Nifty Fifty

1/2000 sec | f/1.6 | ISO 200

October 3rd is our National Holiday here in Germany. A perfect opportunity to take The Significant Other and my newly acquired (used – of course) “Nifty Fifty” for a walk into the autumnal landscape outside Nuremberg.

Forest walk
1/400 sec | f/2.8 | ISO 400

Last week I took the opportunity to acquire a used mZuiko 25mm F/1.2 Pro lens. As m4/3 has a crop factor of 2, this translates to a “Nifty Fifty”, a 50mm prime lens on a full frame sensor. A 50mm equivalent is a must-have, regardless of the brand you shoot or the size of your sensor.

With its versatility, you can use it for street photography, landscapes, portraits, or even beautiful close-ups. It can teach you a lot about photography. First, you have to learn to zoom with your feet. Then it allows you to play with depth of field, as almost no other lens can.

You can get deep depth of field with the whole frame in focus, you can get extremely shallow depth of field at the lowest aperture. It is also a versatile portrait lens, for those head shots with half the face in focus, but it is also wide enough for environmental portraits but also long enough for half or 3/4 length portraits.

I have always owned a “Nifty Fifty”, my first one with my analogue Olympus OM-1, later also for my Nikon APS-C bodies. After switching to Olympus m4/3, I bought a 25mm (again, this is the Nifty Fifty for m4/3 due to the crop factor) F/1.8, a tiny and remarkably sharp lens that fits perfectly on my PEN-F and that I use for my street photography.

When Olympus introduced a F/1.2 Pro version in 2016, I got a serious case of G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome), but stayed away because of the hefty price tag. But those awesome Pro lenses (dust- and water-proof, full metal-build) have started to appear on the used gear market. When last week I found a decent offer for a used one, I finally decided to make the splash.

The image quality is sublime, and during today’s walk I took it’s versatility to the test. Check out the photographs in this post to get the idea about the capability of this magnificent “Nifty Fifty”.

Mushrooms in autumn
1/250 sec | f/2.2 | ISO 200
Mushrooms in autumn
1/250 sec | f/2.5 | ISO 400
Mushrooms in autumn
1/50 sec | f/4.5 | ISO 200
Mushrooms in autumn
1/200 sec | f/2.2 | ISO 200
Mushrooms in autumn
1/500 sec | f/1.2 | ISO 200
Forest Flowers in autumn
1/200 sec | f/2.2 | ISO 200
Autumn Leafs
1/125 sec | f/1.6 | ISO 200
Dried forest ferns
1/160 sec | f/2.8 | ISO 200
Portrait of a beautiful lady
1/250 sec | f/1.2 | ISO 200
Forest field
1/160 sec | f/5 | ISO 200
sunflower field in the golden hour
1/500 sec | f/3.5 | ISO 200
sunflower field in the golden hour
1/500 sec | f/10 | ISO 200
girl in a sunflower field in the golden hour
1/640 sec | f/2.5 | ISO 200

The big success were The Significant Other’s portraits, that she actually liked. Which says a lot about the quality of the lens – as this happens only once a year….maximum…;-)

A you can see in many of the above images, the bokeh of the Oly 25mm F/1.2 is awesome. I know, there are still people saying that m4/3 doesn’t have a decent shallow depth of field. And that full frame is the only way to go if you are serious about portrait photography. Well – I don’t need more than what this lens gives me. And hey, I just shot a full wedding on mirrorless m4/3. And my new “Nifty Fifty” will be an awesome addition for the next one.

If you look for more inspirations and tips around photography, check out my Learning Center for a comprehensive link collection to all my posts designed to inspire and empower my readers.

Wish you all a great Thursday!

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36 thoughts on “Nifty Fifty

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      1. Great! I will be super busy but for sure we can work something out. Best is to send an e-mail with your options. Or we FT to work something out. Tomorrow evening would work. Hugs!

      2. I am away right now and can’t this week. That’s why I suggested next week, but please don’t worry. I understand life is very busy right now and I don’t usually have WiFi at the house to FT. Email is easier for me to access for right now. Hugs.

  1. I’ve really enjoyed seeing this series. The first portrait of your significant other is sublime Marcus. Fab photos. I haven’t been out with my “nifty fifty” in a while. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Wow, I love checking in to see your pics and what you’ve been up to, usually a few days late. More great images, love the toadstools, and your wife with the sunflowers.

  3. I love all of these photos, especially the ones of the sunflowers! I haven’t been receiving your post notifications, so I have a lot of catching up to do… I hope you’re doing well!

    1. Thanks, Cate 🙂 ! I’m doing fine, just a lot going on my life right now, and my blogging (as well as reading other peoples blogs) suffers a bit. Will need to catch up on your stories as well 🙂 ! Marcus

  4. Some great shots. I feel the best pictures are of the lady, your wife. 50mm is well known for portraits. You have used it pretty well in your pictures, Marcus.

  5. The ‘nifty fifty’ is indeed a versatile prime lens. I get a lot of exercise out of it was the only way to compose is to walk backward or forwards. A good lens in any case.

  6. Marcus–you are such a great instructor: ‘have to learn to zoom with your feet.’ I have a 50mm lens and it is probably my least used lens. Having read this….I am dusting it off and taking it out for a spin. Your photos are gorgeous. Thanks for the nudge I am sure I sorely needed!

  7. Great shots, Marcus. looks like you got a nice piece of glass there. I totally agree with your comments on 50mm equivalent lenses. That is the only thing I carried on my recent trips.

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