Top 8 Best Nifty Fifty Lens for Your Camera (Updated for 2021)

Michael Sand
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Fifty’s are the go-to lenses in the modern camera body. It’s easy to use, cheap, light and very effective.

Cameras these days come with a 18/55 zoom lens, but do you really need to pay for it? An alternative approach is to buy a fifty lens with a camera body and then use the fifty to replace the lens.

You’ll get better quality pictures, save money and if you choose properly, you’ll even save weight as well. In short, saving money while getting the best results is a good thing.

Here are 8 best nifty fifty lenses for you to choose from.

NameCategoryProduct
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM LensBest OverallCanon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM LensBudget PickCanon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM LensUpgrade PickSigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens

1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens

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Pros:

  • Sharp images
  • Sharp in low light
  • Unique and flexible bokeh
  • Low chromatic aberration
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Solid plastic build
  • Clunky focus ring
  • Price
  • Lens hood not available

Reviewers say the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM lens is incredible for portraits, landscapes, and indoor/low light photography. They say the lens renders colors accurately and has a distinct bokeh, or blurred background. Reviewers also say the lens is lightweight and sharp, but not a heavy-duty professional lens.

2. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

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Pros:

  • Best 50mm for Nikon cameras
  • Super cheap
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Excellent lens quality

Cons:

  • No lens hood
  • Mediocre build quality
  • No weather sealing
  • Poor auto focus speed

This nifty fifty lens from Canon is ideal for almost any application thanks to its incredible bang for the buck. It features a minimum focusing distance of 0.85m, an exterior construction of 9 elements in 7 groups (at least 3 are aspherical), and a circular 7 blade diaphragm. It is a general purpose lens designed for use on nearly all EOS DSLRs except for the EF-S series. It also features an improved Damped Focus Control, and performs well in various lighting situations with a maximum aperture of f/1.8. A distance scale and depth of field scale are also included for easier focusing.

Although the lens has very few cons, the focus speed is quite mediocre even with the STM designation. Also, according to reviews, the build quality is not up to par with more expensive Canon lenses, and the lens hood is not included. The exterior is made of polycarbonate, and there’s no weather sealing for protection in bad weather.

3. Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens

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Pros:

  • Sharp Images
  • Fast & Accurate Auto-Focus
  • Impressive Build Quality
  • Great for Portrait Photographers

Cons:

  • Some Vignetting
  • Expensive
  • Lowest Aperture Speeds

The Sigma 50mm f1.4 is a classic lens and I have a few in use on my own gear. The one thing I have learned is they are great but the very top quality 50mm lenses are very expensive, and I had always been disappointed in the sharpness and the bokeh of the lens.

This Sigma is a big step up from previous designs and right now (2018), it's a significantly better lens than Nikon and Canon's top models.

The optics are better and the AF is also better than much of the competition.

4. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens

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Pros:

  • Best mid-range telephoto
  • Good middle-of-the-road budget
  • Best value for still subjects
  • Colors are solid and well-saturated
  • Fast, silent auto focus

Cons:

  • Performs poorly for fast moving subjects
  • Poor quality control
  • Lacks weather sealing

This lens is a decent and affordable choice for mid-range telephoto purposes. With its aperture range of f/1.4 to f/2.8 and a 50mm full frame image, it offers a good working distance for portraits. It is a medium telephoto lens which means it works better with large subjects rather than small ones.

The Canon 50mm have a simple, vintage look and feel which is why it is one of the most popular lenses in the Canon lineup. With great performance at a fair price, the can is one of the best 50mm lenses to have. This classic lens offers clean images with very limited distortion and chromatic aberration.

Users report good results especially in good lighting conditions. At a fixed f/1.4 aperture, it performs great as a portrait lens, especially when available light is used.

5. Nikon AI-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 Fixed Zoom Manual Focus Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Nikon AI-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 Fixed Zoom Manual Focus Lens

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Pros:

  • Smooth focusing ring
  • Extremely sharp
  • Vibration Reduction (VR) feature is great for portrait shots.

While the latest and greatest lenses are usually the most expensive,, the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 is another great option that still has a relatively high rating on Amazon. It is typically around 1/3 the cost of the other options listed above. Its time-tested design offers a manual focusing ring with smooth and silky rotation, a long focus throw for quick focus, and the ability to capture sharp photos.

This lens is particularly great for landscape photography and will give you photos that are incredibly sharp and with minimal distortion. If you’re a Nikon DSLR user, and you’ve never used this awesome lens, you’re really missing out.

6. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens

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Pros:

  • Super sharp lens
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Can be used with video cameras

Heavy – 7.05 oz.

As one of the best lenses in the world of photography, this lens is still at the top of its class for the right reasons. Since its launch in 1996, it has been the standard lens for many professional photographers. Designed with a minimum f/18 aperture setting, you will have a significant amount of contrast and vignetting. What makes it so versatile is that it can be used in difficult lighting situations – it works well with other dark room or outdoor portraits. Although this is not the best lens for low light photography, you can still capture low light with its f/1.4 aperture.

The Nikon 50mm Prime Lens opens up the opportunity for you to step up with outstanding results. Those who have owned this lens have been more than satisfied with the performance and its versatility for many different photography genres.

7. Pentax 50mm f/1.8 DA SMC Lens

Our rating: 6 / 10

Pentax 50mm f/1.8 DA SMC Lens

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Pros:

  • Cost less than some other high-end fifty lenses
  • The lens is very fast, good at low light situations
  • Image quality is good but the lens is not as sharp as other expensive lenses
  • This lens has a longer reach than others in lens
  • The Pentax kit comes with some amazing accessories like a soft box, a flash gun and more!

This is a great lens for beginners and intermediates alike.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best all around camera lens?

The simple answer to this question is “it depends.” Optics quality is highly subjective. There is no single lens that will be the best for everyone, and the best all-around lens will change over time as your photography needs evolve.

The lens shelf will be different for a serious professional (who has an arsenal of favorite lenses) than it will be for a hobbyist who relies primarily on their kit lens. Some hobbyists will find the simplest and most inexpensive lens is sufficient for their needs. Others with money to burn will want to create a stunning image and may select a lens that’s worth thousands. Chances are you’re somewhere in the middle, which is why you’re considering this topic in the first place.

What is the best lens for everyday photography?

There are several great beginner lenses for everyday photography out there, but if you are on a tight budget, the 50mm is the one you should be looking at first. This lens is versatile, and great for just about any photo. It’s the perfect lens to learn on, because it will give you a back and forth perspective, and is great for portraits.

What is the best all around Canon lens?

The best all around Canon lens is the 50mm F/1.8 STM because the image quality beats out any zoom lens in the Canon lineup. There’s nothing quite like having a 50mm lens attached to your camera permanently, as I do on my Canon 6D.

What is the best use for a 50mm lens?

The perfect use for a 50mm lens is for close ups of people and objects. It allowed you to be that much closer to the subject while maintaining a pleasing perspective and flattering your subject. It is also a fantastic light lens that is easier to work with in low light and is ideal for headshots.

Conclusion

So you need a lens for your camera, and you’ve been around and found that it’s a really confusing space to be in, and you’re wondering what you should be looking for, and what you should be doing. Slow down.

Stop, and take a breath. We know it can be overwhelming, and we also know that it can be confusing. So let us narrow the focus for you.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM LensBest OverallCanon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM LensBudget PickCanon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM LensUpgrade PickSigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens