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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 07 Mar 2010 (Sunday) 23:09
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35L or 50L on a!

200 posts
Joined Oct 2009
Location: Orange County, CA
Mar 07, 2010 23:09 |  #1

I've read on and on about the "trinity" of the 35L, 85L, and the 135L. Well, I'm a third of the way there with the 135L, and I'm not ready to splurge on the 85L at this point. I've got enough saved up for either the 35L or the 50L, and I'm having a hard time deciding which one.

To be honest, I prefer the 50mm focal length if I had to choose. I've read tons of posts on the focus shift issue, so I don't need any more info about that.

Whatever I choose will be my "walkaround prime" for around the house. I mainly shoot pictures of my 9 month old. I'd hate to get the 50L and then wish I had something wider. I also don't want to buy a lens just because it has gained "trinity" status on this board, but I suppose there's a good reason that it has.

If you have used both of these lenses (or focal lengths on a FF camera), any input you have would be appreciated. Thanks!

5DII, 24-105L, Canon 50L, Canon 70-200/2.8L II, 100mm Macro, 15mm Fisheye, Sigma 1.4x and 2x TC, 580EXII, 430EXII

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246 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Feb 2009
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Mar 07, 2010 23:15 |  #2

I've used the 35L and 50 f1.8 on my 5d2, and i really like both focal lengths. I've never used the 50L but I thought there must be a reason why the 35L is soo highly rated. i would definitely get the 35L because I have found it to be a great focal range that can take pictures of anything (portraits, events, etc). plus, you already got the 50 f1.4 :)

Canon 5D Mark III, 35mm f1.4L, 70-200mm f2.8L, 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.8, 50mm f1.8, Sigma 24-35mm f2 ART
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Charlie Chang Photography (external link)

1,863 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Nov 2006
Location: Chicago, IL
Mar 07, 2010 23:21 as a reply to  @ charl1e's post |  #3

For a "walkaround prime" to shoot children, I'd go with the 50L. For me, the 85L is my go to lens for that type of shooting and I find the 35L too wide on FF to isolate by subject, especially children. I sold the 50 1.4 when I purchased the 85L only because I felt it was too close in range to the 35 and 85 and didn't need all three. Some of my best shots of kids were with the 50mm range. I don't think you'll have any regrets with the 50L.

Gear: Canon 1Ds MkII, 35L, 85L, 135L, 24-105L

Cream of the Crop
18,871 posts
Likes: 14
Joined Nov 2009
Location: Northern California
Mar 07, 2010 23:53 |  #4

If you like the 50 focal length, buy what you like, who cares if they have the trinity or not. If the trinity happens to serve you well, then great, if not, get what you want.

Will | WilliamLiuPhotography.​com (external link) | Gear List and Feedback | CPS Member | Have you Pre-Ordered Your 3Dx Yet? | HorusBennu Discussion | In honor of Uncle Steve, thanks for everything! 10-5-2011

Senior Member
475 posts
Joined Jan 2008
Location: Holland
Mar 08, 2010 04:54 |  #5

What about the 50mm 1.4, do you use it a lot?!

force yourself to take only that lens with you on a trip or what so ever, if you feel like needing a wider FL, than get the 35L...if not stay with the wonderful 50mm FL! ;)

150 posts
Likes: 5
Joined Jan 2007
Location: Indonesia
Mar 08, 2010 07:11 |  #6

They are both great lens.Between the two, for shooting close ups, I prefer the 50, since it gives a nicer perspective.
The 35 is nice if you want to take more background in the photo.
Beware of the focus shift issue on the 50 though. Do a search on the topic, and a bunch of thread should come out. This makes the 50 is not desirable by some photographer.
With that said, my most used lens now is the 50L. I just love the result it gives

You already have 50 1.4 and 24-70 2.8. Set the 24-70 to 35, and see which focal length you like

5DMKIII, 5Dc, 24 f1.4 L MKII, 35 f1.4 L, 50 f1.2 L, 85 f1.2 L MKII, 135 f2 L, 300 f4 L IS, 16-35 f2.8 L, 24-105 f4 L IS, 70-200 f2.8 L IS
100mm f2.8 macro
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grabbing their Johnson
11,360 posts
Gallery: 19 photos
Likes: 3136
Joined Oct 2007
Location: Gig Harbor, Washington
Mar 08, 2010 07:18 as a reply to  @ h4y4sh1's post |  #7

apples v/s oranges really. both are outstanding lens. i went with the 35L because of the negative comments i read about the tilt issue. after using one, i no longer pay attention to those type of threads. i prefer to 35L and cant justify the 50L now that i own one. both are great lens.

