If you buy a DSLR camera kit (camera + lens) these days, chances are the lens will be some type of inexpensive zoom lens. Most “kit lenses” tend to be 18-55mm zooms, but the focal length ranges can vary a bit.
There was a time when most SLR cameras came bundled with a Nifty Fifty (#ad) lens instead of a zoom lens, but that changed about the time that digital SLRs began to take over the market.
I might be the odd man out on this, but I never lost my love of the “Nifty Fifty”. Truth be told, I still prefer it over a zoom lens for most shooting situations.
The term “Nifty Fifty” broadly refers to any prime lens with a focal length of 50mm. You might be asking yourself why I usually prefer shooting with a 50mm prime lens when a zoom lens could easily cover that focal length and more, and that’s a very valid question. Well, there are several reasons…
First of all, a 50mm lens is one of the most versatile prime lenses you can use. While you can’t zoom in or out while standing still, you can almost always do a little “zooming with your feet” in order to take advantage of the other awesome benefits of shooting with a Nifty Fifty.
Another huge advantage of the Nifty Fifty: Even the most inexpensive 50mm prime lenses take sharper photos than zoom lenses that costs twice as much. And compared to the prices of most quality zooms, many 50mm lenses are downright cheap!
Still another advantage of these awesome lenses are the fast shutter speeds they allow you to shoot with.
The most popular 50mm primes come with a wide maximum aperture of either f/1.8 or f/1.4, both of which make it easier to capture bright, clear and super-sharp images under low light conditions than all but the most expensive zoom lenses.
The aforementioned wide maximum apertures of the Nifty Fifty also make it very easy to blur the background for taking amazing portraits and perfectly shoot most anything that you want to really stand out from the background clutter.
Check out this photo that was taken with a Canon 50mm prime lens:
And finally, while it might seem that a zoom lens would make the best “walk-around” lens since you can quickly vary the focal length on the spot to properly photograph whatever you might happen to encounter, in my opinion that isn’t the case at all.
Why? Because just a little “zooming with your feet” will allow you to take advantage of all the other benefits that come with shooting with a Nifty Fifty.
Bottom line: If you’ve never used any other lens besides the kit zoom that came bundled with your camera, I strongly recommend that you give a Nifty Fifty a try. It won’t cost you an arm and a leg, but you just might consider it to be priceless after you’ve used it a few times!
This lens (#ad) is one of the best selling 50mm prime lenses on Amazon for Canon DSLRs.
If you use a Nikon, this awesome Nifty Fifty (#ad) is also a top seller.