Get Back to Basics

The way SLRs are being sold today may not be doing your photography any favors. Fix this by the purchase of one extra lens.
Today when you buy an SLR, whether analog or digital, it either is a body only or it comes with a zoom lens. Kits zooms are usually ok lenses but with oe major limitation, a fairly small widest aperture. When I started in photography the lens that came with a 35mm SLR was a 50mm, usually f1.8 lens.

Digital cameras are, in general, prone to making it hard to use one of the great techniques of photography, shallow depth of field. While the field of view may be narrower by the multiplication factor if the sensor is smaller than the 35mm frame, the depth of field is a function of the actual lens focal length and the aperture. So that f5.6 zoom at 50mm might make a great portrait lens with an effective focal length of around 80mm, the shallowest depth of field you can get is what you get at 50mm and f5.6. This is not very shallow.

Indeed many photographers of the digital age have never experienced what a really shallow depth of field can give you. So the tip is to go get a 50mm lens of at least f1.8 maximum aperture and preferably f1.4. The 50mm f1.8’s are very cheap either new or second hand and 50mm f1.4’s can also be picked up very cheap second hand. On most digital SLRs this will give you the equivalent of a 75 or 80mm f1.4 or f1.8 lens, perfect for portraiture. With a lens like this you have real control over your depth of field, from getting only one eye sharp to the whole face.

So if you have never experienced the joy of a prime lens, give one a go.

B&H Photo 50mm f1.4’s

B& H Photo 50mm f1.8s

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