Top 5 best 50mm lenses
We often frequent the filmmaker forums here at Perspective Pictures, and we’ve seen many people ask what the best 50mm lens is for shooting videos. In this post, we take you through our top 5 50mm lenses. These range from Canon to Nikon and offer the best quality at the best prices.
Before we get into the list, let’s take a look at the awesome things you can do with a 50mm lens. Essentially, this size of lens is all about intimacy and embracing the power of emotions. If you want to capture a video with rich colour and crystal clear clarity, the 50mm is for you. For both filmmakers and photographers it’s the favoured lens for getting up close and personal. The 50mm lens lets you focus on a specific subject, distorting everything else - which is perfect if you’re looking to film monologues.
1. The “Nifty Fifty” Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
A lens of such beauty it just has to come first. This Canon lens is ideal for those looking for something cost effective without skimping on quality. Clinton Stark of Stark Insider tested this lens, and it’s definitely a winner:
“You get quality glass that belies its price that works wonders in low light thanks to its speed (1.8). IS is absent so you’ll need a (very) steady hand or (preferred) a rig. Still, I’ve managed to capture filmic like footage handheld with this beauty. Thanks to its glorious bokeh (the unfocused area of the frame) you might just be blown away by the results.”
2. Pentax SMC DA 50mm f/1.8
The Pentax is not the usual choice for filming. However, it’s a great lens if you want to shoot something moody in low light. The quality is 9/10 and at £99 it’s definitely worth it. The smallest lens on the list, it’s designed for use with Pentax’ APS-C DSLRs, which use the manufacturer’s K-mount. Offering a 76.5mm equivalent field of view, the lens is touted as one of the best for portrait photography. Shooting video produces stunning results too, allowing you to shoot without worrying about distorting the subject.
3. Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G AF-S Lens
Selling for around £140, this Nikon 50mm has an internal AF monitor, which offers you the freedom to use it with a variety of Nikon DSLR’s, including entry level models. If you’re a student or an amateur just getting into videography, this is ideal. Although lacking vibration reduction, this lens has a metal lens mount which is weather-sealed by a rubber surround, covering both the lens and body mounts when the optic is attached to the camera. For those of you looking for a 50mm lens you can experiment with, this is the one.
4. AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G
For a while the AF-S NIKKOR f/1.4G has been the favoured 50mm of filmmakers, as NikonUS describe: “This 50mm lens has an f/1.4 aperture that enables further depth of field control. Its natural focal length makes it an all around great and compact lens for most shooting situations, from interviews to run and gun documentary style.”
5. AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
This lens allows for shooting shallow depth of field and filming in low light. Despite being smaller and lighter that the f/1.4G, this is a great starter 50mm lens for those looking to explore and experiment. The price is pretty good as well, generally being around the £130 mark.