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The Nifty Fifty: Understanding the 50mm Lens

When I had just started out as a photographer, I never did understand the big hype about the prime lenses, especially the 50 mm. I did buy it with my kit, but I was always biased towards my zoom lens. I always felt that a fixed focal length is limiting, which is true to a great extent. But then, when I started shooting with my 50 mm lens, Oh boy! I was addicted to it. The images came out stunning, I loved the shallow depth of field, I loved the focus and I loved the fact that it let me shoot in low light too! It was definitely ‘Love at the First Click’!

Source: https://www.flickr.com/

Like me, most of you out there may not have been introduced to fixed focal length or ‘Prime’ lenses when you’d have started out shooting. And the hype about this magical lens may boggle you. So well, here I am to your rescue. Read on to know why is this ‘Nifty Fifty’ such a big deal?

Source: https://www.flickr.com/

1. That amazing background blur! I don’t think any prime lens user can ever stop drooling over the shallow Depth of Field they provide. The wider aperture makes your subject stand out. And an added advantage, you can click in low light too. 

2. It’s easy on your pocket. Well, unlike other drool-worthy lenses, you’d not have to take a loan for this lens. A 50mm lens has three variants, f1.8, f1.4 and f1.2. Well, the f1.2 is definitely not in the affordable category for beginners but the other two are reasonably priced. My personal suggestion will be to stick to f1.8. Once you have understood the nitty-gritty of it, graduate to an f1.4. For me, the one with f1.2 is too narrow a focus plane. 

3. This lens is closest to how our eyes look at things naturally (for full frame cameras, on a crop sensor the focal length changes). This lens provides good training for beginners. It gives a natural look to the photos. 

4. It’s fast! Because of the wider aperture, this lens has a faster shutter speed. So, even if you are shooting in low light conditions, you don’t have to worry about your shutter speed. 

5. You wouldn’t need to hit the gym to pick up this lens! It is lightweight and compact. This makes it a comfortable choice to carry around. 

6. Versatility is another aspect that makes this lens a great buy. This lens is great for almost all situations. An all-rounder, this one makes a great addition to your kit.

If you have been waiting to invest in a new lens, I’d suggest you give the nifty-fifty a try. It wouldn’t disappoint you! You’d see a stark difference in your photos and you’d learn a lot more about composition and focusing. A great investment, and a long-term friend, that’s what this mighty little lens is. So, go ahead, don’t hesitate and give this lens a chance!