In the world of photography, there are several options. Everything can be customized from the shoot location and lights to the camera and lens. Each element of a shoot offers advantages and disadvantages but you must become an expert in your field to accurately select the best equipment for each shoot. In the next few months, I plan to upgrade to a Full Frame Mirrorless but for now, I am still shooting on my Nikon D7000. Of the various lenses in my kit, I still frequent and love the 50mm lens.
This lens has tons of advantages which I plan to look at in this post with one of the most important being the price tag. Camera lenses can often cost more than the camera body so you have to make sure you can afford the glass before you actually purchase the body. Don’t get me wrong, the kit lens is great in certain situations but it’s only a matter of time until you outgrow that lens and want something offering a few more features. Today I plan to dissect the 50mm lens and explain why I love this lens and you should to for cosplay photography.
Lets first talk about one of the most important aspects the price. For a traditional crop sensor DSLR this nifty fifty will run you between $60 and $200. This seems like a drastic price range but you have to factor in your camera, the lens model, and if the glass is used or new. For example, my camera the Nikon D7000, the 50mm lens for this camera cost me about $100. You can easily purchase the 50mm f/1.8D new for $131 on amazon. When you compare this price to other lenses such as the 85mm which is another popular portrait lens you are saving a solid $376 or so as this lens will set you back about $476.
Have you ever looked at an image and noticed the background was completely out of focus while the subject was sharp and crisp. Well that’s due to an effect called bokeh. Bokeh is achieved my completely opening your cameras aperture to staggering numbers such as 1.8. This means tons of light will be coming in the camera and you have to adjust accordingly. These type of images, as the one seen above, forces the viewer to focus on the subject and disregard much of the nuisance in the background. The effects are beautiful but you have to be careful with this setting.
Setting such a low aperture means you have a very narrow range for focusing your subject. What I mean is that its extremely easy to distort or create an image that is not in focus. Its absolutely devastating to discover after a great shoot that your subjects are out of focus. To avoid this problem, always test your cameras autofocus settings long before a shoot and do not shoot with manual focusing. Keeping the subject in focus with manual shooting is possible but its extremely difficult at such low apertures.
What do I mean by fast pictures? Well, let me explain a bit. Lenses capable of low apertures such as 1.8 can snap shots repetitively back to back. Usually more than one picture a second. If you are using external lighting, make sure your lights can keep up with each shot. I have 3 rovelights that have a cycle speed of about 1 second. So that means I can shoot 1 shot each second and reliably count on my rovelights to provide accurate lighting. This means that you have a higher chance of capturing that next amazing cosplay pose.
Several cons have terrible lighting situations and lack windows offering natural lighting. This means that you need a camera capable of handling low light situations. The real difference between camera bodies when it comes to lighting is the amount of noise present in your pictures. Hiking your ISO up to higher numbers means you will allow more light into the camera for low lighting pictures but will increase the chances of making very noisy images. Noisy images appear as if they have sand dispersed throughout the picture and can be modified in post, but its best to just try and avoid the situation as much as possible.
The 50mm 1.8 lens helps with this by allowing more light into the camera with that extremely low aperture setting. This means that you can return the ISO rating to low levels decreasing the chances of creating a noisy image. Nothing is worse than seeing the perfect image in the camera viewfinder and snapping the picture only to realize the image is noisy and distorted. So make sure you not only choose your lens wisely (50mm lens), but also your camera body.
I feel many individuals do not take the weight of the camera into consideration. Some of the larger lenses look awesome sure but when you are walking around a convention for hours on end this can become very tiring. Having to constantly lift and hang this item around your neck will eventually take its toll and cause levels of fatigue that are just unneeded. That’s where the 50mm shines. This lens is very light and will not cause fatigue as fast as some of its larger counterparts.
Since the 50mm is a prime lens it means you have to zoom with your feet. That’s right, no spinning the lens to increase or decrease your focal length. I also consider the photography window extremely limited forcing you to focus on composition rather than the inclusion of everything in your photo. You will become conscious of what’s in your image and what’s not. Everything from positioning and background subjects become a lot more apparent with a 50mm lens which in my onion will force you to become a better photographer.
Last but not least we have clarity. The 50mm will create some gorgeous and extremely clear images. All of the images in this post were shot with my 50mm lens. I have used several other lenses which cost a lot more but do not, in my opinion, provide as much clarity as the 50mm lens. More importantly, this lens is sharp at all stops. Whether your shooting at f/1.8 or f/4 the images always look great. Well, as long as you adjust your other settings accordingly. I have completed entire shoots with this lens and will be using it well into the foreseeable future. I can’t say enough how much I LOVE THIS LENS!!!
I hope you enjoyed this look at my favorite lens, the Nifty Fifty. Definitely pick up one of these lenses for your next shoot and let me know what you think. I guarantee you will not be disappointed and wonder how you ever did shoots without it before. If you enjoyed this post feel free to leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing about your next shoots. Well that’s everything for today. Until next time, stay BOUNDLESS!!!