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Just what use is a 35mm f2.8 lens?

Overread 12 4.1k 19 England
2 Apr 2011 9:16PM
Ok sooooo recent events lead me to believe that Sigma's 150mm OS macro is not going to hit the market any time soon and unless anyone has heard anything else I'm going to write this release off till well after the situation in Japan gets a chance to improve. (ps if anyone has heard anything about its release I'd be really glad to heard about it - thus far it was set for the March release but - its never appeared).

So me, being me, I've been nosing around and mulling over the idea of getting the Tokina 35mm f2.8 macro lens - a lens possibly more rare than the MPE in the number of users that there appear to be around the place.
The thing is its 35mm and - well - I do wildlife and bugs and the odd landscape all with a 1.6 crop camera body with no set mind to invest in a fullframe any time. So what will I use a 35mm for save for macro shots with reduced background blur? What would you use such a lens for - and have you heard anything about the Tokina 35mm macro lens?

I'm not 100% sure of its performance against other 35mm offerings save that its got a smaller aperture than many (being f2.8 instead of f1.4 or f1.8); but I've not yet come across anything definitive that compares the quality of the lenses against each other. On the one hand I am considering it for the macro; but on the other I don't want a 35mm that is considered grossly under-performing against the others.
Overread 12 4.1k 19 England
2 Apr 2011 9:23PM
Possibly Tongue
I have had my eye on the 35mm for a time as one of those interesting lenses and I honestly can't muster up the enthusiasm to upgrade my teleconverter (2*). Though I'm also willing to give a look to some high magnification setups with microscope elements, but its a much more complicated area (not just in setup, but in purchase - lots of variety and no idea where to start)
Paul Morgan 19 19.5k 6 England
2 Apr 2011 9:32PM

Quote:Just what use is a 35mm f2.8 lens?

It would be almost on par with the 50mm macro lenses from the 80`s used on film cameras, doubling up as a standard prime walkabout.

For close up stuff it would be better suited for copy type work than insects.
royd63uk Plus
15 3 1 United Kingdom
2 Apr 2011 11:36PM
you need at least 90mm for insect macro's (longer is better) Smile
Paul Morgan 19 19.5k 6 England
2 Apr 2011 11:46PM

Quote:you need at least 90mm for insect macro's (longer is better)

Not always, there are occasions when wider and closer are better.
jimthistle73 17 2.4k 1 United Kingdom
3 Apr 2011 12:02AM

Quote:What would you use such a lens for?

It's a great lens for a bit of environmental portraiture, where you'd like to get an idea of the surroundings in, as well as retaining the traditional portrait lens qualities. James Burns (from right here!) has an impressive set of pics taken using a 35mm f2 lens on a crop sensor.

As has already been said, it also gives a 35mm camera equivalent, 50mm POV so makes a good stab at rendering a true human field of vision ( I use one for visual impact assessment photography, where this particular quality is paramount).

As a walkabout prime though, I generally end up wishing I'd taken my 24mm lens - just gives that extra, well, wideness Smile The only macro lens I've ever used was 105mm, and I soon found that macro wasn't my bag, so can't really comment on its usefulness or otherwise for close up application.

Ach, go spend some cash - I would!
Overread 12 4.1k 19 England
3 Apr 2011 12:27AM
Aye I'm thinking that this would more be used for flowers and larger insects with the reduced background blurring that longer telephoto macro lenses give. I'm sure I could get closer shots up to 1:1 of insects; its working distance can't be much less than the MPE 65mm macro when extended - and I've got a suitable lighting rig if I want/need to use flash whilst getting around the overshadowing of the lens itself.
In short I think I can (practice of course Wink) make the lens work in the field.

Of course spending the money is the somewhat easier part - I've however also got ideas of maybe going for a new tripod (carbon fibre Gitzo greatness) or camera bag. Either of which would eat up the budget as well. I've also considered looking into a sound recording setup to pair with my 7D - though that will require a lot more looking into (esp since I think a fully external sound setup will cost more than the 400 that the lens costs - and the 7D currently only has variable sound recording for internal and plug in sound - so that is less than ideal when one needs/wants control over the volume of recording)
Paul Morgan 19 19.5k 6 England
3 Apr 2011 12:34AM
And getting closer to bugs can be fun, I sometimes grab a lensbaby and a cheap macro ring flash Smile
StrayCat 17 19.1k 3 Canada
3 Apr 2011 3:56AM
My favourite lens on the Olympus was the 35mm macro. I think it was 3.5. However, it got a lot more use for general work than macro, such as family photography. Of course on Olympus it became a 70mm, and for some reason, I liked that focal length.

I don't understand your reasoning re background blur; are you looking for better background blur, or are you looking for more DOF? I would be more inclined to look toward the Canon 60mm f2.8 macro, which, according to reports, is a great performer, and for my money, would be a better all round choice for walkabout. But what do I know.Tongue

PS: I am not, and never was, a wide angle fan, not that 35mm is wide.Wink
thewilliam 12 6.1k
3 Apr 2011 11:43AM
Take a look at the exif data for some of your favourite pix.

Many folks use zoom lenses without being aware of the focal-legth setting, so it's worth a look. 35mm is a useful focal-length for general purpose and good macro lenses give reasonable performance for distance shots.

Then look at the aperture settings - when the camera is set to P for Professional, people are often unaware of the selected f stop. I'd bet that 95% or more of pix are taken at f2.8 or smaller. Good lenses perform well when wide-open.
polis_928tadw59 10 7.0k United Kingdom
3 Apr 2011 12:05PM
I thought that the 'P' setting on a camera was for 'programme' mode, ie letting the camera take over, thereby setting everything, speed and aperture. Am I missing something ?
Overread 12 4.1k 19 England
3 Apr 2011 1:02PM
Stray - with macro, at least, distances when you close focus to 1:1 areas the longer focal length lenses give about the same depth of field as the shorter lenses (I might see a slight difference between 35mm and 150mm but not massive); however the background blurring is greatly increased on longer lenses as compared to shorter ones - where you get a slightly less "clean" and more busy background.

As for watching my other lenses and noting the focal length - it won't work as I use the 18-55mm so little I#d have to spend hours finding just a few shots from it (barring my most early days where its all rubbish anyway Wink)

Oh and I don't use P (program/professional) mode I prefer Av (Awesome Photos/aperture priority) mode!
polis_928tadw59 10 7.0k United Kingdom
3 Apr 2011 1:08PM
I normally use AV mode, but had never heard it referred to Awesome mode.Smile
thewilliam 12 6.1k
3 Apr 2011 5:21PM
Within our professional association, "P" is always for professional and "A" is for awesome!

With a given length of extension tube, the 35mm macro will allow you to get a lot closer than longer lenses. Not all macro lenses work well with tubes so you need to test. Problems tend to arise when a lens internally focusses.

Some lenses like the 100mm Zeiss Makro Planar have floating elements but don't internally focus. This could be because it's derived from a motion-picture lens where "breathing" is considered a mortal sin. A lens that doesn't breathe is a lot easier to use for macro stills.

"Breathing" is where the image scale given by a lens changes as the focus is "pulled".
Overread 12 4.1k 19 England
8 Apr 2011 10:16PM
Well its time to see how the lens does - - I weakened and gave in!

Downside is waiting for Warehouse express cause they don't normally stock the lens so a bit longer on the order (I did check before ordering though that they can get them in stock!). Now I've got all the guilt from the purchase and --- just a bag of doritos to sooth me through till whenever it arrives

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