He ain’t lying – THE BEST PRIME LENS. Period. by Peter McKinnon

Jul 21, 2021
2
3
What are you talking about? Nearly all vintage lenses from Canon/Nikon/Leica/Pentax etc were extremely fast. My vintage lens collection alone is stacked with f/1.4 to f/2 lenses as well as a couple of f/1.2 primes…that happen to be 50mm and 55mm. Wide apertures were significantly more important in the film era as you were typically stuck to 400 and 800 film speeds. More sensitive film stocks like 1600 and 3200 were seldom used because of their grain density, so fast lenses were the ticket. Additionally, during the day, you would find yourself with 400 or 800 in the camera and be limited by shutter speeds values of 1/1000 or 1/2000 on most camera bodies…sometimes 1/500, so it was often that you would stop these old lenses down to achieve proper exposure. So huge apertures have been important for decades. We’re just lucky cameras shoot at 1/8000 now with digitally controlled ISO.
We would do other things to compensate... Pushing film to shoot sports where a 50mm was not a good length. F 1.2 lenses weren't readily available til the late 70's and they could be stupid expensive.. Yes it's amazing how anyone took a good photo until digital and 100,000 iso and 1.2 or faster lenses.. I'm just saying that 50mm lenses were not popular.
 
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Fischer

EOS RP
Mar 17, 2020
299
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Yes, but sometimes people overlook the fact that its the person behind the camera who creates the photo. The finest gear in the world will only turn out mediocre photos in my hands. I'm not artistically inclined. I like fine gear but someone with a cell phone, my wife, for example, takes better photos than I do.
Understand your point. But not all equipment is equally suited for all situations. Case in point: We would have a lot less interesting and spectacular wildlife shots if we only had iphones to work with. Gear also matters because it outlines the range of our creative options. That's why I always highly recommend people to get at least one fast prime in addition to the usual standard zoom.
 
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GMCPhotographics

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Aug 22, 2010
1,697
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www.GMCPhotographics.co.uk
For me, there is no "one prime" lens. If I only rocked a 50mm, then at some point in a photographic day I would need something either a bit longer or a bit wider. If I was going to pop for a single "one size fits none" approach then I'd choose a 35mm any day. My typical UK wedding kit is a 85 f1.2, 35 f1.4 and a 16-35 f2.8. I can cover 99% of my clients needs with those three lenses. My backup bag of lenses holds all the other stuff, like 24-70/ 70-200/ fisheye/ macro etc.
I tend to find a 50mm a bit mehh, the working distance isn't great and it just doesn't float my boat. Buy hey....your EV range / mileage might vary.
 
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Aug 7, 2018
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I don't have much use for 50mm though. For most of my uses it is either too wide or too narrow. For people 50mm would work well.

PS: He really ADDS grain to his images? I would not use an image with such a alot of grain. It is like blurring a photo in Photoshop.
 
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twoheadedboy

EOS R5
CR Pro
Jan 3, 2018
235
336
Kenosha, WI
I get the simplicity of saying "just use a 50mm for everything", and it's a good way to get people to start thinking about compositional elements other than their equipment, but for me personally I frigging LOVE 28mm and 85mm so much that I'd go that direction.

But more realistically, the 14/15 - 35mm's and 100 - 500mm with either a 50mm, a 50mm + 85mm, or a 24 - 105mm covers everything you could come across minus macro (and if that's important, skip the 85mm and go for the new 100mm macro).

And a 50mm f/1.2 is not a smart way to go with "one lens" because it's so expensive and big. For the same cost (and maybe weight?) you could go with f/1.8 / f/2 35mm + 50mm + 85mm (24mm would be better here but doesn't exist RF yet, could do EF + adapter I suppose).

The only reason I could see going for the 50mm f/1.2 alone is if I was ONLY interested in capturing a unique image to sell in a situation where carrying a bag would be a hindrance and I will be amongst other photographers with high-end setups. But even then, in my experience it's the 85mm f/1.4 or ultrawide that does things in talented hands which snapshotters don't generally do.

Re: McKinnon - Never watched one of his videos before. He definitely has an "aesthetic" and it is not my cup of tea. But hey, he's successful with it, so whatever.
 
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Stanly

EOS M50
Aug 5, 2020
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To be fair, Peter talks about a fast 50mm. Also one of the downsides he mentions, loud motor, was the reason why we ultimately didn't switch to Canon. All our Zeiss Batis lenses and Sony GM are silent. May be if it was possible to properly test the system we would've made the jump because I wanted to switch quite a lot, but ... loud focusing was it (=
 
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VegasCameraGuy

EOS R5
CR Pro
Jul 9, 2020
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Color me skeptical about prime lenses, when you can pick up a 24-70mm f2.8L zoom for the same price. If you look at the lens resolution charts on Canon's website, it appears that the 24-70 is a much better performing lens. I'm certainly not an expert but below is the 50 mm and the 24-70 at 70mm MTF chart. From what I can see, the zoom blows the prime away. Since switching to primarily zooms, the versatility of a variable focal length lens works for me.
 

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kaihp

EOS R
CR Pro
Mar 19, 2012
930
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Color me skeptical about prime lenses, when you can pick up a 24-70mm f2.8L zoom for the same price. If you look at the lens resolution charts on Canon's website, it appears that the 24-70 is a much better performing lens. I'm certainly not an expert but below is the 50 mm and the 24-70 at 70mm MTF chart. From what I can see, the zoom blows the prime away. Since switching to primarily zooms, the versatility of a variable focal length lens works for me.
Be careful with that sharpness comparison: the zoom is at f/2.8 and the 50mm is at f/1.2. You should really compare the 50mm stopped down f/2.8 to compare the sharpness
 

mangobutter

EOS 90D
Dec 11, 2014
185
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Yeah not really interested in generic vanilla people/youtubers opinions, particularly those with vanilla followers/fans. He's obviously clickbait/amazon link farming so take it with a grain of salt. No doubt it's a good lens for sure, but there's other considerations like size and weight. I'm no stranger to buying expensive big prime lenses and I'll tell you that lens will just collect dust because you'd never want to take it out for fear of damaging it, being a target, or just being big/heavy. The best lens is a combination of good optics + a lens you'll actually use.