People say that 50mm is one of the...


SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#1
...purest form of focal length when it comes to taking photos...I've been told countless times that everything just looks correct and natural as it would to the human eye..for street or walkabout photography it is awesome and it encourages you to work for the perfect frame instead of zooming in and out with a zoom lens..recently I've taken to street or walkabout photography and I was wondering if I should try shooting with one...

Not wanting this to go into a "zoom vs prime" discussion..I have the al-cheapo 50mm f1.8 and it makes for quite good portrait lens on my cropped 50D..tried some outdoor shots and I find it ok though I din think it was a revelation that I was told it to be..the thing is..being on cropped sensor..the 50mm would then be 80mm for me so it would be somewhat longer than on FF sensor..so should I have been using a 28mm or 35mm instead since it brings me closer to having 50mm on FF(44.8mm/63mm)?

I also have a 17-50mm f2.8 that I generally use for the ease of taking photos during a gathering or event..even though this range more or less covers the 28mm to 50mm..I still dun mind getting a prime lens to try out whilst just walking around taking photos..

So what do you guys think? Stick to the 17-50mm since it covers the focal lengths or try out a prime? I may go rent one and try out 1st before I decide..however..sticking to the philosophy..should I go for a 28mm or 35mm since I'm on cropped?
 

Sep 17, 2008
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#2
...purest form of focal length when it comes to taking photos...I've been told countless times that everything just looks correct and natural as it would to the human eye..for street or walkabout photography it is awesome and it encourages you to work for the perfect frame instead of zooming in and out with a zoom lens..recently I've taken to street or walkabout photography and I was wondering if I should try shooting with one...

Not wanting this to go into a "zoom vs prime" discussion..I have the al-cheapo 50mm f1.8 and it makes for quite good portrait lens on my cropped 50D..tried some outdoor shots and I find it ok though I din think it was a revelation that I was told it to be..the thing is..being on cropped sensor..the 50mm would then be 80mm for me so it would be somewhat longer than on FF sensor..so should I have been using a 28mm or 35mm instead since it brings me closer to having 50mm on FF(44.8mm/63mm)?

I also have a 17-50mm f2.8 that I generally use for the ease of taking photos during a gathering or event..even though this range more or less covers the 28mm to 50mm..I still dun mind getting a prime lens to try out whilst just walking around taking photos..

So what do you guys think? Stick to the 17-50mm since it covers the focal lengths or try out a prime? I may go rent one and try out 1st before I decide..however..sticking to the philosophy..should I go for a 28mm or 35mm since I'm on cropped?

or simply screw the philosophy and just shoot? it will make ur life much happier;)
 

willdoang

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Jun 8, 2010
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#3
agree with the "screw philosophy and just shoot" lol XD, if u're considering such primes range might i advice sigma 30mm f1.4 it's one of the "must hve" lens in myown opinion for crop body prime :)
 

edutilos-

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Dec 28, 2010
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#4
"Correct and natural" etc... All that is roughly true, but only for FF or film cameras. If you're talking about APS-C, then 50mm with crop factor will give you 75mm, which is too long.

So to get the "correct and natural" perspective you'd be looking at a 35mm lens thereabouts.

Quite a few prominent street photographers have indicated a preference for a 40mm perspective, as it is more versatile.

It's really up to you... The difference, I suspect, between a 17-50 mm f/2.8 and a 28/35mm prime lens is size and visibility. If you're talking about gatherings, then no real need to blend in with the crowd is there, and you won't need it. If you want to capture street photography (in the strictest sense of the word, please refer to IN-PUBLIC street photography website for prime examples - Clubsnap's definition is a bit more lax), then a prime will be beneficial, as I've found.

Why 50mm is popular today, is really a relic of the past. It *was* a natural perspective, and thus was included as the kit lens for many SLRs... Then manufacturers just became rather good at manufacturing fast lenses for that focal length, and as they say, the rest is history. Today, people just get 50mm prime lenses because they are cheap, light for a fast prime.
 

