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Can you share your experience of shooting with your favourite short tele focal length?

Discussion in 'Native X-Mount Lens Forum' started by AMSOS, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. AMSOS

    AMSOS Premium Member

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    I am having a difficult time deciding which tele lens and focal length I should use. I want a 3 lens kit and already have the 35 f2 and 23 f2 (which I use not much and only when my preferred 35 doesn't work).

    I mostly shoot while travelling. I do street (I prefer to be at a distance with either the 35 or 60 FLs), landscapes (distant mountain vistas are a favourite), architecture (generally outdoors), posed and candid portraits, and sometimes fast moving kids. There are no plans to do sports or other action, although I am keen to try my hand at shooting stage and performance.

    Can members share their experiences of shooting these scenarios with short tele lenses? Which focal length (or lengths) do they reach for and why? I am mainly looking to hear from you about your use of the 50, 56, 60, 70, 80, and 90 focal lengths anda/or anything in between this range.

    It will help if you explain your choices a bit, e.g. - if you do street why do you go for the 56 FL over say the 80/90? Or maybe you like the 80 because you shoot from farther out etc.

    Thanks!

    PS - a) I am going to stick with a 3 lens kit so don't make suggestions about needing more lens. It will have to be one tele lens only.
    b) Whatever the drawbacks I am quite happy with the approach of restricting the FLs at my disposal and find it fairly productive. I can of course live with the fact that I will miss several shots.
    c) For various reason renting lenses is not an option at this point. Besides, no amount of renting can replace the valuable sharing of experiences I've got the good forums :)
     
  2. CWRailman

    CWRailman Premium Member

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    WOW that's asking a LOT!! You might be best off by doing a search of this forum to see how such discussions have gone in the past. What you are asking for could fill a book and might not give you the answer s you need. In the mean time you might check out this video which explains why nobody can really help you make such decisions. Check out what he says around the 5:11 minute mark.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
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  3. Spock66

    Spock66 Premium Member

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    You could also consider a zoom, the 55-200mm pretty much covers all these focal lengths and is an excellent lens.
     
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  4. BillC-PA

    BillC-PA Premium Member

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    Landscape and interiors: 10-24. General purpose 18-55 and/or 55-200 .... and the upcoming 16-80 looks promising.
     
  5. AMSOS

    AMSOS Premium Member

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    Sorry if it comes across like that. I am hoping to read a para or two. While testing is useful, I often find that hearing of other peoples experiences provides useful insights.
     
  6. AMSOS

    AMSOS Premium Member

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    That is definitely a good lens, but not my first choice. I want to be able to use a prime. The aperture ring is also not marked and every time I zoom in or out I'll have to set the aperture by looking at the EVF. That takes away the ability to set exposure even before the camera is turned on - a key feature of the Fuji system.
    Yes, the upcoming 16-80 f4 definitely seems interesting. I would have no use of the wider than 23 FLs, but it could give me a nice combo of teles between 56-80. However, I have no idea how good it will be in the middle to tele range because zooms tend to best at the starting and end points. Also, while I don't need large apertures I also wonder if f4 is too small.
     
  7. pointreyes

    pointreyes Premium Member

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    You already have the 23 and 35 f/2 primes. I would think the 50 f/2 prime would fit the set since it would be similar to the other two lenses you have. More compact than the 56, faster AF, and WR are other factors to consider.

    BTW: I went the f/1.x primes route and the f/2.8 zoom for when I needed WR. I don't have the f/2 lens.
     
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  8. joe aka back alley

    joe aka back alley Premium Member

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    an unpopular choice would be the fuji 60 macro lens.
    it's a great all purpose focal length, does macro but not 1:1 but still very close and extremely sharp.
    it's smallish and smaller still if you exchange the standard hood/shade with one from the fuji 35/1.4.
     
  9. kenbennett

    kenbennett Premium Member

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    I like zooms better for landscape photography because I can very carefully frame the shot exactly the way I want it. If I'm out shooting personal work and I think I'll need a tele for landscapes, I bring the 55-200. Please login or register to view links.

