Five Easy Tips for Using Nifty Fifty

After using the 50mm prime lens with my Canon DSLR for some time, I think I’m getting a hang of it. It is undoubtedly one of the first non-kit lenses you should purchase. I am no expert, but it does give me the result I expect from a DSLR. The images are tack sharp and sufficiently stuffed with the creamy bokeh or blur effect. This post is based on what I learned after using the Nifty Fifty for some time:

Use Appropriate Aperture

As I continue to explore (and define) the limits of the lens, I find that just because the lens allows me to use an aperture that’s as wide as f/1.8, I shouldn’t go for the wider aperture. As is the case with every other lens I have used, the workable sharpness lies between the maximum and minimum aperture, excluding both the extremes. This means, though I can go as wide as f/1.8, the usable, workable images have an aperture that’s ever so slightly smaller than f/1.8. At f/1.8, notice how shallow the depth of field gets (Notice only the brim of the glass is visibly sharp. Of course, I held the camera at an angle to explain you the effect):


You are the Zoom

This one takes some time getting used to, especially if you are a novice photographer like me and are used to using the kit lenses. You, too, would find how easy it is to zoom in and zoom out of the kit lenses to capture just the right frame. I know, this means that you would be compromising on the aperture (and hence light), but that’s plain convenient. A prime lens, like this one, doesn’t zoom. It captures what truly you see with your eyes. This means you must move around, go near to or farther away from the subject, to get the perfect shot.

Walk Around

Try experimenting with the lens. It might take you a lot of practice, capturing, composing, and recomposing before you get the combination of light, aperture, setting, and subject. So, walk around the subject and try experimenting. This lens allows you to push the limits of your photography. Try low light situations, capturing silhouettes, with facing into the Sun, or just at the widest aperture. Much like me, you might get surprised with the lens’ capabilities.

Take a step or two forward or backward. Location credits: Pind Balluchi, Indore.

Take Multiple Images

When possible, take multiple shots. Bracket those shots in a range of apertures or shutter speeds. Let the subject move around. You can always take the best pick later.

Use a Tripod

I know that not everyone would recommend it with the prime lens. But, if you have one, I’d recommend. I believe this is one of the most versatile lenses I’ve used. I can take portraits, landscapes, panoramas, and low-light images with it. It is lightweight and comfy. And, if you love experimenting with your photography, like me, a tripod will help you push your limits. Try getting a long exposure, capturing a panorama where you horizontally pan the camera to capture motion, or simply clicking a portrait in low-light. This lens does it all.

I’m still experimenting with the lens. But, if you like this list and could add to it, I’d love to hear from you.

Happy clicking.

Published by

Suyog Ketkar

He is a certified technical communicator. He believes that writing continues to be an easy-to-do-but-difficult-to-master job. In his work time, he proudly dons the “enabler” cape. In his non-work time, he dons many hats including one of a super-busy father.