Best 50mm Lens

50mm lenses have become hugely popular with portrait photographers over the years. With an impressive combination of speed and a wide aperture, it means you can produce pleasing shallow depth of field effects and a charming bokeh. A great deal of top-quality 50mm lenses are also small and light for easy portability.

These lenses are ideal for photographers learning their field. They allow you to get close enough to your subject matters but they also force you to move about to achieve the best possible photo. In other words, you have no choice other than to get creative with all of your compositions.

To help you discover a 50mm lens that will suit your photography style, we have researched hundreds available on the market. The result? We have compiled a top 5 list of the very best 50mm lenses so you can enjoy the best photos you have ever taken in your life.

So, let’s not wait any longer. Read on and find out which lens is your favorite today.

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Best 50mm Lens – Comparison Table

Best 50mm Lens – Reviews

Our Pick

Canon RF50mm F1.8 STM for Canon Full Frame Mirrorless RF Mount Cameras [EOS R, EOS RP, EOS R5, EOS R6](4515C002)

Our rating:

First on our list is the highly impressive RF 50mm F1.8 STM. This lens is a redesign after the EF 50mm f/1.8 and now boasts a higher optical standard.

The new design features Super Spectra Coating technology that reduces flare, ghosting, and aberration. It also features PMo aspherical lenses for a much better improved image quality. 

This Canon RF 50mm F1.8 STM uses an STM focusing motor. This doesn’t only make it more affordable but it is also relatively quiet when capturing images.

Although very quiet, it is still audible when used for video shots when using the camera’s onboard microphone. This lens has a shorter focusing distance than the current EF 50mm f/1.8 with a minimum of 0.3m but this is ideal for close-up photography shoots.

The FR 50mm F1.8 STM captures an angle of view that is close to our eyes thanks to its popular focal length. Its large aperture means you will have total control over the depth of field for incredible shots.

Pros

  • High optical standard – Can achieve high levels of accuracy in your subjects
  • Features super spectra coating – Helps to reduce flare, ghosting, and aberration for clear, top-quality images
  • Compact and lightweight – Ideal for traveling with and carrying over long distances

Cons

  •  Focusing motor can be heard – When recording a video, the camera’s mic may pick up the focusing motor on occasions

NIKON NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S Standard Fast Prime Lens for Nikon Z Mirrorless Cameras

Our rating:

Next, we have the Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S. this is the first f/1.8 prime lens within Nikon’s Z range. While it may not be the most affordable, it is still great value for money.

Its full-frame, bright lens sports a fast aperture making it perfect in extremely low-light situations. If you like to have complete control over the depth of field, then this is a lens you will adore.  

The Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S is engineered with 12 elements in 9 groups. Two of these are ED glass elements while another two are aspherical elements.

An Anti-reflective Nano Crystal Coat and ARNEO coatings have also been included to reduce flare and ghosting in photographs.

And, if you like to explore the wilderness in all conditions, then you will be pleased with the weather seal around the lens barrel and mount so it can be used in confidence in wet weather.

Okay, this lens is a little larger than Nikkon’s Z 24-70mm f/2.8 but it more than makes up for this with its supreme sharpness. If you want crystal clear images over and over again, the Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S is a great option.

Pros

  • Excellent in low lighting – Its full-frame lens is bright enough for a fast aperture in extreme low light conditions
  • Offers complete control over depth of field – As the photographer, you can enjoy total control to get the most focused image possible
  • Weather sealed – Can be safely used in wet conditions

Cons

  • Quite large – It’s a little cumbersome so may not suit long expeditions when you need the lightest gear possible

Sony - FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens (SEL50F18F/2)

Our rating:

Are you in the mood for a bargain? If so, then Sony’s FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens will be right up your street! Weighing only 186kg, this lens is one of the most portable we have encountered.

Although lightweight, it sports a large f/1.8 aperture and seven-blade circular aperture that allows you to produce wonderful background bokeh as well as helping your subjects stand out.

Look inside the F1.8 Standard Lens and you will find a DC motor that helps the lens focus efficiently and precisely. Combine this with its fast aperture means the FE 50mm F1.8 can perform excellently in very low light. 

Every image you take through this lens is sharp throughout. This is thanks to the lens aspherical element that minimizes any distortion.

