How to Use a Nikon 50mm F/1.8

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Nikon digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras have many high-end features. However, the lens included with many lower-end DSLR cameras is a generic zoom lens, meant for a wide variety of shooting situations. It is not ideal for low-light shooting, high-speed action photos, or portraits. The 50mm F/1.8 lens (colloquially known as the "nifty fifty" by photography enthusiasts) is a fixed lens with an extremely low F-stop value. It's excellent for low-light situations, sports photography or other situations where sharp, clear shots are important.

Things You'll Need

  • Nikon DSLR
  • Nikon 50mm F/1.8 lens
  • Tripod or monopod (optional)

Changing the lens

  • Press the lens release button on your camera and twist the current lens counterclockwise until it stops. Remove the lens and lay it top-down on a clean, level surface.

  • Quickly remove the inner lens cap from the 50mm lens and twist it into place on the uncapped lens. It is important to do this quickly (but carefully!) to leave the lenses exposed for the smallest possible amount of time.

  • Place the 50mm lens on the camera body, lining up the white dot on the lens and the body. Twist the lens clockwise until it locks into place.

Shooting tips

  • Switch the camera on and twist the control dial to "Automatic" mode. Remove the lens cap. Depress the shutter button halfway to auto-focus, and then press it in completely to take your shot.

  • Twist the control dial to "Manual" mode. Adjust the F-stop value, shutter speed and ISO values using your camera controls. (Different Nikon cameras use different controls. If you don't know how to adjust these values, consult your camera's user manual.)

  • Take a few test shots at different settings. Observe how the lower F-stop values result in brighter, sharper pictures at lower ISO settings and higher shutter speeds. The lower the F-stop value, the more light reaches your camera's sensor, and the faster you can set the shutter speed without losing image brightness.

  • Attach a tripod or monopod to your camera (optional step). The 50mm F/1.8 lens does not have image stabilization features. This makes taking crisp, clear shots by freehand difficult in low light or with low shutter speeds. Try a few shots with a tripod or monopod to see if your pictures improve.

References

  • Photo Credit Creative Crop/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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