Five Easy Tips for Using Nifty Fifty

After using the 50mm prime lens with my Canon DSLR for some time, I think I’m getting a hang of it. It is undoubtedly one of the first non-kit lenses you should purchase. I am no expert, but it does give me the result I expect from a DSLR. The images are tack sharp and sufficiently stuffed with the creamy bokeh or blur effect. This post is based on what I learned after using the Nifty Fifty for some time:

Use Appropriate Aperture

As I continue to explore (and define) the limits of the lens, I find that just because the lens allows me to use an aperture that’s as wide as f/1.8, I shouldn’t go for the wider aperture. As is the case with every other lens I have used, the workable sharpness lies between the maximum and minimum aperture, excluding both the extremes. This means, though I can go as wide as f/1.8, the usable, workable images have an aperture that’s ever so slightly smaller than f/1.8. At f/1.8, notice how shallow the depth of field gets (Notice only the brim of the glass is visibly sharp. Of course, I held the camera at an angle to explain you the effect):


You are the Zoom

This one takes some time getting used to, especially if you are a novice photographer like me and are used to using the kit lenses. You, too, would find how easy it is to zoom in and zoom out of the kit lenses to capture just the right frame. I know, this means that you would be compromising on the aperture (and hence light), but that’s plain convenient. A prime lens, like this one, doesn’t zoom. It captures what truly you see with your eyes. This means you must move around, go near to or farther away from the subject, to get the perfect shot.

Walk Around

Try experimenting with the lens. It might take you a lot of practice, capturing, composing, and recomposing before you get the combination of light, aperture, setting, and subject. So, walk around the subject and try experimenting. This lens allows you to push the limits of your photography. Try low light situations, capturing silhouettes, with facing into the Sun, or just at the widest aperture. Much like me, you might get surprised with the lens’ capabilities.

Take a step or two forward or backward. Location credits: Pind Balluchi, Indore.

Take Multiple Images

When possible, take multiple shots. Bracket those shots in a range of apertures or shutter speeds. Let the subject move around. You can always take the best pick later.

Use a Tripod

I know that not everyone would recommend it with the prime lens. But, if you have one, I’d recommend. I believe this is one of the most versatile lenses I’ve used. I can take portraits, landscapes, panoramas, and low-light images with it. It is lightweight and comfy. And, if you love experimenting with your photography, like me, a tripod will help you push your limits. Try getting a long exposure, capturing a panorama where you horizontally pan the camera to capture motion, or simply clicking a portrait in low-light. This lens does it all.

I’m still experimenting with the lens. But, if you like this list and could add to it, I’d love to hear from you.

Happy clicking.


Why I Bought a Nifty Fifty

It has been some time since I wrote on photography. Not for that sake though, here’s a list of reasons I bought a fixed focal length lens, also called prime lens, also called the Nifty Fifty:

Small and Lightweight

This lens is right for everyday use; you can carry it everywhere. It is hardly around 140 grams; probably as light as my cell phone. In fact, you can put it on your camera and forget it. That’s now become one of my favorite lenses.


I read a lot of reviews before I purchased the lens. But, after using it for some time, I realize how I missed buying it for all this while. It takes portraits and landscapes alike. In fact, I’ve tried a few macro photos as well. And the result has been satisfactory.

Just the right field of view

I know this one’s subjective. But, if you are more into portraits, this one gives you just the right bracket of focal length. While the focal length stays at 50mm on a full-frame (Yes, the same lens works on a full-frame, at least the one I bought – Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM), the focal length changes to [roughly] 78mm on an APS-C camera. I find the focal length just right for me, for it lets in just enough view for me to capture.

Fast: Good for Night Photography

It is a wide aperture lens. So, wide open at f/1.8, it can take a picture even in low-light conditions. That makes it a go-to lens for me. I can use it for presentations, portraits, landscapes, and street photography. That brings me to my next point.

Sleek: Good for Street Photography

Some of us are camera shy, let us just accept that. Even further, in some cases, for example, traveling, you would wish to capture the day-routines of people around you, without disturbing either the routine or the people. This lens makes it possible for you to do that. Of course, provided you have the required subject in focus.


This is, by far, one of the cheapest of non-kit lenses available in the market. I remember, Canon used to have the older 50mm f/1.8 II, which was expensive, and the first generation 50mm f/1.8, which used to have a plastic mount. This one has a sturdy built, comes with a metal mount, and has auto-focus with a stepped-motor construction for smooth and easy focus, and I bought it for less than 8,000 INR in 2017.

In the featured image you can see how I could get a really shallow is the depth of field with this lens.

So, what are your reasons to buy a Nifty Fifty?