The One Lens Every Photographer Should Have and Use: The 50mm

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The One Lens Every Photographer Should Have and Use: the 50mm

If you are stranded on a desert island and can only have one camera lens with you, which lens would you choose? If your answer wasn’t, “A 50mm (or 50mm equivalent lens),” then you might be wrong. The 50mm prime lens, or “Nifty Fifty,” is the one lens every photographer toting an interchangeable-lens camera should own…and use.

Why? Before I tell you all the reasons, I will tell you a sea story. But, before that, know that in the world of different sensor (and film) sizes, there are different focal lengths that produce a field of view equivalent to the 50mm lens on a traditional 35mm film camera. More on that later but, for now, I will be referring to full-frame digital and/or 135 format film. As the reader, please press the “I believe” button and keep on reading.

My Personal Journey

My father is a great photographer. He grew up working in a camera store in New Orleans. He has wielded a Leica rangefinder since long before I was brought to life. When I started my SLR photographic journey, he bought me my first “real” camera, a Nikon N6006, and a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens. He insisted that the 50mm was the best lens with which to learn.

But, this 50mm prime lens felt limiting. I wanted to get closer to things without moving my feet. It wasn’t long before I had recycled enough soda cans to buy a cheap 35-70mm zoom lens. And then I got a 70-210mm zoom. Soon, the 50mm f/1.8 was doing nothing but keeping a small circular region of my bookshelf from seeing light.

For decades, the zoom lens served me well. But, years later, when working on my Master’s thesis, I rediscovered the lens for many reasons (see below) and have since gravitated back to a battery of prime lenses. Now it is the zoom lenses that are keeping areas of my bookshelves from getting dusty.

So, what makes the 50mm the one single lens every photographer should own (and use)?

Field of View

There is some conjecture on whether it is the 35mm lens or the 50mm lens that closest approximates the field of view of the Mark 1 Mod 0 human eyeball—minus the peripheral vision. If you do the math, the circa 45° field of view of the 50mm lens is a bit narrower than the approximated 55° cone of visual attention and the 35mm lens is a bit wider at about 63°. Basically, both the 50mm and 35mm lenses see the world the way our own eyes do—give or take a few degrees. Because they do not bend light from wide angles, or zoom in to a smaller part of our eye’s image, these lenses provide our photographs with a familiar aesthetic—a realistic representation of the world that we all see when we open our eyes.

The approximation of the cone of visual attention lies between the field of view of the 35mm and 50mm lens.

Does this mean that the 50mm, because of its familiar perspective, prevents the photographer from exploring the world with creative vision? Definitely not. The 50mm lens allows the photographer to make creative images inside a familiar field of view.

Size

As enamored as many of us are with big cameras and big lenses—the ones just like the pros use—there is something to be said for small and light. If you have been humping a telephoto zoom or a wide-aperture f/2.8 “pro” mid-range zoom lens around your neck or in your camera bag, grab a 50mm lens and watch your chiropractic copays vanish overnight.

Regardless of how big your camera is, snapping a 50mm on to the front of it will change the way your arms and back approach your photographs.

Cost

We live in a world where four-figure lenses are becoming commonplace. Ugh.

The 50mm lens, especially ones with f/1.8 or f/2 apertures, can be purchased for the cost of a nice dinner for two in Manhattan (with drinks). On the used market, they can be had for the price of dinner for one—or a few inexpensive New York City lunches.

A superlative lens for a fraction of the cost of a professional zoom? Sign me up!

Optics

In general, prime lenses outperform their zoom counterparts in optical quality. Don’t get me wrong, zooms today are incredibly good—good to the point where only the pixel peepers will tell zoom from prime—but it is the prime lens that still has the overall advantage of a more basic optical formula and mechanical simplicity. When it comes to sharpness, chromatic aberrations, and distortion—Advantage: prime. For me, it turned out that the sharpest and least distorted lens I owned was the very first lens I owned, and the one that sat on a bookshelf for years.

Looking for shallow depth of field? Put your f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens on the shelf and mount your 50mm. Open up the aperture and watch the rest of the world melt away.

Is your f/5.6 aperture kit lens not getting you the bokeh you crave? Twist on a 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens, go wide open, focus on a close subject, and experience bokeh like you read about.

Darkness

It’s dark out there. The key to better and less blurry low-light images isn’t only magical low-noise/high ISO cameras, it is a large aperture. Just as your zoom lenses limit the shallowness of your depth of field and restrict your bokeh because of their comparatively narrow aperture openings, the wide-aperture 50mm lens is just the right cure for low-light handheld photography.

Versatility

Of course, the advantage of a kit lens is versatility. But the prime lens is not a one-trick-pony. Representing the “normal” focal length, the 50mm lens, in seeing—more or less—how we see the world, is perfectly capable of capturing scenic vistas, a moment on a busy sidewalk, a close-up of a spring flower, or a portrait of a beautiful face. The 50mm is a jack-of-all-trades lens and a master of almost everything photographic.

The Anti-Kit Lens

A huge majority of interchangeable-lens cameras are sold today with “kit lenses.” There is nothing wrong with this and, to be honest, a pair of quality zoom lenses is the fastest way that new interchangeable-lens photographers can explore the world around them. And, for many photographers, the kit lens or lenses is/are 100% sufficient.

But say you’ve been bitten by the bug and you want to improve your photography, technically and creatively. I believe the single fastest way to get on that track is by shooting a quality prime lens—likely a 50mm.

The HC-B Connection

Take in all the above and add to the argument that Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the greatest street photographers of all time, took the 50mm as his lens of choice.

Let’s Go Shopping

So, grab a 50mm lens and start shooting, right? Not so fast—almost every camera and lens manufacturer has filled the market with multiple 50mm choices. Let’s look at what your options are to get your absolute next favorite lens, regardless of your camera system or sensor size.

The list includes 50mm lenses for full-frame cameras and lenses that have an approximate 50mm equivalent field of view when used with smaller APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras.

Note 1: I am including 40mm lenses as some companies have made some Nifty Fifty-like lenses that measure between 40 and 50mm.

Note 2: I am not including 50mm lenses made for non-full-frame cameras.

To help you on the search for your magical 50mm, or 50mm equivalent lens, here are some helpful links and notes!

Canon

Canon EOS EF (Full-Frame)

Canon EOS R (Full-Frame)

Canon EOS EF-S (APS-C) [32mm = 50mm equivalent field of view on Canon APS-C]

Canon EOS EF-M (APS-C) [32mm = 50mm equivalent field of view on Canon APS-C]

FUJIFILM

FUJIFILM X [35mm = 50mm equivalent field of view on FUJIFILM APS-C]

Leica

Leica M (Full-Frame)

Leica L-mount (Full-Frame)

Micro Four Thirds

Panasonic and Olympus [25mm = 50mm equivalent field of view on Micro Four Thirds]

Nikon

Nikon F – FX (Full-Frame)

Nikon Z – FX (Full-Frame)

Nikon F – DX (APS-C) [35mm = 50mm equivalent field of view on Nikon APS-C]

Nikon Z – DX (APS-C) [35mm = 50mm equivalent field of view on Nikon APS-C]

Note: Due to the fact that Nikon still makes many of its classic older lenses, buyers should verify compatibility when it comes to aperture rings and autofocus. Some Nikon cameras require that the lens has a manual aperture ring to change the aperture. Other Nikon cameras will only work with certain autofocus lenses. The F-mount has been around for decades, so F-mount lenses generally fit on F-mount cameras, but functionality between the lenses and cameras can be affected. If you are confused by the different options, email [email protected], call us at 866-597-8941, or leave a comment below.

Pentax

Pentax K (Full-Frame)

Pentax K (APS-C) [35mm = 50mm equivalent field of view on Pentax APS-C]

Panasonic

See Leica L-mount above

Sigma

Sigma SA (Full-Frame)

Sigma SA (APS-C) [35mm = 50mm equivalent field of view on Sigma APS-C]

Sony

Sony E (Full-Frame)

Sony E (APS-C) [35mm = 50mm equivalent field of view on Sony APS-C]

Sony A (Full-Frame)

Sony A (APS-C) [35mm = 50mm equivalent field of view on Sony APS-C]

Where do you stand on the 50mm lens? Is it a necessity? Do you think it is the best lens for beginners? Has it been made obsolete by zooms? Is it your go-to lens or are you curious to try one? Let us know in the Comments section, below.

Items discussed in article

136 Comments

Great article Todd. Looking forward to receiving my Canon EF 50 mm 1.8 STM in a couple of days! ( from B&H of course!) Since I switched to digital ( 6D) after Canon would no longer repair my EOS 3 I hadn’t invested in primes other than an 85 mm, but I’m thinking I really will enjoy this lens. 

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the kind words!

