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12-19-2013, 07:17 AM   #1
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50mm vs 24mm

Anyone thinking of buying a 50mm prime lense, consider a 24mm.

I was still a very beginner photographer when my now 2 year old daughter was born. Blogs and people I knew said "buy a 50mm prime (f1.4)" for baby portraits, so I did. These recommendations were absolutely correct: a wide aperature prime lens is a fantastic portrait lens and I have captured many excellent photos.

Now she's 2 and constantly on the go. She's also much, much taller. While the 50mm still serves it's purpose outdoors, I am handicapped by it indoors. To photograph her at play indoors, I can never get far enough away to capture the entire scene with the 50mm lens.

I've also run into situations at gatherings (friends & family) where I try using my 18mm "kit" lens for a candid group shot but I am limited by the 18" focus distance (too close to the nearest subject). As a beginner who didn't know better, no one warned me about that feature of a lens.

Very recently I resolved to fix these problems and chose to buy the Sigma 24mm f1.8 wide angle lense. It has a 7" focus distance, gets the wide aperature I love and allows me to capture my daughter at play in the confines of my house. I love it!

So now I get to the point of my posting: Had I known what I know now, I never would have spent the money on the 50mm lens. The 24mm gives me everything I need and works for both a sleeping infant and a playing 2 year old. I hope this is helpful to someone else who is considering a 50mm.

While I'm sure many photographers will disagree with me about a 24mm vs a 50mm, I wanted to share my experience in case it helps someone who is like me: buying a 50mm lens to photograph their new born. ALL professional photographers seem to say "buy a 50mm" but remember that they aren't usually shooting in your living room.

Also remember crop factor: a 50mm lens on a DSLR is typically capturing the equivalent of a 75mm film camera lens. A 24mm DSLR is capturing the equivalent of 35mm film (35mm is also highly recommended by professionals).

12-19-2013, 09:15 AM   #2
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I somewhat agree. I've always thought 35mm on a SLR was the ultimate. I wanted to get the equivalent with my DLSR - i.e. 24mm - but settled on a fast 35mm again. Its cropped but it just seems to have the best viewing angle.. the right combination of perspective, DOF and overall scene.
12-19-2013, 09:16 AM   #3
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You are right and wrong. A 24 mm is not a 50mm and it cannot be compared to a 24 mm IMHO.

But you are very right that you do need several lenses to shoot your children. As they grow older, you will need a longer focal length when they shy away. Personally I use now my FA31mm, VL58mm and FA77mm. The VL58mm is MF and this is an issue when the children don't want to be photographed IMO. AF is best to shoot quickly before they suspect you. And yes all these lenses are fast (like yours).

My 5 cents.... to say that I agree with you comments, even if a longer focal length is needed later.

Last edited by hcc; 12-19-2013 at 10:15 AM.
12-19-2013, 10:43 AM   #4
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I think the 50mm f/1.4, 1.7, or 1.8 variants are all reasonably low-priced for new photographers to purchase and have access to a lens with a large aperture. The Sigma 24mm f/1.8 is over $500 brand-new so it could be too expensive for some people. The Sigma 24 f/1.8 is also a lot heavier and larger than most Pentax 50mm lenses, which is an important consideration for some shooters.

Nevertheless, I do find myself using my Sigma 24 f/2.8 prime a lot more than my FA 50 f/1.4, when trying to photograph my little kids--especially indoors where it gets tight. So I agree with you that in terms of utility, having a prime lens that is wider than 35mm is helpful for indoor photography using an APS-C DSLR. But I do reach for my fast fifty lens when I'm shooting outdoors, for that little extra reach in capturing expressions on faces of kids at birthday parties, etc.

12-19-2013, 10:54 AM   #5
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I like my Sigma 28mm f1.8 macro indoors. It gives a great "eye-view" aspect.

Of course the 10-17 fisheye at 17 is a good UWA lens.
12-19-2013, 11:52 AM   #6
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You have to be careful of perspective distortion at 24mm. It's not unshootable - just something to be aware of. At 50mm, its less of a problem. Perspective distortion makes whatever is closest to the camera lens look bigger, so you get bigger noses, oddly shaped limbs, etc if you are not careful.
12-19-2013, 12:00 PM   #7
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Anything that is in the range of 35mm-50mm, 35mm equivalent is where I always find myself. So ~24mm-35mm on crop sensor. Sometimes I prefer 35mm, others I prefer 50mm. Just depends on situation and my mood.
12-19-2013, 01:14 PM   #8
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The 24-28 mm range gives a human eye kind of perspective and is the most versatile kind of focal length, which is why it's used by all the fixed lens cameras like the Ricoh GR, Nikon 1, Fuji X100, Sigma DP, et al.

12-19-2013, 01:47 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
The 24-28 mm range gives a human eye kind of perspective and is the most versatile kind of focal length, which is why it's used by all the fixed lens cameras like the Ricoh GR, Nikon 1, Fuji X100, Sigma DP, et al.
Field of View depends on both focal length and sensor size. I believe those cameras have several different sensor sizes, and thus different fields of view, even if they have the same focal length.

24mm is only "normal" field of view on a sensor smaller than APS-C.

All Pentax DSLRs have APS-C sized sensors, so a "normal" lens is closer to 35mm.

Interestingly, many people find a slightly wider angle view to be a little more natural looking than actual human field of view. Also, it gives you some room to crop.
12-19-2013, 02:13 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by thornburg Quote
Field of View depends on both focal length and sensor size. I believe those cameras have several different sensor sizes, and thus different fields of view, even if they have the same focal length.

24mm is only "normal" field of view on a sensor smaller than APS-C.

All Pentax DSLRs have APS-C sized sensors, so a "normal" lens is closer to 35mm.

Interestingly, many people find a slightly wider angle view to be a little more natural looking than actual human field of view. Also, it gives you some room to crop.
Well, no two people have the same field of view either. Some have a much narrower field than others. I happen to have a very wide field, and have really good peripheral vision, so wider looks more natural to me.
12-19-2013, 06:59 PM   #11
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And Leica users, who of course have tunnel vision about the products they use. </ end sarcasm>


50mm doesn't seem versatile enough for me, but there are some posters who've said that's their "normal" lens, courtesy of their shooting styles.
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