After many years of experience using different lenses, I now have resorted to only using a single prime lens. I started with a 50mm then added an 85mm, 35mm, 100mm and 28mm to my collection, and I’ve played around with zoom lenses. But now I exclusively use a 50mm lens. No more zooms and no more choices. But why would I volunteer to limit myself?
What is the best lens for street photography? There are many articles and discussions on this topic, and every photographer has their own suggestion and a personal favorite. In the new Kai Wong’s video (a.k.a.
Digital rev Kai) , you can see all three of these lenses compared in the streets of Hong Kong. So, what’s the judgement?
Sony have today announced the release of the full frame Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro lens. This announcement doubles the number of lenses in their full frame macro range to two. It also gives those looking a “standard” lens an option other than the FE 50mm f/1.8, and the ability to focus much closer for 1:1 magnification.
It features many of the same design and features of its longer sibling, the FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens. Of course, this one has no image stabilisation. It does, however include dust and moisture resistant, focus-range limiter, focus-mode switches and a focus-hold button.
It’s been a long time coming for Sony shooters, but they now have an official fast standard lens available with the newly announced Sony Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA. No longer do you need to mess around with metabones adapters and put up with limited autofocus capabilities, at least, not if you want a 50mm f/1.4.
Similar in construction to the FE 35mm f/1.4, the 50mm is weather sealed, and uses Sony’s Super Sonic Wave Motor for fast and near-silent autofocus. The aperture ring can also be “declicked”, if desired for video shooters.
Zeiss has launched its new line of full frame primes for Canon and Nikon DSLRs, called Milvus, with no less than six new lenses being announced today.
Using an adapter, the Milvus lenses can also be used with Sony’s α7 mirrorless system.
The lenses’ high contrast rendition, uniform color characteristics and low level of stray light are said to make them ideal for HDR videos and resolutions of 6K and above.
Ranging in focal length from 21mm to 100mm, including two macro lenses, all the Milvus lenses are manually focused.
So, a while back Chinese flash maker Yongnuo stepped into the optics realm and started making a 50mm 1.8 (aka the Nifty Fifty, aka fantastic plastic, aka, your second lens).
The Nifty fifty was never an expensive lens, the Canon version is about $115, but if you are super frugal you may be tempted to check the $60 cheaper Yongnuo lens. Photographers Tony & Chelsea took the lens for a spin comparing it with the twice as expensive Canon version.
I’ve been a professional photographer for 6 years and like most photographers I have invested in a number of high quality lenses (check my kit over at InMyBag), but have recently concluded that this has been a waste of money.
It’s not that these are not great lenses, but I truly prefer to use a single lens.
At first, I used other lenses and always changed lenses during the shoot. Once I started using my 50 mm prime lens, I slowly started using the others less and less, until now I shoot everything with that ones.
I’ve hesitated from selling my other lenses because they can occasionally be useful for some jobs, but what 50 mm gives to me, it’s totally great. I feel comfortable with it, and now I know it so well, that I really do use it constantly.
So, here’s why I think that you only need one lens to make world class images:
Right off the bat I have to clear up a misunderstanding some have to what a 50mm ‘standard’ lens actually is. Throughout my teaching career I’ve heard beginner photographers refer to them as prime lenses and, of course, they’re correct. However, as the conversations develop I’ve found that a good number also believe that only a 50mm is a prime lens. In actuality any non-zoom is a prime lens.
With that small but important point out the way let’s move on to why I think the prefix ‘standard’ can be a little misleading and undermine this focal length and the many advantages there are for using one.