There are so many different opinions about using a 50mm lens and I completely understand that everyone see and observe things differently according to their own tastes. And this post is going to be from my perspective and about what I learned from using a 50mm lens for a long time.
Now, I MUST say that this lens is what inspired me to become a better photographer. And im pretty sure that these would be the same reasons (many more) which would make anyone a better observer. I would definitely say that this is one of the must have lenses every beginner should have to practice with.
Alright, now what is so special about 50mm lens that almost everyone go crazy about?
Crisp & Clear images: The images which came out of my Nikon 50mm f/1.8g lens were really sharp, crisp and clear. From the first shot I with that lens, I was totally loving it. It almost looked as if it came out of an editing software(mind you, I started using 50mm lens far before I even knew what post processing or even lightroom was and long long before I started to shoot RAW).
The crispness of images made myself proud and satisfaction from what I did. That just inspired me abundantly to click more pictures and perfected my skills.
Bokeh/Blurry background: Oh boy, oh boy. I bet this is one thing every beginner would love to have in their pictures. The background was compressed nice and clean to deliver great Bokeh effect. I got to learn to work with Aperture now. It made me an Aperture Guy… lol
Seriously though, it made me feel like a professional phot guy.
Because that is what we all are used to see from different professional portrait photographs and such. So I tried to perfect my skills and ended up learning to control the Bokeh with aperture control.
Composition: I would recommend to any beginner that it is a must to have a lens with any of the following focal l
engths: 35mm, 50mm or 85mm.Helps a lot to learn about composing.
Well in my opinion, 50mm works great from the above mentioned three because, 35 too much room around the subjects while 85mm makes it too tight. Also, 50mm is the equivalent focal length human eyes see objects.
I found myself moving back and forth, to sides of the subject a lot when I started using my Nikon 50mm 1.8g lens. As a matter of fact, let it be any 50mm lens in your case; you’d find yourself doing the same. Since the focal length is fixed there is no short cuts for you to zoom in or out to get a correct composition. You got to move your position to get it right yourself.
Made me a Good Observer: This goes along with composition, but I am mentioning it as a different point here, just because it gets your attention and helps you understand what it could do to you too.
When I started out with my Nikkor 1.8g 50mm lens, I used to take shots of same subject from different angles. I started doing this accidently, but eventually it became my habit.
What did it do? It made me observe things differently and helped me a lot to study the effect of light on a subject and moreover, how the camera responded to light from different point of views. It gave me some “Wow” moments before I made it my habit to take shots from different point of views. After a while, i learned to guess how my camera would respond with different light and shades, before i take a shot. And i would look at the shot after i click it, and would say to myself; Wow, was that a close guess or what?.
All that being said, I am not saying that 50mm is the best fixed focal length that you could use as a beginner. I like using my 35mm a lot too. But once you get the feel of how these fixed focal length lenses work, you’d like using those a lot often. Moreover, along the process of getting used to it, you are programming your eyes (and brain) to see thing differently and to predict which focal length, camera settings works best to get a good composition to make your shot an amazing one every time. Practice, practice, practice… and it WILL make you a better photographer & a great Observer.
Related Video: Nikon 35mm 1.8G dx lens Video Test