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Questions about lenses that have a fixed focal length.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

60
votes
11answers
21k views

Is there a noticeable difference between 1.8 and 1.4 prime lenses?

I have been shopping around for a prime lens for my Nikon D50. I noticed that the 1.8 is hundreds of dollars cheaper than the 1.4 AF-S. What will I gain for that cost difference? Is it really ...
37
votes
8answers
6k views

Why is the 50mm prime lens the most standard?

Seems that most photographers choose the 50mm as their prime lens (at least from what I've read). I'm looking at getting a prime lens for my Nikon D3000 and the cost difference between the 35mm 1.8 ...
34
votes
9answers
6k views

Why do people recommend 50mm or other prime lenses as starting lenses for learning photography?

I've seen quite a few people recommend the 50mm prime lenses, in particular the sub-$100 50mm/f1.8, as a starting lens for photographers (especially because they're likely to be using cameras with ...
29
votes
4answers
6k views

What software can show my most frequently used focal length?

Many people recommend a focal length of 35mm, 50mm, and sometimes even 85mm and upwards for those interested in purchasing a prime lens. I, however, would like to figure out what focal length(s) I use ...
26
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the definition of a “prime lens”?

There are many discussions of differences between prime, zoom and macro lenses. I have not heard about prime lenses until recently. Could someone explain what exactly a prime lens is? Is it ...
21
votes
6answers
5k views

How hard would be photographing a wedding with just prime lens?

I was recently asked to photograph my cousin's wedding - ceremony at the church, some outside shots at the nearby park, maybe some shots at the reception. Since my photography-related budget is right ...
21
votes
2answers
853 views

Considerations when purchasing a prime lens?

What should I be aware of when buying a prime lens (other than that it will fit my camera)? What specs should I pay close attention to?
19
votes
9answers
3k views

Prime lens or flash: which upgrade will most improve baby photos?

I current own a Nikon D5000 with kit lens (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6) and am looking to take better indoor photos of my fast-moving 9-month-old, which sometimes come out blurred or not natural I use the ...
19
votes
7answers
8k views

Why there is no Canon 50mm *IS* lens?

Canon's 50mm prime lenses are all non-IS (Image Stabilization) for some reason. Considering the popularity of these range primes, shouldn't Canon be interested in shipping a new, optically improved IS ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do wide angle prime lenses have relatively small apertures?

I've noticed that many of the wide angle prime lenses (at least for Canon) have somewhat smaller apertures than their normal or telephoto counterparts. E.g. the regular Canon 24mm prime is f/2.8 while ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it true that there are no stabilized prime lenses (and if so, why)?

Fast prime lenses like the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens work nicely in low-light situations. But I'm quite sure they would work even more nicely if they had optical image stabilizers. It seems to me that no ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it worth it to have the 50mm f/1.8 Canon lens?

Is it really useful to have a fast prime lens for portrait photography, considering a low budget? If it is, what about the Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II? I have an entry level 18-55mm lens and a Canon 20D. ...
18
votes
4answers
826 views

How to speed up autofocus on moving subjects under low-light conditions?

Since I am usually taking pictures under low light ambient conditions I have discovered the nifty 1.4 lenses (such as the Sigma 30mm/1.4 or the Canon 50mm/1.4 or also the Canon 85mm/1.8) for my Canon ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Fast prime vs. expensive zoom for indoor sports photograhy?

I plan to try shooting my kids' indoor activities (Tae Kwon Do and Figure Skating). I can get pretty close to the action for TKD, and I have access to ice/board level positions for shooting at the ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

Which scenarios are better shot with a prime lens versus zoom lens or macro lens?

What scenarios are better shot with a prime lens? A zoom lens? A macro lens?
15
votes
8answers
872 views

Would a prime be redundant with a fast zoom?

Now that I am finally getting a fast zoom (Tamron 17-50mm 2.8) I've been considering a fast prime to go with it, specifically a Sigma 50mm 1.4. Despite its shortcomings, it still does really nice ...
14
votes
10answers
26k views

Which prime lens for Pentax?

My girlfriend is buying a Pentax K-5 (I already have a Pentax DSLR so we thought it made sense for us to be able to share lenses), and she's not sure about which lens to get with it, so I've been ...
14
votes
5answers
4k views

Can I use my APS-C kit lens as a reference for choosing between 50mm or 35mm prime lenses?