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Senior Member
590 posts
Joined May 2007
Location: Dallas, TX
Mar 08, 2010 07:23 |  #8

Unless you need the extra stops, you have two very good lenses with the 50 and 85 and a great lens with the 24-70. I have the 85L and the 50 1.4 and had the 35L. The 85L is my special lens - when I just need that magic. I'm finding the 24-70 is glued to my 5D2. I traded my 35L for it. It does just about everything right indoors. Maybe spend some time with it to see if you really need the zoom capabilities indoors?

Gear and Feedback

221 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Sep 2009
Mar 08, 2010 08:07 |  #9

You already have a lot of nice lenses. For your intended purpose I would get the 35L. I think it's a better focal length for indoor and children. At f1/4 it will give you more DOF than 50mm which will be useful for your children shots. You also already have 85mm for indoor portraits.

Canon 24/1.4L II, 50/1.2L, 200/2.8L
Zeiss ZE 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2, 100/2

1,115 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Sep 2006
Location: Kansas City, MO
Mar 08, 2010 11:07 |  #10

Back in my film days, I had a 35, 50 and 90 for my Leica and used the 35 more than any other. That's why I went with the 35L and use it all the time to shoot my 2 year old grandson. Absolutely marvelous lens. Great color, contrast and fabulous IQ. I'm sure the same could be said for the 50L but for me on FF, the 35 field of view is perfect.

Film: Leica M-4, Elan 7E, Rolleiflex 2.8f, Pentax 645 -- Digital: Canon Pro-1, EOS 5D Mk III
EOS Lenses: Sigma 24-70 f2.8 EX - Canon EF 17-40 f4.0L - Canon EF 24-105 f4.0L - Canon EF 35 f1.4L USM - Canon EF100-400 f4.5-5.6L IS USM - Canon EF100 f2.8 Macro - Other stuff: MR 14EX - 430EX - 580EXII - ST-E2 - TC1.4x - TC-80N3

Senior Member
609 posts
Gallery: 3 photos
Likes: 14
Joined Mar 2009
Location: San Diego
Mar 08, 2010 12:29 |  #11

I would get a 35L and 50 1.4

My 35L is most excellent and I'm excited about my 50 1.4.

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4,176 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Nov 2008
Location: Ohio
Mar 08, 2010 13:42 |  #12

I wanted the 50L but ended up with the Sigma 50/1.4. I've been very happy with the lens (after calibration). I can't justify the $1000 difference for the L when the Sigma is as good as it is.

flickr (external link)

1,602 posts
Joined Oct 2007
Location: Knoxville, TN
Mar 08, 2010 13:56 |  #13

Another vote for the 35L. It's my walk around lens, great for indoors as well. I tried the 50L for a little bit and after shooting with the 35 for so long the 50 doesn't feel 'right.' Between the 35 and 85, I can get 90% of all the shots I want.

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Canon 5D Mark III + a few L lenses​ad.php?t=654812

Cream of the Crop
8,831 posts
Likes: 13
Joined Sep 2005
Location: CT
Mar 08, 2010 14:03 |  #14

futrcndctr wrote in post #9749823 (external link)
If you have used both of these lenses (or focal lengths on a FF camera), any input you have would be appreciated. Thanks!

I have both. If I had to get rid of one, it would be the 35. The 50 is such a great lens, definitely my most used.

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Ob ­ Com
Senior Member
697 posts
Joined Jun 2008
Location: UK
Mar 08, 2010 15:19 as a reply to  @ timnosenzo's post |  #15

i have both.

you know about focus shift so thats out of the way. its also a bit soft wide open when shot at mfd and also can produce a milky look undercertain circumstances wide open at mfd

the "trinity" was based on non FF format btw if i recall correctly.

Yes the 35 is deadly sharp, renders colours beautifuly and generally just produces a very nice image.

The 50L is much more special imo. It really renders in a spectacular way. And the colours are even more saturated than the 35L. It has unique and very beautiful contrast characteristics too. The bokeh is better than the 35L (and the 85L fwiw imo). Stopped down a bit (f2) its staggeringly sharp if that matters.

Focal length is focal length, and so if you need a wide get one, but if you love 50mm, the 50L is a prince of a lens.

Just buy from a seller with a good exchange policy in case you get one with bad focus shift.

If you want a special lens get the 50L. The 35mm f2 would be great on a 5D anyway so you could save for that also?

"To look is to forget the name of the things you are seeing" Paul Valery

5D, 24-105L, 24L MkI, 35L, 50L, 85L MkI

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35L or 50L on a!
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