Nifty Fifties – Why I Love 50mm Prime Lenses

Nifty Fifties – Why I Love 50mm Prime Lenses

Before zoom lenses became the norm most cameras came with a 50mm lens as standard. Since then, the humble 50mm prime has fallen somewhat out of favour. Which is a shame, because 50mm prime lenses can give you high quality and versatility at a low price point. On an APS-C camera it’s one of my favourite focal lengths. Let’s take a look at why.

While I always caution beginners to not buy additional lenses until they are familiar with their camera and the lenses that came with it, I break my rule for the “Nifty Fifty“. As this article shows, it can be a great lens for a lot of photographers, beginner and advanced alike. It can be found fairly cheaply (but you get what you pay for) and can really open a lot of creative avenues for you. Plus, it teaches you how to “crop with your feet” and has much better low light capabilities than your kit lenses.

Reasons why you should love a cheap kit lens

Some reasons why you should love a cheap kit lens:

When you bought your first DSLR, you probably got it with a kit lens. These lenses are cheap, and not really top-notch quality. If you bought a prime or a high-end zoom later, you know a kit lens can’t beat it. However, there are still some reasons to use a kit lens. They may not always be the best choice, but they certainly have their purpose.

I tell my students to NOT buy a new lens when they buy their first, beginner DSLR. There’s no point. The kit lens is “good enough” for beginners until they learn how to use the camera and create great images with it. Only once you know what kind of photographer you are should you start looking to buy replacement lenses.

Improving Your Photos Without Buying More Gear

Improving Your Photos Without Buying More Gear:

If you want to take your photos to another level, camera equipment is a natural place to look. It’s a very tangible part of photography; we work with our gear constantly. In fact, new equipment often does help you capture certain photos more easily, or it improves the technical quality of the images you take. However, it’s easy to get swept away in this marketing message and forget that there are other, better ways to improve your photos — techniques that don’t require new equipment to put into practice, and tips that are applicable to every photographer.

I try to drill this into my students. One of the “traps” beginners fall into is thinking, “If I just had a better camera or lens, I’d take better pictures.” That’s true – IF you already know how to take good pictures. Not by accident or luck but by intention and design. It’s like, “I really like driving. I drive an automatic transmission car but if I buy a manual drive Ferrari, I’ll become a better driver!” Not how it works. 🙂

5 Pieces of Photography Gear to Considered for your First Upgrade

As a new photographer and/or maybe a gadget geek, it’s tempting to run to your local camera store and buy one of everything they have. But until you master the tools you already own, buying even more gear is a waste of money and a distraction from becoming a better photographer.

That being said, here are four things (I disagree with the writer’s assertion you “need” Number 4) that you should consider buying as a new photographer:

So you’ve been getting into this photography thing pretty seriously ever since you bought that “good” camera you wanted. It turns out that you really enjoy photography, and you think you’ll be doing it for a while. You want to know what cool camera gear is out there, and you know there’s a lot, but what should you get first?

When you’re just starting your photography journey, it’s intimidating how much gear there is and how much it costs. It’s obvious that some photos are impossible without certain gear, and sometimes it’s not obvious when gear has helped a photo.

I’ve been shooting and helping new photographers to get the most out of their gear for years, so I have a few suggestions for great first investments in photography to suit your varying interests and budget.

5 Pieces of Photography Gear to considered for your first upgrade

What do you think? Any of this gear seem more/less important to you?

Top 10 Lenses Photographers Never Leave Home Without

Top 10 Lenses Photographers Never Leave Home Without:

Whoever said the lens is always more important than the camera was right. To this day, even with all the amazing development of digital sensors, nothing beats good glass. A good lens will make your older camera feel like a new one, but a cheap, plastic lens will turn your shiny new camera into a beat up old hack.

Without further ado, here are ten serious lenses loved by photographers worldwide.

Later this month, I’m headed to the Vancouver Flea Market Camera Show and I’ll be on the lookout for good deals on a couple of these lenses.

6 Mirrorless Cameras that are Killing It

6 Mirrorless Cameras that are Killing It

The last four years have brought some pretty big changes in the photography industry, and the transition made by many photographers from the “classic” to DSLR to the mirrorless camera is one of the most important. Mirrorless cameras have become just as common as DSLRs. Yes, they’re killing the higher end compact camera segment (in cahoots with the smartphone industry), but evolution cannot be stopped and this is one case where change is for the better.

