Choosing the right lens for photography can be a daunting task, but while there are many focal lengths available, 50mm and 24mm stand out as versatile choices that cater to a variety of shooting styles and preferences. Therefore, if you’re a beginner or an enthusiast looking to invest in a new lens, understanding the distinctions between these two focal lengths is crucial.
Both 50mm and 24mm lenses are popular options for a variety of photographic genres, but they each come with distinct advantages (and disadvantages). In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of both the 50mm and 24mm lenses; that way, you’ll be prepared to make an informed decision that aligns with your photographic interests.
So whether you’re looking to capture stunning portraits, immersive street scenes, or breathtaking landscapes, it’s time to consider whether to go with 50mm or 24mm glass!
50mm lens advantages
Ah, the trusty 50mm lens – the workhorse of many photographers. It’s an extremely popular option, and for good reason. Let’s dive into why this lens is a go-to choice for enthusiasts and professionals alike, starting with:
1. 50mm lenses produce a natural perspective
Have you ever marveled at a photo that just feels right, as if you were seeing it with your own eyes? Well, let me introduce you to the 50mm focal length, which is the secret behind capturing those breathtakingly authentic moments.
You see, one of the most celebrated features of the 50mm lens is its ability to replicate the perspective of our own eyes. Thanks to the 50mm focal length, the camera can become an extension of our vision, faithfully translating the world into images that feel organic and true to life. With this lens attached to your camera, you become a storyteller, able to convey emotions, narratives, and memories that resonate deeply.
Imagine stepping into a bustling city street, where vibrant colors dance and people go about their daily lives. Through the 50mm lens, you can capture this scene with astonishing realism. The lens will frame the image just as your eyes would, preserving the natural proportions and spatial relationships.
Bottom line: Whether you’re photographing people, landscapes, or objects, the 50mm lens’s natural perspective will make a huge difference. It’ll draw viewers into the frame, allowing them to connect intimately with the subject and feel the emotions embedded within the photograph.
2. 50mm lenses produce better bokeh
Did you know that a 50mm lens is a creative powerhouse that can transform ordinary scenes into something extraordinary? It’s true. Nearly all 50mm lenses are capable of creating dreamy, blurred backgrounds that highlight the main subject and make them truly stand out.
One reason for this is the longer focal length (compared to 24mm). A longer focal length gets you closer to your subject, which decreases the depth of field and boosts the bokeh; the longer focal length also increases background compression, further enhancing the blur.
Additionally, most 50mm lenses offer ultra-wide maximum apertures, typically in the area of f/1.4 or f/1.8. The wider the aperture, the narrower the depth of field – which means that, with a minor settings tweak, you can keep your subject sharply focused while the background dissolves into a mesmerizing blur.
It’ll be like a magical spotlight, drawing attention to your subject and adding a touch of elegance to your images:
3. The 50mm perspective is more flattering
Portraiture is all about capturing the essence and beauty of the human face, and when it comes to portrait performance, the 50mm lens tends to be far more impressive than the 24mm lens.
You see, the longer focal length of the 50mm lens allows you to capture beautiful full-body shots – and even headshots – from a reasonable distance, which results in a flattering perspective with limited perspective distortion. (The 24mm lens, on the other hand, forces you to get close if you want frame-filling portraits, which is a recipe for distortion!)
So bid farewell to stretched noses or exaggerated proportions that can mar the perfection of your portraits. With a 50mm lens on hand, you can create stunning portraits that look natural and flattering!
4. 50mm lenses are extremely versatile
The 50mm focal length may not be useful in every single scenario, but it comes impressively close. Its versatility is simply unmatched; that’s why it’s the go-to choice for photographers across various genres, and why it’s a great pick for beginners who aren’t yet sure what they want to photograph.
Whether you’re looking to capture breathtaking portraits, explore the streets, or even photograph vast landscapes, the 50mm lens won’t let you down. The natural perspective offered by the 50mm field of view is perfect for a whole array of shooting scenarios, the wide maximum aperture is ideal if you want to capture artistic effects, and pretty much every 50mm lens boasts excellent optics that ensure consistently sharp photos (assuming you use good technique, of course!).
So whether you’re a seasoned photographer or just starting your journey, having the 50mm lens in your arsenal can make a huge difference. It’ll ensure you’re always ready to seize the perfect shot, no matter the situation!
24mm lens advantages
There’s no doubt about it: a 50mm lens is a great choice for a whole host of shooters. But the 24mm lens offers its own set of advantages, so let’s delve into why this wide-angle focal length is worth considering for your creative endeavors:
1. 24mm gives you a wonderfully wide field of view
The most obvious thing that sets the 24mm lens apart from the 50mm lens is its ability to capture a wide field of view.
