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50mm Prime Lens & Why it is a must have lens

May 29, 2017 blog, Lens Review, Photography
portrait lenses on wall portrait in the background in landscape

The Nikorr 50mm Prime Lens

Hi there, thanks for dropping by my website. As promised, i will be sharing my reviews on different Cameras, Lenses and Accessories at least once a week. If its your first time here, welcome. I am, Billy Miaron, a Kenyan web developer and Pro Photographer. As a photographer, some of the biggest questions i get in my inbox are; Which Camera do you use? Followed by, “Wow!! me too, but Which Lens do you use? Which is your must have lens?”

Today am going to try to address those three questions.

I may not be a veteran in photography but I hope to get there with every click of the camera. I started photography as a hobby in 2015 using borrowed cameras and later decided to take it to the next level by venturing into pro photography in March 2016. My first camera was a Nikon D3200 +18-55kit lens which is a starter DSLR camera. I would shoot anything and everything that caught my eye. I got some good shots from the Kit lens but still, I didn’t achieve those Crisp sharp images I would see from other pro photographers, with a fine background Bokeh(blur). After doing some research, I read about lenses recommendations from various pro photographers and one Lens stood out; The 50mm 1.8/1.4g prime Lens. This lens is made to give your camera almost the same focal length the human eye has.

This was taken at mid day, at the Nairobi Arboretum. 50mm 1.8g F5 1/100 ISO:160 Nikon d5200

Guess what, I saved every little dime I had and also got some help from a close friend, I bought the lens for around 400$ and I have to admit the difference was visible in my work, especially the Portraits are to die for. The 50mm is a Fast Lens with a wide Aperture(1.8g or 1.4g compared to normal F3.5-5.6 in Kit Lenses). Its amazing in low light conditions e.g Night event photography and its images are crisp clear with a very rich depth of field. It is very light in weight and small in size, making it very portable.

Why is it called a Prime Lens?  Well, Prime Lenses have a fixed Focal Length. Unlike Zoom Lenses, Prime lenses do not have a zoom ring. For example the 50mm prime lens has a fixed focal length of 50mm n so is a 35mm prime lens.

There are two different types of prime lenses. Manual Focus lenses and Auto-Focus lenses(which come with a manual override). The preference depends with you. The auto-focus ones are a little more expensive. We also have a F1.4 and a F1.8 50mm prime lens, with the F1.4 offering an even wider Aperture.

Enough Technical Talk, here are a few sample photos of my work all taken using both Nikon D3200 and D5200 with a 50mm 1.8g Prime lens with the Exif settings. Enjoy

  1. Low Light.

This Lens is fast and allows a lot of light at wide apertures, making it the ideal lens for night photography or low light conditions.

This was taken at night. Only light source was a dim Florescent tube and the car lights 50mm 1.8g F4.3 1/125 ISO:200


Fashion Runway at Michael Joseph Center, Nairobi; 50mm 1.8g  F2.0 1/60 ISO:400 on NIKON D3200


In this photo of my friend Tony at Blankets n Wine Festival, I used an external flash to separate him from the beautiful background of the stage. With the Prime lens I was able to get a good depth of field between him and the background. 50mm F3.5 1/160 ISO 100

2. Portraits

When it comes to Portraits, the 50mm Prime lens is amazing. its images are sharp and with a rich Depth of Field

A water pipe had broken, sprinkling water up. I focused on the model then re-composed  to include the water. See the effect the drops have on the Photo. 50mm prime F.3.5 1/400 ISO:100 Nikon D3200


This photo was taken close to sunset, with the sunlight giving the model a warm color and enhancing the highlights. 50mm prime f5 1/250 ISO: 100 Nikon D5200



In this photo, I had a friend hold a reflector and balance the light. see the glow in his eyes. 50mm Prime F.3.5 1/800 ISO:100 Nikon D3200.


