Can You Zoom With 50mm Lens?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

On many occasions being able to zoom in or out while taking a picture is crucial, and owning a lens that lets you do this without any hassle is worthwhile. However, can you zoom in with a 50mm lens so that you don’t have to move closer to your subject?

Can You Zoom With 50mm Lens?

You cannot zoom with a 50mm lens because it has a fixed focal length. If you want to zoom in on your subject, you need to move your body closer until you are at the correct distance.

An image of 50mm lens

The 50mm is an excellent lens for portraiture and bokeh shots. So, how is it possible for a lens that cannot zoom to separate your subject from its background effectively? Let’s see why the 50mm is too good a lens to ignore.

Is 50mm on a Zoom Lens the Same as a 50mm Prime Lens?

Technically a 50mm prime lens and a zoom lens at 50mm have the same focal length, so they should be able to take pictures with the same quality, right?  Unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward.

There’s no such thing as a 50mm zoom lens. A zoom lens that allows you to shoot at 50mm is either an 18-55mm or a 22-55mm. So, while a zoom lens at 50mm can still zoom in or out, a 50mm prime lens cannot. 

The 50mm prime lens tends to produce better quality images than a zoom lens at a 50mm focal length, and this is because the prime lens has a:

  • Wide aperture
  • Fixed focal length with fewer moving parts
  • Shallow depth of field

The 50mm lens is also suitable for shooting high-quality images in low light conditions. For these reasons, the 50mm prime lens is more welcomed for shooting close-by and distant images than the 50mm zoom.

Why Use a 50mm Lens?

There are tons of reasons why many experienced photographers prefer using prime lenses and why the 50mm is their go-to. Let’s talk about three of these reasons.

Realistic Field of View

Also called the normal lens, a 50mm offers a practical field of view to work with, which is similar to the human eye. In other words, you get to shoot what you see and how you see it. This feature makes it easy to adjust for the best angle.

Fast Shutter Speed

The 50mm wide and fast maximum aperture allows five times more light to pass through than most normal lenses. This feature makes it easy to use with most DSLRs with low ISO and slower shutter speed.

Sharper Image Quality

Due to the high sensitivity and strong focal point of the 50mm, it lets you produce more brilliant images in as little light as possible. While using it, you can easily focus on your object, separating it from the background for a better perspective.

Tips for Taking Quality Images With a 50mm Prime Lens

Below are some simple tips for taking epic shots with your prime lens.

Frame Your Subject by Creating Layers

Adding layers to your images is a great way to make them stand out, create more depth, and improve the overall quality. You can easily do this by using any object on the floor, such as a leaf or someone else, to frame your image.

Complement Your Subject With Appropriate Lighting

The last thing you’d want for any shot is a disruptive white balance that drastically reduces image quality. To avoid this, you need to find appropriate lighting for your subject. As a rule of thumb, using lots of natural lighting is the best.

A close-up image of 50mm lens

Zoom With Your Feet

Ideally, when using a short focal length, you want to close in on your subject to make the background look further away. You need to move further back while using a long focal length to make your background appear closer.

Related Questions

How Far Should a 50mm Lens Be From Subject?

It depends on the type of shot you want to take. Most 50mm lenses have a minimum focal distance of 14 inches, and you should strive to shoot within 10 to 15 inches from your subject.

Is a 50mm Lens Closest to the Human Eye?

Yes, the 50mm lens, also known as the normal lens, focuses on a subject similar to the human eye, which means that you can quickly shoot everything within your eye view.

How Do You Use a 50mm Lens for Portraits?

While using a 50mm lens for portraiture, you should strive to shoot wide-open. You’ll also need to shoot at a setting of 1/125th to help minimize motion blur.


Although the 50mm doesn’t allow you to zoom in or out with your hands, it’s still an excellent option for a wide range of photographs. Besides, it offers other features, such as a shallow depth of field that make up for the lack of a zoom range.