I’ve got camera lenses on the mind. I’m on the hunt for a new lens and I’ve decided it’s going to be a prime lens. I’ve had a few of these in the past, but I’ve sold them all off. Currently, all I have are zoom lenses. I go back and forth between which is better because they both have their good points as well as their bad points. I’ll tell you though, I think I’m ready for another prime and below, I’ll tell you why.
In today’s post, I’d like to discuss a few different points that led me to the decision of wanting to purchase a prime lens. I won’t go into any “cons” because I’ve already done that in another post. You can read all about the differences between zoom lenses and prime lenses there. As for today, I think I’m just going to walk through my thought process more than anything else. I’d like to discuss what’s important to me when it comes to this type of thing.
This is what I’m looking for – a good walk around lens. I’m not looking to sell my photographs to National Geographic or anything, but I do want as high a quality as I can get. I’m looking for simplicity and clarity. And some other things that I’ll list down below.
Simplicity is Key
What I think I’d like is the opposite of a zoom lens. With zoom lenses, I’m so used to reaching into my bag and pulling out a big thing that I have to attach to my camera. During that attachment, I often twist the lens and it actually zooms in my hand. I’m at a place where I don’t want that to happen anymore. Prime lenses also have less overall glass inside of the lens tube than zooms do. Because of that, they oftentimes offer sharper photographs. I also find myself taking the same focal length shots over and over again, so the zoom on my current lenses sometimes isn’t necessary. It just has more moving parts to deal with.
Prime Lenses Are Faster
Have you even heard the term “fast” when it comes to photography? Such as, “Boy, that’s a really fast lens!” This “fast” refers to the largest available aperture size for a lens. If you want to know how they came up with this term, go ahead and set your camera’s aperture to F/29 and then try to take a photo. Take notice of how fast the shutter speed is. Most likely, it’s going to be terribly slow. Fast lenses have larger apertures, which translates into fast shutter speeds. They’re great for action.
So what I want is a fast lens. My current zoom offers a maximum of an F/3.5 aperture setting and I’d like to get much bigger than that. I’m thinking either an F/1.2 or an F/1.8. That would do me well. I’d like action and agility and tons of light. I want a lens with a huge aperture so I can enjoy more night time photography and all that comes with it.
Size & Weight
Prime lenses are oftentimes much smaller and lighter than zoom lenses. This makes a huge difference when trying to fit all my gear in my camera bag as well as the total weight of my camera when shooting subjects. I also do a lot of video work where I mount my camera to the inside of the windshield of my car. Trust me when I say this, my window camera mount doesn’t like my big heavy lens that’s currently attached to my camera. It bounces around and creates tons of camera shake. I think a lighter lens will help cure that. And since I don’t zoom in and out while I’m driving, a fixed lens should be perfect for something like this.
I Want to Move Around
I think I’m getting tired of relying on my zoom lens to do the work of photography for me. With prime lenses, I’m required to move around to get the shot I want. With zoom lenses, I don’t have to do that nearly as much and I’m telling you, every time I sit still and simply zoom into something, I feel like I’m cheating. I would like to get more involved with photography again. I want to become part of the shot. Now don’t get me wrong, I obviously can’t use a prime lens everywhere, but for the situations I can use one, I’d like to.
A Fixed Aperture
Do you have a zoom lens? Have you noticed your scene’s lighting change as you zoom in and out with your lens? This is because aperture size often changes as the lens barrel extends and shrinks. This can get confusing to photographers and because of that, many of them choose to deal with prime lenses on a regular basis. With prime lens, there is no barrel extension. There is no zoom, so the aperture size stays the same until you tell it otherwise. This is huge for those who use Aperture Priority mode a lot or for those who would like to get into that.
Popular Prime Lens Sizes
As I look around for my next lens, I think about what my most popular focal lengths are. I’m usually in one of three places, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm or there about (for a full frame sensor). I do zoom in closer than that and when I do, I’m happy to use a zoom lens. Ultimately though, I think I’d like to pick up three prime lenses of these sizes. These are pretty much what people out there are using. For my first prime though, I think I’ll go with the 35mm because with my cropped sensor, that will give me a 56mm focal length. I’ll deal with the other two sizes later on. For now, a middle of the road, very popular lens will do me just fine.
Well there you have it. A small glimpse of what’s going through my mind today. I hope I shared some good information with you today and if you have any questions about this post or lenses in general, please feel free to ask down below or in the lens section of the discussion board. Thanks for reading!