Have you ever been heading out the door but fretting which lens to take? Next time you face this situation, simplify and take only one lens – a 50mm. Its a historical standard which was naturally paired with many cameras through the decades, most notably by Oskar Barnack, creator of the Leica system. They are regarded as a “normal lens” which gives a natural view more or less in line with what the human eye sees (despite the fact that 43mm is the technical standard).
Here’s a number of reasons why you should try your 50mm out more often:
- They are small and light. Enough said for those who don’t enjoy carrying around ten tons of gear.
- It’s probably your fastest lens, and shoots well in low light. Canon even has an f/0.9 version! Leave your flash at home.
- Shooting wide open, you’ll get beautiful bokeh, giving your photos “punch” that people so often talk about.
- It’s versatile, with the ability to make wide or compressed shots – landscapes or portraits.
- It’s the standard for photographic tests across the web, including dpreview.
- It will force you to rethink your compositions and get you moving on your feet to explore new angles.
- They are incredibly sharp when stopped down, and will often outperform even your thousand-dollar pro glass.
- Barrel and pincushion distortion are a thing of the past. No more curved lines around the edges of your photos.
- They are cheap. Especially the f/1.8 versions which run around $100. The 1.4’s aren’t that pricey either, especially next to L glass.
- It puts the fun back into photography!
The longer I’ve been shooting, the more I gravitate towards my 50mm lens. It’s an easy solution to most of my photographic problems. I rarely find myself wishing I had something wider or something with more reach. Sure, those lenses are useful in special applications, but in most cases, a single 50mm will suffice. And the results always leave me satisfied.
For more good reading on 50mm lenses, check out the following:
The 5 Best 50mm Prime Lenses from Aputure Blog
Why 50s? (and other musings) from DPReview
4 Reasons why everyone should have a 50mm lens from Photography Bay
Rediscover the 50mm lens from Shutterbug
Why you should ditch that zoom from The Forgotten Lens
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