Standard Issue.

4973469263_378c6102e5_bThe humble, and often under-utilised, standard lens – the 50mm (or 35mm, 80mm or 150mm, depending on what format you’re shooting…). Every camera used to come with one, normally a 50mm 1.8, it was the first thing eager snappers wanted to replace, for some reason?

A lot of people are very surprised to learn that 90% of my images are made using the standard lens. I love them. I used to shoot a lot of stuff on a 17-40mm, but I look at those images now and they look horribly distorted. I’m not interested in that look now, I want my photos to look like they do with my eyes, and the closest lens to achieve that is the standard. If I want to get more into a shot, I walk back a bit, if I need to get closer, I’ll just get closer. You can pick-up a good standard lens, in any format, for a lot less than the price of a short zoom. Just spend a bit of what you’ve got left over on a good pair of shoes.




  1. Janice

    I bought a 35mm 1.8 a few months back, and I’m having as much fun with it taking landscapes as I am with portraits. Tack sharp. love it

    • Yes, that’s the thing, most standards, even the cheaper ones, are virtually distortion free. The Canon 50mm 1.4 I’ve been using is incredibly sharp across the range, but at f4 and f5.6 it’s unbelievably sharp!

  2. Dzulfiqar Fathurrahman

    So rad, but it looks like taken with a lens about 80mm, but I’m very surprised about the fact that you used the standard one with 17mm-40mm lens. Nice! looking forward for your next photos =)

  3. Couldn’t agree more, the 50mm (or 80mm on roll film) is my default lens. I think the simplicity of prime lens is important in this, zooms offer too many choices. I use 28mm occasionally and even more occasionally 90mm, but I just cannot get the 35mm field of view: inevitably I will crop it tighter towards 50mm.

  4. I guess I’m old school too, cause I love my 35mm and rarely bother to take anything else with me. But these shots truly demonstrate how genius you can be with just one lens and a pair of feet.

  5. Pingback: Going To Work On The Train. | Understanding Your Dog

  6. I’m a total armature, I have a camera that’s probably okay for a beginner, but I don’t know how to use it in detail. I just love to shoot and so far have had no desire to learn how to do it right. I kind of wish I had the desire, but reading this post makes me feel a little better about my lack of knowledge. Thanks!
    I love your photos.

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