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Tuesday, 24 November 2015


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I wish I could be kewl and say "I've always come back to the fifty-mm" or something.
But I can't, I just don't care much for it, sorry. As an artist I feel like I am trying to play volleyball with a straightjacket.

"But it's what's closest to the way we see things." Yeah, that's great, for documentary work.
But as a wannabe art photographer, I don't want to show things like we always see them, I want to see and show them like we *don't* always see them.

People work in a myriad of different ways. Some photograph the world. Me, I don't, really, I *make pictures*, using a camera. I used paint and canvas many years before my first camera, and still do sometimes. There, as with photos, I love pictures which have elements of both the real and the abstract.

I still have my nifty 50 that I got with my om1 back when I was in high school (which was to long ago to remember). Trying to decide whether to get the panny 25 - I have the 20 - I don't know how much more useful it will be.

Nice price for a nice lens. Early Black Friday/ Cyber Monday deal? 'Tis the season for bizarre bargains.

I just ordered two for the Olympus m4/3 cameras I use in the photo class I teach. That's a great deal, and I rarely can afford to get primes for my class.

For a long time I spurned my 50mm lens, preferring the Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 but when Nikon released the new 24-70mm lens this year which was heavier and more expensive, I thought enough is enough and went back to the 50mm 1.8 lens.

It is extraordinarily versatile, sharp, light, and most important of all, isn't perceived as threatening when used as a portrait lens. My camera no longer feels like it's a Hummer.

So celebrate the 50mm lens and don't think because it's cheap your photos will suffer.

All images in this article were taken with the 50mm lens.


I too have the lens, I too paid the supposedly "discounted introductory price" for it (Panasonic, seriously? Come on...).

Yes, it is really quite sharp, but it is also extremely weak in terms of flare resistance, so if you're like me and like shooting into the light a lot be warned!

I have the 25/1.4 version and love it...but it cost almost four times what this one did, and mine was used from KEH. If I were starting a M43 system today, I'd start with this lens at this price for sure.

Mysterious indeed. Oly's 25/1.8 lists at $400, is $50 off for the moment, then $100 off starting Thanksgiving.

This new Panny is slightly larger than the Oly, and not as cute, but lists for $150 less and is $200 less at the moment than the Ebon Friday Oly special.

I've relied on the Panny 20/1.7 for a "normal" prime for some time, trading a little AF speed and sharpness away from the center for the pancake size and weight.

For $99, you and B&H have enticed me to see if bigger is indeed better ...

I don't quite understand another aspect of Panny's primes lens line. Until/except for the GX models, Panny's bodies have no IBIS and until one recent, premium prime, the Leica 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH, none of the prime lenses have IS.

Much as I like the tiny GM1 for unobtrusive use, in the dim and dark, where it would otherwise be ideal, I have to go with the larger Oly bodies to use my fast primes to best effect.

OK - You got me. I bought one. Through your link of course - hope you get a little cut.

oh, gah, will this sale last until my payday on Friday? I'll even fiddle with paying the rent late if I have to. A major brand, a fifty equivalent & a price tag I can afford if it lasts long enough? I'm gonna be twitching all week like my son on Christmas Eve.

Panasonic make some beautiful lenses, and this one may be their best.

I am partial to the Fuji 35mm 1.4, personally. It gets the lion's share of camera time.

The 50mm focal length is not only good for daily shooting, it works very well for scenic panoramas. Take one hiking today!

I've got the Olympus 25mm f/1.8 and the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. I like to use Oly lenses on Oly bodies and Panny lenses on Panny bodies, with occasional exceptions. If I want to use my GM1 in dim light, the 20mm f/1.7 is a fine companion, as is the 14mm f/2.5.

I recall being "stuck" with a boring 50mm 1.4 on my OM-1 when I was in school. I was a one lens one camera man 'cause I had no money to get another for a couple of years. 50mm is still the most useful lens to me unless I really need something longer or a true wide angle. (I figured a 35 was some oddball length for photographing the bottoms of mushrooms or something until a few years ago when I heard rumors it had other uses.)

My favorite lens of the digital age is the Panasonic "Leica" 25mm. Had I not had it, this one or the Olympus 25mm would be on one of my cameras now. Wouldn't know what to do with a camera if a 50mm equivalent was not available.

My first camera was my Nikon FE with an AI 50mm f1.8 bought as my graduation present in 1980 from 8th grade. I shot with that lens as well as an old Kodak Retina IIIc that I learned on which also had a 50mm for many years. So many years in fact that to this day I pretty much initially see every scene at 50mm. I never even realized that I see this way until I started using kit zooms and found that when framing the picture I seem to keep subconsciously stopping around 50mm (or its equivalent) on the zoom ring.
So here's to you "normal" lens. You rock!

Calling our attention to these specials is helpful, around this time of year things are easy to miss.
Fast-er (rather than Fast-est) Normal primes have always been the place to look for lenses that 'punch above their weight' so to speak.
(It might be an interesting post for you to consider)
My first SLR was a Minolta SR-1 with what I remember as a 50 or 55mm f/1.7 Rokkor, that was a revelation to me.
I didn't know enough to think of it as a 'kit' lens, and just used it.
I just did a quick search, and found that there were 50's & 55's and 1.8's so now I am unsure abut exactly which one came with that camera-- does anyone else remember?

Argh! I just bought the Oly 25mm used for 2.5x the price of this one. Oh well.

Done. Thanks! (I used your link) I, too, cut my teeth on the Nifty 50. I love this angle of view. I'd been debating a 25 for my OMD 5 for some time. This price got me.

I believe in limitations in order to learn. I don't allow my first year students to use anything but a 50 (they all shoot full frame). Now I can shoot alongside them without having to set my zoom to 25.

Happy Turkey day!

I am a Canon user, and have chosen the Shorty Forty (f/2.8 STM pancake lens) as the "nobody takes you seriously" discreet lens and easy/versatile walkabout lens. I have to say that I liked my film era nifty fifty lenses.

Dear Mike,

OK, I'll bite. I'd like something better than the Panny 20mm f/1.7 pancake.

I've been playing with the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH, and really it doesn't seem a whole lot better (PhotoZone's tests seem to match my experience). Maybe this'll be the one.

And if not, there's always the return option.

pax / Ctein

I Ordered one and I don/t even have a m43 camera. Is there an adapter to mount m43 lenses on Nikon?

Just saying that I appreciate (not just this weekend!) TOP's readership sharing their experiences to both validate and counter the ideas presented here.

My first camera/SLR purchase had me weighing a 50mm versus a 70. Everyone told me the "normal lens" story, but I couldn't see what the fuss over the 50 was all about. I thought the 70 was more like how "we" normally see.

Almost 30 years later, I still think the 50 is of limited use for my style of shooting (and hence I don't own one at all amongst my primes although I do use that focal length on my zoom). I must've put that gear acquisition money toward headphones or something...

For what it's worth, my first photo editor at a (good photo) newspaper I worked for sent me out with two lenses and told me I should master those first: a 24mm and a 300mm. "Nobody wants to see normal," he said figuratively.

Of course, YMMV. Thanks Mike and TOP readers/contributors. Have a great weekend with or without your 50s. (I have my 21 and 90 with me.)

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