The 50mm prime enjoys a cult status among street photographers. If you have an APS-C DSLR then of course you need the 35mm prime to get the same angle of view. But the 50mm prime is still a great lens to shoot with and there are several reasons that attributer to that statement.
For some reasons the 50mm prime lens is the lightest of the lot. Okay so you don’t believe me? Take the Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 (359 gms), the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 G (280 gms), the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 (246 gms) or the Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.4D (230 gms). Okay I can hear you say “another Nikonian!” Well you know what? I am one! But then I don’t get paid for saying that. So here are some Canon 50mm lenses – EF 50mm f/1.8 II (130 gms), EF 50mm f/1.4 USM (290gms) and the EF 50mm f/1.2L USM (545 gms). Okay so not all, but you get the idea.
Better composition comes when you are prepared to lug your camera equipment around and compose photos by spending time thinking about them. Okay, so that man in the yellow jacket is in the frame? Move forward and slightly turn towards left to leave him out. Not getting the whole scene in your camera? Take a couple of steps back and then recompose. You will be forced to think before pressing the shutter release every time.
(Success Tip:Take better photos with this simple deck of cards)
Burn those Calories!
The Nifty Fifty is a great tool for photographers to burn those extra calories. It is the ideal weight loss tool. Just kidding! But come to think of it, with a 50mm lens mounted on your DSLR you would have to do a lot of waking around, trying to compose the shot. No more standing in one spot and using that 18-200 mm lens to compose your images.
Less fiddling more shooting
Having a couple of rings on your lens barrel seems like a nifty thing, until the point when you start losing out on photo opportunities. Because, with a zoom lens, most people would fiddle to get the composition and the focus right, without even bothering to take a step back or forward. A prime lens is less complicated and the photographer using it is usually aware of what he will capture even before the shutter release is pressed. When he is presented with a photo opportunity, he is there and ready to adjust and create a picture just like a second striker in soccer.
The world’s a stage and the 50mm is an actor
There is a reason why theatre artists are considered more versatile and powerful performers than movie actors. Because, when you are facing a live audience there can’t be retakes. Life is like that, there are no retakes. I know wedding photographers and those doing portraitures will disagree but for the larger part photography is all about being ready when the opportunity arrives, being ready to click and save the picture for posterity. Your child’s first steps, a smiling look, four generations posing for a family picture and someone sneezes!
When you use a gear for long enough it becomes an extension of you. You can recognize every little sound and every little burp it makes. It also becomes second nature for you. At that point when your eyes sees something and your brain recognizes it to be a moment your fingers work in a reflex action.