Unfortunately most DSLR cameras ship with a 55mm variable zoom lens, these lenses are versatile, but produce results that are boring, predictable and sub-par. If you would like to take your photography to the next level I have a great suggestion get a 50mm prime. Here are all the reasons why this is a great lens:
50mm – prime – nifty fifty
Firstly, let’s establish what is meant by 50 mm lens. Photography can be a bit confusing as there are lots of terms to remember. A 50 mm lens is not an exception. It can also be called a nifty fifty or a prime lens. However, not all prime lenses are 50mm. The term prime is used as the opposite of zoom, a prime lens has a fixed-focal-length, while a zoom lens has a variable focal length. A prime lens can have the following focal lengths: 20 mm, 24 mm, 28 mm, 35 mm, 40 mm, 50 mm, 85 mm, 105 mm, 135 mm, 200 mm, 300 mm, 400 mm, and 600 mm. Where 50mm is a standard one as it is suitable for various types of photography and produces results closest to the human perception of the world.
Now let me show you why this lens is so good.
Blurry background effect
Most people when buying a DSLR camera think that they will be able to take magazine-like photographs with a shallow depth of field (and blurry backgrounds) straight out of the box, but fail as they are using the kit lens. These lenses don’t produce a bokeh/ background blur, due to a high aperture limit.
Aperture is an opening through which light passes into a lens. The larger the maximum aperture of your lens the more light it will be able to accept. Aperture is measured in ‘f-stops’, where f/1.4 would refer to a very large aperture and f/32 to a very small aperture. The lower f numbers mean wider/large aperture opening compare to higher f numbers wich correspond to narrow/small aperture opening.
The 50mm lens is capable of producing a tight depth of field (Blurred background) due to its large maximum aperture of f/1.4 or f/1.8, which is unachievable for the kit lens that usually has a largest maximum aperture of f/3.5–5.6.
It will make you work harder
A zoom lens can make you a bit lazy as they allow you to change composition just by zooming, the lack of zoom on the prime lens will make you think how to arrange your main subject in the frame. As you know practice makes perfect, and using this lens will focus your efforts on mastering good composition. So next time you have just a couple seconds to take the shot you will be prepared and will be able to arrange the best composition.
It is compact and light, as it has fewer elements inside compared to a zoom lens. So if you find your DSLR a bit too heavy 50 mm lens can be a solution.
It goes without saying, that photography does not come cheap, especially when it comes to buying glass. But, fortunately, 50mm lens is very cheap. You can get one for approximately £100. Please note that as with any lens there are variations and you can find pricey 50mm, which as a beginner photographer you don’t need. In this article, I am talking about the ‘Nifty Fifty’ — 50mm lens (f1.8).
It’s Great for Low Light Conditions
As I mentioned above this lens is great for badly lit places. This lens has a wide aperture of f1.8 where a typical kit lens usually goes to only f5.6. This allows this lens to take in EIGHT times more light through the lens opening. So you can use either a lower ISO and avoid the noise you get from higher ISOs, or a faster shutter speed and avoid camera shake, or a bit of both.
It’s A Sharp lens
It is a common belief that affordable zoom lenses sacrifice sharpness in order to keep the price low, which is a history to a certain extent due to the invention of effective image stabilisation systems. Morden zoom lenses are good for day to day needs and will give you decent sharpness, but primes are still a bit better on sharpness front especially when compared to cheap zoom lenses.
Less vignetting can and colour fringing around high-contrast edges in a picture will also get some brownie points for the prime lens. Vignette effect is most commonly seen when you’re using large apertures at the wide-angle end (for kit lens those would be 18mm and 55mm).
As as you can see from the above prime lens is good for quite a few reasons and would be a good addition to your collection.
Do you need to settle for prime only?
Most likely no, at some point you will want to get a zoom lens as well.
Lenses in flower photography
When it comes to flower photography you will need zoom lens more if you are planning to photograph flower shows like the Chelsea flower show where the main object is far away. While prime lens would be better for garden photography. And if at some point you would want to get photographs of famous gardens you may need a wide angle lens. Now you see why photography is quite an expensive hobby.
Photographs were taken at Brides the Show at Kate Alban Davies floral design stand.