Adventures of Daru Presents: Mysteries Of Photography
Episode 1, Prime Time!
Prime lenses, how do I love thee. Let me count the ways. Ok that was pretty corny but I really can’t express how much I love prime lenses. From Canon’s “Nifty Fifty” to the legendary Planar 50mm f/0.7 made by Carl Zeiss. Prime lenses have been a staple of photography throughout history… and will continue to be. There’s a reason prime lenses are found on just about every best of list. Well I did promise you at least five of those reasons, so let’s get to it.
1. Image Quality
The color, contrast, and sharpness delivered by prime lenses are astounding! Straight from the camera, they provide images that just “pop.” I use pop because there’s just something about the images that is hard to describe. A depth and life that seems unique to prime lenses.
2. Depth of Field
Speaking of depth. The maximum aperture size most prime lenses provide creates a shallow depth of field that makes your subject truly stand out in a photo. The shallow depth allows the subject to stay in focus while the background (and many distractions) blurs into a very beautiful “bokeh.” A f/1.0 zoom lens? I don’t think so.
Low Light Photography
That maximum aperture mentioned above doesn’t just provide great isolation but also allows you to shoot in incredibly low light. This is great for night photography and indoor events. A larger aperture lets you shoot with a faster shutter speed and lower ISO. Faster speeds reduce the chance of having unintentionally blurry pictures due to camera shake caused by having a shutter speed that’s too slow to hand hold your camera. A lower ISO typically means a better quality picture. The higher the ISO the more “noise” your pictures will have, so it’s best to shoot at the lowest ISO possible.
Special Herbs & Spices
There are also many specialized prime lenses available for things such as close up photography (macro lenses) and architectural photography (tilt shift lenses)
Dollar for dollar you just can’t beat what a prime lens gives you. Prime lenses tend to be a fraction of the cost of what a zoom lens with comparable performance would be. That’s not to say all prime lenses are cheap. Especially considering that there’s a $2 million dollar custom made Zeiss lens floating around out there.
While fixed focal length lenses may not have the flexibility zoom lenses provide, they do make you a more creative photographer. With a prime lens, in order to zoom in, you have to move forward. Yup, you actually have to move your feet. The great thing about this is it forces you to think things through and find perspectives you may not have found if you just stood in one place.
Let’s Hear From You
What do you think of prime lenses? Do you see yourself adding one to your collection?