#Photo3 – Three Advantages to the ‘Nifty Fifty’

A weekly trio of top photo tips

There was a time when new cameras didn’t come supplied with a kit lens, well not the basic zoom we have come to expect nowadays anyway. No, instead they used to come complete with a 50mm standard lens. An all-round versatile lens, that was great for the beginner and got you started with your first SLR. Now, because it’s all zooms these days, these fantastic 50mm lenses are often overlooked, even though you can still buy them, so here’s my three reasons why you should consider the ‘nifty fifty’ as your next essential lens purchase.

Price

Want a great cheap lens? Then here’s one for you. The 50mm lens is often one of the cheapest examples that camera manufacturers make. The Canon 50mm f1,8 cost just £106 new, whilst Nikon’s is a bit more at £189, still cheap for lens however. Buy second-hand and you’re probably looking at £50 for a good one. Their simple design keeps the cost down, but even with this, they still have a metal lens mount and fantastic optical quality, plus that nice fast maximum aperture. Great value for money when you think about it.

 

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Canon’s 50mm f1.8 is an absolute bargain!

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#Photo3 – Keep it Sharp

A weekly trio of top photo tips

Bad composition in an image can be overlooked. Poor light can be taken into account and even distractions can often be carefully cloned out. An unsharp result however, is usually just fit for the bin! There’s two causes for an un-sharp image- poor focusing and camera shake. Autofocus means the focus issue is a rare one, but camera shake needs nipping in the bud. So, here’s how to avoid it ruining your pictures.

Tripod

The easiest way to achieve pin sharp images, especially when shooting landscapes, is to use a tripod. The tripod holds your camera steady during long exposures so you don’t have to. This will allow you the flexibility to choose the aperture of your choice, without worrying about camera shake, as well as the added benefit of slowing you down and making you think about your compositions more. You shouldn’t really be shooting landscapes without one, so make it part of your on-location workflow to ensure all you stunning views are pin-sharp.

Use a tripod to aid image quality and composition

Image Stabilising

This modern feature, that is either built into the camera lens or the camera body itself, is like a magician’s trick! Take a picture at a low shutter speed with it switched off and your image is blurred. Take the picture again, with IS switched on and bingo, a beautiful sharp result! This brilliant feature makes hand-held shots so much easier to do. Modern cameras have allowed you to achieve pin-sharp images even taken at 1-second, which is astounding. So, if you don’t have a tripod with you, especially if shooting with a telephoto lens, make sure this magic feature is switched on.

Brace yourself

Now while image stabilising can correct a lot of user-induced camera shake. There are ways you can help the system too. Do keep an eye on your shutter speeds when hand-holding. Keeping the shutter speeds higher, by either opening up the aperture or increasing the ISO, will help guarantee a sharp result. Making sure your stance is good, will also go a long way to maximise sharp results. Avoid shooting at arm’s length, tuck your elbows in close to your body or use solid objects, such as a wall to lean against for extra support. Combine all three and your images should always perfect. Now, just that composition to nail…!

How you hold the camera makes all the difference

You can read more about getting sharp results in my eGuides. These are available as part of an e6 subscription or to purchase separately. www.e6subscription.co.uk

#Photo3 – Three Advantages to Prime Lenses

A weekly trio of top photo tips

Zoom lenses are great, aren’t they? They cover several focal lengths all in the one lens. You can zoom in to distant subjects with it or shoot something close-up, all without even moving your feet. They offer great value for money and whilst they might have average maximum apertures, combined with a high ISO, you can shoot in most situations and light conditions with them. So, with all that in mind, why would you even consider a prime lens? Well, let me give you three reasons why you should in fact, consider a prime lens.

Speed

One big advantage of a prime lens is that they are fast. Yes, primes have speed on their side. You may be thinking here, Craig what are you on about! What exactly is a fast lens? Well, the term refers to their maximum aperture and this is usually wider than any equivalent zoom. So, whilst your favourite zoom lens may only have an f4 or even an f2.8 maximum aperture, a prime lens may have an f1.8 or even f0.95 maximum aperture. What this means, is more light coming in through the lens. More light means quicker focusing, brighter viewfinder, more bokeh effect (shallow depth of field), better low light capabilities and less need for high ISO settings, so ultimately better quality images too. Yes, a fast lens, i.e. a prime lens, is all good news.

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Many primes also have a depth of field scale

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YouTube Channel

If you don’t already know, I have my own channel on Youtube. Here I upload vlogs (video blogs) of me shooting various locations and covering a variety of techniques. There are currently four videos online, with many more ready to upload or in the pipeline to film and record.

I also film vlogs exclusive for subscribers to my e6 subscription service. These videos are available to subscribers, along with my eGuides and eBooks and there is also discount available to my City Photo Walks and Online Photography Courses as part of the yearly fee. Continue reading