Buying one prime lens and 35mm Body: advice please

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by randy_rubin, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. I am going to purchase a camera body and lens. I am currently trying to decide between an EOS 3 or an EOS 1N. I am most likely going to purchase an EF 50mm f/1.4 USM. My use will be NYC street photography as well as interior and occasional portraits. I don't want to buy a zoom because I want to build some discipline with a prime. The 50's DOF is appealing as well as its speed - usage for night photography. My only real concern is whether or not I am choosing the proper focal length. Other options are the 35mm f/2, 24mm f/2.8 or 28mm f/2.8. Also, are there other brand lenses I should be looking at in the $350.00 price range? Should I consider other camera bodies? I really enjoy shooting with as much manual control as possible. I want the EOS mount lenses so I can mount them to a DSLR in the future to shoot HD.
    Thanks,
    Randy
     
  2. If I was only going to use one lens it would be in the range of 50mm, but I did that for years and would never go back to that limit again. Looking back at my photos from then there were many times that a wider lens would have been very nice.
    If it were me I would get at least a 28mm to go with the 50mm, but get the 50mm for sure.
    Also note 50mm is a bit short for portrait work, 80-100 would be better, IMHO.
     
  3. Go for the 3.
    More recent.
    Better AF (whether you use ECF or not)
    Better metering
    Better flash metering (E-TTL rather than A-TTL)
    And in every other regard the equal of the 1N.
    The 50mm may be a little short for portraiture and a little tele for internal shots.
    If you can only have one lens then the 35mm f2 might be worth more of a look, but this is a full stop slower and not USM. The 50 f1.4 is blazing fast.
     
  4. Sigma has a range of fast wide-angle primes: they have a 20mm, 24mm & 28mm, all with maximum aperture f1.4. They're probably not as good as Canon lenses, but they're two stops faster than the cheaper Canon lenses, and much much cheaper than the directly-equivalent Canons.
     
  5. Scott is correct. For outdoor portrais, the 80-100mm length is preferable. Also, a longer length would give you some space between you and your subject when shooting street photography. The 50mm 1.4 or 35mm 2.0 would be a fine second lens.
     
  6. I'd rather have a 28/2.8 + 50/1.8 than a 50/1.4. Much more useful IMHO.
    Happy shooting,
    Yakim.
     
  7. For street photography where you are close enough to interact with your subjects then a 50mm is good for a single or maybe two people. Where you want to go for groups or include some context then a wider angle such as 28mm or a 24mm work well.
    If you want to take more formal portraits then the 85mm and upwards range is about right and for pickng out detail anything from 200mm upwards.
     
  8. You will need two lenses. For NYC street photography, a 50mm is not wide enough. Nor is it for interior shots in anything but large spaces. For portraits, it won't be very flattering closer than torso length on a single adult. I'd start with one lens to do either of those things well. I think a 28 and an 85 for the portraits. If you insist on the unilens idea, a 35mm.
     
  9. If I had to choose just one lens for everything it would be the 50mm. For street photography I would choose a 35mm. However, if you're going to do street photography with a noisy obtrusive camera like an EOS 3 or 1N then you may as well go the whole hog and get the 24-70 f2.8. It won't make it any more in your face than it is already. Plus you'll have all the focal lengths covered.
    If you want a quiet EOS film camera I recommend the EOS 30v. It's as quiet as a mouse and is worlds away from the clattering EOS 3 and EOS 1 series.
     
  10. A lot of outstanding advise from the guys here.I have to agree with them, you will need a wide angle lens too.I would spend less on the body and choose a later Elan Series (Elan II - Elan 7)instead of the pro models that attract a lot of attention (and theft).Put your hard cash in the lenses.A 50 1.4 and a 28 1.8 cover 90% of what you want to do.If your are really pinched for cash a 50 1.8 and 28 2.8 work just fine if you are not doing a lot of low light hand held work.
     
  11. I'd go for the 50mm, I suppose; but I'm surprised no one has suggested something like the 85mm f/1.8. I guess it depends on what you want to photograph in the street.
     
  12. As others have said - I would buy the EOS 3 over the EOS 1N as it is a better camera and essentially a cut price EOS 1V (but with eye control which I like). You need a wide angle I would suggest 24mm but 28 or even 35 will work depending on your shooting style. For portraits the 85mm is the way to go. As Jamie says the EOS 3 and the 1N are both noisy cameras. All of the Canon bodies I have owned have been noisy (New F1, A1, AE1, T90, EOS 1, EOS 1N, EOS 1NRS, 3, EOS 1V, EOS 5D II, EOS 7D) and rather obvious for street use. I personally use one of my wife's Contax G2 cameras with the 90mm, 35mm, 28mm or 21mm lens for street use. This small rangefinder is very quiet compared to an SLR (but nosier than a Leica) and unobtrusive. THe image / lens quality is very high but it has AF and a motor wind. With the G2 and a wide angle lens you can shoot from the hip so you can snatch photos that are difficult with an SLR.
     
