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06-15-2011, 08:24 PM   #16
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I'm not sure that I would disagree with the underrated part. I find a lot of folks talking about the almost mystical qualities of lenses like the Ltd's and the 77-this or the 31-that but seldom see genuine praise for a 50 in threads that ask "What is the best lens for Portraits?" or "If you could only have one lens for....?"

I fully realize that 50s are the most common lens in existence for SLRs because they were the "kit" lens back in the film days. But, perhaps that level of availability and familiarity have caused some level of contempt for it? Or, perhaps its just the "I don't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member" syndrome and because its not exclusive it's not praised to high-heaven like those that are more scarce?

I own 4 Fast-Fifties - I was given an M50/2, I purchased by Super-Tak 50/1.4 and 55/1.8 and love each of their unique vision, and purchased by FA50/1.4 because I needed both low light and AF. If I had to pick just one lens it would be the FA50/1.4 because of the combination of things it brings to the table. I think I like the rendering better of the 55/1.8 but for use with kids and such the FA becomes the deciding factor for me.

So, I do think 50s are under-appreciated, neglected no, but under-appreciated.


Last edited by Docrwm; 06-15-2011 at 09:19 PM.
06-15-2011, 08:27 PM - 1 Like   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by JHD Quote
50mm on FF, yeah!
On APS-C, no thanks!

Moreover I didn't care for the FA50, as a fast fifty it's practically useless at f1.4 and doesn't really sharpen up until f2.8 - so it lost its place in my bag. The DA40 is a far better lens.
Must have had a bad copy because mine is sharp, sharp, sharp at 2 and very nice indeed at 1.4. Softness and shallow DoF are not bad things, necessarily, in a portrait length lens at all IMHO.
06-15-2011, 08:40 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by JHD Quote
50mm on FF, yeah!
On APS-C, no thanks!

Moreover I didn't care for the FA50, as a fast fifty it's practically useless at f1.4 and doesn't really sharpen up until f2.8 - so it lost its place in my bag. The DA40 is a far better lens.
I don't find that to be the case. My copy of the DA 40 is terrible at f1.4.


:sarcasm:
06-15-2011, 09:28 PM   #19
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I now have 40 Fifty's. That's just under 20% of my total lenses. (And some folks here have more Fifty's than I have total lenses!) I always have at least a couple Fifty's in my carry bag. The fastest are the K50/1.2, the ST and FA and Yashica ML 50/1.4's, and a Tomioka 55/1.4. The slowest are various f/3.5's, a Macro-Takumar 50/4 (1:1), and a Schneider f/4.5. Many others fill in the midrange.

Each renders differently. Each forces me to look at the world differently. My 40-45-60-65mm lenses each have their own flavours too. It's not just a matter of foot-zooming to get the desired framing, context, perspective. I find more varied characteristics in Fifty's (50-58mm) than in any other focal length -- the runner-up is 28-29-31mm. Fifty's are rich in possibilities. We can never have enough!

06-15-2011, 09:29 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I now have 40 Fifty's. That's just under 20% of my total lenses. (And some folks here have more Fifty's than I have total lenses!) I always have at least a couple Fifty's in my carry bag. The fastest are the K50/1.2, the ST and FA and Yashica ML 50/1.4's, and a Tomioka 55/1.4. The slowest are various f/3.5's, a Macro-Takumar 50/4 (1:1), and a Schneider f/4.5. Many others fill in the midrange.

Each renders differently. Each forces me to look at the world differently. My 40-45-60-65mm lenses each have their own flavours too. It's not just a matter of foot-zooming to get the desired framing, context, perspective. I find more varied characteristics in Fifty's (50-58mm) than in any other focal length -- the runner-up is 28-29-31mm. Fifty's are rich in possibilities. We can never have enough!

Please say it ain't so! I have 4 and find myself looking at odd-ball 50s on ebay. Tell me it will stop
06-15-2011, 09:30 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
I would have to disagree. I have not seen many photographers have a 50mm attached to their digital camera in say the past 5-10 years. I'm out a lot with my cameras at different events.

Primarily they use wide angle zooms, wide angle primes or telephoto zooms and / or primes.

I've always been interested in different lenses and as such, make a point of checking out lenses in use.

I do see a few wedding photographer use 50mm normals....but that's about it.
I quite a few who use them as portrait lenses on crop sensors.

Not ideal but neither is a 4000 dollar FF camera + 85mm f1.4 lens set up. We're not all doctors / lawyers .

In general, some of the best photographers I've met use so so gear like a 50 1.8, but they do what they love and do it well. The people with the kick ass gear are hobbiest professionals or career photographers who take boring ass pictures so they can sell them to rich professionals. Neither of those groups take very interesting photographs .
06-15-2011, 09:39 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Please say it ain't so! I have 4 and find myself looking at odd-ball 50s on ebay. Tell me it will stop
It won't stop. You are doomed. Enjoy the ride.

I am running out of PK and M42 candidate Fifty's. And I already have OM, C/Y, and Exakta-mount 50's, as well as enlarger and copy lenses. Now I'm aiming for Nikkors. If/when I get a NEX cam, I'll probably look for FD's, LTM's, Rokkors, etc. Yes, doomed...
06-15-2011, 10:40 PM   #23
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my humble collection of 50mm lenses is a testament to the popularity and general utility of fast 50mm lenses.

