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How $100 Changed my Photography Forever

Photography can be an expensive love to pursue!

We all remember investing our pocket money in a shiny new digital SLR, which came with not one but TWO lenses, and it felt like Christmas came early!   Fast forward to a time when you’ve found the confidence to fly that baby in manual mode, and you begin to discover the limitations of those kit lenses.   Sure we know that our photography skill makes as much difference as fancy gear,  but as we begin to learn more we  discover all our options with gorgeous lenses, upgraded bodies, beautiful accessories, and no doubt we’d love it all.

But there was a purchase early on in my photography journey that did so much more than let me take ‘better photos’.

The $100 I spent on Amazon buying the Canon 50mm F/1.8 Lens was the first piece of equipment that really opened my eyes to the potential of my photography!  In came the light and finally I was able to  take images I loved, which excited me and fed my hunger to keep learning more!

And so here is why I love the 50mm f/1.8, otherwise known as the ‘Nifty Fifty’ with some of those images I took in the first months of owning this lens!

**Note – if you’re purchasing a NIKON 50mm lens, you may wish to check that it has Auto-Focusing available.  Some Nikon camera models do not have this built in and you’ll require a lens that performs this for you**

Zoom versus Prime

Lenses come in both zoom and fixed focal lengths, and with the obvious versatility of zoom lenses you’d be forgiven for wondering why anyone would choose to limit themselves with a fixed focal length lens (called “prime lenses”).

Prime lenses are designed for that one specific focal length, are simpler in design, have less moving parts, and as a result generally offer better quality images than zoom lenses.

That’s not to say all zoom lenses are poor quality – but when we’re looking at lenses in the budget category, primes will generally out perform a zoom.

Depth of Field

With a wide aperture of f1.8 you’re able to shoot with a beautifully shallow depth of field, which is not available on kit lenses, but is essential for making your subject stand out from their surroundings by creating a beautiful blur, and this is where I had the MOST fun!

learn photography online

Low Light Capabilities

The very wide aperture of f1.8 gives you the ability to capture more ambient light, and able to capture images with low levels of light, such as indoor! (and hellaluja you can ditch the flash!).

50mm 1.8 lens

Versatile Focal Length

The beauty of the 50mm focal length is its versatility.

It is just wide enough for landscape and travel photography, but long enough for portraits, and shooting the details of things you love around your home and outdoors.

Compact and Light

At around 130grams the 50mm 1.8 lens is super light, which makes it comfortable to use and carry all day, and enables us to shoot handheld at slower shutter speeds. PLus its nice and compact on your camera.

Bang for Buck

The nifty fifty is one of the cheapest lenses on the market whilst still producing sharp, crisp images. Combine that with its wide aperture and versatile focal length, and it is the ideal choice for beginners wanting to step up from kit lenses and experiment without committing big dollars.

50mm 1.8 examples


Ready to jump in and learn more about getting the most out of your gear?  Check out our beautiful and easy to follow Online Photography Course for Women.

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8 Responses to How $100 Changed my Photography Forever

  1. Pam Bradford March 4, 2014 at 6:05 am #

    Hooray for the nifty fifty!

  2. Belinda March 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    I felt the same after I bought my nifty fifty! The difference from my kit zoom lenses really opened my eyes

  3. emma March 5, 2014 at 4:26 am #

    I love my niffty fifty!! Super keen to add another lens to my collection but not sure which way to go with it??

  4. Kristin Calder March 10, 2014 at 2:56 am #

    It was one of the best presents my husband as ever bought me. Love it and use it all the time along with my macro

  5. Diana Mason March 18, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    If I have a Nikon, do I have to make sure the Nifty Fifty is also a Nikon brand? I have a D5200 Nikon

  6. Tanya July 17, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    Hi I have just enrolled in your online course and have a
    Olympus OM-D with the weatherproof lens 12-15mm. Is this a “nifty fifty” lens?…if not can I buy one for this camera….it’s a compact system camera.I’m keen to learn but have been using on auto since I made the purchase! Thanks 🙂

  7. Amanda Dalby April 28, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    Oh thank you! I knew there was something simple I was missing. I just couldn’t get my f numbers lower than a F4 with my current lens. Can’t wait to get a nifty fifty now!

  8. Raelene Hall May 28, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

    I was lucky that I had a nifty fifty canon lens that fitted the Canon 5D (original) that a generous friend gave me when she had finished with it.
    It taught me to move rather than just trying to use the zoom lens in ones place

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