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/ 17 June 2016 / Leave a comment

NEW CAMERA LENS 50MM F 1.8 / FIRST IMPRESSIONS



NIKKOR AF-S F/1.8

When I mentioned on instagram that I decided to upgrade my camera lens, a few of my insta friends asked me to share the results. I've wanted to get a new lens for the past two years, so you can imagine my excitement. If not, it went like this: 🎉 💃 😍

In this post we'll be talking about:

  1. Technical specs (if you don't care for this feel free to skip): why I wanted a prime lens, a big warning to cropped sensor camera owners and a good, easy tip for picking the focal length that's best for you
  2. Testing the lens - first impressions
  3. First conclusions

LET'S GET TECHNICAL

While the kit lens (18-55mm) was good enough, I wanted something with better light sensitivity. Also, lately the kit lens has been playing up and it seems a small part is loose inside (I may have accidentally banged it one too many times). My camera is a low range DSLR, which means the autofocus feature is in the lens, not the body - which in turn means that if I didn't want to lose autofocus altogether, my choices were limited. I knew I wanted a prime lens (a lens of fixed focal length).
My reasons were:

  1. generally speaking, prime lenses have better light sensitivity
  2. they're smaller
  3. they're lighter
  4. they're cheaper
  5. they're cool

I was kind of set on a 50mm, with it being reviewed as a nice all rounder. Good for outdoors and indoors, you don't have to be too close, nor too far from the object. It's the lens that gives the "most real" view. (If you look through the camera, the distance is more or less similar to real life view. 75mm will look as if you zoomed in.)

Now we get to the nitty gritty part. Because there is a big BUT coming. If you look through the photography advice forums and articles, a lot of them forget to mention this - 50mm lens is a "real-life" lens on a full frame camera. If you have a lower range/entry level DSLR like I do, chances are it has a cropped sensor. A 50mm lens doesn't actually act like a 50mm on a cropped sensor camera. Cropped sensors (APS-C) have a magnification factor, which means you have to multiply the lens' focal length by 1.5 for Nikon and 1.6 for Canon. Quick maths reveals that on this kind of camera, a 50mm lens will act like a 75mm. Ah-oh.

A great tip if you're deciding between focal lengths is to take your kit lens, set it to the mm value you're thinking about getting, perhaps it is 75mm, and look through the viewfinder without ever zooming in our out. Take some snaps if you like, then set the lens to 50mm and repeat. Then to 35mm. I found this to be a really quick and painless decision maker for me.

I wanted real life-like view, so with cropped sensor and magnification factor in mind, this turned out to be a 35mm (which would be 52.5mm with full frame). I wanted an f/1.4 but that lens is like triple the price so f/1.8 will have to do. It's still a huge improvement from my f/4 kit lens.
Okay! Now let's get to the fun part- testing.




FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Straight away, I wanted to test the low apertures. I set the camera to the lowest it can go - 1.8 - and shot a few things around the garden. I'm impressed! I can focus on the one thing that I want to be sharp and the blur sets the scene nicely. This is great for outfit shots (hello fellow bloggers) but also for any photo where you want to make sure one thing really stands out.

Like in the photo below, the rose is the spotlight stealer while background is just blurry colours - you can't make it out. This may be the kitschiest show I've ever taken.




This little birdie was learning to fly and while he gathered his strength in between attempts, I was able to get close and snap a couple of shots.

The shiny cake was something I whipped up last weekend. Lemon with surprise in the middle and orange + mint glaze. Yum.

Below, my mum is playing with clay and making a dish that will be a present for my cousin's wedding this summer. The dish the cake is on is also made by her.


FIRST CONCLUSIONS

I still have to work on my manual focus skills and figuring out what aperture is best for what shot, but overall, I am in love. Heart eye emoji love. The lens is everything I expected it to be and it got me excited for photography all over again. It makes totally trivial things look interesting.

I've since taken photos for an upcoming summer project (the photo session turned into a work out), new in skincare products, new in make up products and couple new things I got for my summer wardrobe. They all look great, if I do say so myself. My camera is less bulky and the lack of zoom hasn't been a problem yet. I can't wait to try it with outfit shots, just as soon as I can convince my mum to take some 😉. I am an advocate for low aperture (as long as it's not just the tip of your nose that's in focus) and so far, I'm finding the lens an absolute dream.

What lens are you using for blog or life photos? What do you like about it? Do you prefer prime or zoom lenses?

P. S. The goats say hello.

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Hi, I'm Kat! A colourful wardrobe advocate and a capsule wardrobe graduate. Need any help finding your personal style and curating your closet? Advice on how to make most of the clothes you have? Or how to pack for an upcoming trip? I'm your girl!
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