  13. I never liked using an SLR, especially a big one, for street photography because they scream "hey, look out, here comes a serious photographer". I much prefer a high-quality P&S with a fixed focal length lens. Then you can get up close and most people won't care. There are many to choose from, and they typically have focal lengths in the 28-50mm range. The focal length you chose makes a big difference in the style and look. Shorter lengths let you get more background in and make it easier to get a dramatic look, but you need to have guts or charm your way into photographing strangers.
     
  14. i'd rather have a wide/normal combo. i like the 24/50 duo. if that's out of your budget a 28 2.8 and a 50 1.4 (or 1.8).
     
  15. I don't want to buy a zoom because I want to build some discipline with a prime. The 50's DOF is appealing as well as its speed - usage for night photography. My only real concern is whether or not I am choosing the proper focal length. Other options are the 35mm f/2, 24mm f/2.8 or 28mm f/2.8. Also, are there other brand lenses I should be looking at in the $350.00 price range? Should I consider other camera bodies?
    I'm going to take this on directly - and you may not like what I say... :)
    First, since you don't really know what focal length you want, I think it would make a ton of sense to at least start with a zoom. While you might guess right and pick the "correct" focal length (more on that in a moment) the first time, it is at least as likely that you won't. The problem is that apparently you don't have background experience with these focal lengths that would allow you to form a preference based on your own experience. By shooting first with a zoom - even an inexpensive one - you'll have a chance to learn from your own shooting which focal length (assuming that there is one such focal length) is the one that you would prefer to work with when you do go out armed with only a prime. (There is no right answer to the "which FL is appropriate for street photography Some prefer to work wide, say at 24mm. 35mm is favored by others. HCB supposedly mostly shot at 50mm, so many think that is right. Still others like to work with a slightly longer FL and either be back a bit or focus on smaller details.)
    Second, what is with the "building discipline" thing? The goal in selecting a lens and camera is not so much to "discipline" yourself as it is to "enable" yourself. Using a prime to limit your shooting opportunities makes little sense to me. (Using one to keep it simple or reduce camera bulk/weight might.) Frankly, I don't find street photography to be about "discipline" much at all - it is more (for me at least) about wandering around in a feast of visual opportunities that are constantly changing, appearing, disappearing, evolving and working quickly and intuitively to try to see and capture them. While I have and still occasionally do use a prime for this, I can work more quickly, intuitively, flexibly, and successfully with a single zoom.
    Third, why film? There is virtually nothing that you can do with film that you cannot do with digital, and there are a good number of things you can do with digital that you cannot do with film. For one thing, you can shoot a LOT more with digital - you won't have to interrupt your flow as often to change film, you won't have to carry film, you'll be able to adapt more quickly to changing lighting and so forth, you'll have greater opportunities to work the images in post when necessary. If you think you want it, you can even get a "film look" if that is what you are after.
    I understand the romantic notion of going out and emulating HCB, but just because a great street photographer did wonderful work using a Leica film camera, manual focus, and (mostly) a 50mm prime there is no requirement that you adopt the same equipment. (If you were climbing Mt. Everest today, I doubt that you would want to use the gear that Mallory used, or if you were a concert pianist you would probably not want to use the fortepiano of Mozart's time...) The real questions when it comes to photography in a certain genre (like "street" or any other) are not "What did old time photographer X shoot with?" but perhaps "What about old time photographers X, Y, and Z makes their photography work?" and "What is my vision for this type of photography?" and "What equipment will let me most effectively and efficiently create images that match my vision?"
    If you want "small," take a look at one of the recent "rebel" series bodies in the XSi, XTi, or t1i category. If you are really new to this, give the EFS 18-55mm IS kit lens a try - if nothing else it is inexpensive, decent, and it gives you a chance to try the angle-of-view-equivalent focal lengths that you contemplate. And the image quality from these current cropped sensor bodies is as good as that from 35mm film. If you really want to go prime, the 35mm f/2 is not too big and it is close to a 50mm equivalent on these bodies - a small 28mm or 24 mm is also an option.
    Finally, if you really want to work in the mode of HCB the current cameras that perhaps come closest to letting you emulate those working processes are perhaps not DSLR bodies at all but some of the high end P&S bodies like the Canon G11 or some of the fine new micro 4/3 bodies.
    Dan
     
  16. I would side with Dan on film issue. I might be wrong, but it seems to me that you go to film route since cost it's an issue, otherwise, you might have opted for 7D or 5DMk II since you mentioned HD. If that is the case, the cost of developing film can add up quickly, especially nowadays, since less and less lab are offering the service. To save the cost, one might as well pick up a Rebel DSLR, 20D or 30D or 40D plus a lens. If you like 35mm focal length on full frame, you might want to try 24mm f/2.8 on crop sensor. Not the same, but close.
    In short, going to film route doesn't make sense to me, especially in your case.
     
