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Should I get an auto or manual 35mm prime lenses for my mirrorless camera?

 
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I'm looking at getting my first prime lens for my mirrorless camera.

What is a prime lens?  in a nutshell (no nuts included), it's a lens with a fixed focal length.  It can't zoom in or out.  This is good because the optics inside the lens are more specific for that focal length.  

Why do I want a prime?  Even though it doesn't zoom, it has more flexibility than a regular zoom lens.  There's more range in aperture and I like the idea of not being able to zoom because I like getting in close to what I'm shooting.  Compose with my feet.



So I'm tossed between two lenses.  

Option 1.  The fully automatic lens built for my camera.  Now, this is flat-out brilliant!  Gorgeous lens, automatic everything.  I could shoot on auto all day and never make a bag photo.

Option 2.  The fully manual lens that doesn't even have auto-focus.  This means I am going to have to think about EVERYTHING.  That may not be a bad thing.

The manual lens has the advantage of costing about a quarter of the automatic lens.  It also has a wider aperture range.  According to reviews, focus peaking works with this lens so that will be a big help.  



Is there anything I need to know about buying a fully manual lens?  Is it really worth it to save up for the automatic?  
 
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What will you be shooting? For moving subjects go with the auto.  If you're going to be doing landscape and portrait work (or things that don't move) go with the manual.
 
r ranson
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I do a lot of product photography and am getting into stock (but not sure if I like it).  

Today I spent three hours taking photos of tomatoes.  It was way more fun than it sounds.  

But how hard is it to get the focus right on a manual lens?  Yesterday I learned that atuo-focus isn't great on shiny curved surfaces.  But would manual be better?  Or would I want to wear my glasses?  
 
brad millar
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Does your auto have a manual focus ring? I'd wear the glasses.
 
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I'd go with the 2nd option. Glass doesn't lose much value and the lens should be relatively easy to sell if it doesn't suit you. I purchased an old 50mm 1.4 Nikkor without AF from Ebay and it's one of my favorites. I have a Nikon D40 from 2006 and it tells me if things are in focus, I imagine yours can do the same.
 
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I like to have the auto focus option there, even though I only use it sometimes. I mainly use it with family and animal photography (they move quickly!) and sometimes with food photography when I want to get photos really quickly.

I am not familiar with your camera so am not 100% sure if you can use manual focus on an auto lens, so this would be worth looking into just to make sure.
 
r ranson
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I've had the fully manual lens for a few months now and love playing with it.  The problem is, the manual focus.

If I have it on a tripod, I can dial in the focus, zoom in on the screen, and get it perfect.  Then take a series of shots and it's wonderful.  I love how clear this lens is compared to my regular ones.  How fast it is because it doesn't have to keep focusing or thinking about things.  I just set it and forget it.  

The narrow depth of field is incredibly fun to play with.  

But handholding the camera is a different thing, especially in situations where I'm rushed (aka, other humans are near me).  If I can take my time and take 10 or 20 min to set up the shot, then it's perfect.  But I often cannot and I get flustered.

Here are some examples.
leaf-manual-lens-med.JPG
This one taken from a tripod
This one taken from a tripod
lens-wall-misfocused-med.JPG
hand held in a hurry, misfocused.
hand held in a hurry, misfocused.
leaf-manual-lens-chard-med.JPG
Love the shallow depth of field and clarity of the image
Love the shallow depth of field and clarity of the image
 
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