When you talk to serious photographers about their favourite piece of camera equipment, the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens is often at the top of the list. It's called the 'nifty fifty' because it's so versatile. Even though it has a fixed focal length, it handles most situations easily. In this article, we will explore some of the qualities that make it the type of lens that you should have attached to your DSLR or mirrorless camera as often as possible.
Get an Accurate Field of View
When looking through a 50mm lens you will get a similar view-point / angle of view as if you were looking with your eyes. As this is the case, when you look at a scene, you will know precisely how a full-frame camera will capture the scene when looking through the viewfinder.
With a 50mm lens, there is hardly any distortion, so you accurately capture the view that's in your mind. Remember, though, if your camera has a crop sensor, the 50mm prime lens will give the effect of a 75mm focal length, so this article assumes your camera is full frame.
The purity of the optics in a 50mm prime lens sends much more light to the camera's sensor than a basic zoom lens. Having fewer internal elements than telephoto or zoom lenses means the light has a more direct path to the sensor, creating crisp, bright, and colourful photos. When photographing scenes at night or indoors, these refined optics mean you can keep the ISO low, generating less electronic noise (grain) than other lenses. With its razor-sharp detail and edge-of-frame clarity, it's no wonder this lens is so popular.
Gain a Shallow Depth of Field
A 50mm prime lens with an f/1.8 aperture can produce a very shallow depth of field. This offers a wealth of creative photographic possibilities. It makes it easy to blur the background to draw attention to the main subject in your image. And you can easily produce pleasant bokeh, which is the aesthetic quality of the out-of-focus parts of an image.
Ideal For Low Light Shooting
A 'nifty fifty' lens has a wide aperture that allows it to shoot in low light. When the lens is wide open, the shutter speed can be kept at a reasonable rate that avoids blurred photos. The small size of this lens makes it easy to hold the camera steady to reduce hand-held camera shake.
Affordability in a Small Compact Lens
Compared to a zoom lens, the 50mm prime has a simple design, so manufacturing costs are reasonable. Technology advancements have made it possible to have an affordable prime lens that produces spectacular results. When it's time to expand your range of camera gear, rather than wasting money on an expensive zoom, try a 50mm f/1.8 lens instead. They're solid, reliable, and valuable for most shooting styles, making them great value for money. With the cash, you save by purchasing a 50mm prime lens instead of a zoom, put it towards a camera strap that safeguards your equipment.
A good camera and lens combination deserves a high-quality strap. The Classic 40 camera strap is ideal for mirrorless or DSLR cameras with a 50mm prime lens. Once you've spent a few hours using this prime lens on your camera, you won't want to take it off. You'll be tempted to carry it all day, so invest in this high-quality strap that slips over your shoulder like a sling. It's the most comfortable way to carry a camera. When you are shooting many photos while on the move, this pre-softened, high-quality leather strap keeps the camera securely by your side and ready for action at all times. The Classic 40 camera strap has anti-theft, cut-resistant, Dyneema webbing for extra travel security.
Versatility For a Range of Shooting Genres
Many creative opportunities are available when you attach this lens to your camera. Its compact shape and low weight make it easy to carry around all day as you hunt for subjects to photograph. This makes it appealing and convenient to take with you wherever you go. Here is a list of photographic styles ideal for a 50mm f/1.8 lens.
With its wide aperture, this lens is perfect for portraits because you can easily blur out the background to reduce distracting elements and emphasise the subject. Its low-light capabilities also make portrait photography possible during Golden Hour. This means you can shoot in these low-light conditions at reasonable shutter speeds while simultaneously capturing twilight's warm glow and incorporating glorious bokeh.
A fast lens like this makes it possible to capture beautiful portraits in soft light. The flexibility of the 50mm focal length makes it suitable for full-length body shots, traditional portraits of the upper body, and detailed headshots. Close-ups can be achieved without distortion.
Street Photography & Travel Photos
When you want to be unobtrusive, the 50mm lens allows you to walk amongst a crowd while taking photos. It's a discreet lens for street photography and travel photos because it's compact. The best candid images require a bit of distance between the subject and the photographer. This lens isn't intrusive, so your subject remains comfortable, and you maintain spontaneity. A 50mm lens gives you space to interact without anyone feeling crowded. It keeps the shoot authentic.
A 50mm lens is a sharp, fast lens that's always ready for action. Being a lightweight lens means you can hold it for ages while you wait for that 'decisive moment' when everything in the scene is just right. With their superb low light capabilities and the quick autofocus on 50mm prime lenses, you have a winning combination for street and travel photography. If you are a minimalist who likes packing lightly, the 50mm lens is what you need on your camera.
A 50mm lens is an excellent choice for making videos because it provides pleasing, traditional footage without distortion. Whether it's travel videos, social media vlogging, or for interviews, this prime lens can handle it all. As with still shots, the same benefits apply to videography. You can shoot in low light, and the large aperture keeps your subject isolated against the background for a cinematic depth-of-field effect. The beautiful bokeh produced by the 50mm lens makes it a necessary piece of equipment for every filmmaker.
A 50mm f/1.8 is the one lens every photographer should own. It can lift all types of photography to a new level. Don't allow its simplicity to fool you. It produces astonishingly clear, well-defined images. This lens is so versatile that it can be used in almost all situations and is sensational for stills and videos. Whether you are a professional photographer or just an enthusiast, pop the 50mm f/1.8 lens on your camera, and you will feel a rush of enthusiasm to explore the limits of your creativity.