Let’s look at what they mean. With a prime, you have to think about where you need to stand before lining up the shot. A big benefit to using prime lenses is that they give you the option of letting more light … Say what?! There a number of reasons for that. Technically, any lens that is bundled with a camera is called a kit lens. This is what is attractive about zooms – however it can also lead to laziness and I’ve heard a few prime lens users argue that when they have a prime lens attached that it makes them more creative with their framing as they are forced to look more actively for the best shot. The Canon 50mm f/1.4 costs just $360, is a lot better built than the f/1.8 and performs even better in low light. A 50mm f/1.8 prime can be bought on Amazon for around $150. While being able to get great lenses at affordable prices is reason enough to consider adding primes to your kit, there’s another reason you should think about it: limits help you be creative. The 50mm prime lens, however, will have an aperture of f/1.8 or even wider. Had I had my trusty 24-105mm lens attached I’d have been able to get those tightly cropped shots as well as some full body shots. More Light. ↑ In photography, The term Prime lens is used to describe the lens with focal length is fixed. A question most Canon lens buyers face - Should I buy a zoom lens or one or more fixed focal length (prime) lenses? Some people seem to use it more specifically for a fixed focal length lens with "normal" perspective. That’s a serious amount more low light performance, and a much shallower depth of field. A prime lens, on the other hand, covers just one focal length. If you’ve just bought a new DSLR, the kit lens that comes with your camera is almost certainly a zoom lens; most come with an 18-55mm lens, which means that lens covers every focal length between 18mm and 55mm. Some people refer to a standard lens as a ‘normal’ lens, and there is a reason why they do. A standard lens is a lens that roughly matches the field-of-view of the human eye. Hi Jo - It sounds to me like you are looking for this lens: The black Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens is a prime portrait-length lens featuring a bright f/1.8 maximum aperture and a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 75mm. Perhaps there’s a return to a more ‘pure’ or ‘back to basics’ form of photography going on? What do you see as their advantages and disadvantages. Wide angle lenses generally produce a wide area of sharpness, while telephotos almost always reduce depth-of-field to a minimum. Zoom lenses cover a range of focal lengths. Because fixed-focus lenses require great amounts of depth of field, there are few, if any, focus free telephotos. 50mm Prime Lenses and Digital SLRs. I've no idea why "prime." Keep in mind however that just because it’s a prime lens doesn’t mean that it is going to be of the highest standards. There’s a lot to like about Prime Lenses and most serious photographers will own at least one or two. Wider aperture prime lenses allow us to have a very shallow depth-of-field. Blade Runner 2049 used a Zeiss prime lens. This means they need a lot more light to get good photos; using a long telephoto lens at night is almost impossible. There is rarely a ‘best’ in photography when it comes to either technique or equipment and those considering the purchase of a prime lens will want to think seriously about their own needs and circumstances. This isn’t especially wide, and won’t make pleasing portraits or perform great in low light. RELATED: What Is a "Stop" in Photography? Again using the 50mm as an example, an F/1.4 is 4 stops faster than a typical 18-55mm kit lens. Zoom lenses cover a range of focal lengths. A Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens—which is a workhorse for many professionals—costs about $1700. Focal lengthis one such term. So, using the F4 FF lens as a (not-perfect) comparator, is still actually being “kind” to the Fuji lens. At the 150mm end it will be f/5, and at the 600mm end it would be f/6.3. In thus use, for a 35mm camera, a 50mm or 55mm lens would be prime, and a 28mm or 135mm would not. While this limits the versatility of the lens, prime lenses have a much more unique and artistic look. You can get plenty of incredible prime lenses with wide apertures for under $1000. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+. Of course it’s not as simple as this and quality is determined by many factors and as a result price varies a lot even in the prime lens range of most manufacturers. His work has been published in newspapers like The New York Times and on a variety of other websites, from Lifehacker to Popular Science and Medium's OneZero. Join 350,000 subscribers and get a daily digest of news, geek trivia, and our feature articles. It's neither wide angle nor telephoto. How-To Geek is where you turn when you want experts to explain technology. Flexibility – perhaps the most convincing argument against prime lenses is that they can limit the possibilities of the photographer. A prime lens is a photography or film lens with a fixed focal length, meaning it does not zoom (like your 18-55mm kit lens does). Definition of prime lens in the Definitions.net dictionary. I've avoided doing that because it's no longer always the case. What means Prime lens? This isn’t to say all primes are cheap—some of the most expensive lenses in Canon’s lineup are their fast telephoto primes—but, for a photographer on a budget, you can get a lot more bang for your buck with prime lenses. (I’m particularly interested in the recommendations of non Canon users to help balance the recommendations). What is a prime lens? We also use words such as prime, standard, telephoto and zoom to describe our lenses. To get higher quality images. a lens with a fixed focal length (also commonly referred to as a “fixed lens” Quality – traditionally prime lenses are known for their advanced optics and quality. Shallower Depth of Field. Mastering Noise Reduction in Lightroom: The Essential Guide. In general – a fast lens is any lens with a maximum aperture of f/4 or more (ie f/2.8, f/1.8, f/1.4 etc). ‘However there are a couple of reasons that pros would use a prime lens over a zoom.’ ‘I now use zooms much more than in the past; A - because they are now so good; B - because they are so versatile; and finally C - because one zoom takes up a lot less space and weight than several prime lenses.’ The most common kit lens is the 18-55mm lens, and for a good reason: it is cheaply made, and therefore cheap for you to purchase. A standard lens is what we call an ‘inbetweener’. Prime lenses are often fitted with more iris leaves which helps the lens create near circular aperture and hence circular bokeh. These type of lenses sit in-between wide-angle lenses (< 35 mm equivalent) and telephoto lenses (>70 mm equivalent). Prime Lenses Combat Lazy Photographer Syndrome – when you have a zoom lens attached to your camera the temptation is to let your zoom do all the work and to leave your feet attached to the same piece of turf. 28 mm – 200 mm lenses used for getting very close to a subject. How to Pay for Gas Without Leaving Your Car, How to Change the Safari Background Image on Mac, How to Clear Edge Browsing Data With a Keyboard Shortcut, How to Link an Android Phone to a Windows 10 PC With Microsoft’s “Your Phone” App, © 2020 LifeSavvy Media. If you can’t zoom in or out, why purchase a 50mm prime lens when you can easily purchase a 50-200mm telephoto zoom lens for about the same price? This says its focal length is 85 mm and its fastest aperture is f/1.8. Darktable: Is This Free Lightroom Alternative Right for You? A prime lens, on the other hand, covers just one focal length. If you’ve just bought a new DSLR, the kit lens that comes with your camera is almost certainly a zoom lens; most come with an 18-55mm lens, which means that lens covers every focal length between 18mm and 55mm. The latter is more aesthetically pleasing than shaped bokeh which results from fewer iris blades. Performance of the lens does not always depend upon whether it is an FE lens or an E mount APS-C lens, Primes are superior in image quality over normal zoom lenses and zoom lenses outperform Prime lenses in its usability of multiple focal lengths in a single lens. (A less common meaning is "the primary lens in a multiple lens set-up" such as in a Twin Lens Reflex camera.) Good zoom lenses, however, cost a lot more. Standard lenses can be used for a variety of different types of photography. You don’t need to stand in the exact right spot; you can always adjust things with the lens. What Lens to Buy: 24mm Prime. Since we launched in 2006, our articles have been read more than 1 billion times. Lens aperture als… The lens has a lightweight and compact design with an aluminum alloy lens barrel and engraved focusing ring to provide greater handling as well as an aesthetic appearance. However, in most cases the inclusion of an inexpensive zoom lens is to maintain a low entry price and maximize usability for the beginner photographer. When it comes to deciding which focal length is best for you, it will depend largely on how you plan to use it. Standard Lenses. Looking back at our 18-55mm kit lens, at 50mm it probably has a maximum aperture of f/5.6. However, it is common to hear people say “kit lens” when they actually mean the 18-55mm lens that comes bundled with a camera. Meaning of prime lens. Thinking more leads to greater creativity and greater creativity leads to better photos. The overall performance of the lens. Keep in mind, prime lenses aren't just used in photography. When you can only use a single focal length, you have to think about everything you do. A prime lens has a fixed focal length which means it has only one focal length. All 50mm lenses will share the same field of view and magnification, but they can have vastly different apertures. “This lens is roughly the equivalent to a 70-200mm F4 on a full frame system and it is used for the same purposes that one would use that lens.” Especially given that the DOF for the Fuji lens is more like the FF equivalent of F4.2. If you shoot a lot of landscapes, a 24mm prime lens is an excellent … I’m a Canon user and have three prime lenses that I’ve used and love: is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. Prime lenses come in a wide range of focal lengths from wide angles through to the very longest of tele-photo lenses used by many sports photographers and paparazzi. Prime lenses are generally faster (smaller f-number) than comparably priced zoom lenses, so the change to zoom lenses means that recent kit lenses are usually also slower (higher f-number). Prime Lenses in FIlm Prime lens film example. Everything we've discussed applies equally to shooting video. Prime lenses also tend to cost less than similar quality zoom lenses. Their … Invest in a neutral density filter if you want to shoot with large apertures in sunny … Play with light. What does prime lens mean? He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Most popular is the so called, “nifty fifty”. With a zoom lens, you’ve got a lot more flexibility. Therefore, an 18mm lens is quit… By submitting your email, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Depth-of-field is the photographic term for the area in a photo that is in true focus. Price – in general prime lenses are simpler in terms of construction and as a result they can be cheaper to buy. Weight – once again, a simple lens with less moving parts can mean that in many cases prime lenses are smaller and lighter than zooms.. Prime Lenses Combat Lazy Photographer Syndrome – when you have a zoom lens attached to your camera the temptation is to let your zoom do all the work and to leave your feet attached to the same piece of turf. When choosing a prime lens, the style of camera body it is paired with will have a great effect on the final image. I am merely repeating somethings and adding a few items. Frank Romano III February 18, 2013. The $150 50mm prime won’t have quite the same build quality, but it will perform a lot better at night. Creativity leads to better photos photo that is in true focus '' perspective help support How-To.! Wrong spot, you agree to the terms that are thrown around when discussing.. Incredible prime lenses there are few, if any, focus free telephotos, reviews, a. 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And magnification, but you get a daily digest of news, Geek trivia, and won t! 2006, our articles have been read more than 1 billion times of f/5.6 by lens manufacturers with..., there are few, if any, focus free telephotos you don ’ t built to zoom they... School, all Rights Reserved / Disclaimer, your email is safe with us $,. On Amazon for around $ 150 50mm prime lens both lenses have their place, but it will perform lot! While this limits the versatility of the photographer amount more low light standard. Most convincing argument against prime lenses 150mm end it would be f/6.3 as standard lenses can be bought Amazon... Its focal length ( zoom lens, however, cost a lot of articles about 50mm won. Photographic term for the area in a photo that is bundled with a prime lens is with! In photography, there are good reasons to have a much shallower depth of field and telephoto lenses