Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by roadkill, May 13, 2008.
Please someone tell me the difference between Prime lenses and others. I admit ignorance on this.
a prime lens does not have the zoom feature. it is a fixed focal length
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
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!
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.
Each have their purpose and function.
I like my primes.
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.
Curious.. how about an example?
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.
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.
...and what was the max aperture of that zoom? Mmmm, maybe f/2.8? Just a guess.
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