10 Reasons To Get A 50mm Lens

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).

50mm © Funny Leo

Here’s a number of reasons why you should try your 50mm out more often:

  1. They are small and light. Enough said for those who don’t enjoy carrying around ten tons of gear.
  2. 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. 
  3. Shooting wide open, you’ll get beautiful bokeh, giving your photos “punch” that people so often talk about.
  4. It’s versatile, with the ability to make wide or compressed shots – landscapes or portraits. 
  5. It’s the standard for photographic tests across the web, including dpreview. 
  6. It will force you to rethink your compositions and get you moving on your feet to explore new angles.
  7. They are incredibly sharp when stopped down, and will often outperform even your thousand-dollar pro glass.
  8. Barrel and pincushion distortion are a thing of the past. No more curved lines around the edges of your photos. 
  9. 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. 
  10. 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

Why 40mm? from The Online Photographer

Rediscover the 50mm lens from Shutterbug

Why you should ditch that zoom from The Forgotten Lens

About the author:

Jesse Warren is a photographer who sees the world in 50mm. He is based in Shenzhen, China, where he also works for Aputure.

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