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Prime lens


It is a generally agreed fact that the "nifty fifty" is the best prime lens to have. [Or equivalent in m4/3, or X mount etc] Do you agree? And if not, what is your favourite and most used prime lens? Look forward to your opinions ...

Started by tigg tigg on
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  • Łukasz Brożek

    I don't have 50mm lens in my collection yet.

    I mostly use nikkor 35mm and helios 44m 58mm. These lenses are my favourite. Helios is my also macro lens when I use it with reverse mount adapter.

    I agree that nifty fifty lenses are one of the best. They are small, cheap and offer decent quality of the image.

    • tigg

      Thank you - please forgive my ignorance but is this the actual focal length on the camera you use? I know for example micro four thirds you have to double the lens focal length.

      • Łukasz Brożek

        No problem. 😀 I use camera with DX/APS-C sensor so you have to multiply focal length 1.5 times to get 35mm film equivalent.

  • Paweł Kadysz

    I definitely prefer narrow angle. I feel there's too much going on in the frame when I use wide angle lenses. I love the Fujinon 35mm f/2.0 which is equivalent to 50mm. And that's actually the only lens I ever had that's a "nifty fifty". I love it, but I don't think it's the best I had.

    • tigg

      Interesting, as I always think how your photos "ping" because of your simple composition. You obviously see things well through a narrow field of view; thanks for your interesting answer.

    • Satoshi T

      When I have a certain distance to the target, if I want to get large bokeh of background, I use Oly 25mm f/1.8 or Oly 75mm f/1.8 at full open aperture.

      The problems I am aware of about these lenses are ... Fringes of green and purple tend to appear at the front and back of the focused surface when the contrast is high with a white shining contour.

      • Rafal

        My favourite one which is almost 70% time on my camera is 70-200 mm.

        • Maciej Chomik

          I got 35mm on the DX format so its 50mm on FF. For me it's really good but after almost half year of use it everyday I think that's not enough. I need to go wideeeee. 28mm or 16 mm could be great!

          • Kazziz

            lack of wider, cheap DX primes was one of the reasons I switched systems from Nikon. 28/1.8 is nice (but not too cheap), but where the hell is 24/1.8 DX?

          • Kazziz

            When I bought 35/1.8G for my almost-one-year-old D7000 (a 50mm equivalent), I stopped using zoom lenses.

            Switching to Olympus two years later was really easy, I bought E-M10 with pancake kit zoom and 25/1.8 (much sharper than N35/1.8) - it was like using same camera, but smaller (and with much faster AF).

            After using kit lens for, like, five times - I sold the pancake and bought 45/1.8... And still, I'd say 65-35% were shot on 25-45mm respectively.

            But after buying 17/1.8 after 100 days on tookapic... for few weeks, 25mm was barely used, but I got back to this lens. It's a really great focal length, duh! all three are, 35/50/90mm is a really nice combo to have and it covers 90% of my needs.

            • tigg

              Must admit i think the Oly 45 is my most favourite lens ever. End of. And quite reasonably priced too!

              • Paweł Kadysz

                Yeah, if I were to pick one lens and get rid of all the others, I'd pick M.Zuiko 45mm as well.

              • Kazziz

                Probably if I had 45mm prior to 25mm, I'd say the same, but I love the 50mm field of view. It's so... all-rounder.

                Fun fact: the 25/1.8 it's designed and produced by... Sigma for Olympus, as well as (afair) 8mm f/1.8 fisheye. Hi hi hi

              • Satoshi T

                Oh Sigma designed!

          • ponzu

            My most used prime lens is an 85mm Canon f/1.8 on a full frame Canon 6D body. I use it for portraits because I believe it is fairly sharp. I also use another 85mm Rokinon f/1.4 aspherical on my ASP-C (x1.5 crop) Sony a6000, also for portraits. I got it because it was cheap and I was intrigued by what sort of bokeh a wide open f/1.4 would produce. But in reality I have not shot anything at f/1.4 because for portraits it is impractical with its razor thin depth of focus, and I have not been around any shiny things that would make for a good bokeh for the sake of bokeh.

            I am aware that a 50mm or its analog is considered an essential, but I think it is mostly useful for training your eye, discipline and good habits in composing a shot. A 50mm Canon was one of the first lenses I bought in addition to the kit zoom lens, but have used it very little.

            I acquire cheap old manual lenses when I can just to add some spice to my routine, not because I think I need them. I don't think of them as "prime" lenses. I think of them as "cheap old manual lenses" that happen to have a fixed focal length 😀

            • tigg

              Wonderful answer, clearly from someone who sees photography as fun, with all sort of exciting challenges and experiences to be had on their journey. Thank you; interesting to read.

            • agnieszka bladzik

              found it today on my YT youtube.com/...

              my only and my favorite is M.Zuiko 45mm

            • ponzu

              I just listened to a podcast episode (Photography Tips from the Top Floor) where the host claims that a 50mm is not so much the "best" prime lens, as it is the necessary lens to have. Or its analog for the sensor size used, ehich can be considered the "normal" lens. It could be a 35mm for an APS-C and a 25mm for a M4/3 camera. You can decide for yourself on the nuances between "best" and "must have". For the specifics of his position, as well as what constitutes a "normal" lens you will have to listen to the podcast. It's episode 793. It's a good podcast to listen to.

              • tigg

                Thank you. I imagine you subscribe to it and listen regularly.

                • ponzu

                  I have just started. Some of the podcasts are a bit light on content, but they guy's style is engaging. It's like gathering with friends to "talk about photography", except one friend does all the talking.

                  My absolute number one favorite podcast is LensWork, but the host has not put up an episode in 8 days and I am going through withdrawal looking for a quick fix elsewhere.

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