If I have the 18-55mm lens should I go for the 23mm or the 56mm as my next purchase?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by mesmerized, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. mesmerized

    mesmerized FujiXspot Regular

    83
    Mar 26, 2014
    Dear Users!

    I've got 3 questions regarding my next purchase...

    1) If you didn't have the kit lens, would you go for the 23mm 1.4 lens as the base lens?
    2) If you already had one, would you pull the trigger on the 23mm lens of the 56mm one?
    3) Is the 23mm lens good for portraits? If not, why? I know that the 56mm is considered to be "the perfect portait lens" but I can't have both.

    Cheers,
     
  2. BobbyT

    BobbyT Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 31, 2013
    Louisville, Ky
    Bobby Tingle
    It really depends on what and how you shoot. Having owned the 18-55, 23, and 56 together. I found I never used the 23. The 18-55 would stay on the cam for everything I would use 23mm for. So I have traded my 23 to a friend for his 35 1.4. That will serve my needs better and see a lot more use.

    The 56mm is a much better focal length for portraits than 23mm in my opinion.

    To answer question 1, knowing what I know now. If I didn't have the kit lens, I would buy one over the 23mm for my base lens.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. mesmerized

    mesmerized FujiXspot Regular

    83
    Mar 26, 2014
    Thanks Bobby. I've got a follow-up question. Actually, two. You said that you used the 35mm lens way more often than the 23mm lens. I'm wondering why. The kit lens also covers that focal length. Would you please be so kind and elaborate a bit on your reasons?

    The other thing I wanna ask about is the OIS. The 23mm lens doesn't have it. Would you say it "impeads" the lense's usability?
     
  4. SnapDawg

    SnapDawg FujiXspot Veteran

    276
    Dec 30, 2013
    behind an [X°]
    Ken
    1. the 23mm OR the relatively cheap but excellent and compact 27mm. Back in my film days I shot most of my stuff with a 35mm (FF) lens, but that has changed with APS-C and the move back to western Europe where I favor something slightly longer/tighter like 28 or even 30mm (42, 45mm FF equiv).
    2. I personally don't feel the need for either one of them for the stuff that I mainly shoot. A compact 23mm pancake, even a f2.8 would be a different story, but the 27 or a X100(s) too.
    3. depends on the type of portraits - head, head/shoulder (the 23mm wouldn't be the first choice here) ... all the way to contextual - can be shot with either lens but the 23 gives you a wider perspective. My 1855 however is more than good enough for either style and more but then I usually don't focus on single hairs and expect the rest of the frame to drown in that over-hyped creamy nothingness but to each one his/her own...
    How about using your 1855 as a set of fixed lenses in order to gather some first hand experiences ?
     
  5. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2013
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Excellent advice.

    We all see the world differently. I am most happy with a 50mm equivalent field of view so therefore the 35mm is my "standard". Even when using the 18-55 I tend to walk around with it set at 35, zooming in or out from there. The 23 is a bit "windy" for me - I would never bother with one per se - but I love the 27 for it's compactness, field of view and rendition. 40mm was one of my favourite focal lengths on my Leicas, definitely preferable for me to 35mm.

    Now, I am not "right", or "wrong" - that is just my vision. I have shot "portraits" with every lens I have ever owned, from 15mm on FF up to 300mm. Think of your lenses as brushes to an artist - some are big and chunky, others fine and fiddly but they all can be used to put paint on the canvas.

    As suggested, use the 18-55 to find your own "comfort zone" and your photographic "voice".
     
  6. BobbyT

    BobbyT Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 31, 2013
    Louisville, Ky
    Bobby Tingle
    Again, keep in mind this is my personal preference. The 23 is a beautiful lens. But it doesn't blur the background enough for my wants due to being a wider lens on a crop sensor. Not quite the look of a 35mm on full frame I like. Also with primes, I just prefer the 35mm and 85mm focal lengths on crop or full frame. Not the effective equivalent. But, the Fuji 23mm is such an awesome lens I had to shoot with it and give it a chance. I wound up using it just for shots with 3 or more people in them, which need more DOF, which can be done with the 18-55. With the 18-55 being a fantastic lens, it serves that purpose well for me. And now I'm going back to the 35 to get the look of that prime I like. I also have the 56 1.2 and the Rokinon 85 1.4. If Fuji or Rok ever make a true 135mm for the x cams, I may wet myself.

    The lack of OS has no effect on the useablity of the 23mm. Between it going to 1.4 and Fujis excellent high iso noise performance, OS is not really needed.
     
  7. BobbyT

    BobbyT Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 31, 2013
    Louisville, Ky
    Bobby Tingle
    This is a great idea. Especially since Fuji has 18, 23, and 35 marked specifically.
     
  8. mesmerized

    mesmerized FujiXspot Regular

    83
    Mar 26, 2014
    The thing is that I have to pick one lens. The cam body is on the way. The seller is offering me either the 18-55 or the 23 for roughly the same kind of money.
     
  9. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs FujiXspot Veteran

    485
    Feb 1, 2013
    Near Philadephila
    There's no right answer - it's all about what focal length you like to shoot. For portraits, though, the 56 (or the 60) will almost always be a better lens than the 23. For environmental portraits or street portraits, the 23 works really well, but for a classic head and shoulders or even upper torso portrait, the length and subject isolation of the 56 is just more suited for this. That's why lenses in the 85-120 equivalent focal length are often referred to as portrait lenses.

    But if you have the 18-55 and you like using it, it seems to me you're mostly looking for a more specialized lens. Probably either a dedicated portrait lens (in which case the 56 or 60) or just a general purpose low light lens. For more general low light shooting, I'd say it's either the 23 or 35, depending on which focal length you're more comfortable with. For me, its a slam dunk for the 23 because I love that focal length and don't like the 35mm focal length (50-55 equivalent) at all. But many many people love that neutral focal length. Only you can determine which you prefer.

    For portraits, go for the 56 or 60. For general low light shooting, go for the 23 or 35...

    And if you DON'T have the 18-55 and you just want to get a single lens, you're better off with the 23 or 35 (again, your choice - two great lenses at different multi-purpose focal lengths). The 56 would be really really limiting as an ONLY lens, even though its a GREAT short telephoto / portrait lens...

    -Ray
     
  10. BobbyT

    BobbyT Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 31, 2013
    Louisville, Ky
    Bobby Tingle
    I see. I was thinking you already had the 18-55.

    Let me say it this way then. And keep in mind I don't know your shooting style preference. The 18-55 will give you a lot more range and versatility if you are only going to have one lens for a while. You have 2.8 on the wide end. And at the long end, 55mm@f4 gives a more than good enough, pleasing, background blur for portraits. It just won't destroy the backgrounds like a longer prime would. The 18-55 is one of the best mid range zooms out there by any manufacturer. It has OS. And the range will allow you to see which focal length you prefer most before investing into prime lenses.
     
  11. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2013
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Me too!

    In which case the advice is simple, and has already been given. 18-55 and learn your preferences.