85mm f/1.8 for XTi?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by donald_a, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. I'm trying to decide whether to buy the 85mm f/1.8 or the 50mm f/1.4. I assume both have roughly the same the
    same image quality, so the main difference comes down to the usefulness of each lens (I want it to be a lens that
    I use regularly). I want to use the lens for portraits and as many other uses as possible. I'm thinking the
    50mm will have more uses since indoors the 85mm will probably only be able to capture head and shoulder shots.
    On the other hand, the 85mm will probably be more useful outdoors (soccer, volleyball, concerts) and well as
    larger rooms indoors since I can stand farther back. Anyway, my main question is whether the 50mm on a crop
    sensor provides the same face-flattening AND bokeh as the 85mm on full frame. Since the 50mm on the crop sensor
    has roughly the same FOV as the 85 on FF, this means that I would stand roughly the same distance from the
    subject for a given shot, which means the perspective/bokeh should be the same right? Any other
    advice/experience of these lenses on a crop-sensor would be greatly appreciated.
  2. It seems like they have a different enough focal length that it would be good to have both.

    For my kit I've been working on the assumption I would get the 85mm f/1.8 as well as something in the 50-60mm area. The biggest question for me is if I should get either the 50mm f/1.4 or the 60mm f/2.8 macro. I'm leaning towards the 50mm right now because of the better low-light capability.
  3. I have both. I use the 85 for outside and 50 for inside (either with the 40D or with the 5D). My 85 has a faster focus and a better bohek (both wide open). In rappid series, I get more pictures out of focus with the 50 1.4. At low light is excellent, nevertheless.
  4. My wallet isn't liking those responses. Since I have the 50mm f/1.8, that is an argument to get the 85, but my experience with the 50mm 1.8 is that it's good but not great at f/1.8-2.0 and hard to focus sometimes in low light and I expect the 1.4 to be better in both respects.
  5. The perspective will be similar, but a tad wider (80+ vs 85mm equivalent framing), but the wide open background blur will be slightly less (you'd need an f/1.1 lens to match the f/1.8 on full frame, roughly speaking).

    I can sympathise with Brandon's dilemma in that it may be preferable to have something a touch longer, yet not as long as the 85mm (or rather, consider the 85mm as the substitute for 135mm on a full frame body).

    You may also be interested in this fairly recent thread that debated much the same issues:


    If you do decide to go with a 50mm, I would give serious consideration to the Sigma f/1.4 instead of the Canon.
  6. Just adding to the confusion: if you have a 50/1.8 why not buy a Canon 100/2 which is exactly twice as long as
    the 50?

    In regard to the posted question:Yes. (The 50 on a crop is roughly like an 85 on FF.)

    Regarding 50's use indoor: Recently I shot some indoor volleyball pictures. As I prefer to shoot tight shots the
    50/1.8 I used was way too short for me. Since you have a 50/1.8 you'll probably already know whether it's long
    enough for you.

    Regarding the buying of lenses in general: When buying lenses I would always look for a lens that gave me some
    significant advantage over the lenses I already have. I your case I would wonder whether the 50/1.4 is enough of
    an improvement to justify buying that as opposed to a lens that opens new realms for you. (A longer fast lens, a
    cool wide lens or even a Macro lens.)

    Good luck and remember to have fun, Matthijs.
  7. I use three "fast primes" in the Canon EOS lineup: 28/1.8; 50/1.4; 85/1.8. And they all use 58mm filters, too.
  8. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I have both and use both on a 20D. I shoot a lot of available light.

    Regarding usefulness etc: it is as you have stated.

    If I were forced to choose I would keep the 50mm on the theory that I usually can get closer or crop the 50mm to be
    an 85mm FoV without that much loss. I was not forced to choose, I bought both at the same time: the two FL`s
    supplement each other, especially for portraits, low light work, concerts, close action sport, etc.

    I suggest you buy a 50mm FL first, for the reasons I have stated. I think you will most likely get the 85mm later,

    I have not used the Sigma.

  9. I would say that 50mm would be more useful overall, especially if you're planning to shoot a lot of indoor photos. With 50mm, you can
    always move closer to your object to get the shot you want, but with the 85mm, you may not have the space to back out to take the right
    shot. I have the 50mm f/1.4 lens and took a lot of great indoor pictures with it. I love that lens, but, overtime, I got tired of the same/silmilar
    compositions I was getting with it, so ended up getting the 35mm f/1.4 lens. Perhaps 85mm may be more useful outdoors, but, if
    you're shooting concerts and volleyball games, I think a zoom lens (24-105) may be more versatile. With the 85mm, you may have to be
    on the sidelines of the court or on the front row of the concert to get good compositions. If you only shoot with primes, get the 50mm for
    indoors and 100 or 135 for outdoors. In short, if you're ONLY getting one lens right now, 50mm maybe a better choice.
  10. A 24-105 is useless for concerts and volleyball - it's much too slow.
  11. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    A 24 to 105 on a APS-C would not be my first choice of lens for concerts and volleyball, either.

    Notwithstanding the issue of lens speed: that particular zoom`s compass, IMO is neither wide, nor long.

    If one were to consider zooms, for these tasks, I think a pair would be necessary for most contingencies: especially if one could not roam.

    Like a 17 to 55F2.8 and a 70 to 200F2.8, for example.

  12. -- "Since I have the 50mm f/1.8, that is an argument to get the 85, but my experience with the 50mm 1.8 is that
    it's good but not great at f/1.8-2.0 and hard to focus sometimes in low light and I expect the 1.4 to be better
    in both respects."

    If you already have the 50/1.8, I strongly suggest to get the 85/1.8 first. The 50/1.4 is a tad better than the
    50/1.8 (search Pnet, there are several thread on that), but since it has a micro-USM drive (rather than a
    ring-USM like the 85/1.8) the advantages in focusspeed are minimal, also, I personally found the 50/1.4 doesn't
    focus any better than the 50/1.8 in lowlight. Sharpness arround f/2, the 50/1.4 is a bit better than the 50/1.8
    but from f/2.8 on they are about the same. Bokehwise, the 50/1.4 is nicer. Pnet also has a nice comparison ...
  13. The opinions here on PN on the 50/1.4 are mixed at least. Do search them out. (As the site's search is pretty
    crummy, especially for stuff such as "f/1.4". I recommend using Google, where you can use Boolean operators etc.
    Add "inurl:photo.net" in the search box. Click the "repeat the search with the omitted results included" link at
    the bottom of the results page.)

    Also have a look at the more formal testing on slrgear.com - quite easy to compare characteristics side by side.
    Re your wallet I'd recommend giving the 35mm/2 a thought.Should be less than the 50mm and it would provide more
    of a difference over the 85mm.

  14. "I'm trying to decide whether to buy the 85mm f/1.8 or the 50mm f/1.4." You already have the 50mm 1.8 right? If that is the case, between the two... I'd pick up the 1.8 85mm. I have it and use it. Here are two shots in a dark club and hard stage lighting with the 85mm wide open at 1.8 and iso 1600 http://www.traviskrause.com/rockabilly/images/1anchor2008julyfs.jpg http://www.traviskrause.com/rockabilly/images/6anchor2008julyfs.jpg You will have to copy and paste them... I will try to upload with the attach a picture thingie too.

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