How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

Started Feb 14, 2012 | Discussions thread
Shorthand Senior Member • Posts: 2,974
Re: How come no other cheapies like Nifty Fifty?

The reason is that the 50mm double-Gaussian lens design is by far the simplest lens design for DSLR cameras. It is the shortest focal length that can use a symmetric lens design (like the double gauss) on a DSLR.

(Note: One of the the big advantages of mirrorless cameras is that they can have much wider-angle double-gaussian lenses while DSLRs are obliged to use retrofocus designs at those focal lengths.)

The double-gauss doesn't require anything fancy (aspherical elements, low dispersion glass, etc) to perform very well. The symmetrical design exactly counteract all of the aberrations that are created by the lens.

Read this article: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2011/08/lens-geneology-part-1

Examples:
Nifty Fifty - EF 50mm f/1.8 II

85mm f/1.8 - Notice that this lens has some double gaussian influence but is fundamentally a simple telephoto lens, which is more complex:

35mm f/2 - See how much more glass is involved in a retro-focus (reverse telephoto wide angle) design compared to the nifty fifty?

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 - Notice all of the fancy glass sigma has to put in this lens to make it work

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