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A Brief Guide To The 50mm Lens

posted in For Photographers

A Brief Guide To The 50mm Lens

The 50mm lens has quickly become my favorite lens for any almost any situation. I use it both for my professional assignments and personal work with great results.

Depending on what brand/model you use, the lens can be an f/1.8, f/1.4 or f/1.2 50mm lens. The wider the f-stop goes, the more expensive the 50mm will be.

SHOOTING IN LOW LIGHT

I’ve often found myself in situations where there is very little light to work with and the 50mm is the first lens I go to. Because of the low f-stop the lens offers, its opening can be as wide as possible to let as much of the (little) available light hit the sensor. I find this very useful in my wedding and event photography.

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To get this shot I opened up my aperture to f/1.8 to allow in as much ambient light as possible. I also fired my flash.

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Because I could use a wide f-stop for this shot (f/1.8), I could fully utilize the available light, removing the need to use a flash when capturing the image.

For the shot below, the sun had set and before taking out my strobes I wanted to get a shot of the bride against the backdrop of the city of Nairobi. It was quickly becoming dark but I wanted to show all the beautiful blues of the evening sky.

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Nikon 50mm F1.8 @ f/1.8, ISO 1250, 1/500 sec

SHARPNESS

In a studio environment I love the sharpness the 50mm gives me. This is because as a prime lens, it is built with less glass than zoom lenses like the 18-55mm lens. Less glass means sharper images.

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Nikon 50mm F1.8 @ f/10, ISO 100, 1/160 sec

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Same shot at a 100% crop. Still super sharp.

SHALLOW DEPTH OF FIELD

Sometimes I like to get more artistic with my shooting, especially during weddings. Using the shallow depth of field the 50mm offers I can blur distracting backgrounds, isolate objects and add mood and feeling to my images.

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The feet of Maasai children. I used a shallow depth of field with the 50mm to isolate them from the busy environment around them.

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Here I used a wide aperture (f/2.2) to throw the couple out of focus and draw attention to the signs they’re holding.

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An otherwise boring shot of wedding accessories is made artistic using a shallow depth of field.

No matter where I go I alway carry a 50mm with me. If you’re a beginner, I’d 100% recommend this lens for your kit.

Incase you missed it, here’s a video where I explain more about this amazing lens:

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