Here’s Why Every Photographer Needs a Nifty Fifty Lens
What is a nifty fifty? To us, they’re an enduring classic — they’re versatile, they’re lightweight, and they create that beautiful bokeh we know and love. Plus, since 50mm glass comes the closest to what the eye naturally perceives, many photographers find it to be a great way to train the eye.
Whether you’ve got a few zooms and are looking to pick up a new prime lens, or you’re making your first purchase after your kit lens, we’ve got a nifty fifty lens for you. Keep reading to see some of our top picks for each popular brand.
Best Budget — Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
Just one shot and you’ll be glad you snagged this 50mm f/1.8 — it’s compact, affordable, and effective in low-light situations. Ultimately, this high-performance standard lens shows that expensive, exotic glass is not always required for great results.
Modern Classic — Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
While the fixed focal length helps beginner photographers think more concretely about composition and perspective, this affordable nifty fifty makes the sharpness, contrast, and upgraded optics of higher-end lenses more accessible.
Unparalleled Prime — Sony FE 50mm f/1.8
This f/1.8 50mm camera lens is perfect for pulling light and capturing clear, crisp images. Pair that large maximum aperture with the 7-blade circular lens for beautiful defocused bokeh.
Exceptionally Lightweight — Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AIS
This manual focus 50mm f/1.8 is super sharp — it has virtually no distortion and truly remarkable optics. It’s also one of the lightest lenses Nikon has ever made — the perfect for shooting around town.
Walkaround Essential — Minolta 50mm f/2 MD
With a smaller maximum aperture, this unique nifty fifty camera lens from Minolta allows the photographer to get precise detail on the subject with a subtly smooth out-of-focus background.
Versatile & Bright — Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC Art for Canon EF APS-C
While it reads 30mm, this is the 50mm equivalent for crop sensor cameras. At a large maximum aperture of 1.4, this compact prime crushes it in low-light settings. It’s an awesome addition to any kit.
Beginner Winner — Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G
Back to a super affordable f/1.8 with this nifty fifty lens by Nikon. This 35mm, when you take into account the 1.5x crop factor, is the same focal length as a 50mm. Unencumbered by the compromises of zoom lenses, this compact prime is sharp, bright, and perfect for anyone learning photography.
All-metal Mirrorless — Fujifilm XF 35mm f/2 R WR
This Fuji lens is the equivalent of a 53mm and has an angle of view most similar to the human eye. With a Nano-GI coating to reduce ghosting and flares, this outstanding piece of glass creates images that are crisp, clear, and sharp edge to edge.
Remarkably Sharp — Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM
If you’ve already got a Canon nifty fifty lens and are ready for an upgrade, this investment piece is the one to beat. At f/1.2, you’re going to see a significant improvement in image quality… not to mention the improved build quality, including smudge-resistant coating, a unique customizable control ring, and state-of-the-art optics.
Affordable Excellence — Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G
At a maximum aperture of 1.4, this little lens packs a big punch. Edge-to-edge sharpness, crisp images (even in low-light environments), and gorgeous natural background blur make this nifty fifty a top choice. Plus, it’s virtually silent when focusing, and features a full-time manual focus override, which means you can still tweak the focus even if the camera is in autofocus.
Fast & Flexible — Fujifilm XF 35mm f/1.4 R
In case the sturdy, all-metal build isn’t enough, this Fuji equivalent of a nifty fifty boasts impressive sharpness and minimal distortion. It’s compact, high performing in dim lighting, and has that dreamy bokeh we all love. This is an excellent option for Fuji shooters.
So if you’re asking yourself “What is a nifty fifty lens?”, or more importantly, “Do I need a nifty fifty lens?”... If you shoot portraits, street photography, or landscapes, the answer is yes! Really, they make great all-around glass.
Ultimately, the best 50mm lens is the one you have. So no matter your budget, we’ve got one to meet your needs. Plus, our inventory is always changing, so be sure to browse the site for any of your camera lens needs.