I remember investing in a shiny new DSLR, which came with not one but TWO lenses! It felt like Christmas came early! Fast forward to a time when I had found the confidence to fly that baby in manual mode, and I began to discover the limitations of those kit lenses.
Wanted: New Gear!
Sure, we know that our photography skills are equally (if not more!) important than the gear. But it’s hard to resist the temptation of gorgeous lenses, upgraded bodies, and beautiful accessories as we fall deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole that is the fabulous art of photography. And we want it all!
But photography is an expensive pursuit, and most of us can’t have it all!
However, there was a purchase early on in my photography journey that did so much for my photography… and it did not cost the earth.
The Nifty Fifty Lens
I bought the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. It 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!
So, read on to discover why I love this lens…
Zoom vs. Prime Lenses
Lenses come in both variable focal lengths (zoom lenses) and fixed focal lengths (prime lenses). Given the obvious versatility of zoom lenses, you’d be forgiven for wondering why anyone would choose to limit themselves with a prime lens!
However, prime lenses generally produce sharper and creamier images. Why? I’m glad you asked!
Firstly, prime lenses are optimised for one specific focal length.
Secondly, they’re a simpler design. A zoom lens requires more elements to operate, which affects its ability to get light easily to the sensor, and causes colour aberation problems (which in turn requires even more elements to correct).
Consequently, a prime lens is a simpler built lens that can take sharper images. 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. This is not available on kit lenses, but it’s essential for creating those beautiful blurry backgrounds we all love. This is where I had the most fun with my new lens!
Low Light Capabilities
You know those times when you’re trying to shoot indoors and your photos come out too dark, even when it seems it’s not that dark inside? So frustrating!
The nifty fifty’s very wide aperture of f/1.8 gives you the ability to capture more light. This means you can shoot in low light (and hallelujah you can ditch the flash!).
Versatile Focal Length
Not all lenses can shoot all.the.things and give you the look you want. However, the beauty of the nifty fifty lens is its versatile focal length.
It takes time to figure out what genre of photography you’re going to love the most when you’re just starting out. Even if you already know you want to take better photos of your kids, you might unexpectedly fall in love with macro photography or landscapes. So it doesn’t make sense to drop a bundle on a lens that might not suit your needs down the track.
The Great All Rounder
50mm is wide enough for street and travel photography. It’s also long enough for portraits, food, still life, and capturing the small things you love around your home and outdoors.
Compact and Light
The nifty fifty lens is super light at around 130 grams. This makes it comfortable to use, and enables us to shoot handheld at slower shutter speeds. Also, its nice and compact on your camera making it easy to slip into your handbag when you’re not using it.
Bang for Buck
So let’s summarise!
The nifty fifty is one of the cheapest lenses on the market;
It produces sharp, crisp images;
Its wide aperture allows you to shoot in low light;
Its versatile focal length means it will cover you for multiple genres of photography.
All of this makes it the ideal choice for beginners who want to step up from kit lenses and experiment without committing big dollars.
No brainer!! But if you want more information about other lenses, download our lens buying guide!
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