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Prime vs Zoom

April 1, 2010

{Shot with a 50mm f/1.4 prime at f/2.0}

One difference between a prime lens (e.g 50mm, 85mm, 100mm etc.) and a zoom lens (e.g. 24-70mm, 70-200mm etc.) is that a prime lens has only one focal length you can use.  If you want to zoom, you zoom with your feet.  Yes, you have to walk closer to the subject or change to another lens.  What you lose in flexibility you gain in savings.  A prime lens will be cheaper and lighter than a zoom lens with as good or better sharpness as its zoom focal length counterpart and primes lens will generally have a larger aperture.  But a prime lens teaches you to really compose.  You can’t just stand in one place and start zooming.  You have to move around and that allows you to find new angles and new views.  Play around with a prime lens and see for yourself.

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