Welcome to the world of the 50mm lens. This lens replicates the field of vision of the human eye, which is why it is called a normal lens. Due to this unassuming quality, it was a favorite for a number of legendary photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Ralph Gibson. While most people believe that a 50mm lens is only good for street photography and portraits, it can be used innovatively to shoot other genres of photography, too!
Photos by Siddharthan Raman
#1 Use Aperture Creatively
All 50mm fixed lenses available today are extremely fast, despite their low cost. Even, the cheapest 50mm lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.8. At such wide apertures, only a tiny part of your frame will be in focus. Rather than considering it is a hindrance, you can selectively focus on an important aspect of the frame. For example, your main subject can be out of focus in the background, with a subject in the foreground in focus. Alternatively only the eye of the subject may be in focus or you may capture repeating patterns using a very shallow depth-of-field.
At wider apertures, you will need to be careful about focusing. Switch to Single point auto focus, and carefully choose your focus point, since the depth-of-field will be extremely shallow.
#2 Move in Closer
The best photographs come about when there is a close interaction with the subject. Do not hesitate to move in closer to the subject while shooting their mid-shots or close-ups. A smaller working distance helps you shoot more intimate photographs and will help you be a part of the sense yourself.
#3 Shoot in Extremely Low Light
The 50mm’s wide aperture range can be your savior whenever the light levels are low. An aperture of f/2 at ISO 400 gives the same amount of light as f/5.6 at ISO 3200. A fast 50mm lens simply captures the light of your scene without needing a high ISO or long exposure.
#4 You Can Shoot Macros Too
Dedicated macro lenses are quite expensive, but you can use your 50mm lens innovatively to shoot macros too. You will need to buy or make a reversal ring (an inexpensive an easily available attachment) that will allow you to mount your lens in reverse. You may not be able to use auto focus, but this is a great, affordable alternative if you wish to shoot flowers, insects or other tiny subjects.
#5 Why Should I Use a 50mm Lens?
- Learner’s Lens: Due to the amount of control it offers, this fixed lens instills great discipline and helps you improve your skills.
- Cost: The Basic 50mm with f1.8 is the most affordable one.
- Convenience: It barely takes up space in your camera bag, and is extremely lightweight.
- Optical Quality: Despite its low price, it is optically superb due to its simple design.
- Versatility: From portraits to street, macros to landscapes, the 50mm can be used for a number of subjects.
#6 Fantastic Photos from 50mm Lens
These techniques will help you make the best use of this lens. Affordable, simple, light and a lens of many talents – the 50mm lens will not only help you enjoy different kinds of photography, but also make a better photographer.
Don’t miss to check our previous Photography Tutorials:
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- Street Photography Tips And Techniques By Thomas Leuthard
- The Importance Of Lines In Photography – An Overview With Superb Examples
- Street Photography Tips, Techniques And Inspirations
- Wide Angle Photography – An Introduction With Stunning Examples
- Essentials For Post Processing In Photography
Great tips 🙂 keep sharing !
it very useful to all & beginners very nice & wonderful thank to dedicate this very very great work hats of those people to upload 121 clicks team members to thank for the photography lovers great
Awesome photographs…. Ofcourse, I love my 50mm lens.
i also have one canon 1.8….but now it combine with my wide converter lens 0.45x ..do you hav article about wide converter technique….
Thanks for the useful tips.
Yes I do have an f2/50mm Summicron lens and I use it most of the time
i will buy one
Gonna buy one for sure .. Nice share .. May be tip and tricks with 50mm wont hurt
Great article, and great advice. The 50mm is a very over looked lens these days, as a slow, crappy zoom is what comes with most cameras, instead of the 50mm that used to come as part of the camera kit. Besides the obvious benefits, such as size, weight, sharpness and speed, it actually teaches composition and how to fill the frame. If you require to zoom in or out, you have two feet. In my opinion, learning with a zoom is a disadvantage. Just look at the most iconic photographs of our time, most of them were shot at 50mm. Thanks for that, some very sound advice.
Its Grate & Excellent Help to Improve about 50mm lens Knowledge..
A good advice. Need to get one such lens.
i m buying 50mm 1.4 😉
Great tips (Y)
I used to shoot landscapes with a 50 on full frame. Now, I’m shooting with a Voigtlander 40mm/F2 Aspherical. I like the field of view better than the 50. It’s a spectacular lens without a doubt. There’s just something about the 40mm as being “just right”.