Primes

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by roadkill, May 13, 2008.

  1. roadkill

    roadkill TPF Noob!

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    Please someone tell me the difference between Prime lenses and others. I admit ignorance on this.
     
  2. That One Guy

    That One Guy TPF Noob!

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    a prime lens does not have the zoom feature. it is a fixed focal length
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yep that is basically it - though it should be said that as the prime has a fixed focal length it has less glass inside it as it does not have to deal with other focal lengths. Thus with less glass primes will nearly always give a better result than a zoom will at a fixed focal length.
    However of course, you lose the ability to zoom, so the only zoom you have then are your legs ;)
     
  4. deudeu

    deudeu TPF Noob!

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    Other difference: Price. Primes are typically much cheaper than zooms.
    To get the same image quality on a zoom that you would on a prime you need to spend A LOT of money!
     
  5. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Even then... you can't achieve the "same" quality with a zoom. Primes are also typically faster (larger max aperture) than zooms.



    remember... zoom doesn't just bring things closer.. it changes focal length which inturn changes composition.
     
  6. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Each have their purpose and function.






















    I like my primes. :biggrin:
     
  7. Stillsky

    Stillsky TPF Noob!

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    Primes are usually faster than zooms too.

    And in my shopping experience, not to contradict deudeu, I find high quality primes to be more expensive than high quality zooms.
     
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Curious.. how about an example?
     
  9. Stillsky

    Stillsky TPF Noob!

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    Absolutely.

    For instance, Canon's 50mm f/1.2, in the B&H catalog, it's listed for $1400. Of 11 listed, there's only one zoom that covers 50mm and is more expensive than that prime.
     
  10. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ah... ok... that's pretty much the corner case. Just like the 400 f2.8L versus the 100-400L. The premium is in the speed of the max aperture.... which requires complexity in optical design.

    A fair comparison would be the entire line of "non-L" primes that can approach and beat the L zooms of several times the cost.
     
  11. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ...and what was the max aperture of that zoom? Mmmm, maybe f/2.8? Just a guess.
     
  12. Stillsky

    Stillsky TPF Noob!

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    No, 3.5.
     

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