The Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens, or commonly referred to as the nifty fifty, is a great lens that comes in with an amazing price tag . For many, especially those on a budget, this is one of the first and most often recommended lens to pick up for any photographer of any genre.
The 50mm was one of the recommended focal lengths to use. Do you own the Canon nifty fifty, what do you usually shoot with this lens?
1. GREAT FOR LOW LOW PHOTOGRAPHY
With the wide aperture of f1.8, especially going from your typical kit lens which is usually f5.6, this lens gives you 3 stops or EIGHT times (2x2x2) more light coming through the lens opening. This allows you to use either a faster shutter speed and avoid camera shake, or a lower ISO and avoid the noise you get from higher ISOs, or a combination of both.
2. GREAT VALUE, LOW COST
At a price range of inr 7000 to 8000 for most popular brands this lens’ low price tag makes it affordable as a good first lens investment
3. LIGHT WEIGHT
Ranging from only 150 gm to 170 (Pentax, Canon, Nikon, Sony in order of lightest to heaviest) 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. No excuses!
4. KILLER BOKEH
Prime lenses typically produce nicer bokeh (how the lens renders out of focus areas) than most zooms, and with the f1.8 aperture you can make some really nice bokeh. Bright lights, off in the background, twinkle with this little lens!
5. SUPER SHARPNESS
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.
6. IT’S VERSATILE
The 50mm lens is a great street shooting lens, not too wide, not too long. On a cropped or APS-C sensor (any non full frame camera body) it is also a great portrait lens, just long enough to remove distortion from your subject’s face and flatter them a bit more, not so long you need to stand across the street.
7. GREAT FOR TRAVELING
Because it’s light weight, and is a fast lens (big aperture f1.8) the 50mm is a great addition to your bag for trips. Usually I take along a good wide zoom lens (my 17-35mm), a good long zoom (70-200mm) but I never forgot my little Nifty Fifty. Even if you have two kit lenses that cover that focal length, say an 18-55mm and a 55-200mm, the 50 f1.8 fills the bill for low light photograph that the other two can’t because of their aperture limitations. Plus it weighs practically nothing, you don’t even know it’s in there.
8. HELPS MAKE YOU A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHER – whoa, what?!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “the good old days” when I all my lenses were prime or fixed focal length, and how we’ve come to be dependant on using zoom lenses for convenience. They absolutely have a place in photography especially if you’re photographing things like sports or weddings. However, I also think they can make us lazy as photographers. Instead of walking two feet to get the crop we want, we can just zoom in. But what if that angle of view two feet closer makes for a better image? We’ll never know because we have our feet planted, so use your feet and walk around your subject and see different views. I believe using a prime lens challenges you to think more about composition before you press the shutter, which often makes for better photos in the end.