    For portraits where I have control over the shot, I'm usually working, so I choose either the 56mm f/1.2 or the GFX 110mm f/2, or the 50-140mm f/2.8. I do like the "85mm equivalent" focal length of the primes because it gives me a good flattering perspective on the subject while showing enough of the background to provide information to the viewer. But when I want to frame it carefully and control *exactly* what is in the background, the zoom is invaluable. Please login or register to view links.

    For a general purpose "street photography" lens for candids, travel, and photojournalism, the little 50mm f/2 is a sweet lens. It's small, light, focuses quickly, can shoot a portrait and also handle events and news. Please login or register to view links photo made with it. I find the combo of the 23mm f/2 and the 50mm f/2 works very well for me for this kind of work.
     
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  10. AMSOS

    AMSOS Premium Member

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    Thanks. Yeah, I could get the 50 and I am definitely quite happy with the 35 and 23. I am trying to move some steps more when using the 35 and try to see how much I can use it instead of the 50 or 56 FL. I know there will be many situations where I'll miss shots, but as of now I am okay with that.
    I am thinking I should get something between 70 to 90 mm.
     
  11. AMSOS

    AMSOS Premium Member

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    Yes, it's a good one. But my understanding was that it's sharpness is not in the same league (particularly wide-open) as the 56 or the 50. And I do want the lens to have really good across the frame sharpness wide-open.
    Also, it's slow AF will be an irritant to me. Unfortunately, I don't have a newer body like the X-E3 or X-T3 where the lens may possibly AF significantly faster.
    Finally, I am trying to settle upon something a little longer - between 70 to 90.
     
  12. AMSOS

    AMSOS Premium Member

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    That's a nice landscape photo! And once more it attests to the quality of the 55-200. This one is indeed on my list but I am exploring the primes first. I don't enjoy shooting with zooms, particularly variable aperture ones, as they take away from what for me is a key Fuji feature - the ability to set exposure even before the camera is on.

    Did you consider using the 80 macro, or the 90 f2 for street or other such uses? I am thinking of taking a different route - instead of say the 23 & 50, I could try out the 35 & 80 or 90. Would appreciate if you shared any experiences of using those two FLs together.

    Thanks!
     
  13. joe aka back alley

    joe aka back alley Premium Member

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    it's a very sharp lens...af is no longer poor but then i do have newer bodies and firmware updates that have helped. 60 is a pretty good focal length, i was surprised at how comfortable it is.
    the 56 is sharp as well and the aperture makes for some interesting pics..the good thing about fuji is it's hard to go wrong with the quality...
    and the 50 (75 equiv), along with the other 'fujicrons' does make a nice 3 lens kit.
     
  14. F2Bthere

    F2Bthere Premium Member

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    I think your request makes sense and I think that you get the fact that no one can make a good choice for you--all we can do is reflect our experience and perhaps you can gather your own moral from our story :).

    Your reasoning around why you use primes makes complete sense to me. If I am out photographing "in the wild" (not in my studio or in a situation where I have strong control i.e. on location with strobes on stands), I also prefer a limited set of primes. Oddly, I prefer a zoom in a controlled setting, since at that point I choose my perspective deliberately and use the lens to frame the image. In the wild if I em going "heavy," mostly if I am committed to making images for someone else, I prefer two bodies (and a third lens in the bag) and pull the other one if my intention changes quickly. Otherwise, if it's just personal work, I take one body and one or two lenses.

    The fact that the 23 doesn't make much sense with the 35 also fits my experience: they are just too close to be a great compliment.

    My low-light set is the 35/1.4 the 56/1.2 APD and the 16/1.4. This set has served me well and I am quite happy with the rendering of these lenses. The 35/1.4 is a workhorse which can do everything from headshots with great Bokeh to group shots, if there is enough room. The 16 is a great storytelling lens with enough width to include a lot of interaction or complexly layered images. The 56APD renders quite nicely. For me, the 56 is the least necessary of the three.

