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Af-s 35mm 1.8 vs Af-s 50mm 1.8

Meisam Hedayat , Feb 01, 2012; 02:13 a.m.

I own Nikon d3100 with Kit lens.
I am planning to purchase my first Prime Lens. But I can not decide between Af-s 35mm 1.8 and Af-s 50mm 1.8.
I was wondering weather they differ in sharpness and quality or it is just about focal lens.
If not, Which can creat better bokeh and what are advantages of each and disadvantages.
Generally speaking which one is more recommended?


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Jose Angel , Feb 01, 2012; 03:09 a.m.

Personally, I`d opt for the 35mm lens. Regardless of the sharpness or quality, I find 50mm on DX simply too long.
For most applications, close to a "standard" focal lenght, the 35 seem way more usable. A 50mm lens will be good as a short tele, for portraiture, etc. but not for "general" use.
The longer the lens. the more compressed background, providing maybe a more differentiated subject. Depth of field will be the same on both lenses. Don`t know about bokeh.

Wouter Willemse , Feb 01, 2012; 03:46 a.m.

Meisam, you'll find many threads already for comparison between these 2 lenses. The one sound advice that's always offered, is: take your 18-55 lens, put it to 35mm for a day and see how it works for you. Next, put it to 50mm, see how it works for you. Then you know which lens works better for you.

In the choice between these 2, sharpness and bokeh are roughly equal. But given the fact they're two different focal lengths, your primary concern should be which focal length is useful for you. I can tell you which of the two I'd choose and use a lot (I actually own the other one...), but my style of photography might be different from yours. So what's useful to me, might be useless to you.

Vince Passaro , Feb 01, 2012; 04:14 a.m.

For DX you can't do better than the 35mm f/1.8G. The 50 is as stated too long for general photography. It is also new. Tests I've seen show it to ahve a consederable amount of distortion, which is frankly weird for a 50mm. I suspect but am not sure that the 35mm is sharper, too.

Simon Hickie - Melbourne, Derbyshire, UK , Feb 01, 2012; 04:51 a.m.

Wouter has given you some sensible advice. I personally have the 35mm. It's closest to being a 'normal' lens on a DX sensor camera. Depending on your shooting preferences, it may be just right, too short or too long!

Shun Cheung , Feb 01, 2012; 04:55 a.m.

But given the fact they're two different focal lengths, your primary concern should be which focal length is useful for you.

Wouter is exactly right. By far the most important selection criterion is which focal length works for you, and in case both work (but perhaps for different reasons), maybe you should eventually get both. But choose based on focal length first. Otherwise, both the 35mm/f1.8 DX AF-S and 50mm/f1.8 AF-S are fine lenses. The 35mm has fairly serious chromatic aberration, though.

I have the 50mm/f1.8 AF-S and also tested a different sample on loan from Nikon. There is a tiny bit of barrel distortion; I don't think it is something you need to worry about, though. I captured the following test image with an FX D700. On the D3100, the distortion will be even less due to the crop. You can see the water level is a bit curved.

You can find a larger version of that image here: http://gallery.photo.net/photo/14310554-lg.jpg

Peter Hamm , Feb 01, 2012; 06:30 a.m.

For me, the 35 is a better, more "standard" range. I have the 35 and the older 50mm f1.8D, and the 50 only gets used for the occasional portrait. the 35 gets used a LOT, though.

The CA on the 35 is there, but hasn't been an issue for me, as it's the kind that is easily correctable.

Carl Becker , Feb 01, 2012; 07:28 a.m.

Wouter has it. Pick the focal length that meets your Field of View requirements. Then find the lens at that focal length that meets other needs like speed or Bokeh. What exactly are you planning to use this prime for?

Luis G , Feb 01, 2012; 08:32 a.m.

"Generally speaking which one is more recommended?"

For what purpose? And don't forget that you can see how useful these focal lengths will be by setting your kit lens to 35mm or 50mm and seeing how they work for you.

Meisam Hedayat , Feb 01, 2012; 08:48 a.m.

Thank you all for your quick and helpful reply.
Well my purpose is mainly obtaining sharper portrait and capturing better photos in low light conditions. Most of my photos are from my family,and friends individually and in group both indoor and outdoor.
Besides I carry most of the times my cam and captures scenes that I like.
I tried both focal lengths with my kit length as you suggested. As some of you mentioned for general shooting 35 is more convenient. on the other hand I am more convenient with 50 for portrait(I took some from my 3 years old son).
Although 35 still can be used for portrait by getting closer to the object by few steps.
I am almost now in favor of 35 in scene of focal length.
Any more hints is appreciated. since I have to pay for either of them about 350 USD according price in my region. although the global price is much less. Then I don't want to spend this amount and then dream on the other one.LOL

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