7 Reasons Why Everyone Should Have a 50mm Lens
The lens with the fixed 50mm focal length can be found in camera bags as of professionals so of amateur photographers? Let's find out!
1. WIDE APERTURE. SHOOTING IN LOW LIGHT
Modern 50mm lenses have a maximum aperture from f1.8 to f1.2. A lens with a larger maximum aperture lets in more light. When shooting in low light conditions with such lens (e.g. twilight or indoors) you shouldn't set high ISO; this will help to avoid digital noise on your images.
2. HIGH-QUALITY IMAGES
Lenses with fixed focal length provide clear, detailed images and are able to correct chromatic aberration effectively (colored outlines around the objects).
However, when shooting with the aperture wide open we get the small depth of field, and it could be tricky to select the correct focal length. Quite often newbie photographers are not able to focus their camera correctly, and as a result, they get blurred images. It is important to understand how the AF system works in the camera, learn how to use focus points. So to protect yourself from mistakes, you can set an aperture to f2.8.
3. A FULL FRAME MULTIPURPOSE AND A CROP FRAME PORTRAIT
A 50mm lens has a "normal," multipurpose angle of view when used on full frame cameras (≈45°). This allows to include all the required objects in the shot and to avoid perspective distortion which is common for wide angle lenses.
The viewing angle of a 50mm lens is narrower on a camera with the matrix APS-C (DX Nikon) format and with the crop factor, its focal length becomes equivalent to 75mm. Thus, on a crop frame camera a "Nifty Fifty" is not a multipurpose lens anymore, but almost a telephoto lens. It's not very convenient to work with it, for example, indoors, but thanks to the crop factor it can be used as an excellent portrait lens to capture beautiful portraits with a dramatically blurred background.
Nifty Fifty's viewing angle on a crop frame camera can be achieved using lenses with a focal length of 35 mm. So if you have a crop frame camera and you want to have in your toolkit not a portrait lens but a multipurpose fast lens, maybe you should take a closer look at 35-mm fixed-focus lenses. By the way, on the market, you can find special models produced for crop frame cameras (e.g., Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8 G DX Nikkor).
How to increase a viewing angle when shooting on a fixed-focus lens? You can assemble a panoramic image because 50mm have little or no distortions. This technique is ideal for shooting statical scenes (e.g. landscapes). You can try to shoot a posed portrait, asking a model to not move for a few seconds.
4. LIGHTWEIGHT AND COMPACT
Almost all lenses with a focal length of 50 mm are lightweight and compact. Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G AF-S Nikkor weighs only 185 grams. Zoom lenses are much heavier. I often put Nifty Fifty in the pocket of my jacket— so it is always at hand.
5. BEAUTIFUL BOKEH
A high lens speed and the right focal length of the "Nifty Fifties" allow them to create a strong and beautifully blur of the background. Bokeh could be used to emphasize the main object, highlighting it with sharpness, thus hiding the distracting details of the background. The beauty of bokeh effect is always subjective. My bokeh favorites among the "Nifty Fifties" are the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G Nikkor and Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S Nikkor. They are able to create a very effective but soft blurred background.
6. COMPOSITION OF THE SHOT
To create a good composition with a zoom lens, it is enough to turn a ring, adjusting the angle. This simplifies the work of a photographer, but at the same time, we stop thinking about the layout. It’s quite the opposite with fix lenses because the composition of a shot is created at the very moment of shooting: to highlight the main object and cut off the excess.
You can zoom in and out an image with the fixed-focus lens only by changing the distance between you and the subject of shooting.
50mm have a relatively simple optical scheme. Thus making them not only compact but also well-priced. Considering their characteristics and impeccable image quality these lenses are especially attractive regarding price.
"Nifty Fifty" is often recommended as a first additional lens to your multipurpose zoom lens. This lens can be useful during creative work, portrait shooting or shooting in low-light conditions. Fixed-focus lenses provide higher image quality, and all the limitations can be overcome.
Here’s some of these 50mm lenses you can find on Amazon: