Normal Lens : Tips and Tricks

Normal lens have a special place in Photography. For some photographers, they are the absolute favorites they do not wish to detach them from the camera’s body. After a while you started to practice digital photography, it is not difficult to find some of the extremist cult of normal lenses do strongly recommend using the normal lens. But what advantages do they have? If you are fully new to the phrase Normal Lens, you can read our previously published article – Normal Lens in Digital Photography to learn the basics about a typical normal lens.


Choosing a Normal Lens


As with so many things and not only with digital photography, there is an official definition of the normal lens, which in practice is still regularly rejected. That part, actually we have described in our Normal Lens in Digital Photography article. This means that in a full-frame camera, a normal lens should have a focal length of about 43 mm. Usually, in fact, lenses with this focal length is not commercially available. In fact, on full frame camera bodies usually it is rounded up to 50 mm. So, 50 mm is considered normal focal length on a full frame DSLR.

At this point, if you have studied the crop factor, you know how to calculate the length of a normal lens on a camera with a smaller sensor. You must divide 43 mm for the crop factor of your camera. On a Nikon body, which has a crop factor equal to 1.5, the focal length of a normal lens turns out to be slightly higher than 28 mm. This is obviously true considering as normal length 43 mm on full frame. Consider the 50 mm focal length as normal starting, then, for example, with sensors on Nikon APS-C the equivalent focal length for being a normal lens stands just above the 33 mm. For this reason the majority of lens manufacturers catalog has a 35 mm lens.

Recommended Readings :


  1.  Crop Factor
  2. APS-C Format Sensor
  3. Fixed Focus Lens
  4. Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II (The Cheapest Canon Prime Lens)
  5. Canon EF 35mm Lens f/1.4L USM and f/2



In common usage,normal lenses are typically the fixed focal length lenses. So, usually, we do not call a zoom lens covering the normal focal length as normal lens.

Before the advent of zoom lenses, it was typical that the cameras were sold in combination with fixed lenses of normal length. Thus, historically, the normal lenses have characterized the works of many famous photographers. But who nowadays prefer and recommend normal lenses do not do it just for nostalgia for the good old days. Let us see what are the actual advantages of this type of objectives.


Advantages of a Normal Lens


Normal vision (perspective)


Many photos taken with a 50 mm lens on a full frame they look reassuring, familiar. This is because a normal lens gives the scene a perspective that is very similar to what the human eye see. In contrast, the wide-angle lenses and telephoto lenses expand or compress the perspective, creating effects distinguishable and different from what we normally see. This does not mean, of course, a normal lens is more “correct”, but simply that allows us to create images that are closer to reality.

Ironically, this is precisely the reason why some photographers, prefer to wide angle and telephoto focal lengths. In fact, they prefer to create images that are different in appearance from what we can see with the naked eye every day.

This is an advantage that any lens can be set to the normal focal length, either it is a zoom lens or fixed focal length lens. But theoretical acceptance actually never comes in reality due to various small ignored factors.


Normal Lens : Tips and Tricks


Tips and tricks only works when there is a scope for exploiting some existing features. You can not turn on Wifi on a device which has no hardware for Wifi within the body, you can hardly add an external hardware support, which however might add other disadvantages. In the same way, many tips and tricks on digital photography can be exploited with a normal lens as it gives the opportunity to exploit so.

Often, the produced quality by a fixed lens is comparable to a mid to high-end zoom lens. So the most important trick is to use the normal lens either only for selective niche of photography or to walk closer to the subject.

Basically, the fixed focal length lenses allow you to achieve the maximum apertures larger than zoom lenses. When the focal length is normal, the maximum apertures become even wider. This adds the advantage of using a lower ISO at night to avoid noise apart from allowing you to create images with a very large portion blurred to make the subject out of the busy background. In fact, each aperture stops corresponds to twice the amount of light captured by the camera. A lens with aperture of f1.8 to enter is more than twice as much light as one that can reach a maximum of f2.8. The bokeh of normal lenses is often very nice. Although Bokeh sometimes are not considered as a great effect as they can grab the attention towards an unwanted part of the composition.

Go to a camera store and compare a 35 mm or 50 mm prime lens with zoom lenses. You will be immediately understand the dimensions of the first two, you realize they are lighter. The normal lens are therefore very suitable for those who need to move around a lot with the camera in hand and want to minimize fatigue. Moreover, their low weight makes it much easier to stabilize the image. Heavy lenses increase the risk of shake-because it is difficult to keep them still. Not to forget, they are very common lens uses in portrait photography.



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