Having started out in Digital photography, one of the first lens’ (Aside from the kit lens) I owned was the 50mm 1.8. This was, and still is commonly known as the ‘Nifty Fifty’ ‘Plastic Fantastic’.. These names are all well and good, but why has it accumulated those names after it?
I can only speak on behalf of Canon’s 50mm 1.8 as currently I haven’t used any other, but the build of the thing is quite poor. But it’s £80! You cannot expect L grade quality for that amount of money. For around the equivalent of $100 bucks, you get a tiny, lightweight, loud focussing hunk of plastic with some optics in the middle. Before you run away and cry, let me tell you this… I think EVERY beginner in photography should own this lens.
My first ever Digital SLR camera was the Canon Rebel Kiss x5, more commonly known as T3i / 600D. Most of you will know this is a 1.6 crop framed sensor body by Canon that uses the same sensor from the 7D! It can still produce some fantastic images given the skill and lens’ put in-front of it. However, being a crop frame sensor camera, it has some issues. Your 50mm lens is not going to give you the results of using a 50mm on a full frame sensor, meaning your 50mm is going to be equivalent to using an 80mm on full frame.
[Canon 600D, 50mm 1.8 | 25sec | f2.5 | ISO100]
The optics are sharp, very sharp in-fact! When stopped down to 2.2,2.5,2.8 this lens is on par with L glass quality. No Joke!
The reason I think this lens is absolutely compulsory, is because it takes away a number of contributing factors of using the kit lens that could simply complicate things when learning the fundamental and technical basics of digital photography. You don’t have to worry about zoom. Which means obviously no aperture changing at different focal lengths. You are no longer restricted by shooting in extreme low light due to that huge 1.8 aperture. You are stuck with using your FEET (imagine that) to compose your shot.
*Insert picture of person taking picture with feet*
Using this lens, and learning absolutely everything about it will in my opinion, make you a better photographer. It will teach you that discipline of actually using your feet instead of zooming. There are times when this is necessary, and times when not.
It’s fantastic! I no longer own it, as I have the 1.4 now.
This lens is not only good on crop sensor bodies, but also full frame! The first time I used a 50mm on a 5D Mark III, I was blown away. And most of all, inspired. I WANTED to shoot with this lens, it intrigued me. It’s fascinating, what results you can get with shooting with it. It increases creativity when composing the shot. It gets you on your feet and more involved with telling a story in your image.