Why You Should Pick Up the Nifty Fifty Lens

The Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens, or commonly referred to as the nifty fifty, is a great lens that comes in with an amazing price tag of only $125 as I write this. For many, especially those on a budget,  this is one of the first and most often recommended lens to pick up for any photographer of any genre.

This week's two-minute Tuesday with Peter McKinnon is all about this lens and why you should pick one up. Heads up, Peter does go past the two-minute mark with the total length being 4:11 but hey, most of us don’t mind. For such a low price with great performance, why wouldn’t you pick this up if you don't already have a 50mm lens? Even if you did, why not an extra for backup? This was the first lens I picked up, the price point definitely helped with that decision which was on sale for $100 at that time. When I first started off with my Canon T3i, the 50mm works as an 80mm focal-length for the crop sensor and I used this for my portrait work. Eventually, I upgraded the lens but I still have this one as a backup. For Nikon owners, you can check out the Nikon 50mm f/1.8D lens for $131.95.

In a recent article covering two lenses you should own for portrait photography, the 50mm was one of the recommended focal lengths to use. Do you own the Canon nifty fifty, what do you usually shoot with this lens?

Alex Ventura's picture

Staff writer Alex Ventura is a professional photographer based out of the Houston area that specializes in automotive and glamour with the occasional adventures into other genres. He regularly covers automotive related events for Houston Streets & Spekture with some publications in the United States.

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NO! I don't own the Canon nifty fifty! Why would I? I own the SMC Pentax F 1:1.7 50mm. Is FStoppers a Canon Forum? Why would you ask that question?

(Actually, I do own a Canon 50mm, but due to an accidental lens swap by a Canon shooter who accidentally took my SMC Pentax KA 1:2.8 50mm, then when he came to return it…).

Yes, I do have both 50's and use them. Use my Canon 50 with an extension tube to shot macro, and the Nikon sits in my bag in the event the situation arises.

Rather than watch the video, I just read the first half of one of your narrative sentences: "For such a low price with great performance..." Add to that its 1.8 aperture, it's a no-brainer.

I shoot almost all of my crazy Christmas cards (austinchristmascards.com) with a 50. It just seems to be the perfect focal length for something that ends up in a 5x7 card.

Very nice cards!

Thanks Sam!

I have 58, does it count!?


Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G is also a lovely lens. One of my favs. So light and sharp.

I love 50mm, still have the 50f1.8. It's still in use on my 1000D...operated by my 4yo old son xD

I use the 5dIV with the Sigma 50 1.4 ART, It's my GoTo lens at events (when there is enough space and I don't need the 24-70)

Have owned one for years. Always with me as backup. Shoot street with it. Have been questioned why I don't have the more expensive 1.2. Have that, too, but it's heavier. A friend once threw his nifty-fifty against a wall (cracked and scratched it). He put it on his camera and shot like it was new. GREAT PIECE of equipment.

Alex: Excellent advice. I own two and have had them for years. While I don't use the "nifty fifty" every day, it gets its share of use.

I also have both Canon and Nikon 'nifty-fifties'. I'm finding that I'm using both more and more despite owning a lot of supposedly more classy glass. I like the size and weight and distinct non-fancy look.

Whatever that guy smokes, I want some!