55mm vs 50mm lens

55mm vs 50mm lens (updated 2024)

Most beginning photographers start with the Nifty Fifty, as it is rather lightweight, takes images of high quality, and is inexpensive. There are still some situations in which a lens cannot be used, despite its increasing versatility. Even if you tried, another lens might produce a better image, and that is just what we are discussing in this article. For you to choose the right lens for each shot, we are comparing the 50mm and the 55mm kit lens.

Before purchasing a new lens, I’m sure you have a lot of questions that need to be addressed. Both lenses are incredibly adaptable and will almost certainly become your go-to lens if you only carry one. Let’s take a closer look at the distinctions between the 50mm and the 55mm so you can determine whether to buy one or the other.

55mm vs 50mm lens

These lenses have a bigger difference, like the 55mm allows you to capture a range of perspectives, much like a zoom lens with adjustable focal lengths. A 50mm prime lens has a fixed focal length. Hence it cannot zoom in or out because it is a prime lens. Despite not having a zoom lens, the 50mm has a wider aperture than other lenses, which helps it work better in dim light.

There are many significant changes between these two lenses, in addition to the precise lens type. This article will provide you with all the information you need, whether you’re seeking to purchase your first lens or are wondering why everyone talks about these two choices. Let’s examine the differences between 50mm and 55mm lenses.

55mm Lens

55mm Lens

The starting 55mm lens length is typically offered at a low price to keep the camera’s overall cost low. Since it is created inexpensively, you cannot expect it to be of the highest quality, but for beginners, it is the most often used and cheapest. With this, you won’t be able to capture images of a high caliber, but it will give you a chance to practise using a DSLR.

In-depth research reveals that only crop sensor cameras are compatible with the 55mm kit lens. Your 55mm lens would function effectively like a 28.8-88mm lens. This is the point where the game shifts. As you can see, this focal length is appropriate in almost every circumstance. You may get telephoto and wide-angle lenses (well, somewhat). This, combined with the limited f4-5.6 aperture, results in a respectable daily lens.

Related: How To Fix A Jammed Camera Lens?

Pros of the 55mm lens


One factor that makes the 55mm glass suitable for beginning photographers is its reasonable price. You can buy one when you buy a new camera, but you can also buy one separately for a reasonable price.

★Variability in focal lengths:

From fairly wide-angle to short telephoto, the 55mm lens length spans. Unlike prime lenses with a fixed focal length, they allow you to zoom in or out effortlessly to take the perfect photo without moving your body.

★Light weight:

These lenses are less expensively produced than other lenses. They increase the weight of your DSLR by about 12 pounds. They are perfect if you don’t like carrying bulky cameras because they are easily transportable.

★It offers a chance to learn without putting much effort into it:

Since professional lenses are more expensive, beginners should avoid using them because of the potential for damage. However, a beginner photographer can practice without feeling restricted because the 55mm is reasonably priced.

Cons of the 55mm lens

Now that you know what an 55mm lens is and how it might benefit you as a beginner let’s explore its drawbacks and discover why professionals don’t use it as frequently. It’s a good one, but you’ll see its limitations as your photography skills improve.

★Material quality

To keep the price of the camera low, they are made of inexpensive, low-quality materials. These are made of plastic instead of other high-quality ones made of metal, making them more brittle and decreasing their longevity.

★Variable aperture

Given that it has a range of aperture sizes, the 55mm is a great illustration of a variable aperture. In contrast, the aperture width of a fixed aperture (prime) glass depends on the focal length.

★Autofocus is slower

It takes longer and makes more noise to autofocus with this glass. They are not a wise choice if you wish to swiftly and silently shoot many photographs, especially in a very calm environment.

50mm Lens

50mm Lens

This lens is awesome right off the bat, as it has a superior image quality, an extremely wide 1.8 aperture, excellent low light performance, and a reasonable price point. Your 50mm lens is equivalent to a crop sensor camera’s 80 or so mm lens. That falls into the telephoto category. Outside, you might get away with it by just moving away from your topic, but indoors and in confined areas, you might run into some trouble.

In addition to having a learning curve, the 50mm is too narrow for a crop sensor camera. You didn’t even know your kit lens had an aperture setting. It will be relevant here. If you wish to use the 1.8 aperture while shooting in the sun, you will require ND filters since, despite your best efforts, there will be too much light entering the camera.

Pros of the 50mm lens


Both as a pastime and a career, photography can be highly expensive. Many camera manufacturers, including Nikon and Canon, offer 50mm lenses at very affordable costs. At least $125 can be spent on brand-new 50mm f/1.8 prime lenses.

★Image top quality

Of course, not all 50mm lenses are of a good caliber, but most are. Since a very long time ago, lens manufacturers have discovered how to create high-quality 50mm lenses with superb optical performance. Generally speaking, if something has been produced for a long time, it has considerably improved.


Most 50mm lenses are extremely sharp and create clear images with little vignetting at the edges. For the reasonable price of $125, you won’t find a sharper lens. A 50mm prime lens is still worthwhile, even if your kit lens covers the same focal length range. It will result in photographs with greater technical understanding.

★Lightweight and small

Using a 50mm lens doesn’t require you to feel like you’re working out at the gym because it is portable and light. It works well for various photographic conditions, including landscapes and portraits, making it a perfect lens to pack on vacation.

★Excellent Performance in Dim Lighting

A 50mm prime lens often has a maximum aperture of f1.8 or greater, allowing you to use it in conditions with very little light. Increasing your lens’s aperture may take sharp pictures in low light without increasing your ISO like you would with a slow kit zoom lens. Keep in mind to monitor your shutter speed and, if necessary, raise your ISO. Because you don’t want to increase your ISO, it is preferable to have sharp shots with a little more noise (grain) than blurry useless photos.

