50mm is not standard?


artspraken

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I came across a very interesting paragraph in luminous landscape written by Michael Johnston

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/sm-dec-04.shtml

Is it true that 50mm is not really the standard and 35mm is a more flexible alternative? To me the difference between 50mm and 35mm is just two steps forward/back. Not sure if there is such a difference

We should remember that although the 50mm retains its historical reputation as the "standard" lens, the need for a wider standard evolved organically and changed the camera's basic design: the M2 was so popular that its finder magnification was adopted for the M4 and subsequent cameras. The 50mm is, in fact, not the standard lens for the camera – if it was, the .85 finder would still be the norm. More good photographers use the 35mm as a "normal" lens than the 50mm these days.
 

martxx

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I also feel 35mm is more flexible.
 

hookonclassic

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Hi, just for discussion, a lot of Leica fans would like to regard 35mm as their best used lens with RF and NOT standard lens. Unless the definition of standard is "the most used lens for your camera".

In my opinion, 35mm is favorite because of the following reasons:

1) small and compact, look best on a RF,
2) ease of handling than longer lens, this mean can shoot at lower shutter speed up to 1 sec hand held with acceptable image quality
2) greater depth of field as compared to 50mm, better zone focus and not too wide to get the best subject and distance to frame ratio
3) 35mm frame line inside a 0.72 or 0.85 RF viewfinder provide best of view, don't require external viewfinder
4) wider coverage than a 50mm, which allow post processing crop, if necessary

:D
 

mamypoko

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Dec 18, 2007
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50mm is my standard, not sure about others. I prefer having a tighter composition for street.

Zone focusing is also easy, provided you get used to aiming your camera in the correct direction.

It really depends on your shooting style, an article is just that, an article, based on someone else's opinion.
 

kkgoxplore

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For a 35mm format (24x36mm sensor) camera, the 50mm lens is supposedly seeing what the eye see. This is why the 50mm lens is known as the standard lens, and not that it is THE standard must have lens. The preference for picture angle between 35mm @ 62 degree and 50mm @ 46 degree is individual's.
 

azzurri

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Sep 6, 2007
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If I am correct, the term standard lens for 50mm is derived from it being the "kit lens" in the early days and the term just stuck on. I guess it could also be due to the 50mm generally being the cheapest lens hence most people owned one and it became a "standard".

I guess there are a number of people who opt for the 35mm because it is able to cover enough of the subject and the element it is in. That gives the photograph more "meaning" as it puts the subject into perspective.

There is no standard lens for photographers per se with some swearing by the 28mm or 35mm or 50mm or any other lens. Ultimately, the standard lens is the one that you are the most comfortable with ;p
 

tategoi

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Apr 5, 2009
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50mm is my standard. It's all up to you, you are using the lens, only you know better what is your standard.
 

I guess it depends on the individual to try out the lenses to decide which is the best for one.

I am very comfortable with 35mm. It is wide but not too wide, very good for general walk abouts as 35mm gives me good coverage on the street.

35mm framelines fit fantastic on my hexar rf as well.
 

artspraken

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I mainly do street. Not landscapes.

For street shoots, I find that the key difference between 35mm and 50mm is the two steps forward/back.

My observations:
  • With 50mm, if I am too close, I need to take 2 steps back.
  • With 35mm, if I am too far, I can (a) shoot and crop the image later or (b) take 2 steps forward.
  • It is easier to take 2 steps forward than 2 steps back.

It seems to me the key differential for street shooting is the "2 steps back". For street, this can be an advantage in that 50mm is for shooting from a further distance. Street not easy when you are too close (unless your skin as thick as Bruce Gilden!). However, in close crowded conditions, 50mm is very difficult to use because you cannot take 2 steps back.One more thing: often, taking 2 steps back will remove your "cloak of invisibility". Hard to blend in the background when you suddenly take 2 steps back, people think you are going to do something!
 

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nordleadx

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I mainly do street. Not landscapes.

For street shoots, I find that the key difference between 35mm and 50mm is the two steps forward/back.

My observations:
  • With 50mm, if I am too close, I need to take 2 steps back.
  • With 35mm, if I am too far, I can (a) shoot and crop the image later or (b) take 2 steps forward.
  • It is easier to take 2 steps forward than 2 steps back.

It seems to me the key differential for street shooting is the "2 steps back". For street, this can be an advantage in that 50mm is for shooting from a further distance. Street not easy when you are too close (unless your skin as thick as Bruce Gilden!). However, in close crowded conditions, 50mm is very difficult to use because you cannot take 2 steps back.One more thing: often, taking 2 steps back will remove your "cloak of invisibility". Hard to blend in the background when you suddenly take 2 steps back, people think you are going to do something!
Wow !!! "cloak of invisibility"

I prefer to move forward too. Normally the best lens is the lens u can visualize the frame in ur mind.

Imagination is the most powerful tool. No need to move in or out, visualize, prefocus and snap.

I do the same and use a wide. For crowded places I prefer a 50mm.

Regarding our eye's angle, I find 28mm more like what my eyes see. Anyone here feel the same?
 

artspraken

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Just to further the discussion on 50mm v 35mm

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/sm-august-04.shtml

Interesting: 50mm has fewer usable shots, but more great shots?

Wide normal primes (35mm):

Alternative normal. Often, the thing replaced by a zoom. Easiest focal length to shoot with. Best focal length for Leicas.


Normal/standard (50mm):

Useful for taking photographs, if you have a thick skin. When used exclusively, classic “hair shirt” lens for disciplining oneself needlessly. Strangely, when in skilled hands, can mimic moderate wide angles as well as short telephotos. According to one far Eastern expert, lower yield of usable shots than 35mm lens, but higher yield of great shots. Second best focal length for a Leica.
 

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henry soh

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Aug 29, 2008
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Hi, Yip, Generally, 35mm, if mounted on APSC, comes close to 50mm. 50mm lens mounted on
FF is 50mm.
 

gommy

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I like 50mm best!
Usually have 2 or 3 50mm with me.