I’ve been on the fence regarding the purchase of a 50mm prime lens for my Nikon D90. In particularly, I’ve been eyeing the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens. Not only is the lens relatively fast but very affordable. As with all photographers, novices and professionals alike, amassing lenses is inevitable. We just love our different types of “glass” to add to our ever growing repertoire of expensive equipment. This however is not a frivolous purchase, but an absolutely necessary one.
After reading my favorite photography magazine (a British magazine), Digital SLR Photography (http://www.digitalslrphoto.com), in particularly their March 2010 issue where they showcased various budget 50mm lenses, I knew I had to finally go out and get one before the prices started to skyrocket. They reviewed current lenses from Nikon, Canon and Sony as well as old classics. The article was extremely informative and explained why 50mm lenses are so important and how they can produce excellent bokeh when set at the 1.8 aperture. I purchased the lens from Amazon for about $116.00. I also purchased a wireless remote and in a few short days, both items arrived. Like a happy camper I quickly exchanged lenses on my Nikon and looked for willing subjects in my immediate vicinity (my daughter doing homework and the always eager to please Shitzu).
I won’t go into great technical details regarding this lens (there are those that can do a far better job than I can). You can read all about it on the various photography websites (I personally love dpreview.com and of course, Nikon’s official site). What I will say is that this lens is a beauty! The depth-of-field I can get on this lens is nothing short of amazing. Being a 1.8 lens also means that I can shoot in low lighting conditions and still manage to get great shots without having to bump up the ISO to unsightly noise levels.
The lens is very small and very light. I can put this in my pocket with no problems if I chose to (wouldn’t do that of course). On my D90 the auto-focus function works very well. If you have a D40 (or a D60, I could be completely wrong) your only available option is to manually focus. When focusing, remember that the depth-of-field will become very narrow if you’re shooting at its widest aperture so make sure to focus just right. In portraits, that means focusing in on the eyes of your subject.
Here are some shots I took:
While doing her homework, I asked her to stop her work temporarily and lean back so I could take a picture. She complied as she always does and managed to help me get a good shot. This is officially the first picture taken with the new lens. Getting back to her homework, I managed to snap another:
Next up was the dog, “Scruffy” (actually, his name is Bonbon but I refuse to call him that, especially in public. I renamed him Scruffy, a name which he responds to quite well). I took several shots of him but he kept moving and I was struggling with the focus point. I have to re-read my manual and master focusing. It sounds simple to do but it can get really in-depth in its execution. I finally managed to get a shot I was pleased with.
I am not 100% satisfied with this picture as there are some blown highlights in his hair. I could try to fix that in Photoshop but I just wanted to post this picture up right away. To date, this is the best picture I’ve taken of Scruffy. I really like it and I suppose he does as well. He stayed focused and well behaved for a series of shots. Coincidentally, May’s issue of Digital SLR Photography has a special section on photographing pets so pick it up at your local newsstand or bookstore.
I went ahead and took more pictures of my Sunset GD-3000 tripod and used those pictures for a previous post.
I am SO happy I purchased this lens. I’ve used it so far for a birthday party I attended and loved the low light pictures. I still have a lot to learn about photography in general but this lens makes the learning just more fun. I’ll post more pictures in the future. For now, get thee to a photo store or online and get this lens before prices get higher (checking on Amazon, this lens is now $8 more than when I purchased it) and start taking pictures!