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January 24, 2013
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Replies: 8

Prime lens zoom equivilent

:iconninjatogo:
ninjatogo Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello all,
I was recently looking to purchase my first prime lens for my DSLR, the lens I was looking at is stated to be a 50mm f1.8. I want to get it because I've heard so many great things about prime lenses, I want to use it indoors on subjects that are relatively close to me as I shoot. Using my current kit lens (18-55mm) and zooming to the 50mm range makes things, for my intended use, too large, ie. I have to step back very far.

With a prime lens, is the field of view the same as a regular zoom lens? I want this lens, but not if I have to step back 20 feet every time I want to take a photo.
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:iconninjatogo:
ninjatogo Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The lens I'm looking at is the cheap 50mm prime from Sony.
Well thank you everyone for your help, I think I'll go ahead and buy it now.
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:icontetchist:
Tetchist Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
"With a prime lens, is the field of view the same as a regular zoom lens?"

focal length is focal length. it doesn't change; one 50mm lens is going to be identical to another 50mm on the same camera.
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:iconrockthesky:
rockTheSky Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Yes, the FOV is the same for the focal lengh on a zoom as it is on a prime. The only time there is a difference in the FOV is when either lens is used on a full-frame sensor versus an APS-C crop sensor.
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:iconphotomark:
photomark Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
50mm focal length lenses are considered normal for full frame (around the size of 35mm I think )

The smaller your sensor the less of the lens image circle you use increasing the effective focal length making a 50mm more like a telephoto.

A 50 mm prime will give you the same view as a zoom at 50mm.

Yes primes are much better than zoom lenses because they are tuned perfectly for the focal length , zoom lenses by comparison are a compromise of all focal lengths with in its range and are much more prone to various forms of distortion especially chromatic aberration, given zooms have improved a lot in the last few years but so has lens technology all over including primes.

Prime does not mean it has to be a 50mm and if it is to long for you then go for a 40mm 30mm or what ever is available for your camera.

If you want close focusing you may need to look into a macro lens.

One prime is never enough , for my 6x6 medium format I have a 40mm, 50mm, 80mm, 110mm(macro),150mm and a 500mm, there was a zoom made for this but it is very rare and not really of much use with a zoom range from 80mm to 140mm
on my 35mm I have a 24mm, 50mm and a 100mm and I never did get a zoom for that camera.
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:iconninjatogo:
ninjatogo Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
So it will be about the same view as the zoom lens on an APS-C sensor?
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:iconhedwards:
hedwards Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013
Right, this is where it gets a bit tricky. The angle is the only thing that changes. The DoF, focusing distance and magnification are all the same no matter what size sensor you're using.

Which is why the preferred term for it is crop factor rather than something like lens multiplier.

You'll get the same exact field of view and all the rest in either case at that 50mm length, it's just that the 50mm F1.8 is probably going to be faster. Just make sure you get a good copy, I've heard bad things about Canon's 50mm F1.8, but I've not seen any problems with it.

Nikon's is quite a bit more expensive, but that's in large part because they have a better motor on it. (Just FYI when you're wondering why Nikon users get screwed there, obviously, you don't really get a choice)
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:iconphotomark:
photomark Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
It will be the same view as the zoom at 50 on your camera

I am not right up on digital cameras but I think the APS size sensor was rather small so any lens at 50mm will be like a telephoto

Your best bet is to take your DSLR body to your favorite camera shop and try out a few lenses and I think you may be better off with around a 20mm lens
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:iconrockthesky:
rockTheSky Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Yes, a 50mm on a 1.5 crop sensor is a 75mm equidistant on a full-frame sensor.
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