what is a 50mm lens good for

What is a 50mm Lens Good For? Let’s Look into Everything

Whenever you are in the market looking for a good lens, you would realize that the options are countless and this means that picking up the right lens can be confusing, a lot more than one might think and that is what we are going to try and sort out in this article because a lot of times, people have asked us just what is 50mm lens good for?

To be honest, the answer is a lot simpler than one might think, and for those who are still facing confusion, we are going to make it easier for you, to be honest. The point here is that we want to explore as much as we can about 50mm lenses and everything that have made them so good ever since they came into being.

I mean, why would almost every YouTuber go on record and talk about how good these lenses are, right? 

So, let’s not waste more time and start looking.

What Can You Do with a 50mm Lens?

So, ideally, the first thing that most people want to know is just what exactly can they do with a 50mm lens and the good news is that you can do a lot with this lens. Simply put, if you have been searching for an all-out solution that can easily get you some stunning pictures, then this is the way to go and it would be better if you are not overlooking it.

With that said, I am going to mention that you can do it perfectly with a 50mm lens. Remember, this is not to say that other lenses cannot achieve that but the 50mm prime lens just gives you the type of control you would want.

1. Allows for a Better Composition

The first thing that you should know is that when you are opting for a 50mm lens, you will be getting something that will allow you to for an excellent take on composition. 50mm was my first proper lens and I managed to improve my composition so much that I never really had any issues coming in the way of how the pictures were taken. Sure, it might not be as easy for everyone but hey, if you genuinely want something that is good, a 50mm lens is the way to go.

2. Shooting in Low Light

Most of the time, the 50mm lens that you will get will come with an f/1.8 aperture or even lower like f/1.2 if you are looking to spend more money and when the aperture is like that, you can easily go ahead and shoot in low light without having to worry about cranking the ISO all the way to the max or making other adjustments that are simply not worth it for the photography experience.

The point is that lenses with wider aperture are generally excellent when it comes to photography.

3. Can Produce Excellent Bokeh

Moving further, one of the reasons why most people prefer spending money on a 50mm lens is that it actually results in the production of some excellent bokeh. To the point that you do not have to rely on anything else to get the job done. All of this is thanks to the wide aperture and smooth aperture blades. So, if you are looking for some consistency and clean bokeh, and great depth of field, this is a great lens to invest in.

4. One Lens to Rule Them All

If you are just starting out then another tip that I have for you is that with a 50mm lens, you are essentially getting something that is going to be able to give you the best experience in any picture that you take. So, if you have been searching for something that is good and works really well, this is the way to go as it will not disappoint you.

Again, a 50mm lens is a great choice to spend money on.

50mm lens sample image

Is a 50mm Lens Good for Portraits?

Once you start taking pictures, you will realize that most of the time, people prefer spending money on a prime lens and while this might be confusing to some, there are actual reasons behind that. Believe it or not, prime lenses in general are excellent for portraiture work. Why? Well, aside from the fact that they are incredibly sharp, most of the time, they have a wide aperture.

A wider aperture always results in an excellent, shallow depth of field, giving you pictures that look stunning in almost every single case. One can simply never overlook the prowess of a 50mm prime lens.

50mm Lenses: A Beginner’s Best Bet

I have reviewed the best lenses from Nikon, Canon, and even Sony, and you would be surprised to know that a 50mm lens was always a part of those lists.

The point is that getting a 50mm lens is a great option and if you are just starting out in the world of photography, I think a 50mm lens will take you a long way in terms of how good you can become in photography. 

So, if you have been spending time thinking about whether a 50mm lens is good for portraits, then the simplest answer is yes. The lens is actually excellent for portraits, and even if you are using the lens on a crop-sensor camera, you are still out in the open with some great results. 

50mm Lens Distance from Subject

Ideally, 50mm is considered to be the best focal range for a number of distances, it is not too wide, not too close, either. For example, the human eye has a focal length of approximately 22mm. So, 50mm is almost double that. 

As far as the lens distance from the subject is concerned, this can vary based on what you are trying to achieve. For starters, if you are going to use it on your full-frame camera, then the distance is not going to be too much or too little; simply put, you are going to get a field of view that will not be too wide, or too constrained, which is an excellent choice. You can use the 50mm lens for great portraits, but at the same time, some excellent landscape photography, too. If you have wanted that, you know that the lens will allow you to.

