5 Reasons why the 50mm is the Best Focal

In the previous post I presented five reasons why a 35mm focal length was the best option, but I also said that the 35mm is just one of the two lenses that constantly fight for the first position in the battle of fixed lenses, especially in street photography.

Today I am going to present five reasons why a 50mm is the best option.

Remember that when I talk of 35mm or 50mm, it is in terms of full frame, meaning that the equivalences are already made. In APSC a 35mm is a 50mm and in a micro 4/3 25mm is a 50mm.

1. Price.

It is probably the cheapest fixed focal length that brands make, there are even several 50mm models with different apertures, but the most common are between f/1.4 and f/1.8.

2. Lighter.

Like the 35mm lenses, the 50mm are usually very small and light, sometimes even more so than the 35mm lenses.

© Christelle Enquist

Cuba fujifilm 50mm
3. Proportions.

Because of the ratio of sensor size to focal length, 50mm lenses have a rather unique property, which is that they do not deform the image in any way. They do not zoom in or out of the scene or the subject and everything appears perfectly proportioned.

This principle is truer in full-frame cameras but the result is that what you see through the viewfinder is at the exact same distance as when you see it with your own eyes.

© Christelle Enquist

Henri Cartier Bresson 50mm
4. Neither very closed nor very wide.

Considered as “the standard focal length” it has been used for years for all types of photography, especially street photography. Cartier-Bresson, one of the fathers of street photography said that all he needed was his Leica and a 50mm.

Largely because of what I talk about in point 3. In addition, its great versatility leads us to point 5.

© Jorge Delgado-Ureña

5. Portraits.

Being a little more closed than a 35mm, having great apertures and not distorting the image, the 50mm is a great lens to do portraits. It allows you to be at a moderate distance from your subject so he/she don’t feel intimidated and at f/1.8 (which is the most common) you get that out of focus background or Bokeh that is so beautiful in portraiture.

And with this we come to the end of the battle of the fixed lenses.

Which do you prefer? The 35mm or the 50mm?

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