One of the biggest questions I had while starting out in photography was, “What gear should I get?” I would look at images from my favorite photographers and be amazed at the quality and crispness of the photos. I wanted those same results, but somehow, my images never quite turned out that way. Lots of these photographers would share what cameras and lenses they would take certain photos with and that got me researching… only to find out that camera gear and equipment is VERY expensive! And as a broke high school/college student, I definitely didn’t have the money to buy lenses that were $1,200 and up! But thankfully, I was able to find one that was super affordable and helped me create images that were closer to what I wanted.
Introducing, the Canon 50mm 1.8! This little lens is seriously a lifesaver and I always recommend it to anyone that’s just starting out with their DSLR. I bought this lens in 2012 after the 18-55mm kit lens that came with my camera stopped working. I used this lens faithfully for 4 years! That’s 4 years of travel, personal, wedding photos. While I saved up to upgrade more of my gear, this lens worked great for me. Here are the top reasons why I recommend it and some of my favorite photos using this lens.
This lens is only $125. It’s reasonable to save up for if you don’t have the cash for it right away and it is well worth the money. I didn’t take this lens off my camera for years, so I definitely got my money’s worth from it.
The lens that came with your camera is called the “kit” and it’s likely something like an 18-55mm that zooms and is versatile, but doesn’t produce images with that blurry background (which is called “bokeh”). That blurry background is controlled by your camera’s aperture and the lower that number can get, the blurrier your background will be. This lens can go all the way to f/1.8, compared to f/3.5 in a kit lens. With the lower aperture, you can also use this lens in more dimly lit situations.
The 50mm focal length is closest to what we naturally see from our eyes. This makes this lens really good for a picture you take of one or a few people because it won’t create any distortion of their facial features. Whether you take a vertical or horizontal shot of someone with this lens, you are likely to portray them as close to their natural appearance, which is what you typically want for something like headshots or family photographs.
Like I said, I loved this lens for years! There’s just two main things to keep in mind once you purchase it: 1) It’s a prime lens, so it doesn’t zoom in and out. This means you’ll have to get used to physically moving closer or further away from your subject to get more or less of it in the frame. 2) It’s plastic, so it isn’t the most durable lens in the world. I accidentally dropped my camera out of my lap onto pavement and my lens cracked right open. It’s always important to be careful with your camera gear, but this lens especially because it isn’t made of heavy duty material. Other than that, this lens is awesome and you should definitely invest in it!