The "nifty 50" is not so nifty on APS-C cameras

Started Apr 4, 2017 | User reviews thread
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twomonger Regular Member • Posts: 178
The "nifty 50" is not so nifty on APS-C cameras
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You'll often see photography beginners being told that the first lens they should get beyond the kit lens is the so-called "nifty 50." Cheap, good image quality, and fast aperture, and supposedly provides a "normal field of view" that is close to what us humans can see with our eyes. What's not to like? Well, it turns out it isn't nearly as nifty as advertised on APS-C cameras.

50mm on APS-C is equivalent to about 75mm on a full frame camera. Great for taking portraits, but it is much too narrow for many other types of photography, including walk-around photography and other types of picture taking that beginners would like to do. This is especially true for people coming from phone cameras that have field of views equivalent to 35mm or below on FF.

I know I fell for this oft-repeated advice without thinking critically. I bought a 50mm F1.8 and it sat in my camera bag forever. The only time it ever came out was when it fell out by accident while hiking. I use it a bit more now that I have a full-frame K-1, but it isn't designed for a FF sensor and struggles a bit in the corners.

Before mindlessly following the hive mind, use your kit lens for a while and take a look at the EXIF files to see which focal lengths you find yourself gravitating the most towards. Then get a prime that best matches your preferences instead of wasting your money.

My recommendation? Get the DA 35mm F/2.4 instead. Not as fast, but much closer to the "normal field of view," providing a 52.5mm full frame equivalent. Or better yet get a 24mm prime, which provides a 36mm FF equivalent. But please don't just take my advice without considering your own preferences!

 twomonger's gear list:twomonger's gear list
Pentax K-1 Sony a9 Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | A +3 more
Pentax smc DA 50mm F1.8
Prime lens • Pentax KAF • 22177
Announced: May 21, 2012
twomonger's score
2.0
Average community score
3.7
Pentax K-50 Pentax smc DA 50mm F1.8
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