Minolta 50mm (f/1.7)

This was the second lens I bought, after the Tamron 70-300mm. At that time I had two zooms, both with an f/4-5.6 aperture range. Nothing fast, and neither lens particulary sharp (nor light!)either. So I reasoned that a sharp, fast, and light prime would be a good addition to the set. It was. There’s little to say really; it is simply really very fast compared to zooms – even my modern faster zooms don’t go below 3.5. And the fast zooms that have 2.8 across the range are a LOT more expensive than this lens (it was around Hfl 250 when I bought it; that’s €110 or £100 – new. Unbeatable). It is also very sharp, although my two main zooms (the CZ 16-80mm and the Tamron 24-135mm) are good enough to hold their own. But the principle strong points at the moment are stargazing pictures and portraits (although I don’t do these very often). At aperture 2 some amazing shots of stars are possible at reasonably short exposure times (2 s). For portraits, the 1.5x crop factor means 75mm equivalent, and that combined with a depth of field shallow enough to get a nose in focus and both eyes out of focus… well that is useless but oh well :-). It does mean you can work in natural light, which is of course great. In short: great lens, not necessarily that much sharper compared to “the” zooms I have but with a few very strong, specific benefits.

Pros:

Compact & light Fast, fast, fast! Sharp Cheap

Cons:

75mm not very versatile flaring a serious issue

Sample images (also showing some of the lens’s downsides):