The Beauty Of The 50 mm Lens

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Ricardo41, May 26, 2004.

  1. Ricardo41

    Ricardo41 Member

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    I recently got back into photography. The first thing I did was to get rid of all the cheap ultra-slow zoom lenses I had acquired (or was given) over the years and to return shooting with nothing more than a Nikkor 50 mm AF lens (hoisted to a Nikon N 80).

    I had completely forgotten how pleasurable and satisfying it is to shoot with a 50 mm lens. You actually have to think about composition and framing, rather than mindlessly zooming in on and out of objects. You have to move your body, use your legs, get down on the ground, etc. to get the image you want. Plus, I had also forgotten how much creativity in terms of using available light a fast lens will give you.

    We might say that excessive use of zoom is akin to eating at McDonald's every day: a quick fix with little nourishment. A 50 mm lens gives you that slow-cooked feeling of getting a real meal. (Obviously, some photographic assignments require zoom lenses).

    BTW, if anyone is interested, I posted a picture of how winters look up-close in upstate New York in the gallery section.
     
  2. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Zoom rings and feet are often mistaken for one another. Feet control perspective and how objects within the frame relate to one another. Zoom controls how those objects relate to the edges of the rectangle. They are different functions.

    That said, I like my Zeiss primes -- even on the digi. Having a light, fast, pocketable and non-distorting 28mm on my Contax can't be beat.
     
  3. Grady O

    Grady O Member

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    I use all primes as well. I only own one lens for each camera I own. 35mm for the Leica, 80mm for the Hasselblad, and I can't remember whats on the crown graphic, but it's equal to a 50mm. It just makes things easier working in the field not worrying about what lens you are using.
     
  4. mark

    mark Member

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    The problem arises when you want to compress the fore and back grounds. That is where a zoom is most handy. I liked my prime lenses but it really got tedious going from a 24 to a 50 to an 80 to a 200 etc...With a 35-80 and an 80-200 I only have to carry three lenses. Nothing will replace the 24. Since I really don't need speed-rocks and trees are not hard to track with a camera-I do not miss the speed from the prime lenses.

    You are right about legs being an over looked method of getting close to something.
     
  5. David R Munson

    David R Munson Member

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    When I have a number of different lenses available to me, I tend to use all of them on a long enough time scale. But you know what? 95% of the time it's whatever focal length I have available that is closest to a "normal" focal length for a given format. A wide or long lens is handy sometimes and if I had the money I'd have a full complement of lenses for all my cameras. But for now, I'm content to stick to normal focal lengths. I have a 50/1.2 on my Nikon and I love it to death. I'll probably pick up a 105/1.8 eventually and maybe a 24/2, but even if I do I can guarantee I'll still mostly use the 50mm.

    When I first got into photography, I used my father's gear and had a range of lenses from 28mm to 135mm, but right off the bat took to the 50mm lens. It just fit. It's as simple as that. And to this day, the 50mm just fits me more than anything else. I see no reason to change. There isn't much I've wanted to do that I've ever not been able to do with the 50mm.

    Some people seem to have a grudge against the 50mm. I have a word for them - FOOLS! :smile:
     
  6. pierre

    pierre Member

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    There's a place for everything, really. A 50mm is nice to have sometimes, but so is a 24, a 35, and an 85. A zoom is nice to have on the camera if you don't happen to want to carry separate lenses. I only had a 50mm lens for very a long time when I first started in 35mm photography 3 decades ago. Now, I appreciate having other focal lengths, but, if I could only have one lens, it might be a 35mm, or it might be a 50, not sure.