What is a 50mm lens good for?

Susan Fernandez December 12 2021

A camera lens is an optical instrument that allows the user to see a real-world image and capture it on photographic film or a digital sensor. Camera lenses come in a variety of different focal lengths, which determine how wide or zoomed-in the resulting photograph will be.

50mm lenses are a versatile option for photographers because they offer both wide-angle and telephoto capabilities. They are also relatively low cost and easy to use, making them a popular choice for beginner photographers. 50mm lenses can be used for a variety of purposes, such as landscape photography, street photography, portrait photography, and product photography.

Focal lengths - what is it?

The focal length of a lens is the distance from the lens' optical center to the film or image sensor when the lens is focused on a subject at infinity. In other words, it's the measure of how "zoomed in" or "wide-angle" a particular lens is.

A 50mm lens has a focal length of 50mm, which means that it will capture an image that is approximately the same size as what the human eye sees. This makes it a versatile option for photographing both wide landscapes and close-ups of subjects.

50mm lenses are a versatile option for photographers because they offer both wide-angle and telephoto capabilities. They are also relatively low cost and easy to use, making them a popular choice for beginner photographers. 50mm lenses can be used for a variety of purposes, such as landscape photography, street photography, portrait photography, and product photography.

Focal length and 'bokeh' photos

'Bokeh' photos features:

Bokeh is a Japanese term that refers to the aesthetic quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photograph. Bokeh photos are characterized by their creamy, smooth backgrounds and beautiful, soft swirls.

The focal length of a lens can also affect the appearance of the photograph's background. Lenses with a shorter focal length tend to produce a more pronounced "bokeh" effect, which is an aesthetic quality that refers to the blurred-out background of a photo. This can be desirable for portrait and product photography, where you may want to focus the viewer's attention on the subject and not the surrounding area.

50mm lenses are particularly well-suited for creating bokeh photos because their relatively wide focal length enables them to capture a large area of the background in focus. This results in photographs with pronounced out-of-focus areas that are especially pleasing to the eye.

What are some common uses for a 50mm lens?

A 50mm lens can be used for a variety of purposes, such as landscape photography, street photography, portrait photography, and product photography.

Landscape Photography

A 50mm lens will render images that are very sharp and detailed. This makes it a good option for photographing landscapes, particularly when shooting from a nearby vantage point such as a window or balcony. The wide-angle capabilities of this lens allow you to capture expansive, sweeping views of your surroundings while keeping your subjects in focus.

Portrait Photography  

The short telephoto focal length of a 50mm lens is good for taking flattering portraits. Distortion caused by camera lenses is less apparent at this focal length, which means that facial features look more natural and aren't exaggerated the way they would be with longer lenses. The relative lack of distortion also allows you to get close to your subject without making them feel uncomfortable.

Product Photography

A 50mm optic is a good choice for photographing products because it captures sharp images and renders them evenly across the frame, which allows you to photograph your subject from any angle without worrying about distracting shadows or distorted edges. Additionally, because this focal length can be used as both a telephoto and a wide-angle option, you will only need one lens to take shots of your product from close-up and far away.

What are some disadvantages of using a 50mm lens?

The short focal length limits what types of photography you can do with a 50mm optic. Specifically, anything that requires you to stand too far away from your subject will be out of focus due to the too-wide angle of view. Additionally, because 50mm lenses are not as powerful as longer lenses, you may have difficulty photographing distant subjects without using a lot of zooms. This can result in a loss of image quality.

How do I use a 50mm lens?

A 50mm lens is easy to use and doesn't require any special equipment or techniques. Simply mount the lens onto your camera, focus on your subject, and take the picture! If you want to use the lens for landscape photography, try standing near a window or balcony to get an unobstructed view of your surroundings.

If you're using the lens for portrait photography, get close to your subject to capture their facial features in detail. And if you're shooting products, make sure that your subject is in the center of the frame and that there is plenty of space around them to avoid any distracting backgrounds.

How does a 50mm lens work with Full frame or Crop sensor cameras?

There are two main types of image sensors: full-frame and crop.

Full frame cameras have 35mm-sized sensors, while crop sensor cameras have smaller sensors around 1/2 the size. A 50mm optic has a focal length of 50mm on both full-frame and crop sensor cameras, which means that it will show approximately the same perspective on each camera type.

This makes it an ideal option for photographers who use multiple types of camera systems and want to avoid having to purchase additional lenses (and potentially other accessories like filters) when they switch from one format to another.

Advantages of 50mm lens

  • Price

50 mm lenses are some of the least expensive camera lenses available. They're typically priced at under $100, which means that they're suitable for amateur hobbyists and budget-conscious professionals.

  • Versatility

50mm lenses are good for a variety of different photography styles, ranging from portraiture to product shots to landscape shots. This flexibility makes them an excellent option for photographers who have trouble deciding on a focal length or don't want to haul around lots of extra equipment.

  • Image quality

A 50mm lens offers sharp images with accurate colors, bright contrast levels, and relatively low distortion. The lack of visual artifacts in these photos also allows you to shoot without worrying about any annoying aberrations showing in your pictures.

  • Size

50mm lenses are lightweight and compact, which makes them ideal for travel. They're small enough that you can pack several into a camera bag without taking up too much space, yet large enough to be sturdily built and easy to hold.

  • Sharpness

A 50mm lens produces uniformly sharp photos across the frame, making it an ideal choice for product photography and other types of shots where you need to capture detail from edge to edge. This level of sharpness is due to the lens's moderate focal length and its lack of distortion, which keep images looking clean and natural.

  • Low-light photographing

50mm lenses capture enough light to work well in low-light situations, which makes them suitable for indoor shots of people and objects. This is especially true if you're using the lens during the day or in a brightly lit room, as those conditions provide more than enough illumination for sharp images.

  • Speed

50mm lenses are fast, making them ideal for photographing children and other subjects that tend to move around a lot. These lenses can capture images in quick succession without any lag time or focus hunting. Additionally, their wide maximum aperture makes it easy to get shots with good exposure in low-light conditions.

  • Ease of use

A 50mm lens is simple and doesn't require any special equipment, such as tripod mounts or remote triggers, to operate. You just mount the lens on your camera and take pictures! Even if you opt for a non-auto focus model, which requires you to turn the focusing ring yourself, you will still find this design easy to use because of how lightweight it is.

5 Reasons Why You Need a 50mm lens

How can you choose the most suitable lens focal length?

When selecting a lens, it is important to first consider the camera sensor size. If you have a full-frame camera, then any lens focal length will work well with it. However, if you have a crop sensor camera, then you will need to choose a lens that is designed for that specific sensor size.

For example, a crop sensor camera can use a 50mm optic, but a zoom lens with a focal length of 50-85mm will work better because it takes into account the smaller sensor size.

Some other factors to consider when choosing a lens include

  1. The type of photography you want to do – Do you want to take portraits, landscapes, or close-ups?
  2. Your budget – Lenses can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
  3. The size and weight of the lens – Lenses come in different sizes and weights, so you need to choose one that is comfortable to hold and easy to carry around.
  4. The camera's autofocus system – Not all lenses are compatible with every camera's autofocus system. Be sure to check the lens specifications before making your purchase.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, a 50mm lens is a versatile option for beginner photographers looking to experiment with different types of photography. Its wide-angle capabilities make it good for capturing landscapes and its short telephoto focal length is great for taking flattering portraits.

Additionally, the lens is relatively low cost and easy to use, making it a good choice for beginner photographers who are just starting out. Thanks for reading!