the 85mm 1.8[when it arrives] on one of my camera bodies and promise I will experiment and post samples :smile:
  15. Today I took a few more shots with it .

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    I live alone so there were no other subjects ok ! Trying to look casual with the camera at the end of my arm ....:rolleyes: 

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  16. Holmes


    Oct 28, 2006
    Wyoming, USA
    You're going to love the 85/1.8, it's a great compact lens that delivers the goods. I used to shoot my old non-D version at f2.5 quite often as this gave me a good degree of sharpness and contrast. Use a hood on it for sure.

    Welcome to the freedom of fixed focal length lenses!
  17. Sounds like a contradiction but probably means "freedom from addiction to zooms " :smile:
  18. changes13

    changes13 Guest

    Went through the same progression. Started with zoom only, but after seeing the sharpness of a prime, and the speed.... 80% prime now, unless i need something wider.
  19. And what primes do you have ?
  20. changes13

    changes13 Guest

    I am in the process of making the switch from canon to nikon, so the primes i have are probably not much interest to you all here, but, ive traded in an out of them and have kicked the tires on:

    Canon 50mm f/1.8 MKII (canon's "nifty fifty")
    Canon 50mm f/1.4
    Sigma 50mm f/1.4
    Sigma 30mm f/1.4

    I settledon keeping the canon 50mm f/1.4 and the sigma 30mm. Im amazed that people can take portrait pics indoors with an 85mm on a crop. They must have huge houses :biggrin:

    For the nikon experiment, I currently have the nikon 50mm f/1.8 and the nikon f/1.4. I havent researched the 30mm (or close) options with nikon yet, but would be interested in looking at the sigma 30mm and VERY interested in the new nikon 50mm f/1.4.
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