Jan 25, 2013

The New 50mm Lens

So I've been talking about my new 50mm camera lens for a few weeks now. It's not like it's some super-duper fancy lens or anything. But to me it's fancy :) And I love it so I figured I'd share a little more about it and why I love it so much.

I also thought about telling you all about my new lens and the differences between this lens and my other lens. Okay so I actually wrote up a long post about that and then it got really complicated. Another story for another day... maybe soon, who knows?

But today I want to tell you why I love this 50mm lens: two reasons to be exact. They officially call it the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Autofocus lens. And well, first, it's 'artsy' and second it's 'fast'.  But let me explain.


The 'artsy' comes from the "f/1.8" part of the lens. The pros call that the aperture (I call it that now too, lol). Pretty much everything on the camera affects the amount of light in the picture in some respect. The aperture is kind of like the iris part of the eye, you know the colored part that makes the pupil get bigger and smaller... f/1.8 is like when the colored part of the eye is very thin and the pupil is large letting in a lot of light. My other lens has a minimum f/3.5 meaning the 'iris' is thicker and therefore the 'pupil' smaller letting in less light.

But really, we're talking "making the cool blurry stuff in the background" the fancy 'blurry' background that makes professional pictures or portraits look so professional. They call it 'bokeh' but I have no idea how to say it out loud. I've looked on lots of websites and asked a few photographers and none of the answers matched...

Anyway, when the lens is 'wide open' at f/1.8 it lets in lots of light particles and has a shallow depth of field. Which means it can only focus on like one person football or 3/4 of an inch of depth, so the background gets blurry but the person football in focus is real sharp. Like this one.

Sometimes this can get out of hand though. Like me getting all artsy with the pumpkin bread at Christmas. See how only the middle of the loaf is sharp and even the back side of the loaf pan is blurry... maybe it was a little too much? Maybe not?

Better yet, check out these pictures from the root beer tasting extravaganza. The first one is f/1.8 so it's got a blurrier background. But then watch how the background becomes more clear bottle by bottle as the aperture is changed.








So that's fun. The aperture thing. It makes great portraits...

Anyways. I told you there were two things I like about this lens.


Second is the ability to take 'faster' pictures. Think about it, if the lens is 'wide open' so a whole lot more light can get into the camera, then I can speed up the shutter speed and still get all the light I need so the picture's not too dark. I won't go into all of that now, but here's a link to two great quick tutorials if you're interested (or if you got lost before when I said aperture and stopped reading for while...).

For me it means that I can take picture of things moving without them being too blurry. With my other lens I just didn't have enough light outside to capture a clear picture when my nephew was moving. You know kids, they don't really sit still...

But with my 50mm f/1.8 I can just open up my aperture a little more and speed up the shutter speed and snap a sharp pic. It's kind of like setting your point-and-shoot camera to "Action" or "Sport" mode. This lens of mine is not the best for action shots or anything, but it's better than my kit lens because of the "f/1.8" See how I captured this when they were swinging...

But these guys were swinging too fast for me to capture indoors...

It's nice to have a 'faster' lens because that means I can get pictures of squirmy little kids, or maybe I'll get some action shots when Kyle plays softball this spring. Maybe?

But that's probably more than you wanted to know about a camera lens. Maybe that's more than you wanted to know about photography all together. But really kit lenses are like the "jack of all trades, master of none" lenses. And I still use mine of course, the thing can zoom without me having to actually move my feet, and I can get a wider angle shot with it.  But the Canon 50mm f/1.8 is only about $100 (Nikon has a similar lens and price). It's like the gateway to lenses, because the other guys are like $500-$5000 for a lens. But I'll leave that to the pros.

I've heard someone say, or okay, I read someone say that they'd recommend a 50mm f/1.8 over a kit lens any day for a beginner. Like buying the camera without a lens and just putting the 50mm on it. Crazy sounding, but not too bad of an idea.

So if you're 'into photography' look into it. But before you buy anything, figure out why. That's what I'm learning, no need to buy 'camera stuff' just to have more 'camera stuff.' I've gotta be able to tell myself exactly why what I have right now isn't good enough and exactly why what I want to buy actually is...

Here's to photography, and knowing just enough about it to sound like a fool... I really know little-to-nothing.

But doesn't the focus on the this one just draw you to the cabin name... and the blur looks artsy. Right?

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