About this Blog
I always preferred prime lenses over zooms for the challenge they present you with and the plus in quality and creativity they offer.
I did a lot of research when I was looking for the “best” vintage 50mm lens to be used on my DSLR and realized that there is no “best” one out there. I also found that there was no agreement as to which lens would be sharpest or paint the best Bokeh or render the best colors.
So I ended up buying multiple lenses and that’s what drove me to do my own comparison of a choice of famous 50mm lenses that can be had at affordable prices. I started this Blog because I felt like I should share my findings and thoughts with other people out there.
I would love to include more expensive lenses (Leica-R, Carl Zeiss, some of the fast f/1.2 primes and the rarer 55mm primes) but my budget is tight and I just do this for fun.
Hobbyist photographer living in Switzerland.
I teach chemistry at highschool and offer photography classes with focus on basics and portraiture.
I, myself, mainly shoot portraits, stuff/products, sports and animals and have this habit to take pictures of bridges at night when I’m traveling.
In my free time I also like to go snowboarding, go on car rides through the swiss alps and work on/with my computer. I might also be called addicted to TV shows.
“What DSLR should I buy?”
When people ask me which DSLR they should buy the first thing I try to settle is if there really is a need for a DSLR or if the person just wants “good quality pictures”. If it’s the latter, I strongly advice against DSLRs because they come with bulk and the full potential requires separate lenses that will then also have to be brought along.
But if the person really is serious about photography and prefers an optical viewfinder and good haptics/balance, I usually recommend to buy used “prosumer” cameras (e.g. the Canon EOS XXD or 5D series or Nikon D90/D300 series) because I don’t think highly of feature-rich plastics at cheap prices. To me photography is about using the camera as a tool to realize ones vision and “prosumer” gear usually makes handling easier because the cameras offer more control on the body (like the shoulder display, dedicated buttons for exposure metering, iso, AF area, exposure control and a built-in AF motor to use vintage lenses on Nikon DSLRs, etc.) and therefore allow you to continue shooting while others have to search through the menus to find simple settings.
About my cameras:
I started out with a Canon EOS 60D after owning an EOS 350D and a Sony a290 for short periods of time. When I decided to upgrade to full frame there weren’t many options within my budget range. I already had some nice lenses and therefore the Nikon D700, though the greatest choice for full-frame sports, wasn’t an option. The Canon 5D mk III was certainly too expensive and the 5D and 5D mk II weren’t good enough for sports (AF-wise). I first got the 1D mk II but it came with some major drawbacks: the display is all but usable and there’s no live view for achieving precise focus with products and landscapes and such. Also the tethering doesn’t work with Windows newer than XP 32bit and you cannot store jpg and RAW on separate cards. I loved the image quality and even the noise it produced at higher iso values because it looks like film grain coming from these huge pixels. However, I ended up giving the mk II away and buying a mk III instead.
I use a Canon 1Ds mk III for my “paid” work and whenever I want to get serious about my pictures.
I bought the camera used at a real bargain in perfect condition and with only 5k exposures on the shutter.
The 1Ds is a great camera for all kinds of work. The AF system is amazing and really nice for sports photography (compared to the 5D mk II) and I always bought a vertical grip for my DSLR anyways. It has awesome haptics and balances nicely with long telephoto lenses (either for portraits or sports) and offers all the features I want in a camera. I can tether it to my computer via USB, can separately store my RAW and jpg files on different cards (eye-fi SD used for jpg previews on my NEXUS tablet) and have live-view for the rare occasions I need it.
Also, being a DSLR it offers great versatility with various lenses and of course my collection of vintage fifties. (the picture shows the 1Ds mk II but optically nothing has changed)
When I’m traveling I bring along my Fuji X100s because it’s compact and the low light capabilities are amazing for an APS-C sensor. Also, the 23mm f/2 is a great lens and all I really need en route. I have displayed some pictures from my trips to Portugal and Japan on Flickr. Recently I often find myself dreaming of the new Leica Q (Typ 116) that was reviewed by Ming Thein not so long ago. To me that would be the perfect replacement for my Fuji. The only thing I would likely miss is the hybrid viewfinder and maybe a kidney. But the future will show how used prices do.
Last year I decided that I want to dive into the world of 35mm film photography so I did some research and ended up buying a Nikon F2S. “Hipster” will be the first thing many scream while others instantly realize that I wasn’t kidding when I said that haptics are important to me. The Nikon is large and built like a tank. You could certainly make a stand when you bring this to a knife fight. 😀
It has a photomic metering system that’s really helpful when you’re used to the DSLR doing all the measuring for you, especially now that you cannot review the images you took and correct the exposure accordingly.
I also bought the gear required to develop my own films but I only finished one roll so far and didn’t find the time to shoot more. 😦
I also bought a Yashica-A TLR for 50 bucks because I wanted to experience medium format as well and the TLR system seemed more fun than the Hasselblad 500 SLR or any of the 645 MF cameras back then. I nicely refurbished the Yashica with a new focusing screen and new “leatherette” but I didn’t use it a lot because there is a massive backfocus that needs to be corrected by a pro first. This will happen before the end of the year and then I will do some more film photography, I promise. 🙂
I first wanted to get a Rolleiflex 2.8 E and had to realize that collectors are going crazy about those things and prices are way too high these days.
Someday I might still get that Rolleiflex E, because having f/2.8 on medium format and being able to use the cameras own meter and a max. shutter speed of 1/500s are quite compelling reasons.
If you have any questions regarding my gear or about my person feel free to ask away.