What is Fifty Normal?


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What is Fifty Normal?

The term fifty normal refers to the lens that I use to take most of my pictures. Its focal length, fifty millimeters, is similar to the length of the diagonal of the film frame, which measures 24mm by 36mm. The effect that a normal lens has is that the image is considered neither wide-angle nor telephoto. The field-of-view of a 50mm is normal, approximating the perspective of human vision. The lens I own is the Nikkor 50mm AF f1.8. And I use it mostly for economic reasons -- it's Nikon's least expensive glass. That being said, it is also one of the brightest, sharpest, most flare resistant, and least distorting lenses out there.


  • I still love how the grain pattern combined with the infinite shades of gray can invoke emotion out of what would otherwise be a simple photo. Like that virginal fresh new leaf completely overshadowing the other two, which are light years behind it...corrupted by dirt and age, soon to fall victim to the passage of time, finding themselves falling helplessly to the dank soil below, joining their other brethren who have fallen long ago. Sorry, got carried away there. hahahaha :) I do love factory glass, especially the depth-of-field control that a 1.8 gives you. It's amazing the night and day difference between Nikon glass and lower-quality stuff like low-end Sigma's and Tamrons. How do we order prints?
    Ernie @ 6th December 2005
  • 1.8 also gives a bright viewfinder, which I love. And this lens has a depth-of-field chart, woohoo! How the hell do zoom users shoot depth-of-field w/o a chart?!?

    By using Nikkor prime lenses (even the low priced 50mm) anyone can stop worrying about lens quality and learn to love their pics instead. =)
    oj @ 7th December 2005
  • For prints email me (oj at fiftynormal dot com) and note the title of the photo and the size(s) you might want.
    oj @ 7th December 2005
  • That is one thing I miss about FF cameras - the bright viewfinder. Unfortunately, a 50mm lens on a DSLR isn't 50mm. With a crop factor of my Canon is 1.6x, so it would end up being an 80mm lens :-( When I use Bev's Elan 7E film camera, the viewfinder is so nice and bright! And I miss the Canon's AE-1 split prism focusing.
    Gary @ 7th December 2005
  • How to shoot without a chart? ...depth of field preview! :)
    Ernie @ 7th December 2005
  • Oh yes, DOF preview. That works too, as long as you have lots of light.

    Gary, 80mm isn't such a bad focal length, especially for portraits. Otherwise you could use Canon's fast 35mm lens to get 50 equivalent.
    oj @ 7th December 2005



  • Nikkor 50mm
  • Nikon E 100mm
  • Zenzanon 80mm
  • Canon 5.8mm IS


Pictures by OJ, based in San Francisco, California. Email oj [at] fiftynormal [dot] com for prints and bookings.

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