  17. stp

    stp

    I was going to chime in, but I can find nothing more to add to G. Dan Mitchell's advice. I especially agree with his take on "discipline," and as much as I like film, street photography is one area where I would embrace digital. A Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 with the 14-45mm lens would be my recommendation.
     
  18. Film will be a lot of fun! My favorite film camera is my 1vHS for sure but if you're going to do discreet street photography, the EOS 7 or 7N might be a better choice. It's a super capable camera and it's lightweight and the quietest of all the EOS film cameras. The 7N is a metal-bodied, 4.5fps camera while the 7 is plastic (very sturdy plastic though) and 4fps with the same super-quiet film advance. We also have a 7N that complements the 1vHS and it is a beautiful camera to use. Digital is wonderful but film has a wonderful quality that, to me, can't be matched by anything else. While a 50/1.4 is a great lens, a short zoom would be much more helpful but the 50/1.4 will certainly challenge your creativity. Whatever you choose, have fun and post some pics!
     
  19. there is hardly anything that you can't do with a standard lens. Still, if you like to shoot street I would certainly consider some of the above advice and go slightly wider and take a 35mm or even a 28 mm. Don't worry, despite some of the negatives of using just one lens as described here (not that they are wrong) it makes for a disciplined approach as you yourself already noted. When I was trained we were only allowed a standard lens, one kind of film and one kind of paper for two years in a row while cropping was out of the question. It's not the only way but certainly one of the best, at least in my mind.
    Using a prime to limit your shooting opportunities makes little sense to me​
    Dan, yours is certainly good advice but being limited I found to be of great value with hindsight. To name just one example it helps considerably in developing compositional skills. I shoot a lot of street and while I use(d) short zooms for a considerable amount of time because they are quite handy I have been going back more and more to primes in the range of 20mm-50mm.
    But of course, as they say over here, there are more ways that lead to Rome.
     
  20. The only "problem" that I can see with using the G1 for street photography is its 2x crop factor, which means you'll lose at the wide end. A huge advantage of this body, however, is that because of it's very short registration distance, almost any SLR lens is adaptable to it.
     
  21. Eos 3 and 1 are very big cameras with big motor drives. How about something smaller like A2E or 7
    As for lenses. I don't think you can really go wrong with a 50/1.4 if you're interested in street.
    That said, why limit yourself to a single lens. The zooms and primes thing doesn't have to be an either/or question. Why not get a zoom and a prime. DSLRs are all about interchangeable lenses and versatility. I think you'll find that it'll enhance your creativity, not limit it. You'll find some days/locations are 50/1.4 days, other days are zoom days.
    Another thing about zooms: if you're into discipline, you can previsualize the shot and choose a focal length before you raise the camera to your eyeball. Dial in the focal length before you raise your camera, and don't touch that zoom ring once you're looking though the lens. The zoom then kinda becomes like a bag of primes all in one. Not as fast of course, but if you need speed you can always mount a prime. Do have a look at Tamron 28-75/2.8 Sharp, fast, small, unobtrusive, inexpensive.
    Enjoy. Merry Christmas
     
  22. I'm not sure how to answer your question any better than anyone else, but here is my somewhat offbeat take or advice.
    If you really want to stay with a single focal length lens, aka, prime lens and shoot with an EOS film body I would recommend the EOS 1N and an EF 28mm f/2.8 or f/1.8 or possibly a Zeiss ZE 28mm f/2 (this would be my choice if money isn't a problem).
    The 28 will allow you to make portraits (though not head and shoulders) and scenics as well as interiors and street photography.
    A study of the paintings of the impressionist Gustave Calliebotte, by modern academics, revealed that Calliebotte's depictions of scenes still in existence often matched the view one would obtain by photographing with a 28mm lens and 35mm camera.
    I know this sounds a bit arcane but I've found that focal length to be quite useful on a 35mm body. Shooting with a body that has a 100% viewfinder is a big plus and augments composing with this particular focal length, thus my recommendation of the 1N.
     
  23. From the fifties through the seventies the 50 mm prime was the most popular for 35 mm bodies, because of its relatively simple design, light weight, speed, low cost and very slightly telephoto perspective. The wider primes seem to have recently come into more use for tighter street shooting. My favorite over the years was Nikon's 35 mm f/2 Auto Nikkor.
     
