Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Nifty Fifty

by Leigh

I remember when I bought my first camera.  I used the kit lens for awhile until someone told me about the 50mm 1.4 or the "nifty fifty" as it's affectionally called.  It was my first prime lens…my first real nice glass and I was in love from the first shot.  It was on my camera 95% of the time.  There was a real connection between me and that lens.  Then I decided it was time to add to my lens collection….first a 105mm macro then my 24-70mm and the nifty fifty was packed away nicely in my camera bag where it stayed for way too long.  

I've been stuck in one of those ruts lately where I feel like I've lost all creativity.  I look back at some of my early photos and wonder where did that inspiration come from?  I want to feel that again…to shoot like that again.  I pulled out my 50mm hoping that the change would bring back some of the inspiration that I was lacking lately.  And sure enough….it seemed to all come back.  The feeling while shooting….that feeling that I couldn't wait to get back to my computer because I just knew I had gotten some of those shots…the ones I had been craving.

That good old prime lens was like talking with an old friend…..no pretense…no uncomfortable silences just a good heart to heart connection.  I walked away feeling inspired again.  If you haven't ever used a 50mm 1.4 before here are some of the reasons you should give it a try.

It's inexpensive.
It's ability to shoot in low light.
It creates beautiful bokeh.
It allows you to get super sharp focus.
It has roughly the same POV as the human eye which makes composing shots more natural.

So what are you waiting for?  Grab a nifty fifty and take her out for a spin!


Carol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol said...

I confess - I NEVER think of my 50, and yet in the large majority of interviews with photographers that I have read, they pick the 50 as their favorite lens. It's raining out. You have inspired me to put on my 50 and go chase some raindrops. I'll let you know how it goes!

Dotti said...

I love my 50mm lenses - yes, you read that right. Plural. Lenses. (I know - crazy.) I started with the 50mm f/1.8, the good ol' nifty fifty and loved it. Then I learned about the 50mm f/2.5 compact macro. Wow! Real lens love! Used it for a long time. Since I love a fast lens, I decided to add the 50mm f/1.4 to my 50mm arsenal. It is really my favorite 50mm now, I love that I can shoot in really low light and I love the creamy, dreamy backgrounds I can get with this lens. Lately it's been sitting on my shelf, languishing, in favor of my new squeeze, the 100mm macro. But you've re-lit the flame of my love for my 50mm so I think I'll take it out for a spin! It's always in my travel gear when I travel, too, just so I have a really good low-light lens. Thanks, Leigh, for reminding all of us just how sweet our 50mm lenses are! (PS - I really like any prime lens; they're all so sharp. Great discussion about lenses, so key to our photography.)

terriporter said...

I love my 50mm lens(es) too, although I am guilty of ignoring them for long periods of time. My first was the 1.4 and I was immediately smitten with the low-light capabilities and the creamy backgrounds due to shallow dof, something I didn't have with the kit lens that came with my camera. I had it on my camera 100% of the time. Then came the 50mm f/2.5 compact macro, which I think a lot of us purchased when we were in Tracey Clark's classes and we're discovering macro. Soon I longed to get even closer and invested in the 100mm macro which is now my favorite lens and rarely leaves my camera. This past Christmas Santa brought me a 50mm f/1.2. Talk about low-light capabilities! But, man, is that a heavy lens! Amazing how heavy it is relative to its size! But I never use flash so it comes in extremely handy when I need to shoot in low light (like Christmas morning). But we can get in a rut and forget about old lenses that we used to love. In fact, I'm writing about that very thing next week -- getting into a rut with your photography. I'm definitely in one and maybe pulling out my nifty 50 is just what I need!

Cathy H. said...

Do you know how I got my 50mm lens? It was with the help of FOL. The year was 2013. The giveaway was a gift certificate to Adorama. The winner was me!!! What did I buy? A 50mm lens and I've been in love with it ever since! It says on my camera most of the time. I even love that it makes me move to take the shots I want. I carry thoughts of FOL every time I'm out with my nifty-fifty! I'll just say thank you all over again!

Cathy H. said...

I can't type!! It STAYS on my camera, not SAYS on my camera!!

AFishGirl said...

I have the 50mm 1.8 and I remember getting it on the camera when I first got it and feeling so incredibly happy and this enormous sense of relief, that "That's the picture I've been WANTING TO TAKE!" It is probably on my camera a good 90% of the time. I will use the 24mm prime at times to see a bigger picture but something about the 50 is vastly calming to me. I think it has something to do with it being what the natural eye sees. I never tire of it. It always cheers me up. I use it so much for my portrait photography. It was the first lens that ever gave me any bokeh and I thought that was utter magic. Terri, I hope you are reading these comments because do you remember a shot you did of your toes and the Christmas tree? Also the Christmas tree shot you did with bokeh lights? Those are still clearly in my mind and I remember wishing so much to be able to take a shot like that. And I betcha that was the 50mm, yes?

Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing part of your day with us. If for any reason you are unable to leave a comment here on this post, please leave your comment on our Facebook page or in our Flickr discussion group. We love hearing from you!

© Focusing On Life