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04-20-2014, 09:25 AM   #1
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Do you use your 50mm on APS-C?

I was recently planning to pickup Sigma dp3. However one of the reasons I dropped the idea was focal length 50mm. I love 50mm, but only on FF. On APS-C, it's 31/35mm or 85mm.

Now, that made me wonder, how many of you like to use 50mm on APS-C?

04-20-2014, 09:31 AM   #2
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I did an experiment with my 18-135 some months back where I took the same shot at various focal lengths, "zooming with my feet" as it were to keep the framing more or less the same. I evaluated the results based on POV only, and not sharpness or bokeh or some other characteristic of the lens. What I found, for me, almost never was 50mm just right. Plenty of times I liked 24mm, or 35, or 70, etc. That said, I do have an old 8-element super Tak 50 and a Tak55 that I just love to pieces, but more for their rendering rather than POV.
04-20-2014, 09:34 AM   #3
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I never find myself liking 50mm on APS-C. I tried and tried and just don't like that FOV. 35mm otoh is excellent.
04-20-2014, 09:47 AM   #4
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50 just seems either too long or too short for me. With my 18-55 I always find myself closer to 18 and trying to back up or 35-40. Otherwise I grab the 70-210.

04-20-2014, 10:21 AM   #5
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I love my 50s, but these days I really only use them for portraits (indoors or outdoors), closeups of flowers, or bokeh-type situations. I have used them as a general walkaround, but find the FL just a bit tight on APS-c. I much prefer 28 or 35mm these days. Strangely, I started off with a 50mm, and at the time 28mm just felt awkward to me, like almost too much open space!
04-20-2014, 10:22 AM   #6
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Since I am only now getting back to photography after many years out of the game, I , too, will be discovering some new perspectives and effective fields of view as a new user of the APS-C digital format; since I never used zooms back in the film era with my Nikons. Then, the classic 105mm/2.5 Nikkor was my go-to telephoto: I did not have an 85mm and rarely shot with the 135mm that came with one of my F2's.

Now I have the HD DA 70mm/2.4, which fills the same niche and FOV. However, what I want to suggest to you is that I found that field of view to be a bit too constricting and tight to be IDEAL for the majority of occasions when I wanted to pull out a tele lens (the 35mm/2.0 was on my camera most of the time). The 105mm did give me maximum bang for the buck and versatility at a time when the former was really important to me; and the latter virtue allowed for a really minimalist, but reasonably effective kit.

In the APS-C format, however, you get to choose a respectable and reasonably fast 50mm lens at a cost of about $15 on up in comfortable increments, which can fill in the short telephoto range, while taking up little space. Personally, I think this is one of the notable practical benefits of the format. I personally can't imagine making do with a 77mm Limited, for example, as a first FL to the tele side of "normal", as some here seem to do... not at a 1.5x crop factor. So there's a real place for the nifty fifty (or 55) here. Yes, it's too long to sub for a "normal" lens, and you'll need to address that in the manner of your choosing (I prefer a FF-equivalent of 35-40mm as a "normal", myself, and rarely shot with a 50 back in the day). But as a short tele, the thing to keep in mind is this often repeated general rule: If you want to improve your photographs, get closer! See my point?

In the Pentax system, you have two great, economical choices for a sharp fast "50" -- the A 50mm/1.7... or the SMC 55mm/1.8. Get auto-focus for a bit more. What's not to like? The same logic, minus the out-of-pocket economy, applies to the Sigma, of course. But maybe what you should be considering is one of the other Sigma dp's, if what you're actually looking for is your normal lens. If that's the case, then, yeah, the posters above are making a valid point.

Last edited by Kayaker-J; 04-20-2014 at 10:39 AM.
04-20-2014, 10:36 AM   #7
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Love 50mm on APS-C, but 55 is even better! the equivalent of a short tele on foilm (I used my vivitat 90mm macro a lot back in the days of silver) Never got on with 35mm on APS-C although I have just got a Da35MM f2.4 AL as I sold the one I had a few years ago. I prefer 24mm as my "standard" on a crop sensor, but then I alwas used a 35mm as such on my film cameras
04-20-2014, 10:42 AM   #8
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Personally, I use 50mm on APS-C all the time. It feels much more natural to me, with the smaller viewfinder.

Even though the AOV is close to the ideal 43mm, 28mm on APS-C feels fairly wide to me. 35mm 'feels' wide in the viewfinder, too. I use 50mm f/1.7 probably about 40% of the time, 35mm about 25% of the time, and the other ~= 1/3 of the time it's either 28, 135, or 200. Most of my wide angle stuff I do on at least MF these days, mostly 4x5. I find it hard to compose wide angle shots in a small viewfinder.

