50mm prime lens

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Dec 22, 2012

I have been fortunate to work with many cameras, lenses and computer programs over the years.  But time and again, it’s not the latest high-tech program or gadget that always brings me back to the heart of what I love about photography. It’s my simple, back-to-basics Pentax FA-50mm 1.4 prime lens.

The description of the lens is simple because of its back to basics nature.  I love its compact size and how well its built.  I feel comfortable using it in situations where a larger lens would be obtrusive and perhaps ruin the moment by attracting attention to itself. Perhaps I'm just old school, but I like having the depth of field information readily available. The metal mount just feels better as I click the lens into place. The focus ring is  smooth and I like its placement right at the front of the lens where I can easily find it.

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I love this lens because it has given me freedom and discipline in my photography.  The discipline is simple, if I want the shot, I have to go there and hunt for the composition I want.  Often in walking from point A to point B, I see a shot I would never have known was there if I had not gone this way or that.  It makes photography an active endeavor.  The freedom comes from the ability it gives me to create and control the image I want to make.  On more than a few occasions, it has brought me a picture I didn’t even realize was there until I clicked the shutter. I can play with depth of field, exposure; I can make the image tack-sharp, or open the lens wide and add a little softness. It allows me to work with available light when any other lens would have me reaching for the flash.  The color is extraordinary. It has constantly reminded me that the magic more often than not is in the lens, not the camera.

A side benefit of using my 50mm prime is when people tell me I must have paid a lot for that lens.  They are often surprised when I tell them it’s one of the least expensive lenses I own.  Unlike some of my big zooms, it’s never a problem to carry around. Precision, flexibility, and the simple fun of taking pictures, I find all of these in abundance in my 50mm prime.

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- tcwilson

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