This was a huge problem for me when I first got my camera. While the lenses that come with the entry model cameras are great for what they are, there comes a time in every photographer’s life where they want something bigger and better. Looking into “bigger and better” can bring an ache to the wallet though (some lenses can cost thousands of dollars). If you’re not willing to spend that much on a lens (I assume you’re relatively new to photography if this is your first lens purchase), I have great news!
Canon 50 mm f1.8 STM Price:~$130
(I have only tested the Canon version of this lens. I have not been able to test the Nikon equivalent to this lens.)
This lens is perfect for anyone who is looking to expand their library of lenses. I was quite hesitant to make the purchase because of its price tag. I’m a firm believer of the “You get what you pay for” principle, especially with technology. I was pleasantly surprised when I got this lens and found it to be a wonderful piece of glass.
If you have any knowledge of lens jargon, you’ll see that this is a prime lens, i.e., it doesn’t zoom in or out. What you see is what you get.
While it is prime, it’s the sweet spot of focal lengths. The focal length on this lens is a mixture of a wide angle and tight crop. Even with an APS-C sensor, you’ll still be pulling an 80 mm focal length, a beautiful focal length for portraits.
At a measly $130, this lens takes the cake in the “bang for your buck” area. The price is almost unbeatable and definitely something to pick up if you’ve got the cash.
At 50 mm, this lens is pretty much perfect for portraiture. You can get stunning composition without having to get too far away or too close to your subject.
For $130 you can’t complain too much about its build quality. It has a metal mount, meaning a longer life, generally, as well as a mostly plastic body. It feels pretty heavy duty for being such a tiny lens.
With a 1.8 maximum aperture, you can get some insane bokeh (blurred backgrounds), but it comes at a cost. The wider the aperture, the softer the picture. This is common knowledge, but with a 1.8 aperture, it’s a blast to just try and get the most out-of-focus backgrounds you can achieve. As for image quality, It’s got amazing sharpness for the cost and size. Every picture I take with this thing has great quality and sharpness. You can even take some amazing macro images with it and maintain the quality.
This lens is amazing for what it is. An affordable, wide-aperture, entry-level prime lens. I love this thing to death and shoot almost exclusively with it now. I’d definitely recommend picking it up if you’re looking into purchasing a new lens soon.
That being said, it isn’t perfect. The lens extends when trying to focus onto a subject that is further away. It’s not the most amazing build quality, but I can see why this is one of Canon’s most popular lenses. I can see myself using this lens for years to come.