GB Sports Photographer & The Panasonic LUMIX S1

Which Lens to Choose?


Projumper 7 23 Wales
11 Feb 2016 10:10AM
I want a new 50mm ish lens for my D80, I wanting to know, if I would be better off getting a 17-55 or a 50mm 1.8?

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TanyaH Plus
16 1.3k 395 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2016 11:09AM
William, you'll get better quality with a prime 50mm f/1.8 lens.
Any zoom lens which incorporates a 50mm setting won't, as far as I know, give you the same quality (or maximum aperture).
I'm a Canon user, so don't have Nikon-specific knowledge, but I'd imagine that the logic is the same for both?
Tanya
ikky 5 88 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2016 11:47AM
agreed with Tanya quality is much better with a prime you can pick them up on fleabay for a reasonable price don't bother with the 1.4 much more expensive and quality is not worth the extra
keithh 15 25.5k 33 Wallis And Futuna
11 Feb 2016 12:25PM
The 1.8 prime is considered to be marginally sharper. The bokeh , if that's important to you, is considered to be better on the 17-55.

The 50mm is lighter and very much cheaper. It's made in China....that's not a warning unless it is to you.

So it's better sharpness that you might not even be able to see but cheaper and lighter versus big, expensive but very useable and versatile and better made.
thewilliam 11 6.1k
11 Feb 2016 12:37PM
How do the Chinese plastic lenses stand up to hard use? Do they have the durability that made Nikon famous?
themak 6 1.0k Scotland
11 Feb 2016 2:48PM
I wouldn't think more than a very small proportion ever see hard use.
mikehit 10 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2016 4:09PM

Quote:How do the Chinese plastic lenses stand up to hard use? Do they have the durability that made Nikon famous?


I've got Canon's 'plastic fantastic' 50mm f1.8 and no problems with it at all but even though I am quite clumsy I doubt it gets any worse handling than some hard-working pros would give it. In fact one pro I know prefers the 50mm f1.8 as he considers it disposable and can buy several copies for the same price as a 50mm f1.4.

But the 17-55 and the 50mm f1.8 are quite different beasts - the 50mm f1.8 is no good if you need 35mm! If ever you have thought 'Damn I wish I had a XXmm lens' then what was it?
I have the Canon 17-55 and I have never looked at a picture taken at the long end and wished for the better sharpness of the 50mm f1.8. It all depends on what you shoot and how you shoot it.
robs 16 685 2 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2016 6:56PM
Great wee lens the 50mm f1.8 - I have one sat infront of me on a D7000 right now! I have the 1.4 on the D800 which is also a fantastic lens, albeit more expensive.

Having moved to Nikon with the full range of f2.8 zooms I am starting to drift away from them and back to primes. I don't usually think "oh I wish I had XXmm" as mentioned above - I either think "I want longer" or "I want wider" Wink The latter I deal with through stitched panoramics (for which the 50mm is superb on full frame, but the 85mm is even better for me - and that is more or less the same field of view you get on a 50mm/crop).

I suppose it comes down to what lenses you already have, what direction you want to take things in and how much you want to spend! Me - I would get the prime.....
StrayCat 15 19.1k 3 Canada
11 Feb 2016 7:51PM
Might want to look at the Nikon 35mm f1.8 also, great reviews.
thewilliam 11 6.1k
11 Feb 2016 9:03PM
The people at Nikon put considerable design effort into the lenses that a lot of professionals are going to be using and that includes 17-55. I'd imagine that they never brought out a Mark 2 because they basically got it right, optically and mechanically. Other optical gems are the 50mm and 35mm f1.8 and the 18-55 VR2 kit lens.

I'd suggest that choice of lenses will depend on intended use. The 17-55 is big and heavy because it's intended for hard use. The newest version of the 18-55 kit lens is just as good optically and, because it weighs something like 150g and will focus to about one-third of life-size, is excellent for walkabout but only f5.6 at the long end and I wouldn't want to give it hard use. We have both and I'll use whichever is more appropriate.
keithh 15 25.5k 33 Wallis And Futuna
11 Feb 2016 9:20PM
Another consideration going forward is that the 17-55 is a DX lens.
thewilliam 11 6.1k
12 Feb 2016 3:14PM
Is DX the format of the OP's D80 body?
Projumper 7 23 Wales
12 Feb 2016 5:49PM
Yes.

Quote:Is DX the format of the OP's D80 body?
thewilliam 11 6.1k
12 Feb 2016 8:30PM
In that case, Keith, the 17-55mm zoom is made for the job
LenShepherd 11 4.0k United Kingdom
12 Feb 2016 10:17PM
I would think seriously about getting a new 17-55, particularly for such an old camera body.
When launched 9 years ago the 17-55 was widely regarded as the best mid range zoom from any manufacturer.
It is still very good but with many owners upgrading to 24x36 format there are plenty of good ones second hand in the region of 400 compared to 900 new.
If you are considering a 17-55 I suggest buy second hand and put the saving toward a better DX body.
The 50mm f1.8 primes while optically good are nowhere near as good as the 17-55. The D version is around 95 new and the more recent G version is around 140 new.


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