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General photography questions and answers: Discuss When is a nifty not a nifty?...I don't quite understand peeps obsession with nifty fiftys. I get it for full frame - 50mm is a natural ...
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Old 09-03-2007, 09:41   #1 (permalink)
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When is a nifty not a nifty?

I don't quite understand peeps obsession with nifty fiftys. I get it for full frame - 50mm is a natural viewing angle for humans. But when we slap them on our dSLR's most of us get about as close to 50mm as my toe!

So why all the fuss?
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Old 09-03-2007, 09:46   #2 (permalink)
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Re: When is a nifty not a nifty?

The fuss (for me at least) is that for the money its a super sharp, small and lightweight lens that produces quality images that you simply can't get from any other lens anywhere near its price range.

I fully understand why the question though but irrespective of its range when used on different crop factor bodies, it is still a 50 mm lens and therefore will always be referred to as the 'nifty fifty'.

Just my 2p's worth
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Old 09-03-2007, 09:51   #3 (permalink)
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Re: When is a nifty not a nifty?

It also performs much better on an APS sensor format as, with most lenses, the image circle at the centre is always better than the edges.
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Old 09-03-2007, 10:06   #4 (permalink)
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Re: When is a nifty not a nifty?

For sixty odd oncers it's silly not to have one in the bag.
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Old 09-03-2007, 11:25   #5 (permalink)
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Re: When is a nifty not a nifty?

I'm guessing 50mm's got so high speced because of the popular viewing angle. We now appear to be buying them because of the high spec.

I don't have an issue with any of this, I just don't understand why they don't make the same high spec'd glass for dSLR that gives the 50mm viewing angle.
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Old 09-03-2007, 15:40   #6 (permalink)
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Re: When is a nifty not a nifty?

They do, it'll be about 35mm on a 1.5 FOV!
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Old 09-03-2007, 16:21   #7 (permalink)
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Re: When is a nifty not a nifty?

50mm primes are also at least a stop faster than any zoom you'll have in the bag, whicj makes them very usefull in low light. Sure, 30-35mm makes more sense on a crop camera, but they tend be be expensive, whereas the nifty 50's aren't.
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Old 09-03-2007, 16:40   #8 (permalink)
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Re: When is a nifty not a nifty?

I'm pretty sure they are so cheap because they are so popular which makes em cheap which makes them popular omg my head hurts.

I'm new to this so I can't say for sure but what came first? the viewing angle or the fast glass? At a guess I'd say the viewing angle.
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Old 09-03-2007, 18:38   #9 (permalink)
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Re: When is a nifty not a nifty?

The 50mm 'standard' lens was a popular choice for 135 format because it (more or less) offered the same viewpoint and perspective as our eyes naturally do.

They could be made relatively inexpensive and quite lightweight because, at that focal length, you don't need a lot of elements. Also they could make these fixed focal length lenses very bright since, at that focal length, you again don't need a very large front element to meet f/1.8 or f/1.4 maximum apertures.

Factor in cheap, hardwaring plastics for the lens enclosure and you suddenly have a low price lens which, naturally, would be a popular choice for photographers to start out with.

You're right in saying that this changed with the advent of 1.3, 1.5 and 1.6 FOV crop dSLR cameras, suddenly making the 50mm be either 65mm, 75mm or 80mm equivalents - thus they have evolved into portrait lenses. They're ideally suited to such use because you're not pointing a great big hunk of a lens at your subject and possibly intimidating them... try doing a portrait shoot with a 70-200VR lens and you'll see what I mean

And yes - Sigma realised that there now was a gap in the market for a standard lens for dSLR's and thus created the relatively inexpensive 30mm f/1.4. There's also now a 25mm f/1.4 for dSLR's that use the four thirds system, and Canon have the very expensive 50mm f/1.2L lens for their 5D and 1D FF bodies.
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Old 09-03-2007, 18:52   #10 (permalink)
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Re: When is a nifty not a nifty?

mercy buckets.
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Old 09-03-2007, 19:18   #11 (permalink)
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Re: When is a nifty not a nifty?

Along with what the Viking said, in 35mm days the 50mm was also the bundled kit lens, the equivalent of the 18-55 for instance.
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