Using a 50mm fixed focal lens is one way to differentiate yourself by learning how to frame and move around your subject. The 50 mm has many other advantages including its compactness, cost and versatility.
This is why you should have a 50 mm fixed in your camera bag in addition to the usual zoom or comes as a kit with your case.
Of all time, the 50 mm focal length has been considered by photographers as the one that gives a closer view of what our eye sees. It is not for nothing that the silver cases were generally sold with a 50 mm f/1.8 or f/1.4 as the base lens. The 35 mm focal length is very popular with reporters and street photographers but the 50 mm remains the reference lens for many photographers as its advantages are numerous.
With the arrival of modern zooms, manufacturers have chosen to meet the demand of users wishing to change focus without having to change lens: they have then equipped the SLR with versatile zooms such as 18-55 mm, 18-105, 24-120, 28-300 or more.
If these zooms obviously allow you to photograph at the 50mm focal length, they do not replace by a fixed 50 mm focal length. here are 7 reasons to consider the use of a fixed 50 mm for your SLR.
To the attention of users of Nikon DX cases: to have a focal length equivalent to 50mm with a Nikon DX case, it is necessary to take into account the conversion factor x1.5. The 50 mm equivalent in DX is therefore a 35 mm focal length lens (35×1.5=52.5 mm by approximation).
The 50mm Fixed Focal Lens is Better Than A Zoom and Cheaper
A 50 mm f/1.8 lens trades less than 200 dollars regardless of brand. At Nikon, the AF-S Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8 is worth about 180 dollars, making it one of the least expensive fixed lenses in the Nikon range. You can find a used 50 mm f/1.8 for a hundred dollars, a 50 mm f/1.4 for barely more than double. That's one more reason not to miss.
The 50 mm is Smaller and Lighter Than A Zoom
If you've ever used an expert zoom that opens to f/4 like the Nikkor 24-120 mm, you know that the weight of the lens is a criterion to take into account. It's even worse with the pro’s zooms opening at f/2.8. And at the end of the day, it can make a difference.
The 18-55 mm zooms are less heavy than the Pro models but their weight remains higher than that of the 50 mm f/1.8.
Similarly, the compactness of the 50 mm plays in its favor. The most recent 50 mm have become overweight due to the integration of AF-S motorization but they remain more compact and lightweight than zooms.
The 50mm Fixed Focal Lens is Much Better in Low Light
Recent cases are very sensitive in low light, however, using a lens that opens to f/1.8 or f/1.4 brings undeniable comfort. You are no longer forced to increase sensitivity, you gain two or three shutter speeds depending on the case, you reduce the risk of motion blur and digital noise in your images.
The difference is very clearly felt if you use an entry-level 18-55 mm zoom that usually only opens at f/3.5. The 50 mm then brings a real plus that you will feel immediately to use.
The 50 mm Promotes Harmonious Bokehs
Thanks to its more generous aperture f/1.8 or f/1.4 - the 50 mm brings a background blur at full aperture much nicer than you can get with a zoom opening at f/3.5 or f/5.6. The diaphragm is better built, the quality of the background blur higher.
The 50 mm Has A Much Better Pique
A 50 mm f/1.8 already has a higher dive than you can get with an entry-level zoom. The quality of the construction, the optical formula makes the difference. Observe carefully the same photo taken with a fixed 50 mm and a zoom 18-55/18-105/18-200 mm and you will immediately see the difference.
In addition to the sting, distortions are generally better managed, the different aberrations also and the correction in post-treatment is facilitated by the single focal.
The other quality of the fixed 50 mm is to allow you to reduce motion blur due to larger aperture and greater compactness. The result is visible on the image, it is the general impression of sharpness that you are looking for.
The 50mm Fixed Focal Lens is for Everything
Unlike wide-angle lenses or telephoto lenses, the 50 mm can handle almost any subject. With a focus neither too short nor too long, it allows you to photograph landscapes, street scenes, portraits, close-ups.
Compactness also plays in favor of discretion: try to photograph someone with an expert or pro zoom and you will see the reaction of your subject, it recedes. With a 50 mm you will scare it less and make your photos easier.
The 50 mm Makes Travelling Easier
Because it is more compact, the fixed 50mm makes it easy for you to travel. The case-lens assembly takes up less space, fits more easily in a bag, wears more easily around the neck. If you opt for a 50mm AF Nikkor much smaller than the recent AF-S version, you will find that the optics barely outstrip the case.
When traveling, if 18-200 mm mega-zooms have your preference, choose a fixed 50 mm for evenings or situations requiring the most discreet and compact equipment possible.
All 50 mm Fixed Focal Lenses for Nikon Housings
There are several fixed 50mm models to equip your Nikon DX or FX case. Here are those that are on sale currently.
At Nikon, you have the choice between 4 different models:
- AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G, the most accessible in the range, with internal motorization – about 180 dollars.
- AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 G, the largest opening, with internal motorization – about 350 dollars.
- AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, a special edition with vintage design especially suitable for Nikon with the DF.
- AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D, the old version without internal motorization but with diaphragm ring, more compact and hardly less performance-about 135 dollars.
At the Sigma independent lenses, you have the choice between two Nikon compatible 50 mm:
- Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG EX HSM, a competitor of the Nikon F/1.4 -around 460 dollars.
- Sigma Art 50mm f/1.4 DG EX HSM, the most efficient version of the Sigma 50 mm but very expensive-about 900 dollars.
At Zeiss, we have reached the highest levels, both in terms of performance and rates.
The Zeiss Planar 50 F1, 4 ZF2 is compatible with the Nikon F mount (DX, FX) but you will have to pay about 650 dollars for this 50 mm whose focus remains manual.