Upcoming trip: Leave my 50 mm 1.4 USM at home?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by michael_h|4, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. I'm about to travel to the Southwest US, a place I've been and photographed many times. Whenever I traveled with my 7D, I usually took my 50 mm 1.4 along-- mostly for its low-light versatility.

    This is my first trip with my 5D MK III. I'm planning to take my 17-40 f/4L for landscapes and my 100 f/2.8L for critter and plant closeups. Space is very limited, and I am thinking of leaving the 50 at home (even though it's not very big). These are my reasons:
    • I try to change lenses as little as possible
    • The difference between 40 mm and 50 mm is not all that great
    • The lens correction in the MK III minimizes the distortion at 40 mm enough for me
    • The MK III has decent IQ at insanely high ISOs, reducing the need for 1.4 low light capability
    Is the 50 still worth taking? If so, any reason other than the benefit of more options? Any insights and opinions would be most appreciated.
  2. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Whenever I traveled with my 7D, I usually took my 50 mm 1.4 along-- mostly for its low-light versatility.​
    Your point two is sort of a non-sense in regard to what you did previously and as the MAIN reason you used to take the 50.
    A more relevant consideration would be to ask - is the 100 going to be TOO LONG compared to the 85 you used previuosly as your lens for low light? (the 50 'acted as' an 85 on the 7D).
    My advice is, if you think that the 100 is not too long as your “low light lens” then leave the 50 at home.
  3. When I go on short trips that involve hiking, I used to take just a single body (5DII or 7D) and a single lens, my 70-200/4 L IS. Then I discovered the 40/2.8 STM pancake, which is absurdly light and compact, and now I throw it in as well. In fact, it's so small that it fits in the outside pocket of my Lowepro Toploader bag (which is designed to house a body with zoom attached). Although I use the zoom around 90% of the time during such outings, there is no substitute for a good quality, (slightly) faster prime, IMHO.
    Admittedly, the 50/1.4 is bigger and heavier than the 40/2.8, but the question really comes down to whether you think you'll regret not having your 50/1.4 with you on your trip.
  4. Michael, on a trip like that I'd be more concerned with not having a medium to long range telephoto like one of the 70-200's (preferably the f/4 IS for hiking without a tripod) for shooting landscapes than doing without the 50mm f/1.4. I think I'd end up using the 70-200 as much or more than the 17-40 to shoot vast open landscapes with a full frame camera, and I own and love both lenses. The 17-40 is great for tight spots like waterfalls and for landscapes where you have a great foreground object to emphasize, but a 70-200 or 70-300 will let you isolate and emphasize the most interesting portions of the scene. With a full frame camera, you can still put a really big scene in 70mm and greater, while details can pretty much disappear into the distance at 40mm unless you crop the images pretty severely in post processing.
    I have a full frame 5DIII and on a trip like that my order of preference for the lenses I own would be the 70-200 f/4 IS and the 17-40 f/4 in a dead heat, followed by the 100mm f/2.8 macro and then the 50mm/1.4. I generally carry the 5DIII plus those 4 lenses, a 1.4X TC that extends the 70-200 to 280, and a few filters in a fairly small camera bag, plus a tripod when I hike. But if I was space and weight constrained I could make do with just the 70-200 (hopefully plus the 1.4 TC) and the 17-40.
    You don't say if you have a 70-200 or 70-300 (or 100-400), but if you do, any of them could possibly handle a lot of your macro shots and allow you to leave the 100mm f/2.8L home if you want to travel light.
    Also, you mention using the lens correction capability of the 5DIII. I prefer to shoot in RAW with the camera's lens correction switched off and apply lens correction automatically in Lightroom 4 when I download images. The 5DIII manual says the lens correction in the camera will be slightly less than what is available through the Canon DPP software and that the higher the ISO, the lower the correction applied will be. Since you're talking about using high ISOs to shoot in low light, you might want to think about either shooting in RAW and using software for lens correction or carrying the 50 f/1.4 to avoid shooting at high ISOs any more than you have to.
  5. I think you know your way of shooting. What others think is pretty irrelevant actually.
    But your logic is pretty right on, a 40mm and a 50mm really aren't all that different and a small crop like that isn't going to do anything but eliminate the weaknesses you might find in the zoom lens--unless you intend to print 40x60 prints.
    Anyway, I don't think there is any fault in your logic if you are happy with the quality of the lenses you are taking and the applications you intend.
    By the way, I own the 16-35 as well as the 70-200 and 24-70 and 40 stm. I never use the 70-200 except when I shoot commercially and need that length for a job, otherwise it is almost always can be found on my wife's camera when we are out doing personal work. Instead, I either have my 16-35 or 40mm on my FF camera (she also uses FF. The 24-70 is generally just there to make my shoulders hurt by the end of the day. We all work in different ways, go with your gut, it sounds right on to me!
  6. If this is your first trip out with the FF, you need to think about the shots you have been missing with the crop. Your 50 on
    a FF at 1.4 will give you a look like nothing else you will have in your bag. The mark 3 with 50 ISO and 1/8000 will allow
    you to open up the lens in all but midday sun. Not that you can't duplicate the look in PS, but what's the fun in that. I
    travel with two bodies, 5dm3 and 7d, both with grips, 17-40, 24-105, 70-200, 28, 50, and 85. If I have room, I will add a
    macro and 135 2.8. Once I arrive, I go out with one body and just a few lenses with specific images in mind.
  7. it