Imagine being immersed in a breathtaking landscape, surrounded by awe-inspiring vistas that seem to stretch on forever. With a 24mm lens, you can capture the vastness and grandeur of the natural world in a single frame – whereas a 50mm lens will force you to exclude key elements from your composition.
And this isn’t just useful for landscape scenes. From the breathtaking interiors of architectural masterpieces to the towering skylines of bustling cities, the 24mm lens invites you to unleash your creativity and capture the world from an expansive viewpoint. It opens up new possibilities, allowing you to squeeze more excitement, wonder, and visual storytelling into every shot.
Bottom line: If you like the idea of creating sweeping photos that are full of depth and detail, 24mm is a fantastic focal length to try!
2. 24mm lets you include context
As I emphasized in the previous section, 24mm lenses offer a wider field of view. But while folks often talk about the potential for capturing more of everything, it’s also important to recognize that a wider field of view allows you to incorporate something else into your shots: context.
You see, by helping you go wide, the 24mm focal length lets you embrace the context and tell a richer story through your images. Whether you’re immersed in vibrant street scenes, capturing architectural wonders, or framing compelling environmental portraits, the 24mm lens will do a great job of highlighting your subject’s relationship with its surroundings.
Imagine strolling through a bustling city street, camera in hand. With the power of a 24mm lens, you can effortlessly encapsulate the dynamic atmosphere that unfolds before your eyes, weaving together a tapestry of people, buildings, and vehicles. It’s as if the lens has a magical ability to transport your viewers right into the heart of the action, allowing them to experience the pulse of the city for themselves.
3. 24mm is better for handholding in low light
Capturing stunning photos in low-light conditions can be quite a challenge. It requires not only skill but also a steady hand to ensure sharp and vibrant images – and this is yet another area where the 24mm lens shines.
The secret lies in the reduced magnification of the 24mm lens. The wider the focal length, the easier it is to keep the frame steady at slow shutter speeds, and the easier it’ll be to come home with sharp photos.
Don’t get me wrong: At 50mm, you can often produce sharp shots in low light, especially given the ultra-wide maximum apertures offered by most 50mm lenses. But if you want to use a narrower aperture, or you spring for a 24mm lens with an ultra-wide aperture, you’ll generally find that 24mm will let you work at astonishingly slow shutter speeds and still end up with good results.
So if you’re an adventurous photographer who loves exploring low-light settings, the 24mm lens is a reliable pick. It’ll grant you the flexibility to capture mesmerizing shots with ease, even if you don’t have a tripod on hand. Don’t let challenging lighting conditions hold you back – embrace the power of the 24mm lens!
4. 24mm offers a unique perspective
Here’s one final 24mm lens standout feature: It provides a highly unusual perspective.
You see, when working at 24mm, you can venture close to your subjects, immersing yourself in their world – yet at the same time, you can produce shots that offer a wide view. This remarkable combination allows you to invite viewers to step into the scene alongside you while also forging a deep connection with your subjects, and the results can be spectacular.
Additionally, 24mm encourages perspective distortion. No, this isn’t always desirable, but it can be an effective way to accentuate specific elements and even add a touch of drama. Sure, it’s unconventional, but by embracing distortion, you can craft uniquely stunning images that captivate the eye.
24mm vs 50mm lenses: Which should you pick?
Hopefully, you now understand the key differences between these two focal lengths, and you’re ready to make your choice.
Remember, the 50mm lens offers a natural perspective, making it perfect for capturing scenes as we see them. Its shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh will add a touch of magic to your images, and its versatility across genres makes it a great choice for any photography adventure. If you’re looking to capture a variety of different subjects, or you want to specialize in portraiture, it’s a great pick.
On the other hand, the 24mm lens offers a wide field of view that allows you to include more context in your shots. It excels in capturing landscapes, street scenes, and architecture, plus it provides a unique perspective that can add depth and visual interest to your images. If you’re after a compact lens that’ll offer a sweeping field of view for more expansive shots, it’s the way to go.
When selecting a lens, consider your shooting preferences, style, and intended use. Think about the lighting conditions you often encounter and whether low-light performance is crucial for your photography. Finally, budget is an important consideration, but remember that investing in a lens is an investment in your photography!
So pick a lens, and go have some photographic fun! Happy shooting!
Now over to you:
Which lens do you plan to use? Have you tried either, and if so, which did you prefer? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Table of contents
- Comparing a 24mm Versus 50mm Lens for Photographing People
- ADVANCED GUIDES
- CREATIVE TECHNIQUES