You can have the cheapest Canon DSLR camera you can buy and if you a great lens, you can still get AMAZING photos. 

Recently I was helping someone purchase a new camera for a beginner and I suggested the new Canon EOX Rebel SL2. This camera is packed with great features like the same 24mp sensor my camera has, legendary Dual Pixel Auto Focus, and a small footprint... for about $500. 

Even with an entry level camera you can take amazing photos. The big difference is what lens you are working with. If you buy a camera with the typical 18-55mm, you can expect to get good quality photos, but you have to work hard to achieve outstanding creative photos. 

Instead of buying a kit with a lens, I suggested buying just the camera body and buying 1 lens. 

Introducing... the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM.


What? A prime (a lens that doesn't zoom) lens?? One focal length? how limiting... Although I do agree with the fact that a prime lens limits you, there are several reasons I would suggest this 50mm lens (also known as the nifty fifty) over buying a kit.

NOTE: the ONLY reason I would buy a kit with an 18-55mm is if it was the same price or cheaper than just a body.

Here's a few reasons why I would suggest this over ANY kit lens



You can pick this lens up for around $125 new or less than $100 refurbished (I always suggest refurbished). That's such a deal for any lens, let alone a quality lens like this one!

Another advantage of this lens' price is you won't be afraid to use it. This lens is mostly plastic, but that keeps the weight down. One of my lenses is over 3 lbs, and if you are carrying that around all day, you will feel the weight of your camera setup. With this 50mm, its light, small and easily replaceable if something were to happen to it. 

Focal length

Although this is a prime, I don't think that's a bad thing. When I first started using my kit lens when I was zooming in and zooming out, having no idea what I was really doing. I was playing with my shutter speed and my aperture... When you start with a prime, it takes one of the equations out of the puzzle. You can only shoot at 50mm. This helps the beginner get used to their digital camera with one less setting to get confused.

If you've had your camera for awhile, maybe with either the 18-55 or 18-135 kit lens and your ready to step up your photography, this lens should be your first prime lens. 50mm is a great size, especially on a full frame. On a crop sensor it's a little tight, but what I love about 50 is it makes you think through your composition. How can you get everything you want in your frame without zooming in or zooming out? Zoom with your feet! Because you only have one focal length, you will start thinking through your shot more because you can't easily jump from 18-55... or 135 so easily.

50mm is a great focal length as far as depth perception as well. If you aren't aware, focal lengths effect your photos two different ways.  Obviously they zoom in, the bigger the focal length, the more it zooms in. The second thing it does is change the depth perception. If you have a small focal length (18mm), a 15 foot pier will look much, much longer than 15 feet. 50mm is a great balance and has close to the same view as our eyes (typically in between 35-50mm).




Seriously? f1.8 for a hundred bucks?? Incredible! Aperture has two different effects on photographs. First, as you lower aperture it lets more light into the camera. This is a big help for low light situations. This helps keep your ISO down, helping you have the best quality photo you can have. The second thing aperture does is adjusts your depth of field. At a high aperture or F stop (like f18), your focus plane is essentially the entire photograph. As you lower the aperture, your focus plane narrows, helping create depth of field (blurry background). F1.8 is extremely low! It's so low you have to be careful your subject is entirely in focus. If your subject leans forward slightly, they will be out of focus. BUT, thats how you create incredible blurry backgrounds. This can take your photos from amateur looking to breath taking!

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

Your gear doesn't make you a creative, but choosing the right gear for the right situation will make it much easier to help create the best content you can.  I highly suggest every photographer have this lightweight, inexpensive lens in their kit!




Here's two More entry level lenS!