★Pleasant Bokeh Effect

Bokeh, particularly helpful for portrait photography, is the visual quality of the blur in portions of your frame that are out of focus. An attractive bokeh can be produced by blurring the backdrop using 50mm prime lenses’ extremely little depth of focus. The bokeh produced by other lenses (those in the 80-100mm range) is better, but the bokeh of the 50mm prime lens is still rather outstanding. Remember that an APS-C or crop sensor’s 50mm prime lens has a focal length of roughly 80mm (Nikon DX, EF-M models, and Canon EF-S ).


50mm prime lenses with versatility are excellent for various photographic styles, including candid, and landscape. Because it can capture various subjects, it is a wonderful lens for a beginning. Develop your talents with this lens over time, and add more equipment to your collection as your demands change. Although having a lot of equipment is helpful, remember that “hardware does not the photographer make.” What matters is your perspective and vision.

★Your Field of Vision is Comparable

You see the same field of vision with a 50mm lens (on a full-frame camera) as you do with your actual eyes. Since you can view a subject with your own eyes and then capture it with your camera, this is very handy for street photography. It makes it simple to swiftly and properly arrange your photographs. It helps in the creation of a final image vision.

Cons of the 50mm lens

● The fixed focal length of 50mm when first using this lens and the challenges of using wider apertures to achieve sharp photographs are its only drawbacks.
● The adjustment to living without the option to zoom does take some time.
● Instead of using a zoom ring, this lens requires you to zoom in and out on your feet, as in comparison to a 55mm zoom lens.
● They also have a greater minimum focus distance (1.5ft vs 0.95ft with the 55mm zoom lens)

Which one should you choose?

If you can afford to spend more, I advise pairing the 50 mils with a 55 or a 24mm prime. This set of lenses will fully meet your need for versatility. With good low-light performance, you’ll be able to photograph both inside and outside and in small areas. If you know your equipment and how to get the most out of it, this set of lenses will get you through almost everything unless you need exceptional zoom capabilities.

For those with heavier lenses, don’t miss our article on the Best Camera Strap for Heavy Lenses


Can I shoot decent portraits with the 18-55mm lens?

“Yes” is the obvious response, while the 18-55mm can produce excellent portraiture with the right technique. While it’s generally agreed that 85mm is the ideal focal length for fantastic portraits, the adaptability of the 18-55mm lens makes it possible to change it to its full length and produce beautiful portraits.

Is the 18-55mm lens suitable for street photography?

The 18-55mm can be a useful lens for street photography. While moving through the streets, it is simpler to frame photographs due to the ability to zoom in and out. With a zoom lens, you can capture more or less of a scene without switching or moving lenses. A useful tip while using this lens for street photography is to set your aperture to f/8.

Can a 50mm lens zoom?

No, a 50mm lens is prime, so zooming is impossible. Due to their fixed focal length, prime lenses cannot zoom in or out. Despite what could appear to be a significant disadvantage, a prime lens’ benefit is that it is smaller and has a wider aperture.

➔Any photographer can improve and be forced to think creatively by using a prime lens.
➔You must move your feet to get the perfect shot, not simply zoom in!
➔At first, it could seem like a major hassle, but after some practice, you’ll be able to identify the precise location without pulling out your camera.
➔Because the 50mm cannot zoom, it offers a significant size advantage.
➔The lens can boast a reduced overall size because it contains fewer parts.

This lens is the best option for portability so that your camera looks as discreet as possible. The width of this lens is only a few inches, making it small enough to fit in your pocket.

What can you use a 50mm lens for?

The 50mm lens performs well in the following areas despite being an excellent all-around lens:

➔Street and portrait photography
➔Lifestyle / Fashion
➔Pet portraits
➔Photography for weddings (capturing details)
➔Product and food photography

As one of the most adjustable focal lengths, the 50mm can become your go-to lens for most of your photography with enough expertise. It has the moniker “nifty fifty” because it is a good all-purpose lens.

Is 50mm the ideal focal length?

Different focal lengths are best depending on the kind of photography you’re shooting. The 50mm, however, would be one of the ideal focal lengths for a general-purpose lens because of its adaptability and lightweight. Since its field of vision and distortion are so similar to what we see with our eyes, the 50mm is a great all-around performer, as many photographers use it as their go-to lens. Additionally, because so many 50mm lenses are produced and exist in a wide range of aperture sizes for film and digital cameras, they are typically less expensive.

What is an 18-55mm lens good for?

The kit lens works well for many different types of photography. The following uses are possible for the zoom range’s wider end:


The 35mm to 55mm zoom range’s longer end can be used for:

➔street portraiture
➔Pet portraits

With a 50mm lens, how far can I shoot?

The 50mm lens has a smaller field of view than longer focal length lenses like the 85mm and 300mm lens, much as the 18-55mm lens. You must be far from your subject because 50mm lenses typically have a minimum focus distance of 1.5 feet/ 0.45 meters.

Depending on the photo you want, you can shoot with a 50mm lens from a distance. The 50mm lens is best used at a distance of roughly 19.6 – 33 ft (6 – 10 m), although you won’t need to be that far away to take a headshot.


The advantages of using a 50mm lens are well worth the cost. Because of its superior optics (sharper images with better contrast), less weight, smaller and more compact dimensions, bigger apertures, and lack of focal length-based aperture restrictions, the “nifty fifty” is a logical upgrade to the 18-55mm. Those elements, in my opinion, will keep the lens a part of your equipment for a very long time.


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