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01-07-09, 05:44 AM
#1

"Nifty Fifty" Advice

Hi Everyone,

I have been considering purchasing a "Nifty Fifty" to help me focus on my composition when taking photos. However, after doing some research I have noticed that the angle of view is cropped on a DSLR with an APS-C sensor, the crop factor is 1.5 for Nikon and 1.6 for Canon. This means that if I purchase a 50mm lens for my Nikon D200, the angle of view becomes 75mm.

The pictures below illustrate the angles of view on FX (35mm full frame) and DX camera bodies:


50mm (FX 35mm full-frame)


50mm (DX; 75mm equivalent)

I was wondering therefore, if I should consider buying the Nikon 35mm f1.8G AF-S DX lens baring in mind the crop factor of 1.5 this would give me an angle of view of 52.5mm, closer to the angle of view I want to be working with for landscapes.

The picture below illustrates the angle of view:



A 50mm lens whilst on the vastly more popular and widespread DX format it behaves like a short telephoto, ideal for portraiture

Brian
Kit 1
Nikon D200
Sigma 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 DC OS / HSM Lens
Sigma 10-20mm f4.0-5.6 EX DC / HSM Lens
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01-07-09, 06:23 AM
#2

Re: "Nifty Fifty" Advice

The reason the nifty fifty is so popular is, or was, price and quality. Until the recent massive price increases on camera equipment it could be bought brand new for 80 and was excellent quality being a prime and much faster at (typically) f1.8. It was noticeably better than cheaper amateur zooms used by most people. On DX cameras (APS-C) it is considered a good portrait lens (portrait lens were always around 75-80mm on 35mm film cameras). You would now expect to pay around 110 for this lens.

As a general purpose lens it is a little too long for street views etc. The 35mm lens you mention takes you back to pretty much equivelant a 50mm lens on a 35mm film camera.

However, I'd still question if you actually find yourself shooting at this focal length very often? Generally I'd argue it is too long in many situations. The '50mm' lens thing started as it was meant to represent a similar perspective to the human eye, but not the same field of view. A 24 or 28mm lens is more likely to offer a similar field of view and probably be more use on a DX camera.

The 35mm f1.8 you mention is a cracking lens designed for amateurs and performs very well. It has no manual focus ring or anything. That is more likely to retail around 190 so it doesn't represent the bargain nifty fifty price that made them so popular.
Kit 1
Nikon D700
Nikon 28-70 f2.8 ED AF-S (The Beast)
Nikon 80-200mm f2.8
Tamron 24-135 SP
Nikon 300mm f4
Nikon 70-300mm VR
Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 (DX)
Nikon 28-105mm (great walkaround on D700!)
Lensbaby Composer
Nikon 20-35mm f2.8
Nikon SB800
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Nikon D300
Nikon 20mm f2.8
Nikon 24mm f2.8
Nikon 28mm f2.8
Nikon 35mm f2
Nikon 50mm f1.4
Nikon 85mm f1.8
Micro-Nikon 60mm f2.8
Micro-Nikon 105mm f2.8
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01-07-09, 06:41 AM
#3

Re: "Nifty Fifty" Advice

Thanks for the advice Stuart,

Clifton Cameras are selling the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1:1.8G DX for 175 delivered; 168 for the lens and 7 for P&P.

The Nikon 50 mm f1.8D AF Nikkor is 116 delivered.

Brian
Kit 1
Nikon D200
Sigma 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 DC OS / HSM Lens
Sigma 10-20mm f4.0-5.6 EX DC / HSM Lens
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My Compact/P&S: Canon IXUS 950 IS


     
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01-07-09, 09:08 AM
#4

Re: "Nifty Fifty" Advice

As an alternative why not have a look at the 24-120mm lens, its one I have and think great.

It would cover the range you want as well.

Bazza


     
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01-07-09, 12:38 PM
#5

Re: "Nifty Fifty" Advice

The 24-120 VR is quite an enjoyable lens. I borrowed one for a while recently and took one or two nice shots. I had a Nikon 17-55 at the same time and it's worth mentioning there was a noticeable difference in quality in favour of the latter, but that is in a different league. The 24-120 is very variable in quality. The older non-VR version was considered soft by many, but a later version VR seems to be hit and miss with a a few more good ones around than bad. It is considered a kit zoom for the D700.

Both these zooms though are in a different league to the point of the nifty fifty which was cheap, small, lightweight and excellent quality. The zooms by comparison are larger, more or much more expensive, slower and the 24-120 isn't as good optically although many people wouldn't notice or even want to notice.

Personally if I had to choose between the 35 and the 50 I'd get the former but neither would be ideal for the type of work I tend to prefer.
Kit 1
Nikon D700
Nikon 28-70 f2.8 ED AF-S (The Beast)
Nikon 80-200mm f2.8
Tamron 24-135 SP
Nikon 300mm f4
Nikon 70-300mm VR
Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 (DX)
Nikon 28-105mm (great walkaround on D700!)
Lensbaby Composer
Nikon 20-35mm f2.8
Nikon SB800
Kit 2
Nikon D300
Nikon 20mm f2.8
Nikon 24mm f2.8
Nikon 28mm f2.8
Nikon 35mm f2
Nikon 50mm f1.4
Nikon 85mm f1.8
Micro-Nikon 60mm f2.8
Micro-Nikon 105mm f2.8
Tamron 28-75mm f2.8


     
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01-07-09, 01:19 PM
#6

Re: "Nifty Fifty" Advice

Why not look at the Sigma 24-70mm? I use it and love it. IMO if you're only really looking at bracketing the 50mm (35mm camera sensor) range it doesn't make sense to go up to 120mm. At that length distortion is apparent and you wouldn't make use of the full range for the frame size you are considering. The 24-70 is more in keeping with the range you are looking at and distortion is minimal at f2.8 throughout.

To cover the range I use 10-20mm, 24-70mm, (I also have a 50mm but rarely use it), and 70-300mm.


     
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01-07-09, 02:13 PM
#7

Re: "Nifty Fifty" Advice

I use my kit 18-55mm Nikkor for everything. I shoot a lot of landscapes and find its light weight and size perfect for nearly everything. The other very versatile lens I own is the classic 2.8 60mm Nikkor Micro. It's pricey but is a super sharp, low light lens that doubles as a medium telephoto that can be used as a portrait lens. Many folks here own one.
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01-07-09, 02:17 PM
#8

Re: "Nifty Fifty" Advice

If that's the focal length you want, and you want it to help with your composition, and you have no immediate plans to go full frame, then yeah - I'd go for the 35mm.

I actually like the 35mm more than the nifty fifty from the photos I've seen taken with it (on both DX and FX cameras).
Kit 1
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01-07-09, 02:38 PM
#9

Re: "Nifty Fifty" Advice

It's the old problem.

If you want to get a lens that 'appears' as about 50mm for a cropped sensor then go for the 35mm

I think 'full frame' sensors will filter down the product ranges so perhaps your next camera would be giving you 35mm not 50mm.
Kit 1
Canon 1D Mark 3
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01-07-09, 03:19 PM
#10

Re: "Nifty Fifty" Advice

BC

Of course there would be a difference between the 17-55 against the 24-120 purely because the lens doesn't have to cope with a bigger range, therefore the glass can be "tuned" more precisely. Not having used the 17-55 I can comment on how good it is, all I can say is I am totally happy with my 24-120 lens.

I suggested the 24-120 because yo get the best of both worlds for a walkabout lens, fairly wide angle view at 24mm yet the 120mm end can pull an object in far better than the 17-55mm ever will
Bazza


     
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