50mm Lens Photography
There seems to be a division among photographer about the use of the 50mm prime lens in photography. The 50mm gives us a very shallow depth of field so we know it’s great for portrait photography. It also usually has a really wide aperture, I think the widest I’ve seen is a Sony Magic 50mm f/1.1. They usually tend to hover around f1.4 – f1.8 which is still very wide. Because the aperture is so wide, this lens is a must-have for shooting in low light. But what about landscape? With such a shallow depth of field and narrow-angle of view, it’s not a “conventional” landscape lens.
This video by Simon Burn gives a great perspective to shooting landscape with a 50mm lens.
I like how Simon has revisited an old site that had previously provided a great photographic subject. For landscape photographers, using the 50mm has become somewhat of a challenge. A challenge we should all take on. Only by stepping outside of our comfort zones can we ever hope to improve. What Simon shows us is that you can make the most of the shallow DoF to bring focus to a subject in the foreground.
This quick video shows that you can get some good results from shooting with a 50mm lens.
Images were taken by Simon Burn
50mm Lens, Pros & Cons
One thing to consider is that the 50mm lens performs very differently on a full-frame sensor than it does on a crop framed sensor. On a full-frame sensor camera, the 50mm gives an almost perfect representation of what we see with the human eye, in terms of zoom and perspective. However, on a cropped sensor, the 50mm lens acts more like an 80mm lens because of Crop Factor.
- Small & Lightweight
- Price is very cheap
- Great for beginners
- All-round lens
- Narrow angle of view
- Shallow DoF
- Can’t zoom in or out
If you want to learn more about the 50mm or Nifty 50 you might like the following online resources:
The world of photography loves the 50mm lens. It’s difficult to find articles that bad mouth the use of the 50mm. I sort of did find one article though which gives us 6 Reasons Not to Buy a 50mm Lens.
On the contrary, there are tons of articles out there promoting the 50mm lens. These are articles from almost all disciplines of photography from Astro to Portrait. The only disciples where the 50mm isn’t recommended is genres that tend to exist in the Telephoto range such as wildlife (birds) and sports. Other than that here are 9 Reasons to Buy a 50mm Prime Lens & Skip the Kit Lens.
We’ve mentioned a few times that the 50mm lens is a good price. Just having a quick search online I can get a brand new Canon 50mm F1.8 for around £100 or $130. It really is an unbelievable price for such a must-have lens. Looking even further on www.mbp.com I found the same lens, used for only £34 or $50.
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