I have been lusting after a 50mm lens for my camera, and I have decided to go ahead and get it. But while I'm waiting, I'm practicing a little with my zoom lens set to 50mm. What I'm finding is that I love it for close up & macro shots, but for most other things I'm seriously missing a wider angle. I had no idea I even used the wide angle so much! But apparently I really do.
So here are some of my shots during my play:
Some of you may be wondering why I'd want a fixed focal length when I can have so many more options with my zoom. Well, my first reason was, for the cost, I can have a much higher quality 50mm lens and I would be spending at least 10 times as much on a zoom lens with anything close to the same quality. In addition to that, the 50mm lens goes down to a f1.8 aperture, meaning it can let in a LOT of light, which means I can shoot more low light level stuff, which I love. I'm a big fan of available light. F1.8 also allows for much shallower depth of field. 50mm is also close to human vision, so there is no distortion like you'd get from wider shots, or flattened perspective like you'd get with telephoto. So there are so many reasons to want this lens.
For these reasons and probably more, there is a whole faction of photographers out there who believe that 50mm is the one true mode of pure photography and that is all you should use. Of course, they're mostly using film. For reasons I'm not sure I fully comprehend, every focal length on a film camera corresponds to a narrower angle of view on a digital camera, so if I were using film, 50mm might not feel so frustratingly narrow.