News - Prime Fast and Prime Sharp - Why a Nifty Fifty Should Be In Your Lens Quiver - Looking Glass Photo & Camera


Prime Fast and Prime Sharp - Why a Nifty Fifty Should Be In Your Lens Quiver

Prime Fast and Prime Sharp - Why a Nifty Fifty Should Be In Your Lens Quiver

By: Jon Freel Comments: 0


Why a 50mm is a must - it really is for everyone!

We get it. When first beginning photography, having a standard zoom lens can feel like a picture saver. Having the flexibility to zoom in and out can be helpful and make things feel easier. That said, there should always be a place for a trusty Zoom at our side. But to only shoot with a zoom lens can be limiting; image quality, lens speed and the typical aperture range can only take you so far. That's where prime lenses come in, delivering the next level of speed and image quality. And one of our absolute favorites, for myriad reasons, is a 50mm - otherwise known as the the nifty fifty. And we come bearing good news: "THERE’S A 50 FOR EVERYONE!"


Captured with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8


There’s a 50 for everyone. Whether for portraiture, landscapes, street or everyday shooting, the 50mm is thought of by many as one of the most quintessential focal lengths in photography. The brands you love will likely have more than one 50mm lens to choose from. Most available 50mm f/1.8 lenses are relatively inexpensive, small and lightweight, delivering a noticeable upgrade in image quality over your camera’s kit lens as well as standard zooms. 


Captured with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8


So check this out; A 50mm lens on a full frame camera offers pretty much the same field of vision as our human eyes. That means what you see is what you get in a sense, meaning the lens captures the scene just as your eyes see it.


Captured with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II


So you might think that a Zoom is more convenient. In some ways, you may be right. But does that outweigh the benefits of a 50mm? The answer is a resounding no. With a 50mm, you’ll find that you will begin to think about and approach your shots more creatively - being an active participant with the environment as you move to frame your shot just the way you want it. This can improve your overall composition technique.


Captured with a Sigma Art 50mm f/1.4


Still not convinced? Here’s a ton benefits that should sway your thinking - that result from the high speed and wide aperture of a 50mm prime lens:


Even the most basic 50mm lenses are typically f/1.8 - which we know is a very wide aperture. And fast lenses with wide apertures are great for low-light photography, such as indoor portraiture and other indoor shooting.  Not to mention, this same speed and wide aperture allows you to set ISO lower and shutter speeds faster, helping to both eliminate camera shake and freeze motion with sharpness.


Captured with a Sony 50mm f/1.8


How about depth of field and that creamy bokeh that so many of us love to create in our images? At f/1.8 combined with the speed and sharpness found in a 50mm, you have tremendous creative opportunities with blur, backgrounds and where you take a viewer’s focus when looking at your image.


Captured with a Switar 50mm


50mm lenses are available with even wider apertures than f/1.8, including f/1.4, f/1.2, f/0.95 among others. What does this mean? There’s a flavor of a 50mm lens for every taste! Jen, owner of Looking Glass, had this to say: “I’m such a sucker for a 50 with a huge aperture. It’s my go-to, almost every time.”


Interested in learning more about what a 50mm could do for you? Give us a call or stop by the store and we would be happy to explore options with you. 


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