Last edited:
Sep 17, 2008
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#5
the only reason i might consider a 35mm prime (on a APSC) or 50mm (on FF), is for the fast aperture. f1.4 can be helpful in some situations.
 

SmOcKxY

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#6
or simply screw the philosophy and just shoot? it will make ur life much happier;)
Haha! I'm always having fun shooting be it with any lens..just having a tinker or ways to improve my skills and enjoy photography more..
 

SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#7
agree with the "screw philosophy and just shoot" lol XD, if u're considering such primes range might i advice sigma 30mm f1.4 it's one of the "must hve" lens in myown opinion for crop body prime :)
That's something I may be looking at though reading through the usergroup thread..focusing is an issue like 75% of the lens and you'll hafta get it calibrated properly for it work beautifully..
 

detritus

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Sep 12, 2009
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#8
That's something I may be looking at though reading through the usergroup thread..focusing is an issue like 75% of the lens and you'll hafta get it calibrated properly for it work beautifully..
higher end models with micro-adjustments may help in some cases.

not to be dismissive abt what is possibly a very real problem for some users but at F1.4, i think it takes some effort to determine whether the lens has a focusing issue or whether its a user issue...
 

Sep 17, 2008
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#9
higher end models with micro-adjustments may help in some cases.

not to be dismissive abt what is possibly a very real problem for some users but at F1.4, i think it takes some effort to determine whether the lens has a focusing issue or whether its a user issue...
or if its the camera issue also hmm.
 

SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#10
"Correct and natural" etc... All that is roughly true, but only for FF or film cameras. If you're talking about APS-C, then 50mm with crop factor will give you 75mm, which is too long.

So to get the "correct and natural" perspective you'd be looking at a 35mm lens thereabouts.

Quite a few prominent street photographers have indicated a preference for a 40mm perspective, as it is more versatile.

It's really up to you... The difference, I suspect, between a 17-50 mm f/2.8 and a 28/35mm prime lens is size and visibility. If you're talking about gatherings, then no real need to blend in with the crowd is there, and you won't need it. If you want to capture street photography (in the strictest sense of the word, please refer to IN-PUBLIC street photography website for prime examples - Clubsnap's definition is a bit more lax), then a prime will be beneficial, as I've found.

Why 50mm is popular today, is really a relic of the past. It *was* a natural perspective, and thus was included as the kit lens for many SLRs... Then manufacturers just became rather good at manufacturing fast lenses for that focal length, and as they say, the rest is history. Today, people just get 50mm prime lenses because they are cheap, light for a fast prime.
When you say preference for 40mm I presume you are talking about FF right? That would mean a 24mm/28mm for my case..

In street photography I would say for my case it's just walking around and taking things/people I would find interesting to my eyes..it may be an object or animal or person(s) or even a building..care to share why you've found primes to be beneficial for you for this genre of photgraphy?

Yes the 17-50mm is a very good lens and I love it to bits..shooting people in gatherings or events it helps that sometimes I can zoom in or zoom out if there is little space or an obstacle blocking me..and I have realised i've found myself getting lazy with it since there is no need for me to move to get the right distance to shoot..

Of cos this is not a "must" situation here..I'm just toying with the idea of getting one to experience different things..of cos the 17-50mm can serve my purpose of a walkabout lens but I gotta say..it's heavy holdin it for a couple hours walking around(I dun use straps) and my wrist aches! hahaha!
 

SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#11
higher end models with micro-adjustments may help in some cases.

not to be dismissive abt what is possibly a very real problem for some users but at F1.4, i think it takes some effort to determine whether the lens has a focusing issue or whether its a user issue...

Of cos I understand that everyone's eyes sees things differently..nothing against Sigma cos I have the 17-50mm from them and I love it..my 50D does have the micro-adjustments feature..sometimes with the focusing chart it is abit hard to tell becos unless you set up a tripod at exactly 45º..you can't actually tell if it's front/back focusing or user error! Haha! Either that or I dunno how to do it :embrass:
 

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#12
Earlier generation photographers - says those 40 and above - will swear by the 50mm lens. It's THE LENS to have as it is the closest to the human eye view angle. On a 35mm film of FF sensor, that is. Aside from nostalgic and sentimental reason, the 50mm is indeed a very practical and versatile lens to have even today. But with the availability of premium F/2.8 zoom covering the range, I think it has lose some of its appeal in recent times.
 

swhyge

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#13
You listen too much. Some are just parroting from .... from.... . Just shoot and assess yourself... This is an art.
 

SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#14
swhyge said:
You listen too much. Some are just parroting from .... from.... . Just shoot and assess yourself... This is an art.
Whilst I understand that there are alot of people out there who just mirror what others say without having experienced it themselves..i do believe there are some experienced shooters out there with valuable tips and lessons to share..

Plus what is learning without 1st listening? Of cos at the end of the day i'll hafta discern good from bad advice or opinion..i am no prodigy when it comes to this art form so i may need all the help i can get! Heh heh!
 

Sep 17, 2008
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#15
Whilst I understand that there are alot of people out there who just mirror what others say without having experienced it themselves..i do believe there are some experienced shooters out there with valuable tips and lessons to share..

Plus what is learning without 1st listening? Of cos at the end of the day i'll hafta discern good from bad advice or opinion..i am no prodigy when it comes to this art form so i may need all the help i can get! Heh heh!

my suggestion is just shoot and self-critique. be as harsh. look at more photographs, find the ones that catch your eye and ask the photographer how they did it.
 

SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#16
allenleonhart said:
my suggestion is just shoot and self-critique. be as harsh. look at more photographs, find the ones that catch your eye and ask the photographer how they did it.
Thanks for the advise dude..i've actually revisited alot of places i shot before just becos i wasn't happy with the photos or the way i captured it..

The reason for starting this thread is not becos I'm thinking if changing to prime can yield better photos..or like i mention prime vs zoom..it's more of asking if experienced shooters agree with the "statement" about the 50mm lens and if it offers another aspect to shooting street or walkabout photography..

And if it's true then 50mm on my cropped won't fit the philosophy as it would be more like 80mm so should i be looking at 28mm to get close to it..

That being said..i welcome any opinion/comment/suggestions! :)
 

coolthought

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Jun 23, 2008
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#17
One of the reason, probably because it is the cheapest fast lens and the obsession with bokeh.
 

edutilos-

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Dec 28, 2010
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#18
When you say preference for 40mm I presume you are talking about FF right? That would mean a 24mm/28mm for my case..

In street photography I would say for my case it's just walking around and taking things/people I would find interesting to my eyes..it may be an object or animal or person(s) or even a building..care to share why you've found primes to be beneficial for you for this genre of photgraphy?

Yes the 17-50mm is a very good lens and I love it to bits..shooting people in gatherings or events it helps that sometimes I can zoom in or zoom out if there is little space or an obstacle blocking me..and I have realised i've found myself getting lazy with it since there is no need for me to move to get the right distance to shoot..

Of cos this is not a "must" situation here..I'm just toying with the idea of getting one to experience different things..of cos the 17-50mm can serve my purpose of a walkabout lens but I gotta say..it's heavy holdin it for a couple hours walking around(I dun use straps) and my wrist aches! hahaha!
Yes, in 35mm film terms.

I shot a lot of street photographs with a 28mm f/2.8 lens when I was still in London. I would wrap my neck around my wrist and shoot with one hand...

London Strangers Photo Gallery by Edutilos at pbase.com
 

cks2k2

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Feb 12, 2009
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#19
For street photography, it's about being invisible. You need to move and shoot fast without disrupting the scene.
With a prime (and practice) you can pre-compose in your head without "zoom lag".

I prefer 35mm over 50 - 50 is still too tight for me.
 

SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#20
Yes, in 35mm film terms.

I shot a lot of street photographs with a 28mm f/2.8 lens when I was still in London. I would wrap my neck around my wrist and shoot with one hand...

London Strangers Photo Gallery by Edutilos at pbase.com

Those are more or less the shots I take when walking around(with a few object shots thrown in)..very nice clean sharp shots..what camera were you using the 28mm on?
 

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