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What is the cheapest way to shoot at 50mm?

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  • What is the cheapest way to shoot at 50mm?

    Currently I have a 20d with a 50mm lens. I really want to experiment at the true 50mm focal length, however. What is the cheapest way/setup to adopt that would allow me to shoot at 50mm? I am currently look into buying a 35mm slr, such as the Canon eos 300, but I'd like to see what other options I may have.

  • #2
    You're already shooting at 50mm. You get the compression and perspective of a mid-range, 50mm lens. The only thing that changes is the field of view.

    Strictly speaking an 18-55 lens covers the 30-35mm focal length range, and thats probably the cheapest way of getting a similar FoV to a 50mm lens on full-frame. But that's still shooting at 30-35mm, not 50.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by OsmosisStudios View Post
      You're already shooting at 50mm. You get the compression and perspective of a mid-range, 50mm lens. The only thing that changes is the field of view.

      Strictly speaking an 18-55 lens covers the 30-35mm focal length range, and thats probably the cheapest way of getting a similar FoV to a 50mm lens on full-frame. But that's still shooting at 30-35mm, not 50.
      That lost me... did you mean to say the 18-55 = 30-*85*mm on a crop body? The only thing that changes w/ different focal lengths is magnification/fov. Perspective/compression is a function of working distance (resulting from magnification/fov for a given composition).
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      • #4
        Perhaps what you're asking for is the field of view of a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera, in which case what you want is a 30mm lens (or a zoom lens set to 30mm). The depth of field will be different, though. You'll need to use a wider aperture (compared to a full-frame camera) to get the same depth of field.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by nirama View Post
          Currently I have a 20d with a 50mm lens. I really want to experiment at the true 50mm focal length, however. What is the cheapest way/setup to adopt that would allow me to shoot at 50mm? I am currently look into buying a 35mm slr, such as the Canon eos 300, but I'd like to see what other options I may have.
          Get a film camera. I got one on ebay for $12.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by sk66 View Post
            That lost me... did you mean to say the 18-55 = 30-*85*mm on a crop body?
            Dont know where you're getting that. You've lost me.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by jpowers View Post
              Perhaps what you're asking for is the field of view of a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera, in which case what you want is a 30mm lens (or a zoom lens set to 30mm). The depth of field will be different, though. You'll need to use a wider aperture (compared to a full-frame camera) to get the same depth of field.
              Yes, this is what I'm talking about (also what osmosis said earlier). I don't have a kit lens. I'm looking into buying a film camera, but is there any other way that is relatively cheap? Under $100

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              • #8
                Originally posted by OsmosisStudios View Post
                Dont know where you're getting that. You've lost me.
                Really? 18x1.6= 28.8mm; 55x1.6=88mm. 18-55mm= 30-85mm on Canon DX would make sense. 30-35mm does not.

                Ah, I get it...*using* the 18-55 at 30-35mm would equal the FOV of a 50mm. I'm afraid I was a bit slow on the uptake...it seems obvious now.
                Last edited by sk66; 01-18-2013, 02:30 AM.
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                • #9
                  Wouldn't buying a 35mm prime be cheaper than buying a film body?

                  A 35mm prime should give you a similar FOV of a 50mm on a film/fx body. Be aware, its still going to be a 35mm lens in the respect of compression and image distortion due to the shorter focal length.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Wolfiesden View Post
                    Be aware, its still going to be a 35mm lens in the respect of compression and image distortion due to the shorter focal length.
                    No it won't.... Perspective/distortion/compression are strictly functions of working distance. The working distance is determined by the effective focal length (FOV).
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                    • #11
                      The lens is still a 35mm lens. The camera is simply cropping to the middle of it letting you see the same FOV as though it were 52mm (think this OPs body is a 1.5 crop). The bending of light through the elements of glass still occurs and it doesn't matter what body its on. If you shoot someone's face close up with a 35mm lens their nose is gonna be big. Shoot a 50mm at the same distance, there is less distortion of the nose. Shoot 75mm at the same distance and there is even less.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Wolfiesden View Post
                        The lens is still a 35mm lens. The camera is simply cropping to the middle of it letting you see the same FOV as though it were 52mm (think this OPs body is a 1.5 crop). The bending of light through the elements of glass still occurs and it doesn't matter what body its on. If you shoot someone's face close up with a 35mm lens their nose is gonna be big. Shoot a 50mm at the same distance, there is less distortion of the nose. Shoot 75mm at the same distance and there is even less.
                        Really? Try it. It doesn't work that way. You'll have to be back far enough to get their face at 75mm and then crop the resulting 50/35mm images to the same final composition... and when you do they will look the same except you will have less DOF with the longer lens @ a given aperture.
                        Now there is "lens distortion" from using something like a fisheye or UWA..but that's not perspective distortion.
                        Last edited by sk66; 01-18-2013, 11:29 PM.
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                        • #13
                          Steve's right; perspective distortion is solely a function of the composition of the scene and the photographer's distance from it. The lens has nothing to do with it, except that a shorter focal length lens "makes" you stand closer to the object, creating a different perspective.

                          Technically, what makes the perspective distortion is the difference between where the photographer is standing relative to his scene and where the viewer is standing relative to the final image.

                          A 30mm lens on a crop body and a 50mm lens on a full-frame will form the same image, because the photographer is able to get the same composition by standing in the same place. On the other hand, a 50mm lens on a crop sensor will give you a more-compressed view.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for that. There's a lot of "misleading" information going around about how a 50mm isn't a portrait lens due to the distortion. But it's not really the lens' fault. (although it's still probably not a lens I would choose first).
                            How working distance affects compression/distortion/DOF is also why you can not really just "zoom with your feet." That's more "misleading crap" you'll hear a lot regarding primes.
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