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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    7

    85/1.8 vs 50/1.4

    Here's what I've got:

    Tamron 28-75/2.8
    Canon 70-200/4L

    I would like a prime for two main purposes:
    - kids, indoors, sometimes at night (low light)
    - portraits

    This all goes with a Canon XT.

    I thought I'd decided on the 85/1.8, but find myself wondering if the 50/1.4 would be more appropriate. I just found this board and this seems like the right place to ask. Any thinking about why one would be preferable would be great.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    6,590
    The 85mm is a very nice portrait lens, IF you have enough distance from your subject. The 50 mm therefore would maybe be a better choice indoors, because of the 1.6x crop factor.
    Canon EOS 350D, Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 macro, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC EX, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM, Tokina AT-X124 Pro 12-24mm F4, Soligor 1.7x C/D4 DG Teleconvertor, Manfrotto 724B tripod, Canon Powershot S30

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,118
    I would suggetst the 50 f/1.8. A great lense at any rate but even better when you consider the price. f/1.4 DOF may be a little difficult to use when you are trying to shoot anything but a stationary object, and I don't really see the price justification for .4 f/stop ($315 -1.4 compared to $80 - 1.5) JMHO

    Ken
    Canon dSLR User

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    3,109
    I also think the 50 1.4 would be a better choice. While the 85 1.8 is nice sharpness-wise down around f2, it is pretty long for indoor use on the XT. The 50 1.8, while it is my most used lens for indoor portraits, IMO is not sharp below f3.5 with f4.5-5 as the sweetspot. Hence for me at least it is not a good low light lens. If you're talking really tight quarters the new Sigma 35 1.4 is supposed to be really nice.

    Is there something about the Tamron 28-75 you don't like? If you have a copy that works well with your XT (mine didn't - focus issues wide open), it's a nice lens for what you want to do.
    Canon A720 IS, 40D w/ BG-E2N, 28 1.8, 50 1.4, Sigma 70 2.8 macro, 17-40 F4 L, 24-105 F4 L IS, 70-200 F4 L IS, 430 EX, Kenko 2X TC & Ext Tubes, AB strobes and more...
    View my photo galleries here: imageevent.com/24peter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by 24Peter
    Is there something about the Tamron 28-75 you don't like? If you have a copy that works well with your XT (mine didn't - focus issues wide open), it's a nice lens for what you want to do.
    Okay, you caught me. In trying to focus the discussion, I lied. I don't have any of this stuff yet (even the XT). I'm putting together a package and am trying to take full advantage of the triple rebate. Thus I'm looking for two qualifying Canon lenses. I'm comfortable with the choices of the Tamron and the Canon 70-200/4L. I'm very interested in complementing these with a prime, if nothing else to learn what it's like to use one. I really like the idea of a low-light lens, especially for indoor shots and portraits (portraits will likely be with more light but still largely indoors.) Like I said before, I was leaning towards the 85/1.8, but got worried about the distance required, especially on a 1.6x sensor. I've heard nothing but good things about both the 85/1.8 and the 50/1.4, and so they seem like the most likely candidates.

    Anyway, that's the full story. Does that change any recommendations?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,118
    Yea, I would go with the Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 EX DG MACRO DF(key is the macro part - there are 2 different lenses newer specifies MACRO and sells for $439) instead of the tamron. While it is more expensive than the tamron, I hear better things about it. Make sure that if you do a search you are researching the correct lense, I have heard that the 1st version (No longer available from B&H for Canon EOS) is not as good as the newer one.
    Ken
    Canon dSLR User

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    Posts
    161
    I have both the 50/1.4 and 85/1.8. Both are great lenses, but they serve different purposes. The 50/1.4 is good for head-and-shoulders portraits on a 1.6x crop camera, the 85's field of view is obviously narrower. If I could only have one of these lenses, it would be the 50; the extra 1/2 stop and wider field of view are the reasons.
    A manual-focus slide shooter lost in the world of digicams.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Near St. Louis
    Posts
    3,528
    Quote Originally Posted by ktixx
    I would suggetst the 50 f/1.8. A great lense at any rate but even better when you consider the price. f/1.4 DOF may be a little difficult to use when you are trying to shoot anything but a stationary object, and I don't really see the price justification for .4 f/stop ($315 -1.4 compared to $80 - 1.5) JMHO

    Ken
    I see the justification clearly, for USM - silky smooth and fast AF. The 1.8 as Peter stated is not sharp until about 3.5-4.0, so with the 1.4 you gain improved sharpness over the 1.8 at 1.8, 2.0, 2.8. If the 50 1.8 was 150-200 dollars, this would be an absolutely no brainer decision, but since the 50 1.8 is 75$ Kens point is very valid. You can't ignore it. But, having owned the 50 1.8 I can tell you that if I had to do it again, I would get the 1.4.