Great choice on a lens there. The rumor on the street (from some) is that the Canon 50mm f/1.8 is better than their 50mm f/1.4. I know this was the case with the Nikon based on personal experience. There are "sleeper" lenses on the market and the 50mm f/1.8s are definitely in that category!

Thanks for reading and thanks for shopping at B&H!

Best,

Todd

Shot an entire wedding once (from entrance of the bride in mid-afternoon sun to the last dance late at night) using just the Nikon 50f/1.8D. It can be done!

Hey Don,

Awesome stuff! I am sure you finished the day of shooting without a sore neck, shoulder, or back as well!

Legend has it that famed aircraft designer Kelly Johnson was an ace golfer and only used a 7-iron. :)

Thanks for sharing and thanks for reading Explora!

Best,

Todd

Tod:

I really enjoyed your article and all the comments. Very instructive.

I have a nikor 50mm f/1.2 manual that I have enjoyed for many years on my F3 HP but I have received a lot of critisisms because of the supposed low quality of the f/1.2. Can I please have your expert opinion. Thank you.

Hi Jean-Claude,

Thank you for the kind words! I appreciate it!

I am glad you asked about the Nikon 50mm f/1.2!

I own that lens and I found it to be the best 50mm Nikon that I have ever used. The caveat there is that I have not used the "modern" 50mm G lenses.

At f/1.2 I wouldn't say that the lens has "low quality," but it is definitely not sharp at f/1.2...anywhere in the frame. It does have an interesting ethereal feel at f/1.2 and some have even said it makes the images look medium-format-like. I only shoot at f/1.2 if I know that ultimate sharpness is not my goal.

Having said that, I find that the lens is as sharp at f/2 as it is at f/8 and that is and amazing characteristic for any lens. I regularly shoot that lens at f/2 on an APS-C camera and get great results. I even do astrophotos with it at f/2 and love the results. Oh, and the sunstars are amazing, too!

So, embrace that 50mm f/1.2. Now that it is discontinued, there will be a growing number of shooters who will wish they had one in their bag!

Also, its a beautiful lens to use and just admire! Thanks for reading!

Best,

Todd

I agree!  I agree!  I agree!  I am (should be) a committed ;-) prime lens user for my commitment to prime lenses.  I cut my teeth, so to speak, on an inexpensive film 35 mm SLR with a 50 mm KIT lens.  I was deep into another system before I bought my first zoom lens (that was not my second lens), and that was a 70-200 mm lens that I rarely used.  When I first started with my present DSLR APS-C system that came with a mediocre zoom, I bought 2 full frame lenses, 35 and 50 mm, planning for a future purchase of a full frame camera.  Those lenses are still favorites, despite the fact that I have wide angle, telephoto and zoom lenses for the system.  More often than not, still, my high tech zoom apparatus has cost me nothing and consists of only 2 moving parts: my feet.

Hi Anton,

Thanks for helping me not feel alone! Looking forward to seeing you (and your prime lenses) in the asylum quad! :)

I gravitated from primes to zooms and then, when I switched to FUJIFILM, back to primes. I own only one zoom for the FUJIFILM system—the wonderful 18-55mm "kit" lens that rarely gets used.

Keep those feet moving and keep on shooting!

Best,

Todd

Seems odd that in your discussion of 50mm lenses (very helpful), your link to full-frame Nikon lenses leads off with a Canon 70-200mm lens, followed by other non-Nikon lenses.  A link to all of the Nikon or Nikon-fit 50mm lenses might be more helpful.

Hi John,

Something happened to that link.

It should be updated/fixed soon!

Thanks for letting us know about the erroneous results and checking our work!

Best,

Todd

I believe in Murphy's Law - the chances that the lens attached to your camera is the correct lens for the shot is inversely proportional to how good the shot would have been if you had the right lens on the camera. A light 28-70mm f/2.8 is a better walk around lens than a 50mm prime.

Hi harold,

Very funny and clever. May I suggest an all-in-one zoom for you? :)

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/buying-guide/all-one-zoom-lens-roundup

Thank you for reading!

Best,

Todd

Very informative! I enjoyed reading your article. I have a Canon EOS Rebel t6i camera and EFS 18-55 mm and 55-250 mm lenses. I am very new to photography and still learning. Please suggest to me which lens should I buy for my better photography? Thanks in advance.

