Fixed and prime

A year after moving up to a digital SLR, I almost reluctantly added a lens to my repertoire. The kit zoom lens is fine and dandy, but is a little difficult to get good low/natural winter light pictures. After some research I determined that the best lens for the money that I wanted to spend was the Minolta AF 50mm fixed lens (also known as a prime lens). This little guy can F stop down (up?) to 1.7, and is very fast. The possible depth of field is awesome, and comes with great bokeh.

Here are a few natural/low light samples:
This was taken with an f-stop of 2, a speed of 1/100 and an ISO of 400

bedtime routine
This was taken with an f-stop of 1.7, a speed of 2/5 and an ISO of 800

not available
This was taken with an f-stop of 1.7, a speed of 1/160 and an ISO of 100

All were taken using the ambient light, and the darkest one was by the light of our bedside lamp of 40 watts behind the bed curtain. I will admit that the anti-shake feature of the camera body comes in very handy for these low light shots.

This also makes a great portrait lens with it’s equivalent focal length of 75mm (50mm with a 1.5 multiplier for the smaller size of the sensor).

Portrait samples:
awww...  isn't she cute?
This was taken with an f-stop of 2, a shutter speed of 1/10 and an ISO of 200

She's cute too!
This was taken with an f-stop of 1.7, a shutter speed of 1/40 and an ISO of 400

Wha... how did he get in there?
This was taken with an f-stop of 1.7, a shutter speed of 1/160 and an ISO of 100

I can’t wait to see how this fares with more favorable weather, and magnificent sunsets…

By the way, I picked this lens up for a mere ~$30 on eBay.

Published by


Hey, I run the place.

8 thoughts on “Fixed and prime”

  1. The fixed lens is the way to go for the most light capture and best optics. I am surprised that you found it so cheap. Could you have gone 1.2 for $60? Haha. Nice shots. It really does seem like a film camera in those low light shots, or maybe better?

    Those variable focal length (kit) lenses always seem like a convenient solution, but they are never as good as a single job. Hey how about taking the same shot with both lenses at the same focal length and comparing. Let the minimum aperture take it’s toll.

  2. I was watching an auction that had a camera with a 50mm lens included that was described as ranging in aperture from 1.4 to 22. I watched it until the end, but there must have been others with the same plan. It shot from $31 to over $90 in the last minute or two. It is not unusual for a 50mm 1.4 fixed lens to go for $200+.

    This lens does open up the dark days to the eye of my camera more. I like that.

    I might do a comparison… That could prove rather interesting.

  3. I know next to nothing about cameras and lenses, but the pictures you took were great! I really like the natural lighting (and the subjects).

  4. What greaat pictures! Remindes me of the days when I knew more about that stuff.So glad you and Nathan are so good at that.

  5. Thanks! Fortunately it is not the technical info that makes good pictures. I normally try to avoid the geeky info aspect of this mostly intuitive endeavor, but I find that understanding how it operates makes it easier to employ that intuition. I did have to refresh my own memory in order to understand why the lens was better for some things, how f-stops/aperture size works, and why it effects the depth of field. I did not even know what bokeh was when I started seeing it in reviews and discussions. I may forget it all again in a few years when it is not a part of my regular life, and will have to look it up.

  6. yeah yeah yeah- all that technical stuff is fine and I can’t wait to see what you do with your lense, BUT can we talk about houw cute Bethany’s hair is? WOW!!

  7. Very nice, glad to see what the 50 can do, and so cheap!

    I haven’t been doing my blog thing lately, so I’m behind the times getting to this news. Mine was offered up in sacrifice, and I’ve been thinking of going the black and white film route.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.