Nifty Fifty: The Benefits of a Fixed 50 mm Lens

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It has been often said, that one way to improve your photography is to restrict yourself gear-wise and to overcome this limitation creatively. A very popular example of restricting yourself to improve is to stick to one particular lens, in particular to a fixed focus length. A good choice, in particular on a full frame camera is to use a 50 mm fixed focus length lens. A nifty fifty has several advantages:

  • There are inexpensive fast F/1.8 versions of this lens available for both Nikon and Canon (and probably also for other brands).
  • On a full frame camera the field of view is like that of the naked eye. This allows you see through the view finder with one eye and keep the other eye open to had have a similar view which is neither enlarged, as with a telephoto lens, nor decrease, as with a wide-angle lens.
  • Of course the sharpness of these lenses are superb and unbeatable for the price.
  • Being fast lenses, it is an excellent way to practice shallow depth of field.

A nice intro on more benefits can be found on the Phototuts+ blog: A first article (Nifty Fifty: The Benefits of a Fixed 50mm Lens | Phototuts+) explains the benefits of a 50 mm lens, whereas a second article (80 Awe-Inspiring Photographs Taken With a “Nifty Fifty”) has a beautiful gallery of examples of using the nifty fifty.