And don’t worry about its durability. With a metal mount, the build quality of the F1.8 Standard Lens from Sony is robust and high quality. 

Pros

  • Lightweight – This lens is easily portable and simple to use
  • Provides excellent background bokeh – Images are clear as the lens renders out-of-focus points of light perfectly
  • Distortion is minimized – Its lens aspherical element helps produce crisp images without any distortion or blurs 

Cons

  • Autofocus can be a little slow – Maybe frustrated when trying to capture a quick image as it doesn’t appear clear right away

Panasonic LUMIX G LENS, 42.5MM, F1.7 ASPH., MIRRORLESS MICRO FOUR THIRDS, POWER OPTICAL I.S., H-HS043K (USA BLACK)

Our rating:

Small and lightweight, Panasonic’s LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 Asph. Power OIS weighs just 130g. It can easily fit into your pocket while being able to pack a punch.

Thanks to its supremely quick f/1.7 aperture, you can enjoy a great deal of control over shallow depth of field effects which makes this lens ideal for portraiture. 

Built-in to the LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 Asph. Power OIS is Optical Image Stabilization. This can be enabled via a switch located on the lens barrel and helps compensate for any camera movements for sharper images in low levels of light.

When you use this camera, you will be in awe of its incredible sharpness due to its maximum aperture. Distortion and fringing are also exceptionally controlled to create top-quality photos every time.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight – Small enough to fit into your pocket for easy portability
  • Very quick f/1.7 aperture – Can enjoy almost total control over shallow depth of field effects for clearer images
  • Powerful Optical Image Stabilization – Helps the lens capture still images even when the camera is moving

Cons

  • Wrong fitting hood for the lens – Some customers have found the hood doesn’t fit properly over the lens so it is not protected at all times

Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon

Our rating:

If you own a Canon camera, then arguably the best 50mm lens is the Sigma f/1.4 DG HSM Art. As with all of the lenses on our list, this gives all a run for their money due to its excellent build and quality.

Made from thermally stable composite material, the dimensions of the lens remain the same no matter how hot or cold the temperature gets while you operate it. 

In total, there are 13 elements with this camera arranged in 8 groups. These include three special low dispersion elements so you enjoy a rich separation of colors within a prism.

The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art consists of 9 rounded aperture blades that help form a pleasing rounded aperture diaphragm. Combine its superb features with its lightweight build of just 815g, then you have a feature-rich, easy-to-transport lens.

This lens also features a ring-type auto-focusing mechanism so you get stable images no matter how much the camera moves. As well as this, there is a full-time manual focusing override allowing even clear photographs as you can touch up images afterward.

Pros

  • Constructed from thermally stable composite material – No matter the temperature, the lens dimensions remain the same
  • Excellent low dispersion elements – Colors stand out brightly when using this lens
  • Lightweight – Perfect for traveling photographers who need an easy to carry a piece of equipment

Cons

  • Quite hard to calibrate the focal point – The focus point can be a little tricky to get right, even with a USB

Best 50mm Lens – Buyers Guide

Before you pick your favorite 50mm lens, there are some key criteria you need to consider. All lenses have unique features that can make them better than others or worse.

Continue reading so you can decide which 50mm lens is right for you and so you can buy with complete confidence.

Wide Angle, Standard, or Telephoto?

You need to decide what kind of lens you need and what suits your style of photography best. 

Wide-angle lenses are ideal for landscapes. If the focal length is less than 50mm, these wide-angle lenses have a wide field of view. 

Standard lenses are best and most commonly used for portraiture, street photography, and photojournalism. This is because they give a similar perspective to the human eye.

Lenses with focal lengths of more than 50mm are known as telephoto. These are used for everyday use from wildlife photography to action movements in sports photography but this can depend on the focal length range. 

Which lens suits you best depends on what you want to photograph. If you’re a beginner, you may need to experiment with a few until you find the right one for you. 

Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)

Optical Image Stabilization or OIS prevents blurry images from camera movements. This can be caused by the natural shake of hands or different weather conditions.

When it comes to longer focal lengths, this built-in feature becomes seven more important as it can be harder to keep the entire lens completely stable. 

