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Thread: Nikkor Lens Comparison--Please Help

  1. #1
    evanbrog
    Guest

    Nikkor Lens Comparison--Please Help

    I have two lenses for my Nikon N80 35mm camera.
    I've only ever used one, and I am curious about the differences between them.

    Also, it may help to know my intended use for asking about the differences. I am going camping and hiking--I plan on taking scenic landscapes, as well as portraits.

    The two lenses are:

    1) Nikon Nikkor AF 35mm f/2D (the only one i've ever used)

    2) Nikon Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8

    Could anyone please explain to my when to use one over the other, and any differences in terms of image clarity, contrast, focus, etc. Thanks!

  2. #2
    pphuang
    Guest

    Re: Nikkor Lens Comparison--Please Help


  3. #3
    Ranger 9
    Guest

    Re: Nikkor Lens Comparison--Please Help

    I own both of these lenses (although I don't use the 50/1.8 much now that I've got the 50/1.4G.)

    I don't think you will be able to see any significant real-world differences between them in clarity, contrast, etc. They both do very well.

    The main difference between them is simply focal length, which in turn influences perspective. You'll probably find that the 50mm lens gives slightly better-looking portraits; it lets you get the same framing while standing a bit farther away, which helps the subject's features appear more regular and proportional.

    On the other hand, the 35mm probably will be more suited for your scenic landscapes, because of its slightly wider angle of view.

    However, they're so similar in focal length that in most cases they will provide very similar picture-taking opportunities; in a pinch, you could use either one in place of the other. Eventually, to add more variety to your pictures, you might want to supplement them with a lens that's significantly wider or significantly longer.

  4. #4
    evanbrog
    Guest

    Re: Nikkor Lens Comparison--Please Help

    Is one of these lenses better than the other in low-light conditions?

    And is it safe to say that the shorter a focal length the further things will appear, and a longer focal length means things will be closer?

    Also, between short and long focal lengths, what is the difference in the depth of field? Does one have a more shallower DOF?

  5. #5
    Ranger 9
    Guest

    Re: Nikkor Lens Comparison--Please Help

    Quote Originally Posted by evanbrog View Post
    Is one of these lenses better than the other in low-light conditions?
    That's a close call. The 50/1.8 has a wider aperture, but only by 1/3 stop. That might translate into a tiny bit more shadow detail when shooting b&w films. However, I'd say that there's no significant difference.

    And is it safe to say that the shorter a focal length the further things will appear, and a longer focal length means things will be closer?
    Correct, although there's only a modest difference between these two focal lengths. A handy rule of thumb: shooting distance to get the same image size is proportional to the focal lengths. So comparing a 35 to a 50, for example, you could say that the 50 will show a given object at the same size from 5 feet that the 35 will show from 3.5 feet (because 5 and 3.5 are the same proportions as 50 and 35.) That's only a difference of a foot and a half, which you could achieve just by taking one step forward or backward. The difference gets more significant at longer distances -- 35 feet and 50 feet, for example -- but you can see that in the vast majority of cases, you could get the same image size with one lens that you could get with the other just by getting a little farther or closer.

    Also, between short and long focal lengths, what is the difference in the depth of field? Does one have a more shallower DOF?
    In general people will say that the wider lens will have greater depth of field, but that's because the wider lens provides less image magnification at a given shooting distance (the subject will look smaller.) In other words, focal length doesn't matter directly for DOF -- it's all about image magnification. If you take a picture of the same subject with both and enlarge the prints so that the subject is the same size in both, the DOF will be roughly equal.

    [Warning: There are probably more arguments on photo forums about DOF than anything except bokeh and Canon vs. Nikon, so if you ask this question in six different forums, you'll probably get at least 60 different answers! The answer I gave you is technically correct, but since DOF is actually just an optical illusion, a lot of subjective factors come into play in different circumstances.]

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