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  1. #1

    Help me buy: Nikon 50 1.8 vs 50 1.4 for concert photography

    So I go to fair amount of small shows in NYC, and I've been taking my camera more and more often. I have the Nikon 35mm 1.8, and it's great! But I often want to get tighter without getting moshed on. To that end I'm looking at picking up either the 50mm 1.8D or the 50mm 1.4D. (For the record I'm using a D7000, so it will work with both lenses and has a crop sensor.) I can pick up the 1.4 for around $250 or so used, and the 1.8 new for closer to $130. Will it really be worth it to jump up to the 1.4? Will my depth of field be too thin to be useful when I'm 20-30 feet from the stage? I'm hoping to hear from other folks who've had experience with these lenses or at least some experience shooting in similar conditions.

  2. #2

    Help me buy: Nikon 50 1.8 vs 50 1.4 for concert photography

    (Metal shows, punk shows, synth bands...I don't want to use a flash as i don't have a press pass and a lot of musicians hate it popping in their face when they're performing.)

  3. #3

    Help me buy: Nikon 50 1.8 vs 50 1.4 for concert photography

    50 1.8G is easily as good or better than both the 1.8 and 1.4 Ds with similar optics, rounded aperture blades and faster focus. The 1.4 is a minimal uptick in light gathering, but the slow focus makes it harder to nail a clean shot wide open. Also, consider a used 24D or 28D for cheap, slightly wider option if you want a 35mm equivalent.
    I shoot full frame and if I have one lens, it is a 35 or a 50. Two lenses, 28 and 85. Three, 20, 35 and 85. Big stage, 20 and a 35 or 50 and a second body with 70-200. Heh.
    My site – majority of shots are with primes other than the festivals when I run two bodies.

  4. #4

    Help me buy: Nikon 50 1.8 vs 50 1.4 for concert photography

    Thanks! I’m going to fool around with both and see which one feels better, or if I can even find a difference for how I end up using it.
    These are small clubs, so I’m—at worst—40 feet from the stage. I can also end up in the front if I throw some elbows. My hope is to bring a 50 and my 17-35mm 2.8. That should cover just about the entire range for me. I have a slower (f4) 70-210, but even when the light is good it’s weird to shoot an indoor show with it. I’d love to end up with quality 28mm & 85mm lenses, but I think one of the 50s is more practical for me right now. Thanks for the inspirational shots on the web page, too!

  5. #5

    Help me buy: Nikon 50 1.8 vs 50 1.4 for concert photography

    These two galleries were on the same night with a 20 and 50 on full-frame, two very different shows and venues to give you an idea what the same lenses in different context can mean.
    Tres Oui release party, Cheer Up Charlies
    Austra, The Mohawk
    This is with a 28 and 85, so think 20 and 50 on your camera. Smallish venue.
    Bear in Heaven, The Parish
    So I would consider a used 50/1.8G and find a deal on an older manual focus 20. You can get away with slower shutter speeds on wide angles so you can drop into that f4-5.6 range where nailing focus isn’t as important.

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