Aside from a 50mm lens such as the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens, BH # CA5018EFSTM, it would also be helpful to have a wide angle zoom.  One such lens is the Tokina atx 11-16mm f/2.8 CF Lens for Canon EF, BH # TO111628CFC.

http://bhpho.to/37ULDqS

http://bhpho.to/3bUkcMJ

 

Hi Anita,

Kirk has some good recommendations there, but if you want a prime lens that is close to the traditional "50mm field of view" your only real option for Canon EF-S (APS-C) cameras is the SIgma 30mm f/1.4. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/918894-REG/sigma_30mm_f_1_4_dc_hsm.html

I am glad you enjoyed the article! Thanks for stopping by and let us know if you have more questions!

Great information, I am a newbie and like to start on my journey. I have a Nikon D3300,  which 50 mm lens would you recommend for my camera, something that is not too expensive but helps me take clear pictures. Thanks in advance. 

The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens, B&H # NI5018GAF would be a solid option to consider for use with your D3500. It will give you an equivalent focal length of 75mm on a DX sensor.

https://bhpho.to/2tzpAoj

Thank you Kirk! I enjoyed your article and I am also a newbie, using a Nikon D3500. I appreciate this information!

Great article on this subject. My challenge now is how to determine the various benefits vs cost of the Canon 50's.

1.2 vs 1.4 vs 1.8    I now have the Canon EOS R and I don't think I can find the $'s for the 1.2 RF lens, so...anything you can add to the other EF choices?

Thanks,

Tom

Hey Thomas,

Thanks for the praise on the article!

Great question! Before I answer, I will qualify my statement by saying that I have never been a Canon shooter, but I do know a bunch of them and I have discussed their 50mm options several times.

Having said that, I have heard, many times over the years, that the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 (a lens I own and love) is superior to the Canon 50mm f/1.8 when compared directly. That would lead me to send you to the Canon 50mm f/1.4 (or the f/1.2) in your search. The disadvantage of the 50mm f/1.2 (EF and R version), besides cost, is the size of the lens. You aren't really dealing with a "Nifty Fifty" there...it is a big lens. My guess is that there will be some less expensive 50mm's available for the R soon...you might even search the rumors websites to see if there is any buzz. I just checked the Canon R lens roadmap and there aren't any 50's mentioned. :(

My $0.02...get a used (or new) 50mm f/1.4 and enjoy it until something newer comes out for the R mount. If you want to start saving now for the R, get a 50mm f/1.8 and have fun with it! It is a decent lens, but could be better.

Let me know if you have follow-ups, Thomas! Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the kind words!

The Canon 50mm f/1.8 is an excellent lens, and also smaller, lighter, cheaper, and (if I'm not mistaken) sharper than the Canon 50mm f/1.4, and you lose only half an f-stop.  BUT since you're talking EOS R, and because as the article above addresses not only 50mm lenses but also 35mm lenses, I would most highly recommend the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM lens.  It's small, light, f/1.8 fast, relatively inexpensive, super sharp, and you also get image stabilization and macro capability.  It's a brilliant lens!

Hi Arthur,

Thanks for the comment!

I have heard conflicting reports on the Canon 50mm f/1.8 vs. f/1.4 over the years. I do know that the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 was always regarded as superior to the f/1.4 from Nikon...and the original f/1.8's cost less than $100 way back when! I am not sure if the newer ones have the same reputation.

Good to know about the Canon RF 35mm!

Thanks for reading!

Best,

Todd

The everyday carry focal length I like the most is 35mm. I like 50mm focal length too, but I appreciate that I can get more in the frame with a 35mm than with a 50mm. When carrying primes, thought, I like carrying my 25mm (Batis) and my 55mm (Sony). They make a good pair. If I have extra space, I love bringing along my Samyang 135mm, too.

Good stuff, Jonathan! Thanks for sharing your experience! 

You and Shawn Steiner can be best friends now! https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/buying-guide/lens-every-photographer-should-have-and-use-35mm

Thanks for stopping by!

For Sony E (APS-C), any reason you recommend the Sigma Contemporary over the Art? Just b/c it's faster, or other considerations too? Thanks. 

Hey Jason,

The list above isn't necessarily recommendations, it is to show what is available in these focal lengths. Did we miss a Sigma for Sony E APS-C?

Let us know!

Yeah, the Sigma 30 f/2.8 DN Art lens. Precursor to the Sigma 1.4 Contemporary on your list, but still in production and available at B&H.

