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April 03, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Tip of the week: A fast 50 is something everyone should have in their camera bag. 50mm lenses can be found cheaply and they are extremely small and sharp. All 50's come with a fast maximum aperture for superb DOF control.  I like to keep the 50mm on the camera while out and about in the house. It is so lightweight and unobtrusive that it easy to forget that it is on the camera.

Another reason that I like to use the 50 for documentary photography is because of its role in the history of photography. 50mm lenses where one of the first lens designs for SLR cameras, this allowed them  to be included with most camera kits in years past. Because of the popularity, most family photos taken at home from the 1930s to the 1980s where shot with a 50mm if shot with a SLR. The focal length has become what many consider as a standard focal length for many photographers. I find that images taken today with a 50 have a timeless quality to them since they are aligned with so many other photos from the past. The relative ease to design a 50 has made it one of the cheapest and fastest lens designs out. Almost every manufacturer makes a 50 f/1.8 for around $100. This allows for excellent DOF control and the ability to shoot in lower light levels than most zoom lenses. Most consumer zoom lenses are around f/4 at the widest aperture at 50mm. This difference in maximum aperture would allow a 50 f/1.4 lens to let in 8x more light at its widest aperture. That's the difference between shooting at 1/25sec. and 1/200sec.

 


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