New toy

I’m always looking at new camera equipment. But this lens… ooh, this lens might be the most exciting. I’ve done a lot of research and the 50 mm is the go-to lens for many of the photographers I stalk.

I’m excited about working with a fixed (prime) lens. I kinda feel like my zoom makes me lazy. Eh, why move when I can zoom? Hopefully I’ll be more apt to try a new angle if I’m already bouncing around.

And I’m super excited to shoot in low light with the 50 mm thanks to the larger aperture. Hmmm… you’re probably wondering what aperture means. It’s kind of complicated, but I’ll do my best. Or you can read The Pioneer Woman’s four. part. series. here.

Aperture (measured in f-stops: f1.4 for example) works just like the cornea of your eye. In a dark room your cornea gets really big to let in as much light as possible. Same thing happens when you get your eyes dilated at the eye doctor. But on a bright sunny day, your cornea restricts so it doesn’t let in too much light. Otherwise it would probably burn your retina or something… okay, maybe not – but you get the idea.

In low light situations you can open up the aperture to let in enough light. If you had a smaller aperture, there wouldn’t be enough light and your photo would come out dark. To compensate, you’d have to slow down your shutter speed to let in even more light. When you slow down your shutter speed, any movement – by you or the subject – blurs the image. This can give a really neat look to your photo… when you plan it.

Another cool thing about a wide aperture is the ability to make the background out of focus. Let’s go back to the eye doctor. When you get your eyes dilated it’s kind of hard to see. You can really only focus on one thing at a time and everything around it is fuzzy.

Works the same way in your camera. When the aperture is really wide the camera can only focus on one thing. So everything else is blurry. This effect makes the subject of your photo really stand out. The distance between the in-focus subject and the out-of-focus background is called the depth of field. But you have to pay very close attention to what you’re focusing on. Accidentally focus on the background and your subject will be blurry. Again, an out of focus subject can have a cool effect on your photos as well, when it’s planned.

Aperture is a little more complicated, but that’s it in a nutshell.

My new lens is due to arrive next week… I’m sure I won’t be able resist trying it out the day the post office drops it off. So I’ll post photos from it next week.