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Author Topic: Using a 35 mm prime lens  (Read 5286 times)

wofsy

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Using a 35 mm prime lens
« on: October 08, 2011, 07:54:26 am »


I just inherited a 35mm prime lens that opens to f1.4. It has incredible sharpness. I would like to learn to use it for more than landscape photography.

I have no idea how to use it say for portraits or street photography and the problem is finding the balance point between being too far away to isolate the subject and being so close that wide angle distortion makes the picture look funny. Yet I have read that this focal length is a normal length for everyday shooting.

What is you wisdom?

Marc
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michael

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Re: Using a 35 mm prime lens
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2011, 08:06:00 am »

In full frame terms 35mm is a medium wide lens, not a "normal" lens. For many photographers 35mm has been a favourite focal length for documentary and street photography, because it's wide enough to show context yet intimate enough to show detail. But, it does mean getting close and involved.

It's usually the wrong lens for portraits because it can cause perspective distortion when used up close. Don't use it for a flattering head-and-shoulder. But, it works for environmental portraiture where you show the person in their context.

Michael
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wofsy

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Re: Using a 35 mm prime lens
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2011, 09:10:04 am »


Thanks Michael

I noticed on a depth of field calculator that at a distance of 10 feet aperatures of f2.8 and below have over a foot and a half of DOF so it seems like I could use this lens for dance where i am shooting among the dancers on the floor.
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pfigen

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Re: Using a 35 mm prime lens
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2011, 10:03:06 pm »

Wofsy - It really all depends on how you use any lens as to whether it's going to be appropriate for your needs and if it fits into your particular style or what you are trying to say. I LOVE using a 35mm 1.4 on a full frame Canon for close-up portraits, but that's what works for a lot of the work I do. It gives an intimacy that longer lenses are missing. I'll attach one example I shot of musician Gigi Rabe while at the Salton Sea last December. Just remember that there really are no rules. As a good friend of my likes to say - "paddle your own canoe". Sounds kinda Jobs-ish.
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wofsy

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Re: Using a 35 mm prime lens
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2011, 10:22:48 pm »

Thanks I'd love to see the portrait.
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pfigen

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Re: Using a 35 mm prime lens
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2011, 03:12:03 am »

Here's two more shot with 35mm at f/2, one close and one backed off a bit.
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fotometria gr

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Re: Using a 35 mm prime lens
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2011, 04:32:19 am »

I just inherited a 35mm prime lens that opens to f1.4. It has incredible sharpness. I would like to learn to use it for more than landscape photography.

I have no idea how to use it say for portraits or street photography and the problem is finding the balance point between being too far away to isolate the subject and being so close that wide angle distortion makes the picture look funny. Yet I have read that this focal length is a normal length for everyday shooting.

What is you wisdom?

Marc
35mm on a FF camera is the nearest to normal from wideangles, as such it usually induces less distortion than wider lenses and yet it widens AOV considerably than the standard 50mm. It also adds significantly more DOF than standard. For portraits it can be perfect used vertically in a manner to include the whole body and relate it to the enviroment. It can also be perfect for indoor shooting, since it can relate a person with the room and it also makes shots of group of people much easier than standard. In street photography its about the best lens, since it can capture action and yet include the enviroment in the scene, usually its the best lens for shooting from a higher level, in both "landscape" or "portraiture" holding camera modes, where it can allow the extension of shadows to be recorded and the inclusion  of the desired horizon that the photographer aims for with only slight movements of the camera. It can also be perfect for shooting from a low level (knee hight) if action is near and higher buildings are included in the background. My first choice for focal length if I had no lens. Regards, Theodoros. www.fotometria.gr
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rsn48

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Re: Using a 35 mm prime lens
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2011, 12:43:11 am »

You have the camera, you have the lens, go use it for what you are interested in shooting and see how it works.  I have the Canon 35 f2.0 and I use it and my Sigma 50mm f1.4 exclusively for night street photography and city night landscapes with my 5D 2.  I offered to lend my buddy my 35mm f2.0 but he was too shy to use it for street shots and tried to get away with his Tamron 90 on a cropped camera, it was too long.
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Jim Pascoe

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Re: Using a 35 mm prime lens
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2011, 05:13:33 am »

Thanks Michael

I noticed on a depth of field calculator that at a distance of 10 feet aperatures of f2.8 and below have over a foot and a half of DOF so it seems like I could use this lens for dance where i am shooting among the dancers on the floor.

I have recently acquired a Zeiss 35mm f2 which I really love using at f2.  It is of course manual focus but even so it can be used for action too, including the dance floor as the following picture shows.  You don't say which camera you are using though because we are all assuming you might be on a full frame sensor, whereas your questions imply a lack of experience and so one might deduce you do not have a full frame camera.  These pictures were taken on full frame.

Jim
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Using a 35 mm prime lens
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2011, 11:34:29 am »

Here is a link to a gallery of photos made with various 35mm lenses on various cameras ( 24x36mm).
http://www.ellisvener.com/35mm_lens_examples/index.html

Ellis Vener
http://www.ellisvener.com
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schrodingerscat

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Re: Using a 35 mm prime lens
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2011, 12:58:17 pm »

In the film days, a 35 1.4 was used for probably 90% of my images. Rather liked the look for portraits. Lately I've been working with a 28 2.8 and playing with the distortion for portraits. Kinda fun, so have started to just go around with the 28 as my 'normal' lens.

Thanks to previously unrealistic ISO(ASA) speeds available with digital, absolute lens speed is less of a consideration nowadays. Used to push 400 to 800 and thought that was fast...
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Jim Pascoe

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Re: Using a 35 mm prime lens
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2011, 01:01:50 pm »

In the film days, a 35 1.4 was used for probably 90% of my images. Rather liked the look for portraits. Lately I've been working with a 28 2.8 and playing with the distortion for portraits. Kinda fun, so have started to just go around with the 28 as my 'normal' lens.

Thanks to previously unrealistic ISO(ASA) speeds available with digital, absolute lens speed is less of a consideration nowadays. Used to push 400 to 800 and thought that was fast...

Agreed about not needing such fast lenses, but for me it is the effect of shallow DOF that draws me to them, even though my 35mm is only f2.

Jim
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DaveCurtis

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Re: Using a 35 mm prime lens
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2011, 02:33:02 am »

I too own the zeiss 35/2. Great lens. Has the classic Zeiss look.

If you want to be adventurous, have a look at the new Zeiss 35/1.4. A real artists lens!

I will probably  sell the f2 for the f1.4 at some stage.
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Using a 35 mm prime lens
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2011, 11:19:47 am »

I too own the zeiss 35/2. Great lens. Has the classic Zeiss look.

If you want to be adventurous, have a look at the new Zeiss 35/1.4. A real artists lens!

I will probably  sell the f2 for the f1.4 at some stage.

Some of the photos I put up in that gallery  I posted the link for were shot with the Zeiss 35mm f/2. Can you tell me which ones?
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