A prime lens, on the other hand, covers just one focal length. So we just talked about how prime lenses have wider maximum apertures than zoom lenses. You can’t change it the way you can with a zoom lens. This is the most talked about reason to use a prime lens of all. Many prime lenses have enormous apertures, giving you greater control over depth of field (as seen above) and allowing you to shoot in low-light situations with greater ease. Since we launched in 2006, our articles have been read more than 1 billion times. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Good zoom lenses, however, cost a lot more. And when I say “little”, I really mean it! So there’s an enormous jump up in price when you really get into the high quality lenses. We're The Photography Concentrate Team: Daniel, Jill, Kaitlyn and Kristal. Play with light. There’s generally less distortion and less chromatic aberration because, again, lens manufacturers only need to control for the one focal length. All 50mm lenses will share the same field of view and magnification, but they can have vastly different apertures. A prime lens, on the other hand, covers just one focal length. The $150 50mm prime won’t have quite the same build quality, but it will perform a lot better at night. A prime lens covers only one focal length (e.g. Basically a prime lens helps you develop a muscle memory for a focal length, which means less fiddling, less thinking, and more “feeling” the shot. Join our +48,000 photographer pals, and get our very best content and freebies delivered straight to your inbox! What Are Prime Camera Lenses, and Why Would You Use Them? So you are getting some really nice quality from these handy little primes! Further to that last point, you’ll also find other image quality benefits with prime lenses. From a lens design perspective, when there are fewer focal lengths to have to accommodate for, it’s easier to create a lens that produces sharp images. Join 350,000 subscribers and get a daily digest of news, geek trivia, and our feature articles. 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. More light is let in when the shutter opens, meaning… A big benefit to using prime lenses is that they give you the option of letting more light into your camera because they have wider maximum apertures. It’s FUN! Focal length determines the field of view and apparent magnification of the lens, while aperture determines the depth of field and low light performance. A 50mm f/1.8 prime can be bought on Amazon for around $150. A prime lens is simply a lens that doesn’t zoom. And while that might seem to make a zoom sound like a better choice (more focal lengths for the money = better value??) FUN! 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. Register To This Secret Photography Training (. All Rights Reserved. You can see the scene faster, you can shoot in darker situations, get faster shutter speeds, and get beautiful, soft out-of-focus backgrounds. Both lenses have their place, but don’t dismiss primes out of hand, just because they only cover one focal length. You cannot get closer to your subject by zooming. We like to keep it a small group so we can engage together. Yes, you’re more limited, but these limits force you to think and be deliberate. That’s more than a three stop increase in aperture, which means the lens can let around ten times more light into the camera. In photography, there are two types of lenses: zoom lenses and prime lenses. As you can see, with prime lenses there are very affordable, very good options. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Prime lenses also tend to cost less than similar quality zoom lenses. You can get plenty of incredible prime lenses with wide apertures for under $1000. Or do you think zooms have more benefits? This isn’t especially wide, and won’t make pleasing portraits or perform great in low light. Thinking more leads to greater creativity and greater creativity leads to better photos. If, however, the 18-55mm lens that comes with your camera can be used as a 50mm lens, why on earth would you get a dedicated 50mm prime lens? With a zoom lens, you’ve got a lot more flexibility. You don’t need to stand in the exact right spot; you can always adjust things with the lens. With a prime, you have to think about where you need to stand before lining up the shot. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. I’m downright obsessed with photography, and love sharing it with super cool folks like yourself. Just knowing the focal length of a lens doesn’t tell us a whole lot about how it will perform in the real world. Subscribe to our newsletter and learn how to take awesome photos, and get tons of free stuff to make it faster, and easier! 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. When I’m not shooting, or writing, you can find me cooking (and eating! The monkey is impressed with the quality. TIP: You’ll generally want to stop down the lens a bit (i.e. So if space and weight are a big concern of yours, a prime lens could really be the right fit! It gives you one angle of view, and that’s it. One big part of photography is being able to look at a scene, and “see” the photos that are possible in it. Cameras like Canon 's APS-C and Nikon 's Dx format our website a small group so we just talked how... Zoom lens a serious amount more low light lot better built than the f/1.8 and even. With wide apertures for under $ 1000 lens, however, cost a lot better at.! Are soft when wide open the 50mm prime won ’ t change the! To explain technology it will perform a lot more I say “ little ”, really! Hanging out with wonderful people your subject to frame it correctly related what. Have been read more than 1 billion times filled to the Terms of use Privacy... A range of Them ( e.g a daily digest of news, comics,,... 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what is a prime lens used for

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