The Confessions of a 50mm Lens Addict

All My 50s 20130908Gservo-0138

Honestly, you may not believe the amount of 50mm lenses I own. Ever since I got my first one, I’ve been infatuated with them. They are not just fashion accessories, they are fantastic tools. I don’t use 50mm lenses everyday, however I find uses for, most of them, here and there. You see, the 50mm focal length can do almost anything. The 50mm lens is a normal lens–its perspective closely matches the human eye. They are great examples of what prime lenses should be as well. At first glance they all seem to do basically the same thing.

However they are not all created equal. That’s a good thing.

I have few. Some say I have too many. However, I have found a way to incorporate them into my photography.

Nikkor 50mm f1.8 D

Taken with the 50mm 1.8D

Taken with the 50mm F  1.8D on a Nikon D90

This was my first 50mm lens and it was an eye opener. When I purchased the Nikon 50mm F1.8D, I only had the Nikon D90. The Nikon 50mm F1.8D is a full frame lens, meant for cameras like the Nikon D700. On the Nikon D90 it was 75mm which I thought would be great for portraits, however it was fantastic for every other type of photography as well. When I finally got this lens on a full frame camera it was brilliant.

Why I use it?

I started keeping this lens with me at all times after i got the Nikon D700. It was small light and fast. Out of all my 50s it’s the one I use the most. It’s saved my bacon on a few occasions. Once I dropped a lens and I had this in the bag. I kept calm, carried on, and finished the event. My clients were happy.

Nikkor 50mm f1.8E

Taken with the 50mm 1.8E

Taken with the 50mm F 1.8E on Nikon D700

I first ran across the Nikon 50mm 1.8E at coffee common. I saw a photographer shoot and entire event with it. I picked one up after I reviewed the Rokinon 35mm F 1.4. I had developed an obsession with manually focusing. Manually focusing made my photography life more affordable. The Nikon 50mm F 1.8E was from a bygone error of cheap film cameras. This lens was originally meant for the Nikon EM Film camera.

Why I use it?

I use the Nikon 50mm f1.8E lens as a palate cleanser. This lens also helped me learn to appreciate older Nikon lenses. I started uses AiS lenses and I have saved a ton of money.

Nikon 50mm f1.8 G

Taken with the 50mm 1.8G

Taken with the 50mm F1.8G on Nikon D5100

This is the newest 50mm lens from Nikon. The Nikon 50mm F1.8G is a different beast altogether. A little beefier than the f1.8D and also an improvement this lens is sharp and fast. I use this lens mostly on DX Cameras Like the Nikon D3200. It has an internal motor allowing it to work on all of Nikon digital DLSRs .

Why I use it?

This lens of perfect for testing new Nikon cameras. When we review Nikon cameras here on The Phoblographer I can pass it around to other team members when needed and it always works well.

Nikkor 50mm F2

Taken with the 50mm F2

Taken with the 50mm F2 on Nikon D700

This lens came to me by accident. When I realized I was not completely satisfied with the Nikon Em film camera I purchased a Nikon FE. This camera came with the Nikkor 50mm F2 as a kit. It was a pleasant surprise. When I tested the lens I found it sharp and pleasant to work with but the Nikon f1.8 E was a better lens. However all was not lost, it had a use for it.

Why I use it?

The Nikon 50mm F2 has become a teaching tool. If I’m working with other Nikon photographers who want to work with an old lens, I freely lend this one out. It helps people realize if manually focusing is for them.

50mm f1.2

Taken with the 50mm F 1.2

Taken with the 50mm F 1.2 on Nikon D700

This lens made me tremble when I found out I won it in an auction . The Nikon 50mm F1.2 is the one 50mm lens that has yet to be replaced. Many suggested I should jut get the NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4 AIS Manual Focus Lens but I needed to own this lens instead. I still get f1.4 functionality as well.

The crazy thing is Nikon still makes the NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens. You can still get it new. It is the closest thing for me to owning the exotic ultra-fast lenses like the Leica f/0.95 Noctilux. It is also way more affordable.

Why do I use it?

It falls completely in line with my with one of my favorite things, coffee photography. Yes any of the previous lenses mentioned here would do, but having f1.2 makes all the difference for me.

What 50mm is Right for You?

Taken with the 50mm 1.2 on the Nikon D90

Taken with the 50mm 1.2 on the Nikon D90

You don’t have to be like me and have a lot of 50mm lenses. I’m weird. I do recommend having at least one 50mm lens however. One of the best all around 50mm lenses is the one I don’t own, the Sigma 50 f 1.4. There is a version of a 50mm lens for almost every interchangeable lens camera.

Owning a 50mm lens is practical, and sensible. Its something you will never regret as a photographer. 

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Gevon Servo

Gevon Servo aka @GServo is an eclectic, NJ/NY Photographer. He’s a Nikon shooter, by choice nevertheless, will always test any piece of photography equipment. He believes that like ‘Photography’, ‘Coffee’,’Beer’ and ‘Comics Books’ and other things ‘Geek’ “You must try everything once to discover what you want to try again.