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50mm lens

I am considering purchasing a 50mm lens with the intent of photographing portraits. Is this the best option?


  • edited November 2016
    If you're not going to have a big stable of lenses for every occasion, it's almost certainly the best option for an all around good portrait lens. There are times when longer might be better out of doors, but 50mm is pretty close to ideal on a DX format for indoor and general portraiture. The Nikon f/1.8 AIS lens is said to be very good, and it's one of the best bargains around. Others may also be good, but more expensive. f/1.4 versions are a little faster and a little better made, but also a little more prone to distortion, and much more expensive. Some third parties like Sigma make nice ones too, but in terms of bang for buck, the basic 50mm is going to be very hard to beat.

    My usual disclaimer here: I do not have one. I have a big stock of older lenses, and find old manual lenses quite to my liking most of the time. I have the very old 50mm f/1.4 and the only just old 50mm f/2.0. Both are grand on a DX format. The 2.0, like the later 1.8, is slightly better behaved than the 1.4, and the added stop of speed is far less important in digital than it was back when we were shooting film, and could not change the ISO with the flick of a switch.

    Though much of what you get with a 50mm can be gotten with the kit zoom lens, a prime lens, aside from the aperture advantage, will likely give you better contrast, sharpness, and focusing speed.
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