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  1. #1
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    What is your favorite focal length?

    I'm looking to buy a new fast prime lens mostly to shoot mountain biking in the woods. I currently have a 50mm f1.4, but want to go wider so I can get closer to the biker (trees often get in the way when I have to move back).

    So I'd like to know what your favorite focal length to shoot mountain bikers is. If you use prime lenses, which one is your favorite for shooting mountain bikers (and why). If you use zoom lenses, do you find that most of your favorite photos are taken around the same focal length?

    (Note, unless you indicate that you have a full-frame camera, I'll assume that your camera has a 1.5x (+/-) multiplication on the focal lengh like a lot of the consumer DSLRs).

    I looked at DurtGurl's ultra-wide pics and they were very cool, but I don't think I want to go that wide (yet).

  2. #2
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    well your 50mm acts more like a telephoto than a standard length with the crop, ether you could go around 35mm to get that "standard" feel or go for a 24 or 28 get a little bit wider feel without going super wide.

    i don't like the wide length much, i have my fisheye (15mm on full frame), a 50mm, and then my 70-200 covers all my telephoto needs

  3. #3
    @adelorenzo
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    I've shot most of my MTB stuff so far on a 14mm lens which is around 28mm on my camera. Agree with jaycagney, it seems like that 24-28mm is a nice wide angle without getting super wide and into distortion.

  4. #4
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    A 24mm lens (which would be about 36mm on my camera) has been my top contender, but it's pricey so I'm having trouble pulling the trigger and want to be sure I'll be happy with it..

  5. #5
    Off the back...
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    For crop frame, I like the 17 to 35 range for wide-ish. What body do you have?

  6. #6
    saddlemeat
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    35/1.8 and a 18-70 kit lens. Thinking about a 10.5/2.8 or a 10-24. All nikon dx and I usually use the wide end of the zoom.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  7. #7
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    I have a Nikon D7000. Bsieb - do you find that you use the 35 or 18mm length more?

  8. #8
    saddlemeat
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    Quote Originally Posted by miatagal96 View Post
    I have a Nikon D7000. Bsieb - do you find that you use the 35 or 18mm length more?
    By far the 18 and I usually wish I could go wider. I often end up stitching two or more images to get wider.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  9. #9
    Sandy Eggo
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    Nothing beats great bokeh when it comes to sports photography. I think a 70-200 f/2.8 would be a great lens for shooting bikes.

  10. #10
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    I can hardly wait! My birthday is tomorrow and a package from B&H Photo arrived yesterday. I was really good and didn't open it. I was tempted. In the box is a 20mm f2.8 lens, a Clik Elite chest pack and a Clik elite back pack. The surprise is going to be what parts of the package I get for my birthday and what parts for Christmas.

    I settled on a 20mm lens after shooting a race on Thanksgiving: 2011 HRRT Giving Thanks Race Photo Gallery by j_harvey at pbase.com. I used my 15-30mm lens for most of the race, then looked at the focal lengths I used. The 'keeper' photos were pretty evenly distributed between focal lengths with the mean being around 20mm. The only times I shot at 30mm were when I couldn't get into position fast enough so I definitely wanted wider than that. Also, I ended up cropping a lot of the 15mm shots so I figured 20mm would work. 20mm is wide enough so that I can stand to the side of the trail and pan as people go by. With my 50mm lens, it's almost impossible to find a place to do this as trees get in the way (I'm in the northeast--lots of trees). Hopefully, f2.8 will be fast enough in the summer under a heavy canopy. I think it should be since I usually end up at f2.2 with my 50mm lens and I will be able to shoot a little slower with the 20mm. I know I'll like the small size and light weight of the lens. There is no way I could take my 15-30mm lens on a ride with me.

    I'm excited.

  11. #11
    offroader
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    I regularly ride with my Olympus EP-2 and keep a 20mm f/1.7 on all the time. I managed to get a few nice shots with this combo. On a m-4/3 it's equivalent to a 40mm on a full frame and and a 30mm on a crop sensor. I think it's a good range for most shots. On certain occasions I may bring my 16-35mm and full frame Canon 5Dmk or the 70-200mm depending on how creative I'm feeling that day.
    Last edited by CupOfJava; 12-01-2011 at 06:19 AM.

  12. #12
    saddlemeat
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    A good friend and riding buddy of mine uses a 17-35 combined with a remote flash unit for trail action shots and gets superb results...

    Outdoor, adventure and editorial photographer Brian Leddy | Brian Leddy Photography Archive
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  13. #13
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    I have a Panasonic GH2. It's hard to beat the 7-14 lens. It's georgious.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaycagney View Post
    well your 50mm acts more like a telephoto than a standard length with the crop, ether you could go around 35mm to get that "standard" feel or go for a 24 or 28 get a little bit wider feel without going super wide.

    i don't like the wide length much, i have my fisheye (15mm on full frame), a 50mm, and then my 70-200 covers all my telephoto needs
    I went with the 35mm for my Nikon because I wanted a more 'standard' lens and it is ultra compact. But I must admit I am not so happy with the sharpness.

  15. #15
    rider
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    I like 35mm on a 1.6 crop, and 20mm on m43. Standard kinda guy

  16. #16
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    Late to this topic, but I really would have to say I like the zooms in the 18-70mm range as a "Do it all" type lens if you only want to travel with one lens. Saying that, nothing beats shooting with a nice wide prime lens and going from my experience I think your choice is probably spot on for close to trails shots. Personally all my lenses from film days are all in need of serious servicing, but I did love the 80-200 F/2.8 and 20-35 F2.8 lenses for full frame shooting and when funds allow looking to pick up a fix aperture zoom in the 17-50 range.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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  17. #17
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    I'm a fan of zooms out in the field. there's a lot of things not in your control so I opt for the most versatility. I've shot with my tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and canon 70-200 2.8L IS and felt like I had most situations covered. I recently added a sigma 10-20 to my camera kit. I'm excited to see how that works out. I know in the 10mm range, people get to be really distorted. What i like about the wider angle shots is that you get to see the whole environment. the telephoto is great for capturing the emotions. I haven't really done much of that though.

    -joel

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