04-20-2014, 11:02 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by StephenHampshire Quote
Love 50mm on APS-C, but 55 is even better! the equivalent of a short tele on foilm (I used my vivitat 90mm macro a lot back in the days of silver) Never got on with 35mm on APS-C although I have just got a Da35MM f2.4 AL as I sold the one I had a few years ago. I prefer 24mm as my "standard" on a crop sensor, but then I alwas used a 35mm as such on my film cameras
Ha, ha, thanks for coming in to reinforce the perspective I was trying to convey above. I was starting to feel lonely as I was writing, seeing the other posts come up! I figure on using my Nikkor 28mm/2.0 (adapted) and, for the present, either a Pentax-A 24mm/2.8 or my Nikkor 24mm/2.8 (adapted) as my personal "normals" of choice, foregoing the AF... except for the DA 35mm/2.4, like you, as required. I'm feeling a little bummed over the apparently dodgy auto-focus performance and barrel distortion of the new Sigma 30mm.

Addendum: Oops, I forgot there's an SMC-A 28mm/2.8 here, too. I'm not as much of a masochist as the above might suggest to some. 😉 "Horses for courses..."

Last edited by Kayaker-J; 04-20-2014 at 12:10 PM.
04-20-2014, 11:28 AM   #10
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I seldom use 50mm lens on my APS-C, I find it too tight for indoor use. I sold my FA50f1.4 years ago because it seems only to be good for head and shoulder shots when I am indoor. Ironically, it is also too short or not wide enough for outdoor shots.
04-20-2014, 11:45 AM   #11
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As a boy of 10, I got my first camera, which was a simple box like device (a "MF" as it produced 60x90mm negatives), and the angle of view was roughly as a 40mm on 24x36. At 15 it was replaced by a 24x36 camera with a 45mm lens which I used till the first years at university. During this time, I got used to "think" in that AoV when composing in my head.

With my first SLRs (East German Exa500 and VX1000) there came the switch to 50mm, and I would have preferred a slightly shorter all purpose focal length (40-45mm). As it was standard at these times (1973-1981), I bought additional 35mm and 135mm lenses, and only the 35mm got occasional use, the 135mm very seldom. But I remember after some experience with these focal lengths I would have preferred a 30/45/85mm set. But 28-30 and 85mm lenses were not mainstream and, for me as a student, far too expensive. Usable (and affordable) zoom lenses did not exist at that time.

Now, with APS-C, I use the 50mm only if I need the speed (SMC-A 1.4/50). As a "normal" prime, it will be either the SMC-A 2.8/28, or the Pentacon 3.5/30 (re-labelled Meyer-Görlitz Lydith). For portraits (rare occasions for me nowadays) the Helios 44 (58mm).

I own a bunch of 35mm lenses, but they get much less use than my 24mm Tokina (a very sharp, but obviously rare model with PK-A, multi-coated but neither "RMC" nor "AT-X", which is not in our lens database and within 4 years turned up on eBay only the one time I bought it).

When I look at stats of my 18-55 WR kit usage, I find I mostly used focal length 19-22mm and 30mm, except for some indoors portrait-like shots.

Last edited by RKKS08; 04-20-2014 at 02:00 PM. Reason: typing
04-20-2014, 11:48 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by paulh Quote
I love my 50s, but these days I really only use them for portraits (indoors or outdoors), closeups of flowers, or bokeh-type situations. I have used them as a general walkaround, but find the FL just a bit tight on APS-c. I much prefer 28 or 35mm these days.
That pretty much describes my experience with the FA 50mm f1.4. It was my only K prime for a couple of years, and I used it often. There are posts on this website where I insist it isn't too narrow for indoor use, but I've since changed my mind. The FA 50 has become a specialty lens for me, pretty much as paulh describes above.

The FA 35mm f2 has become my general purpose choice. I have an FA 28mm, which is a nice lens but I can't seem to find a reason to use it ahead of the FA 35. I also have a DA 40mm Limited, which I use almost exclusively for landscapes. I really should sell the FA 28 and DA 40.

I like normals for general purpose shooting. I could not get along with a Ricoh GR or similar due to its 28mm equivalent FOV. A fixed lens camera would need to be 40-50mm for me to show any interest. I am very comfortable using the 01 prime on my Q (47mm equivalent). My old Minolta Hi-Matic G had a 38mm f/2.8 fixed lens. I shot family photos with it for 14 years,

Last edited by audiobomber; 04-20-2014 at 11:54 AM.
04-20-2014, 11:53 AM   #13
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The 50 is the lens in my collection I use least.... it's FoV is covered by my 18-135, I rarely shoot indoors to use the 1.8. My wife uses it a bit. My favourite prime is probably my 70 macro... After that my 21 Ltd. 50 is just an odd focal length. I paid good money for an FA 50 1.7, but, I'm sure it hasn't paid for itself.
04-20-2014, 11:58 AM   #14
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My sigma 50 1.4 is most frequently my camera. I also always carry: 105 2.5 macro, 24-70 2.8, and the 18-50 kit because of the WR. All of this fits tidily into a Vietnam era butt pack that I have set up to carry like a courier bag.
04-20-2014, 11:58 AM   #15
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I use 50 (FA 1.4) on aps-c so much that it's FOV is burnt into my eyes, I can guess my framing quite accurately without looking through the viewfinder. Having recently bought the DA 40, I can imagine that 50 takes some getting used to. A bit wider makes taking quick snaps easier. But for me, the 50 did miracles in cleaning up my composition, as it doesn't allow a whole lot of stuff in the frame.

Aside from that, being able to make tack sharp images from f/2 and upwards is quite nice.
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