Review Nikon 50mm f1.8 – The affordable nifty fifty

So, you just purchased a shiny new DSLR, despite my advice that you probably really wanted a high end point and shoot compact camera… It came with a couple of lenses in the box, didn’t it? They look pretty awesome. Maybe you could even offer to shoot your cousin’s upcoming wedding with these new image weapons? Hmmmm.

Well, I am not going to argue with all the ads on TV and that guy at Ted’s that taking great photos is not quite as easy as it looks.

Those nice looking lenses you got in the box with the new DSLR are technically most likely to be rated as “crap”. You can still compose great images with them, but they are not going to help you the way other lenses can.

Please do a deal when you buy your DSLR and get this lens to go with it.

Buy this.

Buy this.

You can pick one up for about $150 local retail here  or for $125 or so on Ebay here

This lens has one of the most reliable zoom functions of all time. Your feet. Yep, if you want to zoom in, take a couple of steps towards your subject. Want some wide angle action? Guess what you have to do…

This lens has a fixed focal length. Lenses with a fixed focal length are generally always better quality than a zoom lens at the same price.

The beauty of this lens, and why you will learn to love it, all has to do with that funny F number 1.8. The aperture opens up to 1.8 which enables two things :

1. The maximum amount of light hits your sensor, allowing for better results in lower light conditions. Your DSLR probably does not have a high end sensor in it, so that f1.8 becomes a great way of producing non-grainy images in low light.

2. The very low aperture (2.8 and below is awesomeness) enables you to get that blurry background (or foreground) that so many people love. Open that lens right up to 1.8 and let ‘er rip. You will be on your way to impressing friends and family on facebook very quickly!

Nikon 50mm f1.8

Nikon 50mm f1.8 – One from the time capsule – Christmas 2006

Yes, this lens is a bit plasticky like your kit lenses, but remember – for the same money, a fixed focal length will win hands down every time!

Using a fixed focal length lens can really help you focus on your composition. Instead of twiddling with the zoom on your plastic kit lens, you have to look through your viewfinder and learn to spot the shot. If you use your LCD to compose, please do not look at blog again.

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4 Responses to Review Nikon 50mm f1.8 – The affordable nifty fifty

  1. Shalyn says:

    Hi Damian, thanks for sharing the beauty of this lens. I love taking children and family portrait shots. I’m planning to create a portrait profile. I am currently using D90 with Nikon 50mm f1.8 lens that you mentioned.
    What’s your advise if I wish an upgrade in the affordable way? Some advice upgrade the body to D600 and some suggest to upgrade the lens to 35mm f1.4 fx.

    • Damian Young says:

      I am not 100% up to date with bodies – I still have a d700. I would get a full frame sensor, if you can squeeze one into your budget. I believe the d600 has a full frame sensor, which makes it a great body. If I had to choose between a $2000 lens and a $2000 camera, I would always pick the camera, but that is me! The 50mm lens is an FX lens, not DX. The nikon website does a pretty good job of explaining these if you are unsure. The 35mm 1.4 (a DX lens?) would be pretty sweet on the D90.

      I used to have a D80 and regret selling it! Buy lenses, only buy cameras if you are upgrading significantly – ie. to full frame… just my two cents.

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