  24. Thanks for the replies. I decided to go with film because I could get a top of the line product (body) for a couple hundred dollars as opposed to a mediocre digital slr for the same price. I intend to purchase a DSLR but I am waiting for the HD technology to develop a bit and I don't feel like spending 1,000 bucks on a temporary camera body. I have experience with street photography. I used to go around with a large zoom lens and large minolta body - I decided I wanted to lose the zoom for a few reasons. First was the size. Second was that I wanted to learn the specific differences between focal lengths. I figure the best way to do this is start with 1 prime and then build my way up with more primes. I figured start with a standard then a wide then a telephoto.
    In regards to bodies, how big of a deal is it that the EOS 3 gets 97% frame as opposed to 100% Also, which of the small, more quiet bodies works - A2E or 7 EOS 7 or 7N
     
  25. Randy, as for wanting to use just one prime for its small size I can understand, I often only use my 28mm on my 50D, which is about the same FOV as a 50mm on a 35mm body.
    But for learning the differences between focal lengths, you need the different focal lengths to learn.
    One very nice thing about digital BTW is that it records what focal length each of your photos was taken at, which makes it a lot easier to recall what FL worked well, or not so well, for a given photo. I have make good use of this in the past when trying to decide what lens to take for a given shooting situation. Each FL gives a different feel to a photos, the only good way to learn which FL gives which feel is to shoot at different focal lengths and then be able to tell which photo was taken with which FL.
     
  26. Hey Randy, you are right on the money. I don't know about anyone else here, but I actually shoot on the street in NYC with fixed lenses and film. To up the ante, I use medium format, a hand held meter and manual focus. Doing street photography with a manual camera is actually possible and even better than attempting to rely on technology to set your exposure and and focal point. Prime lenses will make you work harder to find the right composition, you will be forced to use your feet instead of relying on a zoom control. It is a discipline, and a damn fine one at that.
    A 50 mm lens is a very versatile focal length and a great way to start. In the end, you will probably wind up with something wider and longer to compliment it, and the 28 1.8 and 100 2.0 would be a good combo. However, as a single lens, it is the one that I would opt for now. The eos 1n or 3 body, without a booster is a nice compact package that has a great viewfinder and reliable AF if that is how you want to go, other bodies like an A2 or Elan, though smaller, have finders that are not as great. My experiences shooting with a 1Ds Mk2 on the street was that AF is not so reliable or predictable, my manual focus Hasselblad is much better, as is setting my own exposure.
    If you really want to do something, get a Nikon F or F2, they have wonderful viewfinders that are actually very easy to see and focus with. A 50 mm f2.0 Nikkor is one of the best ever made, and the 28 2.0 and an 85 or 105 1.8 will give you most of what you'll ever need and be of excellent quality. Also, no batteries to run out, and no motor to waste your film with. You're in charge! Also, Nikon lenses can fit on an adapter to EOS bodies. If and when you do go EOS digital, you will want L glass anyway, it really does make a difference.
    Now film. I like film. Film has a look, grain, a specific response to color and light, a signature if you will. It's not perfect like digital. I prefer it, even if it is a pain to work with. And, I like digital, but only for clients because they need a fast turn around and it's versatile for every situation.
    Film is different, and shooting it requires discipline, just like primes lenses. You will be more selective, you will shoot less, but learn more because you must learn to be patient and wait for the shot, not just spray a bunch of frames and hope the camera managed to get the right moment. You will of course blow frames, many many frames hopefully, but you will learn.
    Film also has more tonal information, if you expose it and process it properly. It is far less versatile than digital, but again, you will be forced to work within the limits of what you choose to shoot, and that is also a discipline. But, once you know those limitations and internalize them, you will be able to work more intuitively as there will be fewer decisions to make about technical stuff. You can concentrate on making images and less on which button to push. There is also a financial consideration with film, but again, it'll make you choose wisely before pressing the button. With my medium format film, it costs me almost a dollar every time I trip the shutter.
    What you do with the film, either scan or print in a chemical darkroom, it is a time consuming process. Either way, it will slow you down and make you choose which frames you care to work on, therefore you won't bore us to death with all 1000 frame you shoot in any one given day. Thank goodness for that! ;}
    Also, get yourself a good incident light meter and learn how to use it. In camera meters require that you look through it to set the camera. Incident meters allow you to have your camera set before you bring it up to your eye to shoot, saving time and allowing for moments of decisiveness. A sekonic 358 is a good long term investment, and using one gives me more consistent digital files too.
    If you have any further questions or want to bounce something off me in the future, feel free to email me.
    Mike
     
  27. I think your lens choice is spot-on. That is the traditional combo. The only issues:
    1. It will be limitting, particularly for shots needing wide angle, but still, the best compromise.
    2. Canon's 50mm f1.4 is a bit "clunky", especially considering the price. I've got one, and would say it's the best 50mm option, but still...
     
  28. If you want only one lens for street and general use, the 35mm 1.4L is the best. 50 is too tight in this city. 24mm is also good but but it is a little too wide for me. 35 is the perfect number.
     
  29. If you want only one lens for street and general use, the 35mm 1.4L is the best. 50 is too tight in this city. 24mm is also good but but it is a little too wide for me. 35 is the perfect number.
     