The Format 

Another highly important factor in choosing your lens is the camera that you own. Digital SLRs and mirrorless system cameras have either APS-C or full-frame sensors.

APS-C sensors tend to be with more affordable options and have a cropping factor. The higher the crop factor, the less image you will get into the frame when you use the same lens focal length. 

If you’re an experienced photographer and looking for professional-level cameras, then these are usually equipped with full-frame sensors.

The sizes of these are equal to traditional 35mm film frames meaning there is no reduction or cropping in the field of view. 

When you invest in a new lens, you must be aware that lenses designed for full-frame cameras will still work perfectly well on APS-C cameras. However, those designed for APS-C models will not work sufficiently on full-frame models. 

The Lens Mount 

All camera manufacturers have their own lens mounts. This means you can not pick and mix unless you purchase a mount from a third-party manufacturer that offers a wide variety of sizes.

There are exceptions to this rule, however. Olympus and Panasonic use the Four-Thirds mount for DSLRs while they also supply the Micro Four Thirds mount for their mirrorless models. 

The choice of lens you make will have an equal bearing on the image quality you want to achieve. Remember, lenses tend to last a lot longer than actual cameras so, in this case, it is worth investing in the best you can afford on your budget. 

The Cost 

Unfortunately, top-quality lenses are becoming more and more expensive. Many are now reaching four figures but not everyone wants to spend that much. This is why you need to consider your budget and stick to it.

50mm lenses, especially those with f/1.8 or f/2 apertures, can be as expensive as a dinner for two in the most expensive restaurants in Beverly Hills. But, on the used market, they can be found for half the price.

While it may be second-hand, with a thorough inspection to ensure it is still working correctly, you could be saving yourself hundreds of dollars and still getting a superlative lens.  

Darkness 

The key to achieving better quality and a less blurry low-light shot is in a large aperture. A wide-aperture 50mm lens is a perfect choice for low lighting conditions, especially for handheld photography. 

Versatility 

A 50mm lens sees, more or less, how we view the world. These lenses are perfect for capturing busy moments in everyday life, scenic vistas, or the portrait of a beautiful and unique-looking face.

Yes, a kit lens’ main advantage is its versatility but the prime lens, the 50mm, is not a one-trick pony.

These lenses are versatile and are capable of mastering almost anything photographic. If versatility is currently missing in your photography game, then a 50mm lens is a great option. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are 50mm lenses best used for?

50m lenses are favored by many portrait photographers. Due to their combination of speed and a wide aperture, 50mm lenses allow photographers to create a favorable shallow depth of field effect as well as attractive bokeh.

This is why lens manufacturers have a range of 50mm lenses on offer within their range. For instance, Canon offers f/1.2 and f/1.8 in its RF range of models. Nikon offers the same lenses in their Nikkor Z series.  

50mm lenses are also small and lightweight making them ideal for photographers constantly on the go. Another popular optic is the 24-70mm zoom lens as this, like the 50mm lenses available, is hugely versatile, however, these tend to be twice the size of the compact 50mm models. 

50mm lenses are perfect for getting close enough to your subject. However, they still allow you to move freely to get the best possible angle for your shot. 50mm lenses are simply perfect for those looking to start and learn photography.

It forces people to become more artistic and creative with their photography shots and, in time, photographers can find their own unique style. 

Lastly, 50mm lenses can generally be pretty affordable compared to other types. Just by perusing the internet or camera stores, you should find a fast 50mm lens for a price tag within your budget. 

Can you use a 50mm lens for landscape photography?

In general, landscape photography requires exceptional sharpness. Thankfully, 50mm prime lenses excel in this area. With no extra moving parts needed for zooms, this tends to make for a crisper, sharper end result.

Those with a narrower aperture can still yield superb results. As we mentioned above, 50mm lenses are versatile pieces of kit that can suit all types of photography and photographers. 

Is a 50mm lens good for night photography? 

It can be challenging to capture photos at night or in low-light conditions. However, a 50mm lens with a constant aperture will help you achieve better photos in such situations.

Many 50mm lenses come with this feature but make sure that it is advertised with a constant aperture. Otherwise, you may struggle to capture any good-quality images after dark.

Last Updated on 2021-03-20 //Source: Affiliate Affiliates



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