Marko. Only you know what kind of pics you shoot the most and whether a 28mm is on balance the best. I do a lot of shooting requiring wide vistas in confined spaces and a 28mm is invaluable. I shoot a lot at what in the U.K. is called National Trust properties which are very large country houses and gardens where wide angle is important. It is also great for street photography and groups in confined spaces as you have tremendous depth of field at f8 and the camera almost becomes a point and shoot with everything in focus.
If you then need to concentrate on a particular person or object then cropping on the enlarger easel is an option but only if you have a darkroom or access to one.
On balance if I had to be confined to possession of one lens, I think the 28mm would narrowly win over the 50mm.
It is excellent disciplin to use only one lens, whatever focal length you choose. I find it concentrates the mind on subject matter rather than on the equipment. I suppose it depends on the type of subjects you prefer, eg. when I go hillwalking in the English Lake District I only now ever take a 28mm. after years of carrying two or three others which I never used. If you do decide to go for more glass, which would be my inclination, take care not to get bogged down with decision making as to which is the best to use, by the time you've decided, the shot will be gone. Instead, use one for an hour or two and concentrate on subjects that suit its focal length and then switch and do similar. Of course, photographers who use those zoomy things don't have this problem. They just frame the subject and shoot, or do they need to zoom a little closer or perhaps it would be better a little wider!!!!!
I'm into painting with light - NOT painting by numbers!
For quite a number of years I used one 35mm camera for personal work & one lens, it happened to be a 50mm Summicron and I never found it to be a problem despite liking WA lenses.
On the other hand my wife decided my 17mm Tamron was just perfect as the standard lens on her Pentax Needless to say it didn't work out and I got it back. Not all shots work with a wide angle.
You need a bit of flexibility one lens can be a problem, when I shot with the Leica & Summicron I was usually also shooting LF with 3 or 4 lenses always including 2 wide angles, equivalent to 18/20mm and 28mm on a 35mm camera.
Many years ago I made do very happily with a Nikon FE2 and f1.8 28mm lens accompanying me on all my bicycle touring journeys. I used that lens for 'portraits' of my cycling companions. I think that's what a 50mm lens woudl be excellent, for — portraits. The 28mm would be too wide and the perspective a little unnatural as I remember it.
My standard lens is a rectilinear (no distortion) manual focus Canon 24mm TS-E f3.5L which I use for landscape and nature imaging and sometimes with creative flash use: I rarely shoot 'straight' shots with it, mostly I raise the foreground or tilt the background, manipulating depth of field (wide open) and using selective focus 'splitting'. Remember that the wider you go with lenses, the more in tune with the perspective you must be and 28, 24mm, 20mm, 17mm all demand care with subjects which need to be considered in scale and place in the image and that's why I would lean toward the 50mm for its normal perspective and versatility, especially for people and close-in candids. Remember the National Geographic images of 30 years ago? Heaps were done with 50mm in far flung destinations around the globe. As for flash, I bought a big 'bells and whistles' Canon flash in 2003 even though at the time I didn't believe I'd ever use it. Wrong! I add a twinkle of (manually output) light to river rocks in flat light, or selectively 'paint' long-exposure subjects. Take the plunge and buy both!
Last edited by Poisson Du Jour; 10-27-2008 at 06:51 PM. Click to view previous post history.
.::Gary Rowan Higgins
A comfort zone is a wonderful place. But nothing ever grows there.
i tend to think of 28mm as 'normal' and 50mm as a fast lens for low light. you may think differently.
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27 years ago, my first 35mm set up for my budding photojournalism career was a 28/3.5 Nikkor AIs, a 135/2.8 E, and a Nikon FM because that was all I could afford. A wise and more experienced friend suggested skipping the 50 and I've never looked back. Many cameras and lenses have come and gone since but I've kept that 28/3.5 as it pretty much made my living and paid for all the other lenses I bought in those first few years.
The 28 helps make your photos stand out with a look that is not "normal" but not gimmicky either if you discipline yourself to get close enough and keep your vertical lines more or less straight. Unless of course you want to bend them on purpose.
28mm is my every day lens for walking around.
But I move to a 35mm and 50mm when doing portraits.
The only lens that I have for my M3 is a 28mm f/2.8. I can't say I've ever missed a shot because of not having another lens. Simplicity concentrates my mind delightfully. In general, and as several others have [in]delicately alluded to, success comes from the using rather than the having.
I think I could manage at a pinch with My 35mm f2 as my standard lens, but not my 28mm.
use your lens and the flash you have
and take lots of photographs.
i shot newspaper stuff for a while with a 28.
it is a good choice for a single lens if you want to shoot
wide and with context.
don't waste your money on the flash unless you NEED it.
use the flash you have and learn how to judge the light from it
instead of having a computer do it for you.