The OP neglected to mention the Pentax 50mm f/1.2 - the difference between f/1.2 and f/1.4 may not seem all that great numerically, but that difference can help you get the shot where few other lenses can.

06-16-2011, 11:05 AM   #24
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I've seen the two main points already brought up as to why the 50mm isn't popular...

-"It's too long on an APS-C sensor"
-Super wide zooms

Setting aside the whole perspective/crop factor argument (it's soooooooo tired out) people just want that ultra-wide view these days. With 10~24mm zooms available for like $400, it's actually attainable for most...unlike the cost of a 20mm or wider in the film days.

It's a sign of the times and a bit of the mob mentality. Get enough people to say x focal length is "too long" for a given sensor size and it becomes canon. I find 28~80mm lenses almost worthless for the most part, does that make it truth?

A fast 50 is awesome People want the whole scene in view, but why not concentrate on the details a little? Use a lens that's way too long for a given situation and come up with something different and interesting.
06-16-2011, 11:39 AM   #25
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I disagree with the crop factor argument. a 50mm is a good length for lots of circumstances. I even use mine indoors quite a bit. I actually like the length quite a bit, it means that I need to pay attention to composition and it also means when I'm shooting candids of people I don't have to be right up in their grill.

QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
I've seen the two main points already brought up as to why the 50mm isn't popular...

-"It's too long on an APS-C sensor"
-Super wide zooms

Setting aside the whole perspective/crop factor argument (it's soooooooo tired out) people just want that ultra-wide view these days. With 10~24mm zooms available for like $400, it's actually attainable for most...unlike the cost of a 20mm or wider in the film days.

It's a sign of the times and a bit of the mob mentality. Get enough people to say x focal length is "too long" for a given sensor size and it becomes canon. I find 28~80mm lenses almost worthless for the most part, does that make it truth?

A fast 50 is awesome People want the whole scene in view, but why not concentrate on the details a little? Use a lens that's way too long for a given situation and come up with something different and interesting.
06-16-2011, 11:52 AM   #26
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Definitely. Unless you're that pressed for space, why not use a longer lens?

Heck, a 28mm is perfect to me...50mm "field of view" on APS-C even though focal length is always constant. That's not to say the 16mm Zenitar doesn't have its uses
06-16-2011, 11:56 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
I've seen the two main points already brought up as to why the 50mm isn't popular...

-"It's too long on an APS-C sensor"
-Super wide zooms

Setting aside the whole perspective/crop factor argument (it's soooooooo tired out) people just want that ultra-wide view these days. With 10~24mm zooms available for like $400, it's actually attainable for most...unlike the cost of a 20mm or wider in the film days.

It's a sign of the times and a bit of the mob mentality. Get enough people to say x focal length is "too long" for a given sensor size and it becomes canon. I find 28~80mm lenses almost worthless for the most part, does that make it truth?

A fast 50 is awesome People want the whole scene in view, but why not concentrate on the details a little? Use a lens that's way too long for a given situation and come up with something different and interesting.
Nah. it's not really the signs of times. besides, the people you are talking about are the regular consumer that takes candid photos that would prefer a wider perspective. not the people that does more than the typical candid photos. besides, if we put the wider perspective argument, it's no different from someone who is shooting with a P&S camera with a small sensor. having said that, even P&S cameras offer a zoom or lens that has an equivalent of 28mm or greater. there is just no way that a 24mm more so a 10mm could have a reach and magnification and IQ rendering of 50mm or greater focal length. it would cost more than just $400 worth of IQ for an UW lens to have such resolution.
06-16-2011, 12:28 PM   #28
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Ultra-wide zooms areextremely popular today. People want them. People are steered away from a 50 in "what should my next lens be?" threads.

I don't understand the argument presented in the rest of the post...how many people care about resolution numbers? How does the reach of a 10mm compare to the reach of a 50mm (or something)?
06-16-2011, 12:40 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
Ultra-wide zooms areextremely popular today. People want them. People are steered away from a 50 in "what should my next lens be?" threads.

I don't understand the argument presented in the rest of the post...how many people care about resolution numbers? How does the reach of a 10mm compare to the reach of a 50mm (or something)?
I have to admit that my last two purchases were wider than 50mm. The 35/2.4 and my Tamron 10-24. Funny, but the opposite argument has been put forth by many to the super-wide one here - that 50mm is too short. You see folks posting here all the time about 71, 77, and 85mm lenses for portrait work. I find them too long on my K-x (kind of like using my old 135 on my film cameras for portraits IMHO). I find my 50s to be excellent for candids because, as was pointed out, it does not put me in someones "grill". Their relatively low cost (my FA50/1.4 was around $250 6 months ago) compared to the Ltds and * lenses most often mentioned also makes them more attractive to me.
06-16-2011, 03:41 PM   #30
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It's quite easy, really. If you're a 'normal' shooter, then you won't be as crazy about 50mm on APS-C anymore, but if your most used lens on FF was 85mm, you'll find as much use for your your fifties (50, 55, 58mm) on APS-C. No rocket science, really. The only thing I'd find strange is if someone didn't find their preference changing when moving between formats.
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