  30. I decided to go with film because I could get a top of the line product (body) for a couple hundred dollars as opposed to a mediocre digital slr for the same price.​
    I used to own the EOS 3 and as far as I'm concerned, my little cheapo 350D (Rebel XT) was every bit as good, sometimes even better. Even the cheapest DSLRs these days will give an EOS 3 or 1N a run for their money. I know other people will disagree but that's my opinion after using those two bodies a lot. The EOS 3 has a million AF points but they're a complete waste of time in my opinion, far better to have fewer but well placed AF points like the budget DSLRs. I also found the EOS 3 had poor AF in very low light. It, like many pro bodies, had no AF assist illuminator. Strangely, most cheap DSLRs have this facility. By the time you've run 40 or 50 films through your film camera and processed them all, you could have bought a decent DSLR.
     
  31. I like the Nikon idea too. You can start out with cheap manual focus AIS lenses on an FE2 or FM2, or F3 and then use them on a higher end Nikon DSLR that provides metering with AIS lenses until you can afford some autofocus lenses.
    If you really want to go back to basics you can do what I did and mount Nikon lenses via cheap adapters on a Canon EOS film body and Canon EOS DSLR until you can afford Canon autofocus lenses. You get metering but need to use stop-down method.
     
  32. Randy, if you're set on getting an EOS film body (and I'm certainly not going to be presumptuous and try to dissuade you from doing so), then you should get a 3 over a 1N. I routinely switch between my FD and EOS bodies, some of which have 97% viewfinder coverage and some which have 100%, and it doesn't make a demonstrable difference in how I frame my shots, or in how they turn out.
    I have always found my 3's and 1V's AF systems to be superbly responsive, even in very low light. They're much than my 5D II's.
    As far as the Elans go, they lack spot metering. So if that's a feature you use, I'd pass on them.
    And as for prime lenses, while the EF 50/1.4 would be an excellent start, I agree with Jon that the 35/1.4 L would be even better for street photography. It is a very special lens, one of Canon's very best, but is accordingly dearly priced.
     
  33. I don't know about anyone else here, but I actually shoot on the street in NYC with fixed lenses and film. To up the ante, I use medium format, a hand held meter and manual focus. Doing street photography with a manual camera is actually possible and even better than attempting to rely on technology to set your exposure and and focal point. Prime lenses will make you work harder to find the right composition, you will be forced to use your feet instead of relying on a zoom control.
    Explain to me why these are good things, please.
    • not using "technology to set exposure and focal point."
    • working harder to find the right composition.
    • using your feet instead of zooming to get the composition.
    And then these:
    • How is using a film camera "not using technology?"
    • Why do you (or do you?) assume that serious photographers who use zooms don't work just as hard to find the right composition?
    • What makes you think that photographers using zooms can't also use their feet and use the zoom?
    Has anyone thought about the fact that HCB used the small format 35mm Leica and manual focus lenses because, ahem, this new technology was more advanced and effective than the older technology for working quickly and spontaneously? After all, he could have used a Graphlex Speed Graphic or perhaps a view camera. That would have made him work a lot harder and not rely on running around with a lightweight camera instead of moving his tripod and he could have avoided using technology that made his sort of shooting more possible.
    Just sayin'
    Dan
    (Who will now leave the house and wander about for a few hours with - tada! - a prime lens or two... :)
     
  34. I think Mike's response is right on the money. If you want to use film, then by all means do so. Film does have a character all its own, and it is very different from digital capture. If that's what you like, then that's what you should use. I have no particular quarrel with digital capture. I don't prefer it is all. I use B&W film almost exclusively, then process and print what I like in my home darkroom. I buy film in bulk, and I'm not wedded to any particular brand. I buy what's cheap and available, and of reasonably good quality. Strangely, I have no problem with this for a couple of reasons. First, I do not ever expect to even attempt to emulate the quality I get from medium format cameras with 35 mm gear. Try as you might, and you might think you're getting close, that's not happening. Second, I've used so much film that none of it is strange any more. After a couple of rolls of something new, I can pretty much nail down what it's going to do 95% of the time.
    Almost all of my photographs are made with a 50 mm lens, and I've never really found this to be terribly limiting. Street shooting in tight quarters like NYC often calls for something a little wider, and for that I find a 35 mm lens to be almost perfect. My standard walking around kit consists of 24, 50, and 85 or 105 mm focal lengths, with a definite strong preference for the 85 as my long lens when working out on the street. I am not generally looking to pick out a specific detail on a building from 200 ft away. I am often interested in picking out interesting characters going about their daily routines, and you don't do that from 1/2 a block away. Interiors are something else again, and you will want something wider than a 50 for that more often than you'd think. Still, you can do wonderful things indoors with a fast 50 that you'll never do with a zoom unless you spend big dollars for a constant aperture pro model. Even then you're saddled with f/2.8 at best. They're too slow for film cameras unless you use flash or push the crap out of your film. They're easier to use with digital capture because of the insanely high exposure indices that you can use.
    I can't offer any advise as to which body you should choose, except that you should choose the one that feels good in your hand, and is easy for you to operate. Smaller and lighter is better on the street, but even the Canon F1 without motor drive isn't so big as to be obnoxiously intrusive like some of these more modern wunderkameras. Using prime lenses makes it even less noticeable.
    But I tell you what. Sometime I grab by big old clunky Mamiya C220 TLR and no one, NO ONE notices. Yes, it only gets 12 shots to the roll of 120 film, so you need to carefully consider what you want before you shoot. Yes, it is slow to operate by comparison, forcing you to think about the shot before you make it. Do I recommend this sort of thing for a beginner still learning about exposure and composition? No. It's too expensive for that unless you have very deep pockets.
     
  35. "... Just sayin' " Just making sense.
     
  36. Randy, of the bodies you've mentioned-the A2, EOS 7, 7N-the 7N is the most recent. I started my EOS life on the A2 and absolutely loved it. It was a superb camera, ahead of its time IMHO. Its AF is older than that on the 7N and it's a bit larger and louder. As far as lenses go, the 35/1.4L is an outstanding lens I'm sure, but for that price you could get a 1vHS and a nice lens.
     
  37. Randy,
    All the Elans are super quiet.Elans prior to the ElanII have some quality issues due to the shutter bumper degrading over time.My favorite is the ElanIIe because the focus assist light is very discreet (a deep ruby red color).Something often forgotten is that these models have a built in flash that comes in handy ever so often.They go for less than $60US these days so the extra few hundred bucks saved over a pro model can go towards the faster glass for low light work.I own a 3 and as some of the others have said it is a tremendous machine but it is big,heavy,loud,lacks a focus assist light,and built in flash.Not a low key package in my book for 'street' work.It does make a good weapon nonetheless when attached to a neckstrap if someone decides they want your camera!
     
  38. Explain to me why these are good things, please.
    • not using "technology to set exposure and focal point."
    • working harder to find the right composition.
    • using your feet instead of zooming to get the composition.
    And then these:
    • How is using a film camera "not using technology?"
    • Why do you (or do you?) assume that serious photographers who use zooms don't work just as hard to find the right composition?
    • What makes you think that photographers using zooms can't also use their feet and use the zoom?
    I know many very serious professional street photographers and none that I have ever met feel the need to rely on auto exposure, auto focus, auto wind or zoom lenses. I need not explain myself further than what is already in my response above. What I say is my opinion based on personal experience doing what Mr. Rubin was asking about, and first hand observation of some of the finest street photographers on the planet, Jeff Mermelstein, Bruce Gilden, Joel Meyrowitz, Matt Weber, Harvey Stein and others. Manual cameras, Leica's mostly, prime lenses and film predominate the genre. I'm not saying it's the only way to go, but it's a good way to go. However it requires mastery of technique and control of yourself and your equipment.
    I never said that photographers using zooms don't work as hard or don't use their feet finding a good composition. I only said that using a prime will make you work harder, and I've never heard anyone argue against working harder to make better photos. And I didn't say don't use technology, just don't give up all of your control to it as it is quite often far from perfect and not always reliable. That comes from years of experience. I believe it's always better to be in control and make one's own decisions and let the image live or die by ones own hand and not by an inability of automation to do the right thing.
    I'm not saying I'm right, just that it's how I see it. Now, I didn't mention this in my original post, but just to start a fire, I'll tell Mr. Rubin to do all his cropping in camera, or at least try to. I don't crop after exposure, but then, I do realize that's a practice that's not wildly popular or often advocated, so I'll just let it be.
    And yes, eos 3 is a fine camera with better af than a 1n. The 35 L is also a fine lens, but beyond what Mr. Rubin is looking to spend.
     
  39. Hi Randy,
    I have 4 of these small primes and no zoom:)
    I often go out with just one lens. I've tried the 35 f2.0, and have been happy with the lens. But, now it seems when I choose just one lens...It's the 50mm f1.4. I'm using it on a full frame digital, and just love shooting in the DARK with it. I mean really dark. It's also very good for stitching panoramic photos, but I'm not sure you'll do that with your film camera, but I have with my FTb.
    Just one opinion. But I almost never feel I can't make a good image with this lens.
     
  40. one lens is not enough. I like prime lenses, so my camera (film) has a 35mm on it 90% of the time. in my pocket i have a 90mm lens. i use it for portraits and whenever i wish to compress perspective in landscape. this combination covers 99% of my needs. The advantage of prime lenses is that these 2 lenses combined weigh less than a serious zoom. but 2 lenses is the minimum for this snapper.
     
  41. but just to start a fire, I'll tell Mr. Rubin to do all his cropping in camera, or at least try to. I don't crop after exposure, but then, I do realize that's a practice that's not wildly popular or often advocated, so I'll just let it be.​
    well, you won't start my fire over that because you're right. While I have nothing against cropping and do it post-exposure if I think it will make for a better endresult more often than not I find I don't have to because I was trained that way. Still, I don't think it's harder work, It's just a different approach. Therefore I actually think "limiting" isn't a appropiate description in this context.
    In the end however it's not gospel or anything. The most important is what gets you the best results possible and in that context gear is the least important.
     
