Over in my online photograhy class, Photography 101: Through The Artisit's Eye, there is a lot of talk about the 50mm lens so I thought I would just take a minute to chat a bit about it!
Lenses are a personal thing ... Some feel really good on your camera and in your hands and others feel disjointed and awkward. Some photographers shoot with only prime or fixed lenses, like the 50mm lens (SO no zooming going on, you have to walk in or out to zoom in or out) and others prefer to shoot with zoom lenses, like the Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens (one of my personal favorite go-to lenses).
ISO 100 f/1.8 1/400 Sec
Many people say that the 50mm lens is sort of what your eye sees when you look through the viewfinder but it really depends on what camera you are using. My Canon 7D has a cropped sensor so the 50mm is really like a 75mm which is pretty close to what your eye sees. On my Canon 5D3, which is a full frame camera, the 50mm is a true 50mm, but then to me it doesn't feel like what my eye sees, the subject looks smaller than what my eye sees.
The other thing about these 50mm lenses is that, as you can see, they have wide open apertures which means you can get that super super shallow depth of field. Lenses that have wide open apertures are also called 'low light' lenses because you can open up the aperture and then use them in situations where is only a little bit of light, hence allowing you to shoot without increasing your ISO, hence avoiding grainy photos!
ISO 100 f/1.4 1/800 Sec
The 50mm lens that I use is the f/1.2 but I have to tell you I rarely ever shoot at f/1.2 ... the depth of field is sooo shallow that sometimes it looks like there isn't anything in focus! As you can see from the above photos ... that shallow deoth of field is amazing.
Check out the photos below ... there is almost no change in the overall look of the photos as I change from f/1.2 to f/1.8 but you may notice that as the aperture gets smaller, or is stopped down, the shutter speed slows down also to allow more light to come in through the lens.
ISO 100 f/1.2 1/800
ISO 100 f/1.4 1/640
ISO 100 f/1.8 1/400
Here are some links to the 50mm lenses that I recommend. Since I shoot canon cameras I can really only suggest canon lenses but I'm pretty sure that all the other camera companies make really good 50mm lens as well. Make sure that these lenses will fit your particular camera model ... they might have different fittings and all.
Probably the most popluar is the f/1.4 ... I think you really get a better lens for just a little bit more money!
Fabulous bracelets are by Brooke Bock @ Artistic Endeavors 101!