Why the Nifty Fifty Should Be the Next Lens in Your Kit
May 31, 2018
If you'd like to increase the potential of your camera, the obvious question is which lens do you need next?
With all the major manufacturers having a very wide range of lenses in their line and so many great options from the third party brands it is understandable that you might find it hard to plan what to buy next.
The simple answer — get a Nifty Fifty (50mm).
Here are 7 reasons why:
A 50mm f/1.8 is one of the most affordable lenses and is great value for money
It enables fantastic low light shooting at f/1.8 — receive over 3 stops more light than most kit lenses can at 50mm focal length. This could mean the difference between an unusably slow shutter speed of 1/10th of a second to a more reasonable 1/80th of a second. Along with the amazing low noise, high ISO performance of modern cameras, a fast 50mm can enable captures in otherwise impossibly dark locations. A Nifty Fifty can often capture great photos at night on city streets or in restaurants without the need for on camera flash
Light weight and small physical size. There really is no downside to having this extra lens in your camera bag
Creates perfect low depth of field photographs with that dreamy out of focus background look (bokeh) that is so desirable
On the popular APS-C (cropped) sensor cameras the 50mm focal length creates a very pleasing perspective that makes a head and shoulders portrait stand out. If you are shooting on a full frame body the Nifty Fifty is still a great option, but it will be wider and more suitable for half or 3/4 body portraits. For head and shoulders you should consider an 85mm f/1.8 — also a great value lens. For micro four thirds shooters the 42.5mm f/1.7 or 45mm f/1.8 lens are great options
Great image quality. The 50mm focal length has been around so long that all the bugs have been worked out and every manufacturer is able to produce these models to exacting standards while still keeping the price very affordable. Compared to your kit lens set at 50mm, you will be most impressed by the increased imaged quality you will be able to achieve with the Nifty Fifty
Compose like a Pro. Unlike the kit variable focal length zoom that came with your camera, using the Nifty Fifty with a fixed 50mm focal length is a different experience which forces you to zoom and compose with your feet rather tha the zoom ring. While this might seem more difficult to begin with, a forced constraint such as a fixed focal length can often be a huge benefit to helping you concentrate on the subject and eliminate everything else that doesn’t contribute to the story you are telling. Add to this its great ability to selectively focus and fast shutter speeds due to faster F-stops, and you have a winning combination!
Whether you pick up a Nifty Fifty with your new kit or add one down the road you can’t beat the value and performance that these lenses offer to photographers. From shooting beautiful portraits to nailing a handheld shot in the, the Nifty Fifty is so versatile that it really is the must have second lens to keep in your camera bag at all times.
Want to learn more about shooting portraits? michaels hosted Mark Galer to present his Insight lecture Creating Powerful Portraits at the recent Melbourne's Photo Show. Watch the full lecture below.
Scroll to 16 minutes and 30 seconds to see Mark talking about the 50mm f/1.8 lens and how it is perfect for portraiture for photographers shooting APS-C cameras.
See our selection of classic Nifty Fiftys and related lenses to expand your shooting options: