Sunday, May 30, 2010

The 50mm f/1.8

Photography takes a lot of thought and movement to get the best possible angle.  The problem with using zooms?  It makes us lazy.  Put on a zoom and you may just go with the first angle you see because it will work.  But will you get the best photo?  Probably not.

Prime lenses will make you work harder for the shot, and in doing so, force you to move around and review every angle.  That's why I never leave home without my 50mm f/1.8 prime lens.  This is a great starter prime!  Incredibly sharp, yet incredibly fast.  One of the best parts however is the price, only $125, and cheaper for Canon users.  Shoot in low light with ease using this lens.  Because you are stuck with 50mm (75mm on a cropped Nikon like the D300s), you will be forced to find the best possible angle.

The sharpness is out of this world.  I recently had a photo shoot in Winter Park, CO for the ski resort, and found that I used that lens for most of the day.  It's just too sharp to believe, way sharper than even my most expensive zooms.  Using a lens that can't be zoomed in or out, gives you one less thing to think about as you shoot.  What you see is what you get.  You can't move in closer and still capture the whole scene, and if you move farther back, your going to capture more.  It's that simple.

With a zoom I have a million ideas in my head about where to go and how if I zoom in or out I may get a better shot.  I reduce that head clutter when I put on a prime.  The prime lens is zen for photographers.  Will it answer all your questions in life? Nope, but you can't expect it too, it's just a camera lens.

If your shooting in low-light, then a fast 50mm is a must.  You may even want to consider the 50mm f/1.4, though it costs at least 2-3 times as much.  The problem with opening up a lens to 1.8 or 1.4 is that you will have less depth of field.  This makes it tougher to get the subject, or all of the subject, in focus.  But that's a tradeoff for low-light shooting without a flash.

Should you go out and order one now?  Absolutely (assuming you have money to spare).  It's well worth the $125, and you'll have it forever because it works just as well on the full-frame camera that you will eventually upgrade to.

That's the BUZZ for Today!  Please check back soon for more.


Anonymous said...

I bought a 50mm 1.8 after being loaned one to try out for low light dance shooting. And after a couple of goes I really like it. I find that you do need to get physically quite close to your subject to get a certain 'intimacy' and its not a terribly fast focus lens, and in very low light can be a bit blurry. I would like to trade up to the 1.4 which I understand is very fast and sharp but cant justify the price :)

Post a Comment