I'm looking at getting a second lens in addition to my Nikon D7000's kit lens. I want to know if it's possible to use my 18m-105mm kit lens to get an idea of the focal length for a 35mm lens vs. a 50 ...
13
votes
4answers
7k views

What is a 200mm lens good for?

I just found that there is a 200mm lens at my school. It is a Canon with Image Stabiliser (with red detail). It is old, at least 10 years. It has been great playing around with it, but I really don't ...
12
votes
5answers
9k views

If I have a 18-55mm lens, is there a point in buying a 35mm prime lens?

I have the Nikon kit lens that came with a D5100 — the kit lens is 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom. I was thinking of getting a fast lens and I am looking to buy the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX. ...
12
votes
8answers
15k views

What is a good wide-angle prime lens for Nikon DX (APS-C) format?

I am looking for a wide angle lens for my D90, between 12 and 18mm focal length, preferably a prime, because I like fast(er) and cheap(er) lenses. Any recomendation ? Thanks
11
votes
5answers
783 views

Why are 50mm no longer the default kit lens for prosumer SLRs?

Every time someone asks me for a kit recommendation I point them towards some sort of prime lens with a standard focal length. Similarly, almost anyone I talk to about the ideal budget kit swears that ...
11
votes
4answers
769 views

Other than speed and weight, what advantages might a prime lens have over a zoom at the same focal length?

At the same focal length, apart from speed and maybe weight, what other advantages does a prime lens like the 50mm have over a zoom lens like the 24 - 70mm? To put it better, If I set my 24-70mm lens ...
11
votes
9answers
4k views

What options do I have for a normal and fast prime lens for a Canon APS-C camera?

I'm looking for a normal prime lens, desirably fast and not too expensive, for my 450D. 50mm seems to be the normal focal length on FF, thus for APS-C, I need about 30mm. I want it to be fast as I'm ...
11
votes
4answers
7k views

What's the advantage of buying a fixed 50mm f/1.8 lens when my camera has an 18-55mm zoom lens?

I've got a Nikon D3100 with an 18-55mm zoom lens. I'm keen to experiment with some other lenses and a friend of mine recently reccommended I purchase a fixed 50mm f/1.8 lens as he said it's good for ...
11
votes
4answers
268 views

Does it make sense to get a non-macro and a macro of similar focal lengths?

I recently asked a question on which prime lens to get after the kit lenses, and in my shortlist of lenses there was quite a lot of overlap of focal lengths along with macro & non-macro versions ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Which prime lens to get after the 18-55mm & 55-250mm?

I started out with the 18-55mm IS kit lens on my Canon EOS 550D over a year ago, and added the 55-250mm IS a couple of months back to augment my telephoto reach (based on the recommendations in one of ...
10
votes
6answers
289 views

On smaller prints, will a high-quality zoom lens provide near equal image quality compared to primes?

Let's say I shoot with Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4, and a Canon EF 85mm f/1.8. Can these 3 primes be replaced with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 for the convenience of not needing to change ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Is the Nikon 35mm 2.0 worth the extra money over the 1.8?

After asking this question I'm thinking the 35mm prime lens will do the job for me. Since I take a number of photos indoors and in low light conditions, this lens will let me sty reasonably close to ...
9
votes
6answers
17k views

50mm vs 85mm for portraits on a crop sensor?

I've read several times that a 50mm lens will make features like noses noticeably stand out compared to an 85mm lens. However, I'm never sure if the post/article is describing results on a full frame ...
8
votes
4answers
788 views

Is it the same if you take a picture by setting 50mm in a 18-55mm lens and by using a 50mm prime lens?

Is it the same if you take a picture setting 50mm with a 18-55mm lens and a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens? Assuming that ISO, aperture, and shutter speed are the same, will both the lens give same results? I ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it difficult to focus on 1.4F prime lens, and if it is how to counter that?

Does difficulty in focusing have anything to do with 1.4F (Nikon G)? Will it be still difficult if I use manual focus? Is auto focus too slow? Is there a way to counter it? This example photo (from ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Does a 35mm prime lens show the same bokeh as a 50mm prime lens on a cropped sensor?

I came to know that a 50mm prime lens on a cropped sensor behaves like an 75mm prime lens. So, does the 35mm prime lens behave like a 50mm prime lens on a cropped sensor? If yes, then will it show ...
7
votes
7answers
366 views

Should I postpone buying a zoom lens until I've learned to zoom with my feet?

