Adventures with the 50mm f/1.2

I have a bag with a range of lenses – but sometimes months go by and I haven’t touched one of them for ages!  So over the Christmas summer break, I stuck on my Nikon 50mm f/1.2 lens on to play for a few days again.   It was fun – sort of like getting re-acquainted with an old friend.

It brought back memories – firstly, that it was an ALL MANUAL lens!  Manual exposure and focussing.  But the results were AMAZING!

Yep, a bit of inconvenience to get the exposure right, but I only need to do that once per setting.   I’m so glad I’m using digital that lets me choose the ISO and preview shots.  Imagine if I was using this on film?  I could stuff up a whole roll!!

The manual focus thing is a pain, but made me learn to shoot with my hand on the focus ring the whole time – as well as really looking at what’s in focus before I press the trigger.   The tiny depth of field of this lens at 1.2 aperture made this a really challenging lens to use, especially for portraits.

I really love the bokeh on this lens too.  It’s just silky smooth compared to my 50mm f/1.8.

I don’t recommend using this lens to shoot kids.  They move about so much that the chances of getting something in focus is REALLY LOW!  Nearly every shot was out of focus.  But here’s a good one of my niece that I managed to get 🙂   Even so, only her eye on the right is in focus!

Using this lens really makes me think I need to get a 50mm f/1.4 to replace my 1.8.   I just love the effect of the narrow depth of field!

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One thought on “Adventures with the 50mm f/1.2”

  1. I love the short DOF and bokeh in the first photo!

    I agree – playing around with short DOF is a lot of fun, but can definitely be challenging when trying to shoot moving things (like kids), particularly with a manual focus lens.

    I find 50mm a little too long on my 1.6x 50D crop body, and have really been enjoying the 35mm f/2 lens I bought a few months ago, as it provides a more natural field of view (35mm on a 1.6x crop body is close to an effective 50mm, while 50mm on a 1.6x crop body is a much longer 80mm).

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