(babies do look better at 50mm)
I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve bought something strictly because it was cheap, instead of because it was something I really wanted.
However, there have been times when being a cheapskate has been a good thing.
Case in point – when I decided to buy Canon’s dirty-cheap 50mm f/1.8 lens instead of the pricier f/1.4 model.
Now, you can’t get much cheaper than Canon’s 50mm 1.8. In fact, it’s just about the cheapest big-name-brand SLR lens on the market. (Nikon’s is also pretty damn cheap and built a bit better)
However, it’s not just cheap – it’s awesome, and the first lens you need to buy after purchasing a DSLR.
You’ll immediately see improved image quality, and the wide aperture (which lets more light in) will give you newfound flexibility to create new kinds of images.
But let’s break down in more detail why a cheap 50mm f/1.8 lens is an amazing buy for the money.
1) Shallow Depth of Field
The typical kit lens that comes with a DSLR camera just isn’t capable of generating a shallow depth-of-field effect, meaning that only part of the picture (typically the foreground) is in focus. This is a very popular effect for portraits.
A 50mm f/1.8 lens, however, can easily generate a shallow depth-of-field effect, which helps isolate a subject:
2) Great for Low-Light Situations
The wide aperture of an f/1.8 lens (remember, lower f-stop means bigger aperture and more light coming in) will also allow you to shoot at higher shutter speeds than you could with a typical kit lens.
This was shot as ISO 3200, which is pretty much the practical limit for my camera. Without a fast prime like the 50mm f/1.8, I would have had to shoot it at ISO 6400 or higher.
3) Perfect for the Street
A 50mm lens is also awesome for street photography if you’re not into getting too close to your subjects:
4) Great for Portraits
A 50mm lens (80mm equivalent on a crop-sensor camera like a Canon Rebel or Nikon D3100) makes for a great portrait lens.
5) It’s the Ultimate Baby Lens
6) Other Random Pictures I’ve Taken With This Lens:
So what are you waiting for?