7 reasons why you need a “fifty dollars”

Fifty” are called lenses with a fixed (fixed) focal length of 50 mm. What are they remarkable for? Why can they be found in the photo bag for both the pros and the amateur photographer? Let’s find out!

1. High aperture. Low light shooting

Modern 50mm lenses have aperture from F1.8 to F1.2. High aperture allows more light to pass through the lens. When shooting with such optics in low light conditions (for example, at dusk or indoors) you do not need to raise the light sensitivity high, therefore, there will be much less noise in the photo.

NIKON D810 / 50.0 mm f / 1.4 Installations: ISO 1000, F1.4, 1/160 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

2. High image quality

Lenses with a constant focal length give a clear, detailed picture, well correct chromatic aberration (colored contours around objects).

NIKON D810 / 50.0 mm f / 1.4 Installations: ISO 64, F1.4, 1/640 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

However, when shooting at an open aperture, we get a shallow depth of field, and it’s easy to miss the focus with focus. Often, novice photographers cannot focus exactly, the result is blurry shots. It is important to understand how the autofocus system in the camera works , and learn how to choose focus points. And to insure yourself against errors, you can cover the diaphragm, say, to F2.8.

NIKON D810 / 50.0 mm f / 1.4 Settings: ISO 100, F10, 1/80 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

3. Station wagon in full frame, portrait portrait on crop

The 50 mm lens has a “normal”, universal viewing angle when used on full-frame cameras (≈45 °). This allows you to include in the frame all the necessary objects and avoid the perspective distortions inherent in wide-angle optics.

NIKON D810 / 50.0 mm f / 1.4 Installations: ISO 64, F1.4, 1/125 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D810 / 50.0 mm f / 1.4 Installations: ISO 400, F1.4, 1/320 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

On a camera with an APS-C format matrix (DX by Nikon), the viewing angle of the 50 mm lens narrows, taking into account the crop factor, its focal length becomes equivalent to 75 mm. Thus, on the crop, “fifty dollars” is no longer a universal lens, but almost a telephoto. It is inconvenient to work with it, for example, indoors, but thanks to the crop factor, it will turn into an excellent portrait lens with which you can shoot beautiful portraits with a spectacularly blurred background.

NIKON D810 / 50.0 mm f / 1.4 Installations: ISO 360, F7.1, 1/125 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

Lens with a focal length of 35 mm will give a viewing angle of “fifty dollars” on the crop. Therefore, if you have a crop camera and you want to have not a portrait portrait in your arsenal, but a universal fast lens, you should take a closer look at the 35 mm fixes. By the way, special models are produced for crop (for example, Nikon AF-S 35mm f / 1.8G DX Nikkor).

Portrait panorama assembled from three vertical frames

How to increase the viewing angle when shooting with a fixed lens? You can collect a panoramic image, because the “fifty dollars” practically do not give distortion and other geometric distortions. A separate series of articles is dedicated to panoramic shooting at Prophotos.ru . This technique is suitable for shooting static scenes (for example, landscapes). You can try to take off a production portrait, asking the model not to move for a few seconds.

NIKON D810 / 50.0 mm f / 1.4 Installations: ISO 160, F1.4, 1/250 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

4. Lightweight and compact

Almost all lenses with a focal length of 50 mm are light and compact. The Nikon 50mm f / 1.8G AF-S Nikkor weighs just 185 grams. Zoom lenses are significantly more weighty. I often put a fifty dollars in my jacket pocket – that’s how it is always at hand.

Nikon Df with Nikon AF-S 50mm f / 1.8G Special Edition Nikkor

5. Beautiful bokeh

Due to the high aperture and a suitable focal length, “fifty dollars” allow you to strongly and beautifully blur the background. With the help of blur, you can emphasize the main object, highlighting it with sharpness, and hide distracting details in the background. Assessment of the beauty of bokeh is always subjective. My favorites for bokeh among the “fifty dollars” are the Nikon AF-S 50mm f / 1.4G Nikkor and the Nikon 50mm f / 1.8G AF-S Nikkor. They give a very spectacular, but unobtrusive blurring of the background.

NIKON D810 / 50.0 mm f / 1.4 Settings: ISO 64, F1.4, 1/400 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

6. “Fifty” makes you think about building a frame

To compose a frame with a zoom lens, just twist the ring by adjusting the viewing angle. This simplifies the work of the photographer, but at the same time we stop thinking about the layout. Fix lenses discipline, because the composition of the frame is built at the time of shooting: you need to highlight the main thing and cut off the excess.