However, if you go ahead and put the 50mm lens on a crop-sensor camera, you will be getting a focal length that is almost equal to 85mm. This means that you are getting a near-telephoto reach with a 50mm lens. This is an excellent focal range for almost everyone who is looking to get some portrait shots in which the subject can be perfectly isolated. More importantly, you can also go ahead and take product photography this way where you can easily isolate your subject.

The point that we have explained here is that if you have been looking for a lens that is more than capable of getting everything done, then investing in a 50mm lens is more than just a good idea as it will be an ideal solution for you even if you are looking for a single lens that should get the job done.

50mm lens sample car image

Is 50mm Lens Worth It? 

All of the points that we have talked about previously now bring us here; we are going to talk about whether or not a 50mm lens is worth it or not and while it might seem like something that is not good enough for a lot of people, to be honest, a 50mm lens is so much better than some other options simply because of the versatility it offers. So, if you have been trying to figure that out as well, we are going to talk a bit more about it.

Below, I am going to discuss some of the most common advantages or benefits if you want to call them, of the 50mm lens, as it has become a common place for many people, and if you do want performance, this is a great way to go.

1. Affordable

The best thing about a 50mm lens is that it is one of the most affordable lenses that you can find on the market. Ideally, a good 50mm lens from the likes of Canon, Nikon, Sony, and even Sigma should not run you pretty affordable. In most cases, a good 50mm lens costs anywhere from $100 to $300; the price varies because of the manufacturer. However, if you do want to go all in, you can even buy the higher-end 50mm lenses that have a much wider aperture in general, and they, as you would expect, cost more.

2. 50mm is an Excellent All-Purpose Focal Length

I have said it before and I am saying it again that 50mm generally happens to be an excellent, all purpose focal length. What this means is that with a 50mm focal length, you can indulge in taking the type of pictures you feel like taking without having to worry that something might not fit your style.

The great thing about a 50mm lens is that it is not just great for delivering some stunning portraits with isolated subjects but if you do want to go ahead and experiment a bit, you can get some absolutely gorgeous landscape shots as well.

If you are someone who is looking to shoot videos, the lens is also excellent for video work, thanks to the ability to produce some of the shallowest depths of field.

3. Small and Portable

The 50mm lens, in most cases, has managed to earn a name for itself in the world of photography. The lens is most commonly referred to as the “nifty fifty” and has been called that for a long, long time. Sure, it all started with the Canon 50mm lens but over the past couple of years, the same name is used for pretty much any other lens that is small and portable.

If you have been in the market searching for something that can be carried around with ease, I do not think you can find a better lens than the 50mm in terms of how easy it is to carry around.

4. Excellent Bokeh, Sharpness, and Fast Aperture

Another thing that I love about the 50mm lens is that it produces some of the most beautiful and smoothest looking bokeh that one could ask for. If you have been exploring some lenses that can easily get the job done by providing you with stunning images, this is the lens that you should be going for.

Another thing worth noting here is that the sharpness on these lenses is excellent, to say the least. No matter what aperture you are shooting at, the results you are going to get will be amazing, to say the least. 

Last but not the least, most of the entry-level 50mm lenses that you will buy will come with a maximum aperture of f/1.8, this allows you to shoot at much faster shutter speeds for some amazing results. However, if you are willing to spend more money, you can even go ahead and get lenses that have an f/1.2 maximum aperture. 

50mm lens image

Frequently Asked Questions

Honestly, with a 50mm lens, you can shoot any time you want as it is very versatile and flexible.

A 50mm lens lets you shoot with faster shutter speeds, has incredible low-light performance, and has great sharpness.

Yes, 50mm is an excellent lens for portraits and is one of the main choices of a lot of people going for portrait photography.


50mm lenses have been around for the longest time and over the past couple of years, have become the staple of good photography. If you have been searching for a good lens that is not expensive either, then a 50mm lens is the way to go.

The lens easily manages to do everything you would want it to do and you will not have any regrets coming in the way of how the experience is. 

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