When you bought your first DSLR, it likely came with a zoom lens. This style of lens makes it easy to get a wider range of coverage with just a quick turn of the wrist. Many prefer this flexibility versus having to actually move their feet to get the shot.
So why go old school and choose a prime lens that only offers a single focal length? Its all about aperture. Here are a few reasons to consider.
- Most prime lenses offer apertures that open as far f/1.2 to f/2. These wider opening can let in more light to hit the cameras sensor.
- More light can be truly useful when shooting in existing light or low-light environments. It means you can use lower ISO settings to control noise or combine with higher ISO settings to get sharper photos due to faster shutter speeds.
- Prime lenses are typically sharper than zoom lenses.
- Prime lenses tend to be cheaper and lighter than zoom lenses. This is because they have fewer moving parts and elements.
- If you want a shallow depth of field to blur the background, prime lenses make this task much easier.
A great place to start for most users is a 50 mm lens. The nifty fifty can often be found for as low as $150. Sure you can spend more to get a 1.2 aperture… but for those looking to get started, the 1.8 aperture is a great place to begin.
Rich has published over 100 courses on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.
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