I’ve heard amazing things about the 50mm 1.8 (“Nifty Fifty”) Canon lens from many photographers, and after researching it extensively, I had my mind set. I took my wallet full of Christmas money and drove off to Best Buy. This lens would be mine! I’ve had it for less than an hour now and only after opening it, I knew I was in love. After taking one shot, I was hooked! If you don’t have a Canon camera, don’t fret! Other camera brands also offer 50mm lenses!
It’s super dark outside so the only photos I can take right now are indoor shots, but I am jumping out of my socks with excitement for when I can explore the outside world with my new baby. I will definitely share more photos as well, but for now, here are a few of the shots I took around my house:
Wait…. you’re not convinced into buying one yet? Let me give you some actual reasons now.
A Canon 50mm 1.8 lens can be found for around $100. I purchased mine from Best Buy for $99.99, with the total coming out to be $107. This is the cheapest lens you will find brand new! If you’re going for the higher-grade ones, then expect to dish out a couple hundred dollars or more; some lenses even shoot up into the thousands. If you can get an incredible level of depth of field with a 50mm for that cheap in order to single out your subjects in your photos, why not go for it? It’s also cheaper than buying a kit lens with your first camera body!
Weighting only 4.3 oz, there is no reason to leave this lens at home. That means even when you don’t want to haul a whole bag full of stuff around, you can easily grab your camera and the Nifty Fifty and go. You don’t want to feel that you can’t take your camera out because it’s heavy. This is such a lifesaver for me because carrying my super heavy telephoto lens around killed my shoulders. Great for travel! It’s super small and adorable too!
Prime lenses typically produce nicer bokeh (the little out of focus circles that appear when you throw a background filled with lights out of focus) than most zooms, and with the f1.8 aperture you can make some incredible, creamy bokeh. I looooove me some bokeh. Apart from letting more light into the camera, wide apertures create a shallow depth of field. You can make ‘dreamy’ effect in your photos without relying on Photoshop.
In a 50mm f1.8 lens, you can open up to f1.8. That’s a 3 stop difference, or 6 times more than the amount of light a kit lens can let inside a camera. So the advantage is obvious — it helps you in shooting in low light conditions. You don’t need to increase the ISO, which creates noise, and you can use faster shutter speed in low light situations, thus, taking blurry free images. This lens is great for shooting indoors where a flash sort of ruins the feel.
Prime or fixed focal length lenses are usually inherently sharper than zoom lenses, partly due to there being less moving parts inside the lens, and less lens elements. You will also experience increased sharpness due to the wider aperture which allows, as I mentioned above, being able to shoot at faster shutter speeds and lower ISO. Being able to get a fast enough shutter speed to eliminate camera shake, or freeze a moving subject has a lot to do with getting sharper images as does minimizing noise.
It forces you to think!
Being a prime lens, you can’t zoom in with the nifty fifty. This is a good thing in my opinion because it forces you to zoom with your feet when you recompose your shots and makes you think before you shoot. Zoom lenses are convenient in some cases, but they limit you because you don’t have to think as much when you compose a shot. By shooting with primes, you’ll be sharpening your skills as a cinematographer.
You can use it as a macro lens!
Not all of us can afford a macro lens. The good news is that you can use this 50mm as a macro lens by reversing it. You’ll need a reversal ring for that. You lose autofocus, but that’s not all that bad when you’re getting a macro lens at this price. For more information, check out this post on DPS.
This lens is by far most used for portraiture and street photography and gives some great results in both fields. The fact that this lens offers a field of view just like that of the human eye (you get what you see) makes it a great lens for getting candid shots without getting noticed.
Don’t let the price fool you. The optical quality of even the cheapest 50mm is amazing to say the least, owing to its rather simple design.
I can’t wait for the many adventures I will have with my new lens! I am so excited! I know the outdoor shots with natural lighting will turn out amazing. Do any of you own a 50mm lens? Tell me your experiences!