    it's tiny, take it
  8. Much as I enjoy hearing about the other lenses folks love to use, the 50, 17-40, and 100 are the only ones I own. They make me very happy for about 95% of what I shoot. I'd enjoy buying more L glass, especially the 70-200. But for now, I'd rather spend my money on travel than gear acquisition.

    I'm probably going to take the 50 after all. This is my first trip shooting FF. So it's probably better to have and not need than to need and not have.
  9. 95% is a good happy orientated record in anything. Bravo.
    I find much of my equipment heavy now, so I have the same problem & mostly carry too much.
  10. I agree, that what you're proposing is a good start, but I would suggest that you need a longer reach lens
    A 24-105 f4 or 24-70 f2.8 rather than the 50mm 1.4
    A 70-200 as well.
    Here are some photos of Arizona to give you an idea:
    Utah Photos as well: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=apmadoc%20utah
    I prefer zoom lenses over prime for landscape shots, it simply allows me to frame the photos as I take the photos. Yes, I know I can crop when I get into photoshop, however when you crop, you cut out pixels and reduce your ability to do a large print.
  11. I'm ON vacation, with 5diii, my usual
    lens, including 50 f1.4. Haven't used it.
    That said, it would be handy I think, if
    you we're doing something like
    unobtrusive candida or street.
  12. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I agree with those who suggest that you consider what's available to you at the long end. When you used a crop sensor, you had the FF equivalent of 160mm available to you, and now you don't. The lens array you assembled for a crop sensor camera will not be optimal for a FF if you keep taking the same things, and the 70-200 others suggest would make sense to me too.
  13. I travel with my 5D MkIII and use the 24-105mm f/4L IS and the 70-200mm f/4L IS, combined with my 1.4X and 2.0X TC-III to cover almost everything. I recently added a 15mm f/2.8 fisheye to the mix for interiors and certain landscape shots. I'll leave home the 500/f4 and the 40mm pancake, unless it's a wildlife oriented trip, then I add the 500mm.
    You're right, you don't need a fast lens, in general, with the 5D MkIII. Its high ISO performance is at least two stops better than the 7D. (I own both).
    The 100mm is a great lens, but it's not long enough for a lot of critters and birds. Canon's 70-200mm lenses all have great IQ. I recommend the f/4 for it's relatively compact size and low weight.
  14. David S., you carry your big zoom lenses with you every time, but leave the 40mm pancake at home?
  15. No need to take both a 50 and a 17-40. Leave the 50 at home
  16. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "it's probably better to have and not need than to need and not have."​
    That's sound logic. Have a great trip.
  17. If it were me, I'd bring it...it only weights 10 oz. The 17-40 is a very nice lens, but you'll be losing 3 stops of light. Also, it can't achieve the same degree of background blur....if that is an important consideration.
  18. Ed Avis , said:
    David S., you carry your big zoom lenses with you every time, but leave the 40mm pancake at home?​
    Absolutely. Having the right focal length is more important to me than compactness. I was this close to bringing my 500mm on an Adriatic/Med cruise coming up in September. I've gotten some wonderful shots from my ship's balcony on past cruises. I finally decided to leave it because I expect no real wildlife oriented outing, like I had when I took it to Alaska.
  19. I usually take all my lens with me in a trip. This year, I got, like
    the last 5 years, a 2 weeks break in Cape Hatteras, and i said to
    my self, i will not take my 500 f4, because i have the 100-400
    with me... Big mistake, this year, the place was full of new birds
    like never and i just got small blurry pixelized pictures of them.

    Big lesson learned, take all the lens.

    IQ, Bokeh, low light performce of the 50mm 1.4 aren't included in
    your other lens

    Some years ago I have a 5 days (sunday night to saturday
    mornign) formation in Chicago, i only take the 24-105 with me,
    thinking versatility and high iso will do the job for the touristic
    night. I so regret my 50 1.4 that i left home..

    My advice take a bigger bag. Have a jacket with bigger pockets.

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