50mm - a magic lens!

They say Kit lens is the beginner's lens. True it is. But I started my DSLR photography with a 50mm prime and since then I am madly in love with my magic lens! In fact I still do not own any kit lens! :D

You can do thousands of experiments with this much lighter weapon!

The focal length is almost close to the perception of human eye. It covers the whole zone as your eye can see at once. Makes the picture more real. I never forget this tiny wonder when I go for street photography. Just apt for people and portrait. When I was a beginner my seniors advised me to start with 50mm. Since there is no way to zoom in/out it develops a good sense of framing and composition.

With the aperture range starting from f/1.4 it works super in low light condition. You get rid of those irritating noise due to high ISO and don't have to compromise with your shutter speed. As a result the photo looks lively.

Also with such wide aperture you can easily isolate your subject from the background. Wider aperture implies to creamier background.

On top of that it gives you the amazing result of lens reversal technique!Just buy a lens reversal mount, go close to those tiniest creatures and capture their super details!A much cheaper way to capture unseen details. No need to buy costly macro lenses :)

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And the most superb thing that I love about 50mm is its bokehlicious performance!Tiny LED lights/ jewelries and gems/ sun rays through leaves everything creates such an incredible background with a shallow depth of field. Even foreground bokeh also create unique pictures. While shooting portrait or candid wedding shots you hold a flower bunch in front of your lens and use a smaller f stop. Focus on the bride's face or her finger rings through the tiny gaps of flowers/petals. Voila! The foreground bokeh will create a beautiful vignette around your subject.

Finally, being a prime lens it offers more sharpness than your kit lens or zoom lens. There are many more ways to do this and that with the 50mm prime. I am yet to explore more of its charismatic usage. Show me some samples of your experiments too :)

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June 19, 2016

Qiwoman01

Great article, thanks! I experimented today with two lenses, took the same shot with kit lens and 50mm prime. The prime shots were sharp as a tack, what a difference!

January 08, 2014

Freedomsfolio

You got a f/1.8 photo accepted in DT? Whoa! The photo is good

January 07, 2014

Matthiase

I use the Nikkor 50 mm F/1.8, love it=)
   Salmon and Pasta   

January 07, 2014

Freedomsfolio

Thank you!

January 06, 2014

Suebmtl

Excellent write up.Beautiful shots.

November 15, 2013

Freedomsfolio

Thnx mayur.
And long prime has some extra ordinary magic :)

November 15, 2013

Freedomsfolio

Thnx mayur.
And long prime has some extra ordinary magic :)

November 15, 2013

Mayurkotlikar

Excellent write up!

I do love my 50mm lens for sure

November 14, 2013

Peanutroaster

Even bird snappers would love a long prime.

October 25, 2013

Freedomsfolio

Alvera... that is implied u knw :)
btw bird shooters are also bird lovers.. :D Hope I didn't do a 'blunder' by calling them bird lovers ;)

October 24, 2013

Egomezta

Very true... Thanks for sharing.

October 24, 2013

Alvera

yes..true :)
But bird lovers will beat us if we say against zoom :P

Bird lovers or bird shooters? :)

October 24, 2013

Miraclemoments

Primes are great...had a 50mm Canon prime lens. After about a year or two of use it started giving me very soft images. Let it go and got myself a 24-70 f2.8...Love it....sharp enough to make you bleed and versatile.

October 24, 2013

Freedomsfolio

yes..true :)
But bird lovers will beat us if we say against zoom :P

October 23, 2013

Peanutroaster

Can't beat the primes for sharpness. Zooms look mushy after using them and they make people lazy. Just have to zoom in and out with your feet.

October 23, 2013

Alvera

A prime lens is on my wish list since i bought my DSLR. Maybe Ill buy it first than macro lens.

