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shallow depth of field
nikon lens
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depth of field
software programs
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The Next Lens You Need To Buy
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The Next Lens You Need To Buy

As photographers, we are always looking for the next item to add to the camera bag. Nothing wrong with that - its just how we are wired or something! The problem is, it can get pricey.

It is important that every item you add to the camera bag brings a new element to your photographic arsenal. For that reason, I am going to suggest you try something prime!

The Prime Lens

The humble prime lens doesn't get a lot of talk. The versatile zoom lens gets all the love. After all, why would you want a 80mm lens when you can have an 80-200 lens? I'll give you three big reasons... size, price and aperture.

Aperture

The great thing about prime lenses is that they can offer f-stops in the 1.8 or even 1.4 range. Shooting something with the aperture set to 1.8 can give you a look unlike anything you can get with your big zoom lens - even at 2.8. It is an incredibly shallow depth of field. As you can see from the sample image, the eyes are in focus, but things fall out of focus quickly from there. Of course, your focus needs to be good - but the results can be stunning. Be sure to focus on the eyes of the subject. If you focus on the forehead or nose, the eyes can end up out of focus. The depth of field is THAT shallow!

Size

Another great feature of the prime lens is their size - they are usually very small and light. They don't need all the glass that a zoom lens has, so they are very compact. Your camera bag will thank you!

Price

Perhaps the biggest advantage is price. While a typical 80-200 2.8 Nikon lens will set you back around $1500, you can pick up a 50mm 1.8 Nikon lens for under $150. You pay more than that for some software programs!

Which size?

Take some time to browse through your image catalog and check out the meta information. See if you tend to use one focal length over the others. If you do a lot of portrait work, you will want something in the 80-100mm range probably. If you just want a general purpose lens, the 50mm is always a safe bet.

Give it a try

The key to becoming a better photographer is learning to stretch yourself. Spending the day shooting with a 50mm lens opened up to f1.8 will give you a whole new perspective on imaging. It will also cause you to pay close attention to your focus. You just might fall in love with a brand new style of photography. This kind of inspiration will take your photography to the next level.


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