After buying a new camera so many online resources will encourage you to ditch your kit lens and invest in a 50mm. There is good reason for this. These 50mm prime lenses should be a key part of your toolkit for whatever your ability or shots you are trying to create, plus they are actually affordable! Find out why you need a 50mm lens…
So what is so special about the 50mm?
A 50 mm lens is a prime lens, which means that it only offers one focal length (50 mm). The benefit is that the entry-level 50 mm lenses are also very ‘fast’ lens: they have a wide maximum aperture, usually f/1.8. As a comparison, most entry-level zoom lenses and kit lenses have their widest aperture at f/3.5 or up towards f/5.6 as you zoom in with the lens.
A wide aperture, like f/1.8, brings with it a whole host of photographic opportunities that are not as easy to achieve with other apertures. Shooting wide open at f/1.8 creates a very narrow depth of field (area of the photograph in focus) and easily creates ‘bokeh,’ the colored circles of light and blur created by a deliberately out-of-focus background. This ability to manipulate the depth of field and control the focus to such a narrow area provides infinite photographic possibilities.
A 50 mm lens is very small and fairly inconspicuous (or at least, as inconspicuous as you can be with a full DSLR body). 50 mm lenses have always been popular with street photographers, people who value the 50 mm’s small size and fast shooting. A 50 mm lens is also very light and makes carrying around your whole DSLR a little less onerous. Having a small, portable lens also makes it far more likely that you will consider bringing your camera along with you, and having your camera is the first (and critically important) step towards capturing that once-in-a-lifetime shot.
The 50 mm lens is also a very adaptable focal length. It is considered close to the view and vision of normal eye sight (although the view is more zoomed in on a crop sensor camera than on a full frame one). 50 mm is wide enough for you to capture large sections of a landscape view, like the farm above, or to get close up to something small. It is also a good length because 50 mm does not create noticeable distortion when shooting portraits (which is a common problem at very wide focal lengths).
50 mm lenses have the added benefit of being fairly inexpensive, especially for camera lenses. While lens-envy is the curse of many a photographer, the 50 mm is a lens that is actually within budgetary reach. The entry-level version of the 50 mm lens, the 50 mm f/1.8 is available from Canon for £99, from Nikon for around £99, from Sony for around £110; and from Pentax for around £89 . Faster versions of the 50 mm lens, such as the 50 mm f/1.4 or 50 mm f/1.2 rise in cost as the aperture widens but are something to consider if you have had a 50 mm f/1.8 for a while and want to get even wider.
A 50 mm lens is an excellent upgrade, giving you a wide aperture at low cost and providing tack-sharp images with fantastic background bokeh. It is a great lens for any photographer.[cp_info_bar display=”inline” id=”cp_id_27a05″][/cp_info_bar]