    For me, the 16 works exceptionally well and I consider it Fuji's best X series lens so far. The lens is virtually distortion free, but you need to pay attention to perspective when photographing people with such a wide lens. For some people, this is an issue.

    There was an 18/2 in the used case at my local store and I made the mistake of testing it. You can see the picture below. It didn't take long and I was back at the store picking up the lens. And this has turned out to be a very handy lens. It is quite lightweight, so it ends up going with me all the time when I would normally have taken the 16/1.4. I give up some width (2mm is a lot at the ultrawide end) and a stop, but the handiness is significant. And it is "safer" (less demanding) when photographing people. It is also a great storytelling lens.

    So the 18/35/56 is common. The 18/35 is also a common combination. And very often, the 18 goes by itself.

    I recently acquired the Mitakon Speedmaster 35 f0.95, and it has become a regular companion (we will see if the novelty wears off...or not) and I love combining this with the 18. The 18 not only affords the additional perspective, it also gives me an AF option if I need to be quicker when the "action" becomes faster.

    How does all of this impact your decision? It leads me to suggest the 50/2 as a solid choice because it is useable indoors and out, its fast enough for most purposes, has a more flattering perspective than a 35 for some faces, AF is snappy and, perhaps most importantly, it is lightweight and handy, so it can be slipped in a pocket unnoticed, so you are more likely to take it.

    My next advice is that if you want to go long, I would strongly consider the 80mm macro, especially if you do not have the XH1, because it has OIS. I don't think that is needed as often under 56mm, but with a longer lens it helps. It also offers macro and is a very nice lens.

    The 50-140/2.8 is also great, has OIS and marked f-stops. I don't think you are a zoom fan, but once I'm in the longer-telephoto range (over 56), I'm being less "responsive" to the immediate and am doing more of a "reaching out" or deliberate detail image, so a zoom makes sense to me.

    So, to sum up, I would add the 50/2 if you value portability or the 80 macro if you value versatility and don't mind the cost and weight. I also suggest you consider swapping the 23 you don't use much for the 18 I suspect you would use a lot more.

    This simple test shot in the store persuaded me this was a useful lens for storytelling (the actual background Bokeh is nicer--less blocked up-- before all the internet compression):

     
  15. AMSOS

    AMSOS Premium Member

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    Thanks! That was exactly the spirit behind the post. I wasn't trying to have others decide for me, but to get a sense of how others in similar use scenarios have used (or not) a particular FL.
    I wish I could get another body, but that is adding too much weight, cost, and ultimately reliability. Also, I have heard lots of old-timers talk of the importance of having your camera along with you all the time. And the more I travel the more I feel the need to pare my kit down to a minimum. Shooting on other formats I also felt overwhelmed often with having to think of too many parameters at the same time. Fuji has truly allowed me to enjoy the photographic process because of the intuitive and quick control over exposure parameters. With zooms I would have to think too much, be conspicuous, and carry more weight around, not to mention a heavier camera that may need a grip.

    Ah, of course. How could I forget that the 80 has OIS! Yes, that would appeal to me a lot, as I am looking to ignore my otherwise much loved 50-60 mm FL. If I am going with a 3 lens kit then getting a slightly heavier 80 should not be such an issue.
    I'll definitely give that a thought. But, I remain more of a standard to short tele shooter, and I am one of those people who find it difficult to handle perspective distortion.
     
  16. F2Bthere

    F2Bthere Premium Member

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    Clearly I favor wide to normal and you favor normal to long :).

    I'm not sure if this translates or not, but I found that as I developed my taste in wide, I often felt the lens was "just not wide enough to get in the elements I wanted" and I rarely found that I wanted the lens to be narrower without it being an image which called for the normal (35) lens. When I got the 16, which many consider too wide for people, it was like a breath of fresh air. The 18 is almost as usable (and having gotten used to it, I can generally make it work), but I suspect any narrower for my wide lens and I would feel pinched.