The 40 mm prime from Nikkor has also macro. On a crop sensor will be a 60 mm, excellent for portrait and also for macro. It's correct, 40 mm, a cheap and very good lens tested by me about 1-2 year ago.
Some tests are here:
http://alveraphoto.blogspot.com/2011/12/nikkor-40mm-f28-macro-lens-test.html

October 22, 2013

Celiaak

A prime lens is on my wish list since i bought my DSLR. Maybe I'll buy it first than macro lens.

October 22, 2013

Freedomsfolio

Alistaircotton, that last line was funny hehe
Harshvardhan, you can go for Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D. Good one for lens reversal. You can manually set the aperture with its aperture ring. But I think it will not auto focus with D5100.
For price check in ebay.

October 22, 2013

Rigsby8131

I use Canon's EF 50mm 1.8 lens. I have to say it is a fantastic lens considering the cost.
I would recommend anybody who is who is on a tight budget to get this lens.

October 22, 2013

Hellen8

Beautiful images! I wish you the light in your photos with the new lens :-)

October 21, 2013

Harshvardhan

Thanks Mangalika for useful info! I was considering to buy this lense for my nikon d-5100, could you tell me for how much you brought this lense and reverasl mount? Does it have auto focus motor or we need to focus manually?

October 21, 2013

Alistaircotton

Totally agree. I shoot just about everything with a 50mm f1.8 lens. Seems to work flawlessly for 80% of images. Is it just me or is it somehow true that going wider also commands more skill wrt composition. Seems that way to me anyway!

If memory serves Henri Cartier Bresson would agree too - didn't he only shoot a 50mm on his Leica too? Which stands to reason he could probably only affor one Leica lens heh heh . . .

October 21, 2013

Freedomsfolio

Alvera...true...50mm works best on full frame like 5D mark ii.

@Fabio, :)

October 20, 2013

FabioConcetta

My magic 50 mm has been my Contax planar 50 F 1.4 a lens. The blurred and the chromatic yield was incredible, I sold it (and I'm repented) together with his brother Planar 85mm F1.4 ... my passion ...

October 20, 2013

Alvera

Hello. Actually with a 50 mm lenses on a Canon 500D you have a 1.6x field of view crop. So your lens is a 50*1.6 mm lens on this body (you have a 80 mm lens practically now). A 'true' 50 mm field of view is only on a full frame sensor body. Many people use 80 mm for portrait photography. For 'old timers' street photography field of view you must use a ~35 mm lens. Sorry for this tech info, if you are happy with this prime I am also happy to see your beautiful photos. Peace!

October 20, 2013

Freedomsfolio

Yeah..try someday just like that and you will fall in love with your 50mm :D
sometimes I also just ignore my zoom lenses and shoot only with 50mm.
Can't post the wedding assignment photos here as I don't have the model Releases. Else I could post some of my favorite photos...

October 20, 2013

Jdanne

I also start with the 1,4D 50mm. But since I have these expensive 24-70mm and 70-200mm zooms I never used my prime lens again. Might be I should.

October 20, 2013

Freedomsfolio

@Libux: yeah... controlling f/1.4 is a little tricky thing. Just that you have to minutely identify the subject which will go best for f/1.4 Also canon and Nikon work better than the 3rd party 50mm. You can try them. The lens is not so expensive too

@Morrismann: Woho! You started with a normal lens that too manual and film based!That is simply best for a learner. Gives extreme good sense of composition.

October 20, 2013

Morrismann

Hi Mangalika.
Me too I started photography with a normal lens and I enjoyed it tremendously. In fact, I used the normal lens for a little over 10 years (that was the time of film-based photography and my camera was a plain manual one). Later on, when upgrading, I bought zooms but I also bought a 50 mm. When I switched to digital, I got myself a normal lens also. As you rightly pointed out, it's a hell of a wonderful lens !

October 20, 2013

Libux77

I owned a sigma version...but I sold it. I found really difficult manage it at f1.4. I used to delete most of the shots at this f value because the subject was out of focus. This aspect annoyed me so much that I made the decision of sell it. Reading your blog and admiring your wonderful shots I really want to try it again....who knows...sooner or later

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