50 1.4 vs 85 1.8

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shot with 50mm

a few weeks ago i realized i would need a zoom. problem is i don't have any money to purchase a zoom. ashton is getting to the point where i can't step back very far to take a picture without him walking out of my reach, and although I LOVE my primes it's just too much effort to step back to get a shot i want. the only way i can afford a zoom (i am getting the 24-70L) was to sell both my primes. it killed me to get rid of them. i debated back and forth for TWO WEEKS. talked about it non-stop with my friend mandy (also a photographer. probably drove her nuts). finally it hit me last night. keep ONE prime and sell the speedlight instead. i hardly ever use my flash. you look back on my blog and it's hardly ever been used. i consider myself a natural light photographer anyway. i could always rent one if i needed it for vacation or a certain shoot (it's way cheaper to rent vs. a lens that's for sure!). plus with my 5D, high ISO is pretty damn decent. now my problem was which prime to get rid of? today i took both out to the botanical gardens and did a mini shoot to figure out exactly which one i should stick with. i'll tell you now, i am keeping the 85mm 1.8.

how i made my decision was based on how fast it AF, which lens is sharper, and bokeh/DOF quality. not only is the 85mm better built. it's USM is SILENT, unlike the 50mm 1.4. something i really like. i also noticed in lightroom that color was even better on the 85mm. something i hadn't noticed before. mostly i had fun shooting with the 85mm. i knew the second i started shooting with it this evening it was the lens i would keep. here are my comparisons:

i shot wide open on all images. both lenses have sweet spots (sharpest) but i wanted to know which was sharper and better performing wide open. no sharpening was applied to any of the these images. my camera doesn't apply sharpening when i shoot RAW, so i am pretty amazed how sharp some of these images came out SOOC.

notice how smoother the background appears on the 85mm?




testing sharpness. 85mm is clearly sharper in all images than the 50mm. 50mm is pretty sharp but 85mm is even better.

100% crop of the above images:

testing DOF.. i prefer the look of 85mm (again). the background is very creamy compared to the 50mm.

so... yeah. the 85mm wins in my book. i'm so in love with this lens. i'm so happy i get to keep it!

here are some other shots (shot with the 85mm)that i just love. it was ashton's first time back to the botanical gardens since he learned to walk. it was very exciting for him. he loved every moment.








  1. borderline obese my ass. You look great and I love this picture with you and Ashton

  2. I would be interested in the speedlite.

  3. you look great...and i know what you mean...i have maybe 5 photos of me with ella. i am trying to lose weight as well and my reward will be a family i can have some nice photos of our family.
    i highly recommend the jillian michaels 30 day shred. it is three 20 minute workouts...and 20 minutes is perfect with little ones.
    i would keep the 85. you will have your 50 covered in the zoom....and i L.O.V.E. the 85!

  4. That's awesome that you got a photo of the two of you together. I always hate the way I look and so, sadly, there's only a handful of photographs of me and Wes together.

    As to your lens decision: awesome news! You'll have 50mm covered by your new lens anyway. So glad you're keeping the 85mm!

  5. Schatz,
    You better believe I printed out your picture and then some. I am so happy to finally have a picture with the 2 of you. Maybe soon we will have a pic of all three of you?
    Love, love, love the pics
    Love all of you

  6. I have almost the exact same setup as you and I just decided the same thing (and to buy the same lens)!

    You look great too, btw :)

  7. love the photo of the two of you! you look great! I am never in photos of me and my Zachary because I am always the one taking them. My husband is always in pictures.

    Congrats on deciding to purchase the new lens! I know you'll love it! I have to admit I mainly use my 50mm when I shoot my kid but since you'll have a 24-70, you'll already have that range covered, so dropping the 50 is a no-brainer there, and keeping the 85 was a VERY good decision!

    and you're right...with your 5D, you'll get such great exposures you won't need to worry too much about a flash - I rarely ever use my speedlight unless I'm shooting a wedding :)