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5 Reasons To Buy A 50mm Lens

Journal Entry: Fri Jan 27, 2017, 10:08 AM


Sometimes, you come across a lens that you wouldn't miss for the world. In my case, and for many others I know, this is a 50mm lens. Many brands have a "budget" 50mm f/1.8, and in this article I'll be explaining why this lens is an absolute must-have for any photographer!

Affordable lens
A 50mm lens often costs between 100 - 200 euro's, dollars, whichever currency you have. "Quality comes at a price" is not true for this lens. This superman is one of the most affordable, good quality (budget) lenses out there. 

Aperture f/1.8
Aperture f/1.8 is something you want. It will create a great, shallow, depth of field, it's great with low-light circumstances (you won't need to crank the ISO all the way up to one billion) and it provides some great room to experiment. What aperture works for what situation? It gives you a chance to test your own and your lens' limits. F/1.8 also is a very wide aperture. This means that when it's all the way open, it will let through a lot of light. 

Lightweight and small
It's a small lens, weighs typically about a 100 grams or less, though this might depend on what brand you get. I can't think of a camera bag it wouldn't fit in, it probably even fits in your pocket (if you have big pockets), making your otherwise very heavy DSLR lightweight and small, so ideal when you need to hold it for longer periods of time.

Multi-Purpose
50mm is a focal length that is multi-purpose. Portraiture, both human and animal, street, macro, even landscapes or panorama's! Because 50mm is right in between wide-angle and telephoto, you can go both ways with it. You can put a teleconverter in to double it's range, or put some macro extension tubes to go for macro shots (it's how I shoot all my macro photographs!).

Scharpness / Bokeh
These lenses are prime lenses, which means you can't zoom with them (other than using your feet, which, let's face it, is good for us humans). Prime lenses are often a lot sharper than (cheaper) zoom lenses. They easily get distortion or soft corners, whereas prime lenses experience less of the sort. 
Add to that the gorgeous bokeh you can create at f/1.8, and you should be sold on it.


Skin by UszatyArbuz
A 50mm lens is one I don't go without anymore. Why? Read it in the article!
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:iconizzzyxd:
iZzzyXD Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2017
Prime lenses all the way. My favourite set to. Have is an all manual, analogue Nikon FM2, a D100 for digital/colour, and a 50 f1.8 and an 85 f1.8 for lenses. That set basically never let me down. As you wrote; zoom using your feet, and being slowed down does wonders for your compositions.
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:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2017   Photographer
Very cool! I have several prime vintage lenses, 50mm 1.8, also a 50mm 1.4, 135mm 2.8, and some more! They're all great quality, and the fact they are made of steel is also very useful to me :giggle: 
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:iconizzzyxd:
iZzzyXD Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2017
Old glass is great glass :D And yes, lenses made of metal are simply the nicest. I also have an old Japanese 135 3.5 or so, but sadly it doesn't work with my digital SLR, only with the analogue ones. Now I just need my own 85 1.8 (I've been borrowing my dad's...) and a nice 105 to finish the lineup. A man can dream, right?... Haha. :D
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:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2017   Photographer
Yeah I love the old glass, it's great to work with! Most of them are "remnants" from the time I shot on film, but when I switched to digital I quickly learned I could still use them with an adapter and so I did :nod: 
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:iconizzzyxd:
iZzzyXD Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2017
I always find it odd when people say they "switched"... I just can't help feeling one doesn't replace the other, but rather they complement eachother. So I recommend anyone willing to listen to use them side by side, haha. :)
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:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2017   Photographer
Back then it was a big switch for me, because I'd never worked with a digital SLR before =P I do still shoot on film frequently, you can also see them in my gallery :)
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:iconizzzyxd:
iZzzyXD Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2017
Then I've spoken horribly uninformed. Keep up the good work. :)
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:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2017   Photographer
:lol:
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:iconbordowa:
Bordowa Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017
100-200 €/$? That seems so little for someone who earns in that currency... Multiply it by 4 and it's something out of my budget :/ Instead I had to buy old manual lens Pentacon 50/1.8 (which I highly recommend, it has amazing, dreamy-like bokeh!) but... it's manual :XD: what can be a problem for some people. Also it can't focus on background but that's my camera fault, with Nikons it needs specific adapter with lens, I bought one without it because I needed it right in that moment and couldn't wait for that one.
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:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2017   Photographer
I shoot with several vintage manual lenses, they're always my favourites! I have that same pentacon as well! 
Coco IX by Yuukon I shot this one using that lens! It's a great one, but I also have several other prime vintage lenses, they're awesome! :D They're low-budget as well, but you often need an adapter for it.
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:iconkittenkayleigh:
KittenKayleigh Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
I just got a 35mm lens, which I'm also very happy about! This article was very helpful :)
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:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2017   Photographer
35mm is a great focal length as well! I'm glad the article was useful to you!
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:iconaenea-jones:
Aenea-Jones Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
The main lens I use is a Nikkor 16-75mm, I like it because it gives me a broad range (from semi-wideangle to a good zoom).
I have a 60mm for macros only, but couldn't imagine shooting landscapes with just one focal length...
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:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017   Photographer
I guess it depends on what you're used to. A lot of the panorama's in my gallery are shot with the 50mm. When I just started out I just had a kitlens and the 50mm, and quality-wise, the 50mm was a ton better so I used that for everything pretty much. It's a very workable lens if it's the best you have. 
When I first started out, all I had was a (analog) SLR and a bunch of prime lenses, so I learned to work with them. I was taught by my grandpa, and he'd always tell me "with prime-lenses, you zoom using your feet". When I finally switched to digital, I got a 50mm and a shotty kitlens. When the best lens you have is a 50mm, you'll learn to do everything with it. 
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:iconaenea-jones:
Aenea-Jones Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Zoom using your feet, I like that :D
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:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017   Photographer
Even just changing a meter from your spot will give you a whole new view! It's great practice, and it helped me to learn to "look" for compositions before shooting like a madman (though, shooting on film being expensive did that as well). 
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