    I may be projecting my preferences--I used to be more of a normal and long shooter and, at that time, I liked the 135mm (the 85mm on Fuji) as a focal length in preference to the 56mm Fuji equivelent. If your preference is to "crop out distractions" or "isolate details" (words I would use to describe what longer lenses do) in the image, maybe going with a shorter (50-56 Fuji) telephoto would be a mistake and you should just jump right to the 80-90 Fuji range. You can always go with the 35 if you need width, but it's a drag if the lens you have doesn't go far enough in the direction you want.
     
  17. pointreyes

    pointreyes Premium Member

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    And that is the 80 which is a very enjoyable lens to use. I also like that I can use my tele-converters on this lens. One thing to note about the OIS on the 80 - it is 4-axis IS! I have had very stable shots using that lens on the X-Pro2 as well as the X-H1 (which only adds one more axis). Note that when I want to go light, I will still pick my 90 over the 80 - I love the way the 90 renders and it can focus fairly close - no OIS but then again I have the X-H1.

    BTW: When in "prime" mode, I normally tend to pick 16, 35, and 80 or 90. The 56 is my fourth choice if I have the space for a walk about.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  18. AMSOS

    AMSOS Premium Member

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    Ha ha! Yes, that's true. And the great thing about the Fuji systems is that there are all kinds of choices can make.
    Yes, I tend to focus on the composition and the balance of elements in my pictures. With wide-angle lenses I find there is always too much to control. Plus, I am very put off by perspective distortion.
    When I got comfortable with the 35 FL I realised I wanted to "crop out distractions" and quite enjoyed myself using the 60 FL (that was the lovely 45mm f1.8 Olympus m43).
    I am inclined to do as you suggest. I am thinking that I should use the 35 even for shots I would normally take with the 56 or 60 FLs. Now, obviously there will be many that I simply will not be able to take. But for the kind of uses I have - street, candids, posed portraits, I should be able to manage fine. I am not into bokeh and would have been a big factor differentiating between the 35 and 56/60 FLs.
    I would ideally like to get a 70 mm lens, but Fuji doesn't make a prime. So, it'll have to either be the 80 macro or the 90 f2. These would give me a substantial step up from the 35. Whatever happens, it'll have to be one more prime lens to complete the kit.
    But then I am still thinking about this, and hence this post :)
     
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  19. AMSOS

    AMSOS Premium Member

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    Wow, I had no idea that it can work with a teleconverter too. And even at f/4 that's still two lenses in one. Can the teleconverter be used with other tele lenses such as the 56/60/90?
    But do you perhaps find it too specialised in that it is really a macro and perhaps not optimised for other applications like street etc.?
    What kind of uses do you have for the 80 and 90? Do you do any street? Is there really a significant difference in the framing you get from the 80 or 90? I am guessing the main jump is from 56/60 to 80/90. Am I right?
    That is so similar to what I am looking for! Can you elaborate how you use the 35 FL and when do you reach for the 80/90?
    What kind of scenarios do you shoot with this primes setup?
     
  20. pointreyes

    pointreyes Premium Member

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    Sorry, I don't do any street photography. My photography would probably be classified as 'general'. I tend to capture the lives of people that are part of my life and the other main area would be nature of the world near me. I'm especially gravitated to close-up/macro and bird photography.

    Only the 80 and 200 primes will take the teleconvertors. I have the 50-140 and 100-400 to further benefit from the TCs. I mainly use the 80 for macro and for some general uses but I find the 90 to be a better general use lens for me. It is a little faster, lighter, AF is faster, and really helps with separating the subject from the background.

    Main uses for the 80/90? Well just about anything that I want to frame without cropping, because I get a good close focus range as well as the long reach when I want it. Other places I use the 90 and this would be over the 80 is event photography - like dancing or local theatre. Depending on the lighting I will use two cameras one with the 16-55 and another with the 50-140. Or I use three cameras each with a 1.x (because if 2.8 zooms were having issues, then I need the 1.x and the 90). For the local theatre it normally is 23/35/56 - with a wish for a fourth camera having the 90. For dancing it is the 16/23/56/90 - the 16 lets me walk right because the dancers and get shots.

    The main areas I use the 35 would be for taking pictures of people. Group or individuals look good with the 35.
     

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