Behold, the Nifty 50! It is perhaps one of the most versatile, commonly used and not to mention inexpensive lens you will ever buy.
It is also the subject of this week's SG Photo Challenge.
It has a fixed focal length of 50mm (meaning it does not "zoom" at all) so if you ever want to get closer or farther from the subject then you physically have to move yourself.
The reason they are so valued is because of all of the focal lengths 50mm is apparently the closest to what the human eye sees. So images taken with a 50mm sometimes are described as looking "more natural".
For this week's challenge we will be taking shots with just the 50mm lens. This is to explore the different kinds of shots that one focal length can give us.
Furthermore, it can become a habit for some to change the focal length as a way to "zoom" in or out on a subject. Changing the focal length does allow you to change the perceived distance from you to the subject, yes...but there is more to it. Different focal lengths have different optical distortions on the image (try taking a portrait of someone with a short focal length and then with a long one to see the difference). So simply choosing a longer focal to get closer shouldn't always be the right action. Sometimes you should move closer to maintain the proper focal length for your subject, or get up and move further back rather than switching to a wide angle lens.
Don't have a 50mm lens? They are cheap so you should consider getting one (most 1.8 50mm lenses for Canon or Nikon are $100). They'll pay off after one photo session.
OR...use one of your zoom lenses but keep it set at 50mm. So your 55-250mm or 17-50 should work just fine.
Share the challenge and get the word out that you're shooting and getting better every week. Shooters can get in on the challenge whenever they like.