The Beauty Of The 50 mm Lens

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ic-racer

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I don't think I have many prints from negatives that were exposed with a 50mm lens. It is one of my least favorite focal length on a 35mm camera. I have a drawer full of them because it seems every time someone gives me a camera, they come on the camera as a body-cap.

It is an angle of view problem that stems from the observation that the normal lenses for all my other [format] cameras are close to the diagonal of the film gate opening. That is what I am used to.

Let me go to the drawer and count them...

Yashica 50/2ML
Yashica 50/1.7ML
Yashica 50/1.4ML
Nikkor 50/1.8AFD
Planar 50/1.8 #1 Older style
Planar 50/1.8 #2 Old style
Planar 50/1.8 #3
Planar 50/1.8 #4
Planar 50/1.8 #5
Planar 50/1.4 German #1
Planar 50/1.4 German #2
Planar 50/1.4 Singapore
Jupiter-8 50/2.0
Enna Ennalyte 50/1.8
Helios 58/2 #1
Helios 58/2 #2
CZJ 50/1.8
Argus Cintagon 50/2.8
Argus Cintar 50/3.5 #1
Argus Cintar 50/3.5 #2

😖
 

faberryman

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If the 50mm lens is so great, why do people using them crop? Maybe a 55mm would be better.
 
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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.

eventually, we all come back to a 50mm; they are effective, most useful and often of surprising optical quality.
 

Sirius Glass

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If the 50mm lens is so great, why do people using them crop? Maybe a 55mm would be better.

They are too lazy to move in closer. They do not want to take a few extra steps with their feet.
 

MattKing

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If the 50mm lens is so great, why do people using them crop? Maybe a 55mm would be better.

They learned on slide film, which was then projected. 😈
I like it when my photographic equipment is generous, giving me what I first ask of it, plus a little bit extra, in case I decide I actually need more. :whistling:
 

Sirius Glass

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They learned on slide film, which was then projected. 😈
I like it when my photographic equipment is generous, giving me what I first ask of it, plus a little bit extra, in case I decide I actually need more. :whistling:

Starting out with slide film, taught me to crop before I take the photograph which is still a great practice to use.
 

bluechromis

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There is the view that large numbers of lens elements (over seven) can subtly degrade the image. I am not trying to convince anyone that is true or start an argument about this. I could not provide empirical proof this is so. Many may believe this is a myth.

But it makes sense to me. With stereo systems, audiophiles say that you want the signal path to be as simple as possible. Every additional circuit you add degrades the signal. For example, the complications involved in designing a modern autofocus fast zoom, like f/2.8, and meet a demand to have it sharp in the corners are huge and requires a lot lens elements. Lens makers would have us believe there is no downside to this complexity, no compromises. One can have one's cake and eat it. But I have trouble believing it. I do use zooms at times, but prefer primes.
 

faberryman

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There is the view that large numbers of lens elements (over seven) can subtly degrade the image. I am not trying to convince anyone that is true or start an argument about this. I could not provide empirical proof this is so. Many may believe this is a myth.

But it makes sense to me. With stereo systems, audiophiles say that you want the signal path to be as simple as possible. Every additional circuit you add degrades the signal. For example, the complications involved in designing a modern autofocus fast zoom, like f/2.8, and meet a demand to have it sharp in the corners are huge and requires a lot lens elements. Lens makers would have us believe there is no downside to this complexity, no compromises. One can have one's cake and eat it. But I have trouble believing it. I do use zooms at times, but prefer primes.

Beats me. I am not a lens designer. I sort of think that maybe there is a reason we moved on from a meniscus lens, so maybe the notion that the simplest path is the best may not hold with respect to optical design. I don't know how many lens elements any of my lenses have. I guess I could look that up if I needed to know, but I can't think of a reason I would need to know. I uses primes and zooms depending on what I want or need to use at the time.
 

eli griggs

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I mainly use my F1 Canons, n and N models, and generally carry four 50's/55's in a small bag.

First is a 50 1.4 SSC, a 3.5 SSC macro, a Pentax M42 1.4 super tak. and a M44-2, plus on occasion a Canon SC 1.8 in case I need it.

A nice Zeiss in M42 would be nice or the Canon L glass, but I'm generally very happy with what I've got in my bag, which carries a Canon 24mm 2.8 SSC, a Canon 2.8 SSC 100mm and a 200mm M42, plus the Canon "P" adapter.

Together with a Canon Auto Bellows and ext. tubes, those 50's give me a lot of satisfaction and I'm rarely no able to use a fifty for the shots I want
 

cliveh

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alanrockwood

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My first 35mm camera was an Exakta with a 58mm f/2.0 auto biotar lens. I love the angle of view of a 58mm lens. The angle of view of a 50mm lens is close to that of a 58mm, and maybe it's just my imagination, but to my eye the angle of view of a 58mm lens seems a little more natural than the angle of view of a 50mm lens.

These days I have a Tamron 45mm f/1.8 lens with image stabilization (i.e. VC in Tamron-talk) for my Canon cameras. I like the lens a lot, but I kind of wish it had a bit longer focal length than 45mm.

I also have a Tamron 85mm f/1.8 lens with image stabilization. I don't think Tamron makes either of these lenses anymore. They still make a 35mm image stabilized lens, but 35mm is too close to the 45mm lens to justify getting it.
 
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