My Instagram followers ask this question quite a lot, which lens is the best to get when you just start out.
This is a more complicated question than it sounds like since there are hundreds of good lenses for hundreds of different types of photography.
So I thought I will answer this question in 3 different posts to give everybody the know how to find the right lens for them and their unique style.
So let’s get started with post one prime vs zoom lens.
When I started out with photography I couldn’t understand why people would buy prime lenses when you can have a zoom. Because I didn’t know the pros and cons.
What is a Prime Lens?
A prime lens is a lens that only has one focal length. like 50mm lens. That means when you want to zoom in you have to walk the zoom or change the lens. 🙂
What are the Pros of a Prime Lens?
That was my first question because after the first look it just looked like they were cheaper because they don’t have a zoom.
1. Cheaper Than a Zoom
A prime lens is usually cheaper than a zoom lens. That is because a prime lens isn’t as complicated as a zoom lens and has fewer parts in it. So Usually you can buy 3 or 4 prime lenses for the cost of one zoom lens.
2. Better Image Quality.
A prime lens has only one focal length. In opposite to a zoom, it is 100% made for that exact focal length which means It is sharper and has way less chromatic aberration. Of course like always in photography there are lenses that are known to be super sharp and lenses that a known to be a bit blurry.
A prime lens is able to have a wider aperture than a zoom lens because it has fewer parts in it. Which makes it awesome for low light. Zoom lenses are getting better with the aperture but at the moment if you want a fast lens you have to take a prime lens.
4. More Bokeh
Of course with a wider aperture comes a stronger and nicer bokeh.
Prime lenses are lighter and smaller usually, Because of their “simple” construction. My smallest one is the 24mm pancake lens.
What are the Cons of a Prime Lens?
1. You Need Many Lenses
One pretty obvious fact is that you will need more lenses because a 24- 70mm zoom covers already 5 prime lenses. 24, 28,35,50 and 70mm. I like to compensate that problem by thinking exactly about what I want to photograph. But usually, I take a zoom with me anyway 😉
2. You Might Have to Move or Change Lenses a Lot
This is a pro as well as it is a con. Because moving yourself until you have the right framing can train your eyes a lot. At the same time, it can be a huge pain in the ass 🙂 if you are at a soccer game where you can’t just run on the field to get the right framing.
What are the Pros of a Zoom Lens?
1. It Is Super Practical
Zoom lenses are super practical since you usually only need one in the bag to cover a whole range of lenses.
2. Weight In The Bag
A zoom lens is usually bigger and heavier than a prime lens. So why is this a pro? Because you still have usually minimum 3 lenses in one and if you think about it that way the zoom is lighter than 3 prime lenses. (one-handed shooting still might become an issue) 😉
What are the Cons of a Zoom Lens?
- The Image Quality
I know I said above that prime lenses have a better sharpness and less chromatic aberration than a zoom lens. But at the same time when you use a good zoom lens, most people who look at your pictures wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference.
- The Weight On The Camera
Zoom lenses are way heavier than prime lenses because they have more parts in them. They become even heavier over time.
- The price
A good zoom lens costs usually up to three times as much as a prime lens which is a bugger sometimes. However, if you keep in mind that they also cover three or more lenses it becomes a reasonable price in my eyes.
Which One is Better?
It is all up to you. 😀
Best answer ever. I know 😀
No, but seriously there are times and places for every lens.
You will have to decide what you want more. The extra edge in sharpness, low light ability, and wide aperture or the practicality of a zoom lens.
I always have a zoom lens with me, just in case. But I prefer prime lenses.
As a beginner, I would also advise you to buy a prime lens just to get a feeling for framing and composition as well as finding out what’s possible with a prime lens.
Alright, that’s already it with my post about prime vs zoom lens. I hope I answered the question you had when you came to my post. If you still have any question or opinion please let me know in the comments. I will get to you as soon as possible.