NIKON D810 / 50.0 mm f / 1.4 Installations: ISO 800, F1.4, 1/100 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

You can only zoom in and out with a fix by changing the distance between you and the subject.

7. Availability

“Fifty” has a relatively simple optical design. This makes them not only compact, but also inexpensive. Such lenses become doubly beneficial, taking into account their capabilities and impeccable image quality.

Nikon D610 is an affordable and well-balanced full-frame DSLR. Together with the Nikon AF-S 50mm f / 1.8G Nikkor, it is one of the most affordable full-frame kits on the market.

Which fifty dollars to choose for Nikon DSLRs?

Nikon system is very rich in “fifty dollars”, they are easily confused untrained photographer. Therefore, we have compiled a short list of current models.

Nikon MF 50mm f / 1.2 Nikkor is an ultra-fast lens with no autofocus. This model will be appreciated by experienced photographers who prefer a leisurely shooting style and know how to work with manual focus. He showed himself perfectly when shooting video, where beautiful blurring of the background and high aperture are more important than autofocus. Among the features of the lens is the original bokeh. On a fully open diaphragm, it is soft and pleasant, and if you slightly cover the diaphragm, polygons appear in the blur zone instead of the usual circles.

Nikon MF 50mm f / 1.2 Nikkor

Nikon AF-S 58mm f / 1.4G Nikkor is a modern rethinking of the legendary Noct-NIKKOR. Not the standard focal length of 58 mm came from the same lens. On the Nikon AF-S 58mm f / 1.4G crop, Nikkor gives an equivalent focal length of 87 mm, that is, it turns into a classic portrait portrait. The lens provides uncompromising image quality: amazing sharpness already at the open aperture, the absence of chromatic aberration and excellent bokeh. This is a premium optics.

Nikon AF-S 58mm f / 1.4G Nikkor

Let’s move on to lenses that will be of interest to a wide audience.

Let’s start with the Nikon 50mm f / 1.4D AF Nikkor and the Nikon 50mm f / 1.8D AF Nikkor , old-school lenses that come with some modifications from the eighties. Among the advantages – fast focus and affordable price.

Nikon 50mm f / 1.4D AF Nikkor

Nikon 50mm f / 1.8D AF Nikkor

These lenses do not have an auto focus drive, so it is almost impossible to use them effectively with cameras of the D3xxx and D5xxx series (more about lens compatibility see here ).

Models gradually lose their relevance, giving way to versions with a built-in focus motor.

Nikon AF-S 50mm f / 1.4G Nikkor and Nikon AF-S 50mm f / 1.8G Nikkor – “fifty dollars” of the new generation with built-in focus drive. They are noticeably sharper than their predecessors. These lenses can be recommended to both novice photographers and professionals. In my opinion, the Nikon AF-S 50mm f / 1.4G Nikkor is the best fifty dollars on the market. It has excellent image quality and low price. In addition, it is compact, which can not be said about the lenses of competitors (in the same price range).

Nikon AF-S 50mm f / 1.4G Nikkor

If your purchase budget is limited, check out the Nikon AF-S 50mm f / 1.8G Nikkor . Its optical design has an aspherical element that effectively corrects chromatic aberrations: color contours around contrasting objects will not appear even on an open aperture. Nikon AF-S 50mm f / 1.8G Special Edition Nikkor – a version with a more classic design. It was designed for Nikon Df cameras, but nothing prevents us from using this model with other Nikon cameras.

Nikon AF-S 50mm f / 1.8G Nikkor

Nikon AF-S 50mm f / 1.8G Special Edition Nikkor

Nikon AF-S 35mm f / 1.8G DX Nikkor is a fifty kopeck for crop. On cameras with an APS-C format matrix, it gives the same viewing angle as the “fifty dollars” in full frame. If you have a crop camera (Nikon D3300, D3400, D5300, D5500, D5600, D7200 or D500), but you want to have a universal fast lens, not a portrait lens, pay attention to this model. In addition to excellent sharpness and beautiful bokeh, it will delight you with a very affordable price.

Nikon AF-S 35mm f / 1.8G DX Nikkor


The Fifty is often advised as the first additional lens to universal zoom. Such a lens is useful in creative work, portrait shooting, as well as when shooting in low light conditions. Fixes have higher image quality, and all restrictions can be dealt with.

We will wait for your shots made at fifty dollars in the comments to the article! Creative success, dear readers!

NIKON D810 / 50.0 mm f / 1.4 Settings: ISO 100, F8, 1/400 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

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