When selecting glass for your camera, you generally have two choices: prime lenses or zoom lenses.
A zoom lens may cover a variety of focal lengths, but a prime lens can only cover one (such as 50mm) (e.g., 24-70mm).
And even while that would make a zoom seem like a better option (higher focal lengths for such money = greater value? ), there are quite a few benefits to selecting a prime!
1. More Lighting
By having larger maximum apertures than zoom lenses, prime lenses provide you with the opportunity of admitting more light to your camera. Simply said, if the image appears longer, more light will enter the camera via a bigger opening in the lens. So, if you’re shooting in low light, a prime lens will enable you to get the proper exposure without raising your ISO or slowing down your shutter speed. This is because prime lenses (depending on the model you choose) often have a higher aperture.
2. Low Complexity of Field
We just discussed how zoom lenses have smaller maximum apertures than prime lenses. Another advantage of using a bigger aperture is that you may produce photographs with a deeper depth of field (narrower range of the image in focus). A prime lens will assist you in getting those pictures when the backdrop is completely blurred out and one’s subject is clear.
3. Clearer Pictures
In general, prime lenses have better sharpness than zoom lenses. From a lens design standpoint, making a lens that produces crisp pictures is simpler, and there are fewer aspect lengths to account for.
TIP: Even though most lenses are fuzzy when wide open, you’ll often want to cut directly at the camera a little bit (i.e., raise the aperture amount).
A prime lens will always have a wide aperture, allowing plenty of light to enter, a shallower depth of focus to be achieved, and good, crisp results.
4. Improved Picture Quality
In addition to that final benefit, prime lenses provide further advantages for picture quality. Since lens designers only need to account for one focal length, there is often less distortion and chromatic aberration.
Therefore, these convenient small primes provide you with pretty good quality!
5. Good Value
The cost of prime lenses might vary greatly.
For instance, the 50mm f/1.2 Canon lens is around ten times more costly than the 50mm f/1.8 Sigma prime lens, sometimes known as the “nifty fifty.”
Therefore, the price increases significantly as you start using high-end lenses.
But generally speaking, we believe that prime lenses provide greater value for the money when compared to zooms in terms of pricing and picture quality.
6. More Compact & Lighter
I truly do mean “small” when I say that. In general, prime lenses are more compact and lightweight than zooms. Therefore, a prime lens could be the best option if weight and space are two of your main concerns.
Even “pancake” lenses, which are focus lenses designed to be very compact, are available. OK, but I’m getting off-topic; it isn’t how I want my pancakes.
7. The Focal Length Is Simpler To Somehow get Used To
One focal length is available with a prime lens. It cannot be altered the way a zoom lens can. But I’ve discovered this is a useful method for comprehending a focal length. Being able to “see” the possible images in a situation as you gaze at them is a key skill in photography. You have a far better sense of the final shot’s appearance when you can “see” how the scene would’ve been translated at a particular focal length.
So, if you often use a 50mm prime, you will begin seeing the world via a 50mm lens. When using that 50mm lens, you’ll have a clear idea of what would be in the image, what won’t, and how the lines will be rendered. I love it! Fundamentally, a prime lens aids in developing a focal length’s muscle memory, resulting in less fumbling, less pondering, and more “feeling” for the photo.
7. Makes You Move
The fact that a prime makes you move your feet is another way it may significantly aid your creative process. Zooming will not bring your topic closer to you. You must move closer if you want to get closer. But one of the greatest ways to create intriguing compositions is to move your feet. You won’t develop the horrible habit of remaining still if you use a prime lens; therefore, only for that benefit, they’re worth using.
While both primes and zooms have their uses in photography, we have a particular soft spot for primes. For the reasons I’ve described above, they’re the lenses people reach out to most often!