when would I need a 50mm prime lens?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by pokopelo, May 7, 2009.

  1. pokopelo

    pokopelo TPF Noob!

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    I have been looking at what lenses I need to get in order to cover a range of different styles of photography. I have seen that 50mm prime is a very popular one, I'm looking for some advise on:

    how would I use it if I had one?
    what's the most common use of this prime lens?
    what's the bennefit vs a std zoom say 18-55 which you can set at 50mm?

    many thanks for your kind advise.
     
  2. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    Personally, the only lens I use is my 50mm.

    1/2) I use it for everything! It's great for portraits and any low light situation and occasionally, I use it as a makeshift macro (since I do not have one)

    3) The 18-55 kit can be set at 50mm, but the optical quality is probably less. Also, you lack the f/1.8 aperture of the 50mm, and this greatly limits its flexibility.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Firstly, the biggest reason that you see so many referrals for the 50mm lens...is because you can buy one for less than $100.

    Secondly, a big difference between the 50mm F1.8 and the 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 is the maximum aperture. F1.8 is a lot bigger than F3.5 and a whole lot bigger than F5.6. A larger aperture has many advantages including giving you the ability to use a shallower depth of field and the big one is being able to get a faster shutter speed.

    Thirdly is the image quality. The 50mm F1.8 is a simple design and gives you great image quality. The 18-55mm is a cheap zoom lens and the image quality isn't outstanding, especially in tough shooting scenarios.

    As for how & where you would use it....anywhere & anytime.
     
  4. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    I love my little 50. It's very small, light and it's always attached to my camera. It takes exceptionally sharp images and it's very versatile in that it can practically shoot in the dark given the large aperture.

    It's a great all around lens.
     
  5. drumsforlife15

    drumsforlife15 TPF Noob!

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    I love my 50 mm 1.8 also. The 1.8 aperture is great for low light situations and shallow depth of field. I use it all the time on my 35mm SLR and my DSLR. It's great for portraits and just all-around shooting. I would say that every photographer should have one of these lenses in their kit.
     
  6. wgp1987

    wgp1987 TPF Noob!

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    50mm f1.8 rocks! my avatar was taken with that lens!
     
  7. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    I just shot this pic a few minutes ago of my son. He's sitting in a mostly dark room only illuminated by the television hanging on the wall 10 feet away.

    [​IMG]

    That's ISO 800, f/2 using my 5DMk2 and 50mm f/1.4 lens.

    Here's a bigger version: http://intempus.smugmug.com/photos/530910894_RGVTQ-X2.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
  8. EhJsNe

    EhJsNe TPF Noob!

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    well, they are cheap, excelent optical quality, large aperture.....

    Compared to the kit lens, it is much faster, usually 1.8 or 1.4 compared to 3.5 to 5.6

    With the crop factor, its eqivilent to 75mm, which is a very conveinent focal length to use, whether your walking around, or inside (the large aperture also helps indoors) a house....might be a little to much in a house tho.....

    Also, the difference between a prime and a zoom, (of equal build quality. comparing a kit lens to a high end prime or a plastic prime to a high end zoom just doesnt work) is that a prime is generally sharper, because, I beleive, they have less elements or moving parts or something, to screw up the quality.
     
  9. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    It's generally believed that since a prime has fewer elements (glass lenses if you will) it produces a sharper image. It's also believed they have better color reproduction and better contrast due to less reflected light in the body of the lens - again attributed to fewer elements being present.

    Personally, I'm not that good yet to really tell the difference in IQ. What I do like about them is that they enable me to shoot in very dark conditions without needing a flash.
     
  10. pokopelo

    pokopelo TPF Noob!

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    I really appreciatte you taking the time to do this post, it has been very very helpful to understand how this lens is useful...


    so what would be a good 50mm for my Nikon D60? does it have to be AF-S?
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2009
  11. sburatorul

    sburatorul TPF Noob!

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    i am considering getting one too but the lack of auto focus is keeping me from it... i am still in doubt. is there anyone who uses it on manual it would be great if they could share the experience. i am thinking about the 50mm 1.4 af-s but its way to expensive...
     
  12. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I do not have Nikon camera. But from what I read is, the 50mm f/1.8 will work with the D40/40x/60 except the autofocus. And the camera will let you know once it is in focus when you turn the focus ring. Like the little red lights you see in your view finder.

    So I believe if you are taking a picture of a stationary object, it is not going to be any problem. Or even for portrait type shot, I still think it is possible. However, if try to capture a photo of a squirrel running around, that is a little tough.
     

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