Mirrorless cameras are awesome because they’re lighter, faster and better looking than DSLRs. Some of them deliver equal performance while others are just shy of achieving professional level image quality. Without further ado, here are 6 awesome mirrorless cameras that we recommend.

Even though I love my Nikon D600, I’m a big fan of mirrorless cameras, too. If you want better image quality and flexibility than your camera phone but don’t want to “lug around” a big DSLR, there are some great options in the mirrorless market for you.

8 Reasons You Should Buy a 50mm f/1.8 Lens

8 Reasons You Should Buy a 50mm f/1.8 Lens

When people ask me what lens they should get after buying their first camera, I always tell them to buy a 50mm f/1.8 lens because it’s one of the cheapest.

One of the first lenses I recommend beginning photographers buy is one of the “Nifty Fifties”. They are relatively inexpensive, generally better than the kit lens that came with your camera, great in low light conditions and will force you to move your feet to get the shot rather than just zooming into it.

Canon Nifty Fifty (affiliate link)

Nikon Nifty Fifty (affiliate link)

Epson Wireless Color Photo Printer/Scanner/Copier – $50!

Epson Wireless Color Photo Printer/Scanner/Copier – $50! (Affiliate link)

  • Easy setup and navigation – large, 2.5″ color LCD
  • Compact, space-saving design and great performance
  • Print from iPad, iPhone, tablets and smartphones
  • Individual inks – replace only the color you need
  • Scan to Facebook, plus built-in card slot

I’m a big fan of printing some of your photos and of Epson printers and, at $50, this printer is almost a no-brainer!

Best Superzoom Lens for Travel

Whether you’re traveling near or far, it’s nice to travel light. We search for the best superzoom lens for travel & put 8 space-saving optics head to head. Best superzoom lens for travel: 8 lightweight optics tested and rated

If you can afford a higher quality lens, go for it but the selection here of mid-ranged but “super” zooms is a good one, especially for the traveller. More zoom range means fewer lenses to carry around.

But keep in mind, these mid-ranged lenses may not have the f/stop range you are looking for.

The Best Mirrorless Camera

The Best Mirrorless Camera:

If you’re looking to buy a mirrorless camera and are willing to pay for pro-level performance, fast access to shooting controls, and image quality that equals a DSLR, the Fujifilm X-T1 is the camera you should get.

The mirrorless market is becoming bigger and bigger and the cameras are of a higher quality than ever.

I’ve never shot with the Fujifilm X-T1 but am happy to see Wirecutter say the camera I do use often, the Olympus OM-D E-M1, is still “an excellent camera in its own right”.

Ultra-Rare Canon EF 1200mm – $165K

Ultra-Rare Canon EF 1200mm – $165K:

The ultra-rare lens that B&H Photo dubbed “The Mother of All Telephoto Lenses“, the Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM Super-telephoto, has surfaced once more on the World Wide Web. And with enough money and upper body strength, this one-of-about-twenty behemoth of a lens could be all yours.

If you’ve ever needed to take a picture of a mosquito on an elephants ass from a mile away, this is the lens for you!

Your Kit Lens is an Excellent Lens


As the saying goes, quality lenses are a lot more important than good bodies when it comes to investing in camera gear. They last longer, retain their value more, and have more utility overall than, say, buying the latest DSLR that will become obsolete in 3 to 5 years. But if you are into photography for the first time, you’ll likely buy an entry level camera that comes bundled with an inferior, even crappy, kit lens. Or is it?

I wouldn’t go so far as to say your kit lens is an “excellent” lens (even the linked article lists many of its flaws) but I tell all beginners to not think about buying new lenses until they learn to shoot better and learn how to use their camera. It’s like a beginning driver getting into a Ferrari – all that extra power does you no good if you don’t have the experience to use it.

The best camera you can buy for under $250

The Verge:

If you’re looking for a camera that can do more than a smartphone, you have a number of options — including some good ones under $250.

The right camera should cover the basics: it should be compact enough to fit in your pocket or the bag you’re already carrying around. As the old adage goes, the best camera is the one you have with you.

Second, it should have a long zoom lens, since there’s no point in carrying around a camera that doesn’t offer significantly more reach than your smartphone.

Finally, it should be fast and easy to use. If a camera isn’t fast enough or you have to fumble with awkward controls, you’ll often miss the shots you’re trying to get.

“The best” is always subjective when it comes to cameras but this article is a good starting point if you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive point and shoot. Dissapointed they don’t mention the wonderful little Olympus TG-850.