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When you are looking for a new camera lens there is so much information out there it could leave you overwhelmed and unsure what to buy.
Particularly as a beginner, where you may be short on cash and you want to step up from your kit lens, but you don’t want to blow thousands on a new 70-200mm lens, for example.
This article will introduce you to what I think is the best lens for beginners and intermediates alike. And that is the 50mm F/1.8 fixed lens.
Read on to find out why I think you should go and pick up this lens yourself!
The 50mm lens is very cheap compared to other lenses
The first thing I wanted to mention is the price for a 50m lens and how much of a bargain it is for the value and quality of pictures you get.
Most lenses cost hundreds or even thousands but the 50mm F/1.8 Lens can be typically be found for BRAND NEW for around £50-£100 on Amazon.
For a beginner, this is an amazing price and this can even be cheaper than some standalone kit lenses you can buy in certain circumstances.
This price applies to all of the main brands and I will link some of the best picks at the bottom of this post for you so you can do some further research if you are considering buying one of these lenses for yourself.
The focal length is roughly equivalent to what the human eye sees
If you are looking to take photos with little to no distortion and with good compression of the background, look no further than the nifty fifty.
This lens has a 50mm focal length, which means it is roughly equivalent to the field-of-view of the human eye. This makes it ideal for photos like portraits where you want to capture the face accurately without any distortion near the top or bottom of the frame.
It also makes it easier for the viewer to relate to the image because the focal length compresses the background and keeps the subject in focus.
It will also be easier for a beginner to compose with as they can better see what the final shot will look like as it is roughly the same view as what they would see with their own eyes.
This focal length is also very versatile, too. This is because it can be used for a wide range of types of photography, not just for portrait photography.
Some other types of photography that can be shot with this lens include product photography (a 50mm lens is typically very sharp so it is a great budget choice for shooting product photography), street photography, night photography (the wide F/1.8 aperture lets in loads of light) and any type of photography where you want a shallow depth-of-field or a ‘bokeh’ background.
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A 50mm lens forces you to be more creative
This lens is known as a ‘prime’ or a fixed lens. This means that you cannot just turn a zoom ring to zoom into your subject or to frame it. This forces you to think outside the box and as such, you will need to walk around and step further or closer to your subject in order to get your desired result.
By forcing you to walk around your subject, 2 things are likely to happen:
- You will be exposed to better framing opportunities. This will help you to grow as a photographer and you will learn new ways to frame a subject (eg with an object in front to add depth to a portrait photo). Once you start doing this consistently, these skills will become second nature to you and your photos will quickly improve.
- You will be more purposeful regarding your composition and you will need to think a lot more about how you want your image to be composed. This will stop you from just rapid firing the shutter and hoping for the best. It will help you to grow as a photographer because you will need to regularly check your screen and ensure that this is the composition you really want, not just the one you are willing to tolerate.
When you are forced to be creative, you will be pushed into a growth mindset and this will enable you to be more mindful and purposeful about your photography and why you want to shoot with a certain composition.
This really is a compelling reasons why you should get a 50mm Lens and this will particularly help out beginners who want to quickly learn new compositions and ‘soft’ photography skills as they shoot.
You will achieve amazing bokeh in your shots
Once you start using a 50mm Lens for yourself, you’ll notice that your shots have a blurrier background and your subjects are far more prominent in the picture.
This is because of 2 main factors:
- The lens has a 50mm focal length which compresses the background. This alone, without considering the aperture, will increase the depth of field in your picture. This increased depth-of-field will lead to the subject becoming more prominent and the eye will be drawn to the subject, too.
- The F/1.8 maximum aperture is very wide and lets in lots of light. The wide aperture will also result in a very shallow depth-of-field.
Once you start taking more pictures you’ll realise that the shallower depth-of-field is extremely helpful and your photos will instantly look far more professional than they would have on a kit lens.
The bokeh achieved with this lens is also particularly helpful when you are taking product photography, for example. It will give the final image that professional look and overall, for under £100 it is well worth the investment
A 50mm lens is sharp at all stops
Whether you are shooting maxed-out at F/1.8 or you are shooting at F/22, one thing will remain the same. Your photos will be consistently sharp and the details in your subject will be crystal clear.
For a little more sharpness, stop down to F/4 on your nifty fifty and you’ve got a formula for consistently sharp shots each and every time you go out to shoot.
This level of sharpness, particularly at all aperture stops, is just not achievable with a kit lens and if you are looking to get sharp photos consistently and at all stops, you need to get yourself a nifty fifty as fast as possible.
Best 50mm Lenses to Buy
If after reading this article you decide you want to take the plunge and pick yourself up a 50mm lens, I have linked a few lenses below for you and you can take a look at the one that will work for your brand of camera:
Now it’s over to you…
What other tips have I missed out? Would you buy a 50mm lens? If you have, what has your experience with it been like?
Feel free to tell us your thoughts and ideas in the comments below…
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