Playing With My 50mm Lens

I take a lot of pictures with my Nikon, and mostly I take them with my 28mm-300mm zoom lens, because it has (obviously, if you’re a photo geek) a wide range of focal length options baked in. With that said, I also have a fixed 50mm lens which I sometimes use because it has better light sensitivity (f/1.8), and because it’s a bit more of a challenge to set the composition and keep things focused. I swapped out the lenses today and proceeded to take pictures of family and pets. I thought you might like to see some of the results.

Me, looking off to the side.

Krissy, smiling into the camera.

Athena, looking off to the side.

Smudge, looking smug.

Not bad, I think.

— JS

20 Comments on “Playing With My 50mm Lens”

  1. Great shots. The 50mm is my favorite lens no matter what camera I’m using. Even when I’m using a zoom lens it seems like most of my shots are in that 50mm range, so when I just want to walk around with the lightest kit possible or goof around the house taking pictures it’s a 50 that I end up using.

  2. Very … modern, yeah, modern.

    Now back in the day, we’d say you got the depth of field wrong & needed to close down the aperture by a click.

    But these kids today like only one eye sharp. “Who cares if the ears & nose are sharp?” [Grumble]

  3. I have used primes my entire life, 24, 35, 85, 180. Its better to move ones person to make a composition then to move the zoom in the style of photography I do, portraits and street photography. Mind you I am not a fundamentalist about this, people do have different paths – I have a zoom 80-200, I just find that when I use that lens, I am either at 80 or 200, and move myself to get the composition.

  4. These are gorgeous, but I’m willing to bet that if you slapped on a NIKKOR 85mm portrait lens for a week (the f1.4 if you can justify the cost, but the 1.8 will do as well in a pinch), you would find yourself using that 50mm seldom indeed. Bet you a burrito!

  5. All good, ‘Athena’ best, ‘Smudge’ a close second. John, sorry, those burrito-abominations are killing you from the inside! Listen to Wil, he will lead you down the path of righteousness ;-)

  6. I’ve got a fast 50 prime on the list of glass to but for the Nikon Z6ii I bought myself for Christmas. Not the $8000 F 0.95 or the $2000 F1.2. Probably the $500 F 1.8

  7. So, that halo around your head. Something that happened in post-processing or was there a lamp behind you?

  8. Clearly this is not a photo criticism forum, but since folks have started that way. . . Dana mentions the burrito diet, clearly referring to John’s poor-looking flesh color. The green background did not help, and the photo was also clearly underexposed (hence it’s likely that the halo was caused by the attempt to lighten up the face). A quick fix using Photoshop: make a new Hue/Saturation layer, click “Reds” from the drop-down menu (it has “Master” as default), add 5 units or so (to reduce red, a handy trick for reducing red veins in skin or red eyes), switch the color to “Yellows” and reduce that a bit, say 5 or so, so now the overall skin tone looks better. Flatten the image, then make a new “Black & White” layer. Voilá! It looks very good. Fixing the halo would be a simple matter of going back to the image as worked on, deleting the adjustment layer used to lighten the face, and re-do it being more careful to avoid “going outside the lines.”

    And yes, and 85mm f/1.8 is also a very nice lens for portraits, esp. head shots.

    All the photos are quite nice!

  9. Alex Lindsay, who used to host the THIS WEEK IN PHOTOGRAPHY podcast, called that lens “A Fast Fifty”, because unlike your zoom lens you can open your shutter wider and get a good close-up/medium shot with less light.

    The shots of Krissy and Smudge look great, I wonder why you always shoot Althea in B&W, and did you go a bit nuts with the bokeh in your picture? Because it looks really obvious, unlike the other shots you took….

  10. 50mm is one of my favorite lenses. I really like my 30mm as well. (In our photography circles, we call the 50 “fiddy.” Lol. That’s the way I say it in my head!)

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