My Rap On Prime Lenses
Prime lenses are lenses that are dedicated to only one focal length, they only have one field of view. They don't zoom in and out so if you want to change the perspective, you have to physically move closer to or further from the subject.
For many decades, when you bought a new camera, it came with a prime lens, particularly a 50mm. 50mm lenses are great because they are fast, inexpensive, offer excellent optical performance and are easy to learn on because of their "normal" field of view on 35mm cameras and many usable hand held shutter speeds.
Now when you buy a DSLR, it comes with a zoom lens that is poorly made, slow, takes mediocre photos and is over-complicated for the student (but the salesperson will make you think you're getting a real bargain, this and a Fisher Price tripod.) Zoom lenses make it extremely difficult to understand shutter speeds, depth of field or manual focusing.
Zooms also make shooters lazy, making us think that we can stand in one spot and get whatever shot we want. When in actuality, the need to move around to compose is a very healthy habit to get into and encourages creativity.
Why do DSLR's come with zoom lenses? Because today's consumer is most concerned with more features at a cheaper cost. Uneducated folks view the ability to change focal length as a feature but they do not understand what a faster aperture offers them or why a lens without the ability to do something (to zoom) could somehow be MORE rather than less useful. Ironically, most cheap modern 50mm lenses cost about the same as a kit zoom lens but easily outperform them and also encourage learning and creativity.
As far as I'm concerned, nobody should learn photography with anything but prime lenses. What a photographer does after they know the basics is totally up to them. I'm not trying to make you buy things just because I like them or force my style on you, but rather I believe this is the BEST way to learn basic photography. You'll probably end up loving your 50mm. I've never met anyone who didn't thank me for suggesting they buy this commodity that used to be the old standard.
Back to MartyrMusings