    Quote Originally Posted by 24Peter
    I also think the 50 1.4 would be a better choice. While the 85 1.8 is nice sharpness-wise down around f2, it is pretty long for indoor use on the XT. The 50 1.8, while it is my most used lens for indoor portraits, IMO is not sharp below f3.5 with f4.5-5 as the sweetspot. Hence for me at least it is not a good low light lens. If you're talking really tight quarters the new Sigma 35 1.4 is supposed to be really nice.

    Is there something about the Tamron 28-75 you don't like? If you have a copy that works well with your XT (mine didn't - focus issues wide open), it's a nice lens for what you want to do.
    I agree with you here about the 50 1.8 Peter. I have do have focus issues with the 1.8 in lowlight as well.

    Do you mean the Sig 30 1.4 EX HSM?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chucko
    I have both the 50/1.4 and 85/1.8. Both are great lenses, but they serve different purposes. The 50/1.4 is good for head-and-shoulders portraits on a 1.6x crop camera, the 85's field of view is obviously narrower. If I could only have one of these lenses, it would be the 50; the extra 1/2 stop and wider field of view are the reasons.
    I have both the 50 1.8 and the 85 1.8 and my mileage differs from chuckos slightly. I find the 85 1.8 a great head and shoulders lens, indoors and out. You don't need to be as close as the 50 which some people can find a bit obtrusive. However, I agree with him that the 50 1.4 would be the choice here at this point. I picked up the 85 1.8 after I concluded that the 50 1.8 was both too short and too long indoors. To short to really get good head and shoulders of people candidly, I mean you do need to get right up in there for a full head and shoulders shot. It was too long because I could only get 3 people in a frame comfortably when space was tight. So I have the 85 now and the 35 F2, I no longer have these problems indoors. So you may think after that the 85 will be the choice for you. Well, it may very well be the choice. but the 50 is still a great lens to have and a great place to start. the 1.4 all the way.
    Nikon D90 | Sigma 10-20 HSM | DX 18-105 f3.5-5.6 VR | DX 55-200 VR | 35 f/2.0 D | 50 f/1.4 D | 85mm F/1.8 D | SB-800 x 3 | SU-800
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    2,175
    Quote Originally Posted by mpsalisbury
    Here's what I've got:

    Tamron 28-75/2.8
    Canon 70-200/4L

    I would like a prime for two main purposes:
    - kids, indoors, sometimes at night (low light)
    - portraits

    This all goes with a Canon XT.

    I thought I'd decided on the 85/1.8, but find myself wondering if the 50/1.4 would be more appropriate. I just found this board and this seems like the right place to ask. Any thinking about why one would be preferable would be great.

    Thanks.
    Have you tried both out in a store? That's one of the best ways of telling. I suppose you could "try" it out by locking a zoom lens at one focal length, but psychologically, you'll still know that you can zoom in and out. If you mount the 50 and the 85 on and get locked into the mindset that that's all you'll get in terms of focal length, then you might be able to answer your question.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    1,807
    mpsalisbury: I would also recommend the 50 f1.4 over the 1.8. i've actually got the original 50 f1.8, not the all-plastic body mk II version. anyways, from what i've been hearing it sounds like the mk I i have is somehow optically better than the new one and of course, it has better build quality, a distance scale, and real manual focus ring. the point i'm working up to is, even with the better mk I version, i STILL feel the NEED to upgrade to the f1.4 version. why? faster, quieter, more accurate AF, and better bokeh. jumping up from an mk II the f1.4 is an even more significant upgrade, and IMO, should very well be worth the extra cost.

    BTW i've also got that tamron and 70-200 f4 and i can tell you that the tamron is extremely sharp for a zoom. the 70-200 focuses very quickly and is actually pretty handy for portraits. i use mine for candids every once in while because it allows me to hang back and not be noticed.
    canon 17-40 L, 70-200 f2.8 L, 400 f5.6 L, 50 f1.4 & f1.8, 1.4x TC, sigma 15 f2.8 fisheye, flash 500 DG Super, kenko extension tubes

    note to self: don't participate in sad, silly threads unless you're looking for sad, silly responses.

    "anti-BS filter" (from andy): http://dcresource.com/forums/showpos...94&postcount=4

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