If you’ve been practising photography for a little while, you might have started thinking about upgrading your kit. Once you’ve got used to the kit lens that comes with your camera, many photographers opt to try a prime lens as the next step.
Whatever your photographic discipline, whether it’s street, sports, or wildlife photography, a prime lens can help stimulate your creativity and help provide more options when taking photos. We have a look at what exactly is a prime lens, and what to consider when looking for one.
What Is a Prime Lens?
A prime lens is a lens with a fixed focal length. This means that, unlike a zoom lens, you can't zoom in or out when taking photographs. While not having a zoom function might sound like a disadvantage, there is a wide range of benefits to using a prime lens.
Removing the ability to zoom may have you thinking outside the box to get an interesting capture, and also get you moving, crouching and manoeuvring into odd positions for the perfect shot.
Do You Even Need a Prime Lens?
In short, no. While many articles say all photographers should own a prime lens, it isn’t necessarily true. If you want to casually take pictures as a hobby, using your zoom lens will work just fine.
Your Purpose for Using the Lens
The purpose for your lens will decide on which focal length you will need. If you’re still exploring, you may need a good ‘all-rounder’, such as a 50mm, or a ‘nifty-fifty’.
A street photographer will want something a little wider, such as a 35mm, and portrait photographers will prefer a longer lens, such as an 85mm.
Price and Budget
Regardless of the prime lens you choose, be smart with your money. Factor in how much you can afford to spend when choosing your lens. If you’re not going to use your lens that often, you might want to look at renting one instead.
Can You Benefit From a Prime Lens?
Prime lenses can be an excellent way for you to improve your photography. Having one can encourage you to get creative, capture more exciting angles, hone in on a specific style, and motivate you to take more pictures.
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