Golden Grasses with 50mm Prime Lens

As a learner in the field of photography, I like pushing my boundaries and learning new things. I don’t understand much about my prime lens, but I have one and here’s what my experiments have revealed so far.

So, what’s a prime lens? It’s one with a fixed focal length and a wide aperture. Great for creating those wonderful bokeh shots we all love. It’s limiting because there’s no zoom, but ideal when you’re already as close to the subject as you need to be. It’s also great for low light situations since the wide aperture means you can use faster shutter speeds when normally you’d need a slow shutter speed.

 

Prime Lens Problems

My 50mmm prime is so fast it runs away with me. I suspect I’m not getting the best from it because it’s a Minolta lens on a Sony camera AND I’ve noticed small spots of oil on the iris. A bit of googling told me this oil residue can sometimes cause a delay in the iris opening and closing, resulting in overexposure.

This lens of mine constantly overexposes when shooting in auto mode. I try to stay away from auto mode as letting the camera make all the decisions defeats the object of trying to learn about photography. Mind you, it’s enough of a challenge without having to compensate for equipment with a life of its own. Never one to shy from a challenge, though, it’s not sitting forever in my camera bag and if I need to work a bit harder, so be it.

It’s not like I’m ever shooting under pressure. I can afford to take the time for a couple of test shots to see what’s happening and make the necessary adjustments.

Shooting in manual mode means I can compensate by underexposing each time. I find I need to go down by as much as two whole stops, although the light has to be very bright for that to happen.

 

Prime Lens Perfection

It was just such a day I captured these golden grasses. It was a sunny afternoon, but I wouldn’t normally expect to need a shutter speed of 1/4000 sec. That’s fast.

I like the shallow depth of field, the way the grasses fade into a golden smudge in the background. I like the highlights caught on the folded tops of the fronds, and I like the golden shadows the filtered sunlight makes. I’ve been trying to get a pleasing photo of these grasses for a long time and, until now, I’ve never managed it.

 

Go prime lens!

My next challenge for this lens is dusk or evening photography. I want to see how well it performs in very low light situations and how it affects the ISO. My rather elderly Sony A330 produces clean images up to around ISO 400, but push it higher and the noise is worse than static on the radio.

If anyone has any advice for me regarding getting the best from this lens, I’m all ears. Leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to respond.

Deb

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