  42. I have three fixed focal length prime lenses, a 28/2.8 a 50/1.8 and a 300/4.0, I use these because of a combination of image quality and speed of the lens. I would never thing to use one because it would magically make me a better photographer somehow. Fixed focal length lenses are a compromise as are zoom lenses, I try to pick the right one for the conditions I am photographing.
    As for cropping I find a photo will often need to be cropped differently depending on how it is going to be viewed. If I am sending a photo off to the local newspaper I will crop as tightly on the subject as I can since the resolution of a newspaper print is low the subject needs to be as large as possible. If I am making a fairly large print say 8x12 then I like a bit more of what is going around the subject in the photo. Many times I am going to crop simply because the photo does not lend itself to a 3:2 aspect ratio. When I was taught photography, a long, long time ago, I was taught that cropping was an important part of it, I believe this for more now then I did back then, I find I crop much more now then I did 40 years ago.
     
  43. 35mm is a great all round focal length. i shoot weddings, and i use two primes to do so; a 35mm and a 75mm. However, the 35mm would be used 80% of the time. so i agree on you choice of fl, but i don't agree on your choice of camera (slr).
     
  44. a 35mm lens is definitely my choice for street. I have the f/2 and like it a lot. However, with street I almost always shoot in manual "preset" focus mode.....set at 7 ft or 12 ft, depending on my choice of subject(s). So, I don't worry about the auto focus with that lens....which aint the greatest in my opinion. I do also own "L" zooms, and with street photography I also use them in manual preset focus.
    Now, that is for street....the 35mm lens....but for the rest of the photography you mention other lenses would be more ideal. To be exact i own 5 primes (Canon and Sigma), and an adapter to allow my 4 mamiya 645 medium format lenses to be used on my Canon EOS body(s).
    I have no problems with using SLRs or DSLRs for street, but I also use range finders and TLRs.....Street is more your attitude than it is camera equipment. So, I wouldn't worry about the comments that suggest otherwise.
     
  45. If you can´t afford the 35mm 1.4 then I´d go for the 50mm 1.4 :)
     
  46. My friend Happy New Year to you and yours.
    If you are into people street photograpy, I would sugest that you got for a 200MM prime lens, the 50 is of no much work on the street.
     
  47. 200 mm? If you mean 20 mm, wouldn't that be a bit too wide?
     
  48. I used to own the EOS 3 and as far as I'm concerned, my little cheapo 350D (Rebel XT) was every bit as good, sometimes even better.​
    I own both of these cameras, and can tell you that the EOS 3 is superior in every way to the Digital Rebel XT, the only "limitation" being that it requires film. The AF on the EOS 3 is incredible, as is the large viewfinder. It can be a bit slow to focus in very low light, but still nails focus very accurately if you are a bit patient.
    The EOS 3 is the main reason I keep shooting 35mm film; where else can you get a "full frame", pro body for next to nothing that let's you use L lenses the way they were meant to be used?
    I will admit that it is relatively large & loud and may not be the best tool for street photography.
     
  49. I own both of these cameras, and can tell you that the EOS 3 is superior in every way to the Digital Rebel XT​
    Every way? What about the silly two handed operation of the 3, the stupid on/off switch, the daft cable release/flash sync caps that you lose within 24 hours, the sprung loaded side door that was always flapping around at the most inconvenient moment, the lack of an AF assist light, the crazy method of changing the battery that requires a coin or a screwdriver and lots of fumbling around at the most awkward moment (usually in the dark)?
     
  50. jtk

    jtk

    Do you print your own?
    That question's relevant because 35 on full frame (or good APS) can be a fine portrait lens...no hint of wide angle distortion if you crop (and wide angle distortion isn't necessarily a bad thing, despite photo political correctness edicts). A friend followed a presidential candidate for months with Nikon F4s, taping the screen of one to a pano-like format, using 28mm only. Beautiful, dynamic images printed on 11X14...got him lots of assignments after his man lost :)
    IMO some are averse to cropping due to their personal inability to print...stuck with labs... that handicap or fear of the full-frame, black outline Taliban.
     
  51. I owned an EOS1 and EOS100 for many years and a number of years ago I decided to spend some time shooting only B&W with just the EOS 1 and a 50mm 1.8 my aim was to improve my photographic vision by using just the one lens. Even with the 50mm the EOS1 was large although the size did not bother me while I was using the camera it was heavy and cumbersome to carry when not actualy taking pictures.
    It seems like you want to get away from a big camera with large lenses and I feel that just using the 50mm on an EOS1n or EOS3 will not really solve the size issue. If you want to stick with film then maybe take a look at some thing smaller the small fixed lens range finders by both Canon and Olympus are rather good if you like that sort of thing. I am not that into rangefinders when it comes to using them. I like the idea of them and own a couple of Canonets but in reality they are not quite my thing I can use use one without problems I like how quite they are in use but after a while I drift back to reflex cameras. Luckily my father gave me his unused FM2 with a 50mm 1.8 as a Christmas gift and I found it worked very well as a camera I can shoot with and carry all day if needed in reality I think the FE2 would be even better having apeture priority.
    Today if I was going to buy some new gear I would probably look at a small sized DSLR with the sigma 30mm f1.4 or a 35mm f2. Another option would be the micro 4/3s panasonic GF1 with the 20mm f 1.7 pancake or the Olympus EP1 with the panasonic 20mm 1.7 pancake. In the end though it is not really about the equipment but how you actually use it.
     
