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Prime lens recommendation - 50mm vs 35mm

Naveen Gupta , Sep 23, 2012; 04:16 p.m.

Hi,
I'm a hobbyist photographer, still at very early stage of the learning curve. I've got a D7000 with Sigma 18-200 DC OS, which has been serving me quite well over the past half year. It is a great travel lens for me, traveling being my primary photographic interest.

However, now I want to learn and improve portrait and street-photography and have been thinking of getting a prime. I borrowed a friends Nikon 50mm 1.8 D (the one with the focus ring) and shot with it for a day. Generally I loved lens for its depth of field play and high aperture value. But found it difficult to use indoors because of the 50mm focal length on a medium format. By indoors, I'm not referring to a spacious studio or large hall, but normal apartment rooms, for casual photos of friends and alike. This is something, among other things, I would like to have a prime for. Also, street photos that I took using this lens didn't turn out as sharp as I was expecting. Though chances are high that I might not have been using the best settings to get the best results.

I haven't had the chance to try a 35mm prime, but I feel the focal length is a tad more convenient to play around with, both indoors and on street.

I'll be travelling to Paris soon specifically for shooting street pictures, with the hope of getting some good B/W shots as well. Would you recommend Nikon 50mm 1.8 D or a Nikon 35mm 1.8 G for street photography and portraits in general? The former is much cheaper at around €120, but I don't mind going for the latter at around €170, if it promises better results.

Thanks for the suggestions!
Naveen

Responses


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Joshua Westbrook , Sep 23, 2012; 04:43 p.m.

I use both, and find the 50mm had a crop factor which makes it 85mm in digital. so for portrait work I would pick the 35mm, but 50mm works too. I found I get a good head and shoulders shot with my 50mm from about 5 feet away if that helps. glad to hear you are a fan of prime lenses. cant beat them

Lisa E , Sep 23, 2012; 05:04 p.m.

I bought the 35/1.8 for indoor family pictures. But it stays on my camera (D5000) most of the time. I use a 50/1.4 when I want a head/shoulders shot of one of my kids. But the 35mm is perfect for general use.

Owen O'Meara , Sep 23, 2012; 05:17 p.m.

If you have a d7000 a 50mm will have the same view as a 75mm lens. I have a 50mm 1.4 that I use on my 7k and it is superb for portraits. You would do well to get a 35mm as well for street shooting and general use.

Dan Brown , Sep 23, 2012; 05:23 p.m.

On a DX, I would go with the 28/1.8 G as my standard lens.

Mike Halliwell , Sep 23, 2012; 05:29 p.m.

+1 Dan.

L G , Sep 23, 2012; 05:57 p.m.

The 35mm DX is a very nice lens, and is considered a normal lens (neither wide, nor long) for the DX format. It's a good choice. But I like a slightly longer lens for portraits and a slightly wider lens for general shooting. So a 50mm f/1.8 and a 28mm f/1.8 G would be a nice pair for general use on the D7000. But that's just me. I recommend you go and look at all your best shots and see what focal lengths you used most often.

Mark Stephan , Sep 23, 2012; 05:59 p.m.

From the description of what you like to do it sounds like the AFS 35 f/1.8 lens is what you need. It's a great lens and fast when you need it and it's wider on your DX body than the 50 you tried. You could always add the AFS 50 f/1.8 later for portraits or a short tele lens later. BTW, I use the AF 50 f1.8 on a D700 and D2x and it's a very sharp lens and budget priced too. Your camera settings or technique may have been off when you tried it on your camera.

Matt Laur , Sep 23, 2012; 06:35 p.m.

I'd go with the 35/1.8, or (if you've touch more of a budget), Sigma's 30/1.4. It's not that it's faster (though sometimes every little bit helps), but that it's 5mm wider - which, on APS-C at that focal length, you really notice. Personally, I also like the Sigma's bokeh, CA behavior, etc., better when used at wider apertures. It's optimized around shooting fast, and it shows. But then, it's twice the price, and somewhat beefier to handle. Should you get a chance to look at one, you might really like it.

Peter Hamm , Sep 23, 2012; 07:21 p.m.

I have both the 50mm f1.8D and the 35mm f1.8G that I use on DX with my D90. If I could only have one, it would be the 35, but the 50 is so handy and cheap and sharp that I'd rather just have both...


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