Cons: Not as fast as the Contemporary, obviously, so can't compete in terms of depth of field, low-light performance, or bokeh. Also only supports phase-detect autofocus in the very center, so not ideal for subjects moving quickly across the frame.

Pros: Significantly cheaper and far more compact than the Contemporary, and great bang-for-the buck in terms of image quality. Both the labs and the in-the-field reviewers agree this lens should cost more than it does. Theoretically the Art line is also supposed to have slightly better build quality and better optics than the Contemporary, though there are those who suggest that's more marketing talk than anything else.

Ahhh! That one snuck by. Thanks, Jason!

We will update the list above!

Funny. When I bought my first DSLR (Nikon D5100) back in 2011, the lens I was about to buy (18-70mm) wasn't in stock, so the first one I got was Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G. I planned to learn shooting portraits with that, as it was and still stays my main interest in photography. The lens served that purpose just perfect.

I'm feeling like it's time to upgrade and may be switch to fullframe. I know it will drastically change the field of view and not sure if it worth it. May be just take D500 and 50mm f/1.4 and keep going. Really struggling here.

You're obviously much more experienced in this than me. Got any advice?

Hey Denis,

So, the D500 and 50mm f/1.4 is a great portrait combination. As you know. And, you can stick with DX and keep on being a happy DX shooter. The D500 is a great camera. I keep telling people that it is basically a D5 without the vertical grip and a slightly smaller sensor...at a fraction of the price. It really is a professional-level APS-C camera.

Or, you can go full-frame, and still have your great 50mm that will now behave like a traditional 50mm and then you can get an 85mm or 105mm portrait lens for your portrait work. Or, you can get the D500 and an 85mm portrait lens and do portraits with that, too!

Shoot. Now I am struggling! :)

If you can resist the gravitational pull of full-frame, get the D500 and make some great photos with a small(er) and light(er) pro package!

Standing by for follow-ups! Thanks for stopping by!

You got me thinking even more...

I was just about to stop on D500 + 16-80mm lens, so I could have a new, more advanced camera and a good zoom to replace my 18-140, which is sadly not nearly as sharp as I hoped it to be. Does auto distorion control for that lens really help? Never had this feature in camera before and just corrected distortion in postprocessing. Also, would you advise to try 35mm on D500 for the real "50mm feel" or just stick with the zoom and use 35mm there?

Thanks for your articles, btw. Really helping people like me :)

Hey Denis,

First of all, no worries at all! It's my pleasure to help you and our other customers out!

Given an unlimited budget, I would get the D500 and the 16-80mm. That is a fantastic lens and a top performer. I would also grab the DX 35mm f/1.8 as your "50"...that is a great lens as well and will definitely not break the bank. I cant speak for your finances, but adding that 35mm f/1.8 to the pile when you are making a big purchase probably is just like doubling the sales tax! And, if you live outside of NY or NJ and shopping from B&H, you aren't paying taxes anyway!

You can use it for low-light work or for when you want to travel super light. Your 50mm is also your low light option and a great portrait lens.

Standing by for more follow-ups! Let me know what you figure out!

I own the Sony/Zeis 55mm and it is a great lens, extremely sharp with beautiful bokeh, but the 50mm I use most is the Sony FE 50mm F2.8 macro.  A decent lens, light enough to carry and use in most situations, and to take macros.

Good stuff, Mike! Thanks for sharing your experience and stopping by Explora!

True, you guys also forgot to add Sony's 55mm FE in the Sony FE mount list! Great lens.

True, but I had to draw the line somewhere! If I allowed 55mm lenses, then I might have to allow 56mm lenses. And what about that legendary Nikon 58mm? Oops, now we are close to the 60mm lens focal length....

Before you know it, we have an article that talks about every lens ever made. :)

I have the Canon 50/1.4 and like it a bunch (couldn't swing the 1.2 at the time). I'm really wanting to dip a toe into macro. Would this 50 paired with an extension tube or a bellows be a decent setup? Or should I get a dedicated macro lens? And yes I did read your macro article ;)  Thanks for all the effort you put into your articles. 

Hey Dale,

If you were a Nikon shooter, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend some classic, and very inexpensive Nikon macro glass. Unfortunately, there are not similar older offerings from Canon.

You could, if you were adventurous enough, get a Canon to Nikon adapter and shoot a classic Nikon macro lens on your Canon. Crazier things have been tried!

