What Does A 50mm Lens Mean? Expert Guide

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Lenses are something that most photographers are familiar with. A quick primer on focal length is in order if you’re having trouble deciphering the mm number on the barrel of your lens. The majority of what you need to know about What Does A 50mm Lens Mean? Is covered in this article.

What Does A 50mm Lens Mean?

The focal length of a lens is 50 mm. 50 mm stands for 50 millimeters or roughly 2 inches. This measurement is a broad description of how much magnification a lens will have in photography.

If you mount a 50 mm lens on an SLR camera, you can look through the camera with one eye and out the other, and there won’t be much of a change in magnification. Find a lens with a lower focal length (say 10–35 mm), and the image will capture much more while showing fewer details. A lens provides magnification with a greater focal distance.

A 50mm Lens Mean

What Does The MM Mean?

All lenses are marked with an “mm” number somewhere. Micron is short for “focal length,” and millimeters are the unit of measurement for this term. When it comes to focal length, some lenses have a wide range of options, while others have a single “fixed” size.

For this reason, zoom lenses have variable focal lengths, which can be used to zoom in closer or zoom out farther from a subject. Lenses with a fixed focal length are referred to as “primes.” It’s simple: prime lenses don’t have mm designations since they can’t zoom. With a prime lens, the only way to draw closer or further away from your subject is to move your body.

Many photographers don’t give much thought to their focus length or how they may use it to improve their images. It’s in the domain of technical details, and many people want to avoid it. It’s critical, though, to know how to adjust your lens’ focal length.

What Does It Mean To Have A 50mm Lens?

The term “focal length” refers to the distance from the camera’s lens to the subject. 50 mm (50 millimeters) is approximately 2 inches in length. A lens’ magnification is described in broad terms by this measurement in photography.

If you mount a 50 mm lens on an SLR camera, you can look through the camera with one eye and outdoors with the other, and you won’t notice much difference in magnification. You’ll see a lot more detail if you use a lens with a shorter distance (say, 10 – 35 mm). Increasing the magnification of your lens requires a more significant focus distance.

Full-frame cameras use a 50 mm lens as the “standard” focal length. They give off a more natural appearance because they don’t compress or widen the angle. Outside, they’re great for general photography. They use a 28–35 mm lens while photographing inside or photographing buildings.

Fixed lens cameras often feature a wider lens than 50 mm because 50 mm lenses are quick and inexpensive. For example, Canon’s EF 50 mm f/1.8 STM is the company’s least expensive lens but is faster than any zoom. Thus, they’ve gained notoriety. Forty years ago, they were ordinary kit lenses.

Since most entry-level cameras these days use APS-C sensors, a 50 mm lens is no longer a practical option. As the name suggests, it’s more of a short telephoto lens that can be utilized for portraiture. It corresponds to a 75–80 mm focal length on a full frame.

If you want a similar effect as a 50 mm lens on a full-frame camera, use APS-C and 30–35 mm. A 32 mm f/1.4 lens is available for Canon’s EOS-M series cameras. This is a full-frame equivalent of a 50 mm f/1.8 lens (a 51 mm f/2.2 lens, to be precise). DSLRs don’t have anything like this from Canon.

Why Should You Buy A 50mm Lens?

In their kit, all new photographers need to have a 50mm prime lens (also known as an F/1.8 or f/2.0 lens). Its versatility permits it to be utilized for various photographic tasks, low cost, and a broad range of capabilities. Investing in a 50mm lens has many advantages, which I’ll discuss in this blog post.

There are a variety of 50mm lenses available from prominent camera manufacturers, but I prefer the primary 50mm F1.8 lens. Compared to kit lenses and ordinary zoom lenses, the image quality you’ll get from this is noticeably better. 50mm lenses are the cheapest in Canon and Nikon’s lens ranges. 

Top Five Advantages Of A 50mm Lens

  1. As with our own eyes, the field of view provided by a full-frame digital camera’s 50mm lens is comparable to that of our own. You may run into problems fitting everything inside the frame while using a lens with a fixed focal length (like a 50mm lens). Your composition skills will improve using a 50mm lens, which forces you to think outside the box.
  2. Many professional-grade lenses can’t compete with the quality of images taken using 50mm lenses. When comparing a 50mm lens to a conventional zoom lens, the 50mm lens provides a sharper, more contrasted image.
  3. Compact and portable, a 50mm lens is an excellent choice for travel. This allows you to have a very close set-up (mainly if you’re using a small digital camera).
  4. A fast maximum aperture distinguishes 50mm lenses from slower zooms. The most common 50mm lenses have a gap of F1.8, which is extremely wide. Since more light can reach the camera’s sensor when using these lenses, they’re ideal for indoor and low-light photography. To put it another way, a 50mm lens lets in five times as much light as a consumer-grade zoom lens. As a result, you can freeze the action and minimize camera wobble by using lower ISOs and faster shutter rates.
  5. Shallow depth of field can be accessed by utilizing the fast shutter speed and a wide aperture of a 50mm lens. With this, you have a wide range of options for blurring away the backdrop and focusing on your subject. Out-of-focus highlights are also an exciting feature of 50mm lenses (also known as Bokeh). When used with a short depth of field, Bokeh may produce some stunning images.

What’s A 50mm Lens Good For?

It is one of the most commonly used lenses and can be used for various photography tasks, such as taking pictures at night, in landscapes, of people, or of cars. You can only use a 50mm lens when you need a telephoto lens because you are too far away from your subject.

What Type Of Photos Do You Take With A 50mm Lens?

At 50mm, you can get decently tight portraits and lovely background bokeh. However, you may also stand back and capture full-body (and even group!) pictures. Additionally, 50mm is the ideal focal length for naturalistic portraiture.


Now, concluding What Does A 50mm Lens Mean? The simplicity and adaptability of a 50mm prime lens make it perfect for a wide range of photographic applications. After getting used to the 50mm lens, you can consider upgrading to a 200mm or 300mm lens, or even a set wide-angle lens, once you’ve mastered the basics. Use a fixed-focal-length lens to improve your photography because it has many advantages.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you know how to use a 50mm lens?

A fast maximum aperture distinguishes 50mm lenses from slower zooms. F1. 8 is the most common aperture for 50mm lenses. Since more light can reach the camera’s sensor when using these lenses, they’re ideal for shooting in dimly lit conditions (such as low-light portraiture or indoor photography).

35mm vs. 50mm: Which one is better?

The 35mm prime lens has a field of vision of 54.4 degrees, whereas a 50mm prime lens has a lot of view of little less than 40 degrees. If you’re photographing large landscapes, 35mm is a better option than a wide-angle lens.

What does MM stand for when it comes to lenses?

A lens’s essential characteristic is its focal length, measured in millimeters (mm) longer focal lengths outcomes in a smaller field of view and increased magnification. Magnification is reduced by increasing the field of view and decreasing focal length.

Using a 50mm lens, how far away can I get?

The minimum distance is calculated from the camera’s focal plane symbol, frequently discovered near the shooting mode dial. A circle with a line is the most common way to identify this point on a DSLR camera (pictured below). The minimum focusing distance of the Nikon 50mm f/1.8g lens is 0.45 meters/1.5 feet from the focal plane mark.

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