This was taken in the evening of Blankets n Wine event.The sun gave the subjects a warm golden glow. 50mm prime lens F3.2 1/80 ISO 100 Nikon D5200

This was taken in the evening of Blankets n Wine event. I placed Amber Ray and her son in-front of a huge floodlight which produced a warm light. This enhanced the warmth in their skin-tones.  50mm prime lens F3.5 1/40 ISO 100 Nikon D5200

Baby Kyle. This was my first Paid Photoshoot. This little Angel, just like other babies, was so playful so getting her to stay still was out of the table. here is when a fast lens came in handy. 50mm F 2.8 1/1600 ISO 200

3. Product Photography

Product Photography for Redbull Energy Nights. 50mm 1.8g F5.6  1/250 ISO:400 Nikon D5200With an off-camera speedlight.

Product Photography for Redbull Energy Nights. 50mm 1.8g F5.6  1/250 ISO:400 Nikon D5200With an off-camera speedlight.


Product Photography SKYY Vodka. This was taken in a night club. Here I used a 50mm 1.8g F3.2 1/100 ISO:400 Nikon D5200 With an external speedlight

Product Photography SKYY Vodka. This was taken in a night club. Here I used a 50mm 1.8g F3.2 1/100 ISO:400 Nikon D5200 With an external speedlight

4. Pet Photography.

Nikon d5200 50mm F3.5 1/800 ISO: 100

Nikon d5200 50mm F2.5  1/1600 ISO: 100. This photo of my pet cat was taken  at midday, that’s why i used a high shutter speed


A beautiful photo of one of my client's cat resting on a stair case. 50mm Prime F2.0 1/400 ISO 100 Nikon D5200

A beautiful photo of one of my client’s cat resting on a stair case. 50mm Prime F2.8  1/60 ISO 100 Nikon D5200

In summary, most of the photos on my website were taken using the Nikon 50mm 1.8g Prime Lens, so you can go through my website using the Menu at the top and see for yourself why I love this lens more than any other.

My recommendation to you my dear friend; be you a Nikonite like me or using Canon, Sony, Lumix or any other DSLR, a prime lens is a lens you should have. With a prime, you loose the ability to zoom but comes with the benefits of putting your attention on Focusing. These means you get sharper images, fast apertures, light weight. Another benefit is that a prime lens will have fewer moving parts, so there is less of an opportunity for problems to appear from general use.

However, with the emerging technology, zoom lenses are getting better and better and in my next article, I will be reviewing one of them, see bottom of the article.

When it comes to price and functionality, Prime lenses are affordable and with great results. You can purchase them at your local camera shops or online. In Kenya, you can purchase genuine Nikon lenses at Image Solutions, TRM Mall. Click on the image below to buy on their online shop.

Nikkor70-300af-p (10)

“If I had to pick a single lens to shoot everything on, it would be a 50mm. This focal length is considered the closest to the human eye’s field of view, and therefore can be used in so many different environments. From a close-up on a single actor, to a 2 or 3 shot on a group, the 50mm will have you covered and will probably be the most used lens in your kit.” Noam Kroll

“Many prominent photographers have claimed this as their favorite lens, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the most important photojournalists of the Twentieth Century, and an icon for amateur and professional street photographers. He famously used a 50mm lens almost exclusively as it acts as “an extension of (the) eye,” permitting photographers to trap life in a frame that resembles the way we experience the world.” Jill Waterman

Now that you have read my review and why this is a must have lens according to me and other photographers, I have a question for you.

Which is your must have lens? Kindly share you feedback here and let me know whats your favorite Lens and why. Also if you have photography questions, please don’t mind asking, I would be glad to respond to them here.

Love the article? kindly share widely, thanks.

Nikkor70-300af-p (7)

Subscribe to be the first to get latest posts. Next i will be reviewing my other lens, the Nikkor 70-300 AF-P. See you soon.


Billy Miaron.

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  1. I love also using the 50MM /1.4 Prime Lens.
    Your photos are super crispy. They are amazing.
    What`s your secret to achieve Crisp Sharp images?

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