If you just want to dip a toe into macro, tubes would be the way to go. Bellows are pretty extreme—more like diving in head first! If you think you will be enjoying it, you might want to adapt the Nikon 55mm f/2.8 (check the Used Store...they appear there often) as it will be easy on the check book. Or, you could always rent a Canon macro lens and see if you enjoy it before making the plunge.

Standing by for follow-ups! Thanks for the kind words!

so would you suggest the 50mm f/1.8 as a good starter lens for a beginner? i'm on the fence betweem the 50mm or the 15-85mm f/3.5. not sure if i should get both or just the one. buying a canon 80d body to go with it. i've also read that macro lenses can be a good all around lens, but not sure if that would be getting ahead of myself.

Hey suzanne,

That is a toss up. There are definitely two-schools of thought. The zoom is versatile and many people prefer them. It kind of depends on your approach to photography. If you are more serious about the art and craft, the 50mm might be the way to go. If you are a casual shooter, the zoom will serve you well.

Remember, the Canon 80D is an APS-C-sized sensor, so the 30mm lens I mentioned above on the list will give you the nearest thing to the 50mm experience. 

That is just my opinion...it all boils down to your preference in the end. But, you can't go wrong with a good prime lens!

Todd,

Thanks for your response. My goal is to develop a solid understanding of the dslr and the art of photography.  I guess that's why I'm putting so much thought into my starter lens.  Whatever I end up getting will have to serve me well for a while (at least a year).  So I want to choose wisely.  Based on all the reading I've done, I favor the idea of the prime lens.  So taking into account the crop factor for the 80d, I was thinking perhaps the canon EF 35mm f 2 IS USM (35mm equivalant would be 56mm). Would that be close enough to the 50mm lens to get the same benefits? In the meantime, I will take a look see at the sigma 30mm lens you mentioned. But why am I hesistant to go with non-canon lenses?? 

Btw, I am enjoying reading your articles. I've learned a lot and you've made me laugh too. Thanks!

ok so i just read your answer to mr enggaard's question below me. i hear you. i will ponder my options, but it looks like that 35mm will be an decent lens to learn and grow with.  thanks for taking the time to answer our many many questions. 

You are very welcome. It is my pleasure to help others with their photography! Cheers!

Hey suzanne,

Sorry for the delay in replying...I was working at a night photo workshop with the National Parks at Night crew in Cape Cod. Very fun!

I like that you are leaning towards a prime lens for your serious pursuit of the art. That Canon 35mm will serve you well, at a slightly longer reach than a standard 50mm lens. But, if you aren't familiar with the 50mm experience, you won't really be walking around thinking that your field of view is any difference. Right?

Sigma has a great reputation and has been making some really nice lenses of late, but you are not alone in hesitating to go "off-brand." Many of us have the same hesitation.

Thanks so much for the kind words! Any laughter was purely accidental as I am always deadly serious in my articles! :)

Thank you for a very interesting article. I have a Canon APS-C, so is it then your recommondation to go for a prime ~35 mm instead of a 50 mm?

Regards Peter

Hey Peter,

With APS-C, I would go for the 35mm for the "50 feel."

But, don't shirk the 50, as, on APS-C, it makes a great portrait lens.

Thanks for reading and thanks for the question!

Excellent article Todd. Back in 1971 the Navy exchange in Japan only offered a few kits to ship out to the hinterlands (Diego Garcia). Our photographer's mates were using Pentax and Nikon so I went with the Pentax and still have the original kit including the 50mm 1.4. Today I have acquired Pentax F/50 1.4 and 1.7 and M42 Mamiya Sekor 55 plus the 50 mm for my Nikon F2 Photomic for film. The 50s were the backbone of composition, color, and perspective. They taught all of that back when a zoom was moving your feet as much as necessary to the desired framing. The other thing that sticks out especially on the older lenses is the color renditioning from the glass coatings (especially the Pentaxes) and how the saturation and sharpness hold up so well today. For much of the vintage woodworking tool images that I do, that 35 year old Pentax 50mm 1.7 will bring out the grain of Rosewood, Mahogany, and Fiddleback Maple superbly. Again, thanks for the well written article

Hey Lou,

Thank you for the kind words and thank you for your service! I always thought that PH was the best rate you could do in the Navy. Had I not been an aviator, I would have gone PH!

It is really amazing how sharp and sweet an inexpensive 50mm lens can be!

Thanks for stopping by and Go Navy!

I have a Canon APS-C and use the EF35 f2.0 as my "Niffty 56".  Very pleased with it.

Thanks for the article.

Steve

Thanks for stopping by, Steve!

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