  52. Foot zoom can be pretty effective, though. Here is an old shot of me practicing foot zoom with a bunch of my chums back when. ;)
    00VL4q-203693584.jpg
     
  53. Jamie, I take Derek to mean that "the EOS 3 is superior in every way" that affects image quality, which I doubt anyone would quibble with.
    JDM, your post is quite simply side-splitting!
     
  54. Jamie, I take Derek to mean that "the EOS 3 is superior in every way" that affects image quality, which I doubt anyone would quibble with.
    I would certainly quibble with that.
    The image quality of cropped sensor DSLRs is in virtually all ways at least equal to that of 35mm film media. (Yes, I know there are DOF differences, but either format could be regarded as "better" in this regard depending upon your preferences - so let's call that a draw.) In general you can get a better print at whatever size with a cropped sensor DSLR original than with a 35mm film original, at least when it comes to the sorts of film that you would likely use for street photography. (And a full frame DSLR is capable of considerably better image quality.)
    The inexpensive cropped sensor Canon "rebel" series bodies can produce image quality equal to that produced by X0D cropped sensor bodies with essentially the same sensor. The differences between the rebels and the X0D models are largely functional and in areas that would not affect typical street photography work. If your idea of street is using a smallish SLR body with a prime, then the very small and light rebel bodies can do a fine job. The only reason not to use one is that such a camera might not fit your image of what a real street photographer would use.
    Dan
     
  55. Probably sniffed at in this company but a black Praktica BC1 is a small useful street camera. The 1.8 50mm is superb and the diagonally split focusing screen is more useful than the conventially split screens. And you can pick them up for peanuts. Tough camera with the metal body if you drop it or have to use it to defend yourself.
     
  56. To clarify my comments regarding the EOS 3 vs. the Digital Rebel XT, the Rebel XT is certainly capable of producing outstanding images. I certainly did not intend to imply that the XT creates images that are inferior to the EOS 3 (as this would open the whole film vs. digital debate).
    My main issue with the Rebel XT is the auto focus performance...I personally find it difficult to nail focus with the Rebel when shooting wide open with fast primes. With the EOS 3 I can really count on the auto focus mechanism to nail the shot, which in the end will help me to produce a better shot than if I was shooting a similar shot with the XT.
     
  57. Thanks for all the help. I ended up making my decision based on economic principals. The EOS-1N was cheapest so I went for it. I also purchased the 50mm 1.4. I do have one question that may open a can of worms.
    I purchased a Tiffen UV protection filter and realized that this probably wasn't the smartest thing to do. I intend on returning it an buying a higher quality filter - something like the Hoya multiple coats. I searched the forum and all I could find were recommendations for the Hoya Super Multi-Coated Haze filter. This seems ok but I am really looking for as clear a filter as possible - the haze quality has me concerned. Any recommendations for other filters? I am looking to spend between $30 and $40. Thanks.
     
  58. I use NO filters other than polarizer when desired, or color for BW film. Why should I spend $900 for a lens and put a clear filter, no matter a cheap Tiffen or more expensive like B+W. Others will differ I'm sure.
    I was going to suggest something like a Canonet G1.7 but u already got the 1n. I used a 50 1.4 (FD) lens for about a year when i started photography.
     
  59. Get the 5D Mk II and I agree with Jon Kobeck:..................
    "If you want only one lens for street and general use, the 35mm 1.4L is the best. 50 is too tight in this city. 24mm is also good but but it is a little too wide for me. 35 is the perfect number"
     
  60. Probably better to use the lens hood all the time, and only specialized filters as needed. Even if you get a small scratch or two, it won't reduce the contrast very much at all, and will not show up on the images.
    A comment on the "building discipline" that you mentioned in your first post. When I was young (many years ago), the best advice I got (from a pro) was: take your camera, your one 50mm lens, and for a year just shoot one film (Tri-X), develop it yourself, don't use a lightmeter. I did that, for almost a year, and it did turn me into a capable photographer. Too many choices makes you think that it's the choice that's wrong, rather than your technique or compositional ability.
    Have fun!
     
  61. Yeah, I've got to agree with Timothy on the subject of filters. I never use one unless I need it for an effect. It's better to use a lens hood, and to keep the lens cap on until you're ready to use the camera. The lens hood's reason for being is of course to combat flare, and that's always welcome; but it will also protect the lens from bumps and bruises. If you drop it, the filter won't help and neither will the lens hood.
     

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