50mm as a wildlife lens

Really? Well here’s a couple examples:

Lizard on a Rock

1/3200 at f2.8, ISO 200
Cropped & Edited in Lightroom

Lizard on a Rock

1/2500 at f2.8, ISO 200
Cropped & Edited in Lightroom

During a hike out to Ruined Castle near Katoomba in the Blue Mountains of Australia, our group happened upon this lizard sitting and warming itself on the rock.

Generally, I’d say most people don’t think of the 50mm as a wildlife lens. However, depending on the size and flighty-ness of the subject, it can definitely be used. By that I mean that generally things as small as this lizard (about as big as my hand), tend to stay far enough away from humans to be captured this way. But for things such as lizards and large insects that do not try to get away right off the bat, you have the chance to get the shot. Usually you will have to go slowly, as otherwise you will trip their flight response and they will just run off.

You could potentially take photos of other larger animals, however, you can put yourself into danger if they are so close that using a 50mm is effective. You will also find that the background defocus separation might not be what you want with a larger animal. Smaller animals on the other hand provide a different problem, because you have to get so close just to make them fill the frame that you’re either so close they run away, or the lens won’t focus close enough for you to get the shot off.

Other wildlife applications for this lens would be animals that are somewhat tame and willing to come close to humans (I’m thinking chipmunks, Black Capped Chickadees,etc.). By using the 50mm lens on these subject, you will be able to get a photo with a perspective that cannot be duplicated with a longer zoom lens. Most of the time however, species are too wild to get close enough to use this lens.

So as you can see, in some situations, the 50mm makes a great wildlife lens. You just have to pick the right wildlife!



5 Comments on “50mm as a wildlife lens”

  1. […] 50mm as a wildlife lens […]

  2. vk says:

    How close were you for these shots to the lizard?

  3. That 50mm is pin sharp and has given a we’re dramatic shot because of the shallow depth of field. It really makes the critter stand out from his surroundings.

    • Matt Korinek says:

      It definitely is pin sharp! I think I could have gone with a bit more depth of field, as the tail almost gets lost. I did stop down to get a bit more (2.8 instead of 1.8). I find that the vignetting helps make the lizard stand out since it was so camouflaged with the colour of the rock.

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