128 — Your First Lens Should be a Nifty 50mm

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #128 talks about five rea­sons why I think the 50mm lens is the first lens you should get for your SLR or DSLR. Two of these rea­sons are all the aper­ture advan­tages this lens has to offer has and the fact that it’s one of the most afford­able brand new lenses you are likely to find (that aren’t garbage).

If you have a full frame cam­era the 50mm will act as the con­ven­tional 50mm lens from the film cam­era days. On a crop sen­sor cam­era the lens will act more like a 75mm or 80mm lens and many peo­ple are using this lens to make won­der­ful portraits.

Thanks to The Cam­era Store (The largest cam­era store in Cal­gary, Alberta, Canada)  for spon­sor­ing the Photography.ca podcast.

Click the player at the end of this post to lis­ten to (or down­load) the 8ish minute podcast.

This is a 50mm lens and it's the first lens you should buy.

This is a 50mm lens — It’s the first lens you should buy for your DSLR or SLR.


This image was shot on a full frame DSLR using a 50mm lens at Palais Des Congres in Montreal, QC, Canada.  The exposure was ISO 400 f/1.8 at 1/2500

This image was shot on a full frame DSLR using a 50mm lens at Palais Des Con­gres in Mon­treal, QC, Canada. The expo­sure was ISO 400 f/1.8 at 1/2500


Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

Good com­ments from our last pod­cast - Point and Shoot Cam­eras Suck for Learn­ing Photography

The Canon 50mm at The Cam­era Store
The Nikon 50mm at The Cam­era Store
Revers­ing rings at The Cam­era Store

The Canon 50mm at B&H
The Nikon 50mm at B&H
Revers­ing rings at B&H

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Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Many thanks to Alain Casault, Lisa Osta, and Tom Trot­tier for their com­ments from the last pod­cast. Thanks as well for the emails and wel­come to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board.

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You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!



  1. Enrique Waizel says:

    Another good one Marko.
    Hey, what about a 40mm f2.8 pan­cake? Also a sim­ple one and not expen­sive to start. Yes, prob­a­bly not that lumi­nous com­pared to the 50mm f1.8. Nev­er­the­less, I find mine (Canon) very quiet and incred­i­bly fast to focus.
    Well also about the 50mm, it could be worth to men­tion the expen­sive f1.4 and super expen­sive f1.2. With the good ISO sen­si­tiv­i­ties, is there some­one actu­ally buy­ing these?
    Keep on podcasting!!!

  2. Nuno C. says:

    Hi Marko,

    Thanks for another great podcast.

    I have the Nikon D3200 with the 18-105mm kit lens.
    A cou­ple of months ago I decided to buy a prime with a smaller aper­ture and ended up buy­ing the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G (the price tag was the same as the 50mm, around 170 EUR = 230 USD).
    On my cam­era it’s a 52.5mm equiv­a­lent which is eas­ier to use indoors with­out the need to back up through the wall :)
    I love this lens and have been using it constantly.

    Do you know this lens? I’d like to hear your thoughts on it?

    Thanks and regards.

    • Marko Kulik says:

      Thanks for the com­ment Nuno!
      I’ve not used this lens but that 1.8 means this lens is also bright which makes it fab for indoor shoot­ing.
      The 35mm as you men­tioned, means its per­spec­tive is like that of a tra­di­tional 50mm on a FF cam­era. The price is very rea­son­able.
      It gets good marks on dpreview.com (a good site for gear reviews for those that may not know).
      Thanks for bring­ing this afford­able alter­na­tive (with the ‘tra­di­tional’, ‘nor­mal’ per­spec­tive) for DX cam­eras to our attention!

  3. Barefoot says:

    Never under­es­ti­mate the power of a 50mm. Always had one, just never used it. Until lately, that is. Sev­eral weeks ago I picked up the Sony a6000 and adapters for some of my legacy glass that includes a cou­ple of decent 50’s. Now, I’m hav­ing the most fun with a cam­era than I’ve had in a long time.

  4. When I first sold my xti to fund what was at the time a major pur­chase for me–a canon 5d–I had just enough money left over for a 50mm ($90 used). I had that 50 welded onto my full frame 5d for the next 6 months; I had no other lens. And while it may seem like a huge dis­ad­van­tage to be stuck at one focal length, I actu­ally found this ‘lim­i­ta­tion’ (like most lim­i­ta­tions !) to be highly instruc­tive and con­ducive to cre­ativ­ity. Being at 50mm (or any fixed focal length) teaches you to move, to not be sta­tic and just zoom­ing with the lens.

    Thanks for the podcast !

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