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Home > New Gear > Zoom VS Prime Lens
Zoom VS Prime Lens

Zoom VS Prime Lens

By  Adeline Belluz 2019-05-23 1211 0

For new photographers, many people can't tell the difference between a prime lens and a zoom lens. What kind of lens should a new photographer consider buying first? If you buy the zoom lens first, do you have to buy a prime lens then? Today we are going to systematically explain to you what is a prime lens, what is a zoom lens, and how to choose between them.

What is a prime lens?

prime lens

A prime lens is one that has a fixed focal length,or one field of view. A prime lens has no zoom function. The design of the fixed focus lens is simple. The focusing speed is fast and the imaging quality is stable.

In our daily photography, the most common prime lenses are 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm and so on. Of course, many well-heeled high-end photography players will choose long focal length lens, such as 200mm, 400mm, 600mm, 800mm and so on.

Pros: (compared with a zoom lens) larger aperture. It can make larger aperture configuration; The nearest focus distance is generally closer; The general volume and weight are smaller and lighter than the zoom lens covering this range; The sharpness and picture quality will be better.

Cons (compared with a zoom lens) : inconvenient to use. The function of shooting near and far can only be achieved through the photographer's own movement, if the scene cannot be certain, it will not be able to shoot the picture they need.

What is zoom lens?


Zoom lens is a camera lens that can change the focal length within a certain range, so as to get different width and width of field of view, different size of image and different range of scenery. The shooting range can be changed on the zoom lens by changing the focal length without changing the shooting distance, so it is very conducive to picture composition. Since a zoom lens can also act as several prime lenses. Not only do you reduce the amount of photographic equipment you carry when you travel, but you also save time on changing lenses.

There are many kinds of zoom lenses in our daily life, such as 11-24mm, 14-24mm, 16-35mm and so on. Standard focal length such as 24-70mm, 24-85mm, 24-105mm, etc. Long coke segments such as 70-200mm, 70-300mm, 100-400mm, etc.

Pros (compared with prime lens) : easy to use, you only need to zoom to change the composition.

Disadvantages compared with prime lens) : generally small aperture; more expensive; larger size; Unlike the focus of the focal length lens imaging quality.

A novice photographer should choose the prime lens or zoom lens?

Should a novice buy a prime lens or a zoom lens? One of the most rumored things on the Internet is that a prime lens is the only way to learn photography. In fact, this concept is wrong, if you want a better introduction to photography, you should choose the zoom lens.

A prime lens doesn't necessarily get you starteds

A prime lens has a larger aperture and better picture quality than a zoom lens that covers the same focal length, such as 35mm F1.4, 85mm F1.2, and so on. Many users focus on these two points, so they are particularly keen on prime lenses. However, for beginners in photography, the fixed focus lens can not necessarily improve the level of photography, because the fixed focus lens has only one focal length, so it is not possible for beginners to try to choose more focal length.


We recommend zoom lenses for novices

For beginners, using zoom lenses is a great way to learn photography. Novices do not have deep concepts and ideas about the basic elements of daily shooting composition, so they are more creative. After fixing the focal length with a fixed lens, the exertions of novices are limited. Zoom lens can make it more convenient for beginners to use. Even if they stand still, they can also try the composition differences brought by different focus segments through zoom, so that they can get familiar with different shooting methods of different focus segments more quickly.

For beginners, the first thing to do is to get the picture you want, rather than talk about the aperture and quality of these parts. There's also the case that if you have a big budget and you want to experiment with both the convenience of a zoom lens and the large aperture of a prime lens, you can buy multiple lenses at once and still improve your photography skills.

Must I buy a prime lens for the second lens?

The answer is still no. For the second lens you can still choose the zoom lens. In fact, for new photographers, the first lens is often set machine lens, such as 18-135mm, 18-55mm, 18-105mm, 24-105mm, 24-120mm and so on. The general characteristic of the lens is that the focal length is from wide Angle to medium long focal length, but the aperture is generally relatively small. Part of the lens aperture is not constant, so the picture quality and the ability to blur are usually relatively primary.

zoom lens

A large ternary standard zoom lens can be considered for a second lens

Triple lens is a general term for a zoom lens with a constant F2.8 aperture, wide Angle, standard and long focal length. In general, after the introduction of photography, a large ternary standard zoom lens 24-70 mf2.8 is certainly no problem.

After a period of exposure to photography, many people will think that the set lens is no longer enough, so they begin to buy a second lens. The second lens can retain the relative focal length and upgrade the aperture size, such as considering the big three-dimensional lens of its own camera brand. A big ternary lens is a zoom lens with constant F2.8 aperture, wide angle, standard and long focal length. After general introductory photography, it is no problem to choose a standard zoom lens with a large three-dimensional lens of 24-70 mm F2.8.

If you continue to buy one later, you can continue to consider the large three wide angle lens 16-36mmf2.8 or long focal lens 70 x 200mm f 2.8. Of course, after buying the third lens, this shows that you are already familiar with photography. You can consider buying a focal lens that you like to focus on, such as 35mm f1.4, 50mm f1.8, 85mm f1.2 and so on. As for what focal segment to buy, how large aperture lens, it depends on your preferences and budget. For example, in 50mm lens, f 1.2 aperture is more expensive than f 1.4 aperture than f 1.8 aperture.

Of course, it's okay to buy a prime lens.

In fact, if you find that you prefer a certain focal length after purchasing a camera lens, it is OK to choose a prime lens for the second lens. However, only such a focal length can be selected after purchasing photography training. Other focal segments are harder to train.

What is the conversion rate of the lens?

Due to the different picture size, there is actually a conversion between the focal length of the lens and the designated focal length at the time of purchase. If a full-frame camera is used, the focal length of the lens is the actual focal length to be shot without conversion. If the APS-C frame and m4/3 frame cameras are used, the purchased lens needs to increase the conversion coefficient, which is the actual focal length. In general, the APS-C frame needs to be multiplied by the conversion factor of 1.5 or 1.6 in the focal length of the lens to capture the actual focal length, while m4/3 is multiplied by 2.

APS-C frames have to be converted to the lens multiplier

For example, I have an 18-55mm lens with an 18mm lens focal length, which is 18mm when shooting with a full-frame camera, or 18x1.5 or 18x1.6 when shooting with APS-C, which is 27mm or 28.8mm, which is the actual shooting focal length, and m4/3, which is 36mm.

That is to say, if you use APS-C frame or m4/3 frame camera, even if you buy the 18mm starting lens, the wide Angle is not as wide as you think, and you can only get to 18mm when you use the full frame. However, the full-frame frame cannot be connected to the APS-C frame lens, while the APS-C frame can be connected to the full-frame lens, which should be noted.

What brand you choose depends on the body and preferences

In terms of brand, it is better to pair the camera with the same brand. Now Canon, Nikon, SONY, Fuji, Panasonic, which are the most common camera manufacturers, have their own lens group, and a large number of comprehensive specifications.

If your budget is very limited, you can't buy the original lens after buying the airframe, you can also consider Japanese subsidiary brands such as Tenglong and Shima. The camera bayonets that can adapt to your camera are abundant. The lens specification and the quantity are equally rich, and the lens quality is also very good.

If you want to try some high-specification lenses, and the prices of the original and auxiliary lenses are generally very high, you can consider domestic lenses. Although almost all of them are manual lenses, you can still consider to try one. Such as LAOWA, and so on. You can refer to it.


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