Lenses that do not change the focal length, have a fixed focus, that is, cannot zoom, have fewer lens elements, and can take sharper and clearer pictures, are called Prime Lens. This lenses allow us to take sharper and clearer pictures compared to non-fixed focal lenses due to the fact that they have fewer lens elements and no moving lens elements are inside. They are preferred by professional photographers because they allow us to obtain higher quality photographs. Watch out for sports photographers. Instead of using a zoom lens, there are several different cameras with lenses with several different focal lengths. It’s because prime lenses both offer sharper photos and allow for faster shooting.
How to Name Prime Lenses by Class?
Fisheye Lenses: 4.5mm – 16mm
Wide-angle Lenses: 10mm – 24mm
Standard Focus Lenses: 25mm – 200mm
Telephoto Lenses: 200mm – 1200mm (or more)
Macro Lenses: 30mm – 200mm
Portrait Lenses: 50mm – 200mm
When those who are new to photography want to buy their first quality lenses, they get into this contradiction. On the one hand, the desire to do everything with a single lens, on the other, the desire to take those beautiful portraits taken by good photographers, makes it difficult for us to decide. Therefore, in this article, let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of prime (fixed focal length) lenses compared to zoom lenses.
Advantages of Prime Lenses
1- Prime lens provides you to take clearer photos because they have fewer elements. Therefore, they provide an advantage when clarity is important, such as landscape photography, fashion photography, architectural photography or fine-art photography.
2- Because they have fewer elements, they become lighter and smaller. This is a great advantage if you are going to go until the evening. You will experience less back pain at the end of the day. Also, the people we photographed feel more comfortable with small lenses and machines.
3- They get more light. The widest aperture ranges become lighter, such as f / 1.4, f / 1.8. The wide aperture range gives us an advantage in enhancing light in low-light environments, controlling depth of field in portrait photos or creative photos, making the background blur. In zoom lenses, the widest aperture is usually f / 2.8 – f3 / .5. This means starting 1-0 succumb.
4- Compared to quality zoom lenses, quality prime lenses are cheaper.
5- Since they have less moving elements than zoom lenses, they are less likely to malfunction and are produced more stronger than zoom lenses at the same price. Autofocus is faster than zoom lenses.
6- When your albums are composed of photos taken with the same lens, they look more pleasant as a whole. All photographs have a similar aesthetic structure. They evoke the same look and feel. They force us to use lenses more creatively. Like stepping instead of zooming.
7- Prime lenses cause much less distortion than zoom lenses.
8- In 90% of the photos we take with zoom lenses, we can see that we are using the smallest or largest focal length. This means that we can do the same job with two prime lenses. As a result, if we are not journalists or wedding / event photographers, we do not need to have every focal length in the world.
Disadvantages of Prime Lens
1- Since you cannot zoom with prime lens, you need to carry a few more lenses and change lenses according to the situation. Therefore, if you do not carry two separate cameras, it is not useful for situations such as wedding photography, photojournalism, where the conditions are variable.
2- Changing lenses in the open area can cause our camera’s sensor to become dusty and smeared. On the other hand, zoom lenses are also likely to absorb dust into the air due to air exchange caused by zooming.
3- You cannot adjust the frame by zooming. So you have to approach or move away for adjust the frame. This can be considered as an advantage, though, because the zoom lens makes the photographer lazy, and the photographer becomes lazy to stop looking for different angles. It also makes you forget the difference between zooming and walking. With the zoom, not only the frame changes; Many factors such as compression ratio, perspective, geometric distortion, depth of field also change.
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May your light be bright. Stay healthy.