After several years of shooting with my point-and-shoot, I upgraded to an NEX-5R, with two prime lenses — a 35mm f/1.8 and a 19mm f/2.8. I don't have a zoom lens, not even the kit lens. I've been ...
7
votes
7answers
16k views

Why is my Nikon 50mm f/1.8 giving me an fEE error?

I have a AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8. When I have the aperture setting on the lens to 22 I can take photos. But when I change the dial to anything other than 22(lowest f/stop) then I get a flashing fEE ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How can a prime lens focus on more than one plane?

By definition, a prime lens is a fixed lens system with a fixed focal length. Then, simple physics tells us that it should be able to focus only on one plane (at a fixed distance) in front of it. But ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I accurately focus manually on an APS-C DSLR?

My favorite portrait lens is the Nikon 50mm 1.4G. I love the light and what it is capable of. My problem with it is that on my D90 the AF is sometimes horribly slow, and in many cases (mainly low ...
7
votes
3answers
447 views

Would a fixed or zoom telephoto lens be better for learning?

My daughter has a Nikon D-90 camera body and two prime f1.4 lenses 50mm and 35mm. She is interested in learning more, and I am curious which of a zoom or fixed telephoto lens would help her best? Is ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Canon 50mm f/1.8 vs Canon 28mm f/1.8 (vs Sigma 30mm f/1.4)

I have the nifty-fifty and I am in love with the kinds of images it can produce, particularly when it comes to portraits. I really enjoy the lens, but I have one problem; it is a little bit too tight ...
7
votes
2answers
759 views

How do I focus a Nikon 50mm f/1.8?

I recently bought this lens, but it seems to me that it hunts a lot in low(ish) light, and sometimes (often) does not achieve focus at all. I never had any problems with the kit lens. Pointing the AF ...
6
votes
5answers
643 views

Can you recommend any resources about dance photography?

My main focus area in photography is dance; and at that mostly social dancing. This usually means: spontaneous action, no way to stage anything or prepare beyond being "in the moment and very ...
6
votes
4answers
482 views

How does one track action with a fast telephoto prime lens?

With my normal-range prime lenses, I tend to shoot with both eyes open — what I see in the viewfinder has a high correspondence to what I see with my other eye. With my 70mm (105mm in 35mm-equivalent ...
6
votes
2answers
524 views

Are reverse mounts only for use with prime lenses?

Are reverse lens mounts only for use with prime lenses? I was wondering if I could use my zoom lens with a reverse mount.
6
votes
7answers
2k views

Is the Canon 28mm f/2.8 sharp and good compared to the 18-55mm kit lens?

I have a Canon 500D/T1i with the kit 18-55mm IS lens. I need to replace the kit lens with a prime as a work around lens. I usually take photos of streets, people etc., and use the 20-35mm range of ...
5
votes
4answers
368 views

How do I compose photos with prime lenses?

I own a Sony NEX-5R, with two prime lenses: 19mm F2.8 Sigma, and 35mm F1.8 Sony. How do I best compose photos with prime lenses like these? I can think of a few: Walk towards or away from the ...
5
votes
3answers
319 views

Practical speed difference between 1:2.5 and 1:1.7?

I have a 14mm/1:2.5 prime that I got with my GF-1. Does it make sense to invest into a 20mm/1:1.7 lens? I don’t care much about the difference in focal length. I’d like to know if the speed difference ...
5
votes
3answers
8k views

Nikkor f/1.8G 35mm or 50mm?

I'm new to photography. I got Nikon D3100 with 18-55 KIT. I was looking to buy 1.8f prime lens. I found two options. AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G and AF-S DX NIKKOR 55mm f/1.8G Which one you guys ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

Is the difference between a good 50mm vs 85mm lens just your distance from the subject?

I was wondering: is the difference between a 50mm f/1.8 lens and a 85mm f/1.8 lens just your distance from the subject? Let's assume that distortion is minimal; both lenses are of high quality. Does ...
5
votes
3answers
690 views

Would it be better to use a 35mm prime instead of a 50mm prime on a cropped sensor body?

It's said that 50mm is close to what the human eye sees and is a very versatile focal length in general, especially good for street photography which is what I'm most interested in. That being the ...
4
votes
9answers
7k views

Do I need a filter for my prime lens in order to protect it from dust, splashes, etc?

From here: http://photo.stackexchange.com/a/569/5205 UV Filters: Many photographers feel that it is worthwhile to put a UV filter on the front of every lens, on the basis that this will protect ...