• Jennifer
  • posted by Jennifer

  • Today we are going to discuss the advantages or disadvantages of zoom lenses verses fixed prime lenses. You can review all our past Tuesday Photo Tips on the blog.

    According to Wikipedia, A zoom lens is a lens that has a range of focal lengths available to the photographer in the one lens. These have become increasingly popular over the past few years as they are obviously a very convenient lens to have on your camera as they allow you to shoot at both wide and longer focal lengths without having to switch lenses mid shoot.

    This allows you to get different shots of the same subject within seconds without having to move your feet. This versatility is an advantage to us when we are, for example, in a church during a wedding ceremony and we want to reduce the amount of our movement, which can often be viewed as a distraction. We can often shoot the entire duration of such an event with just a single lens.

    Another advantage to a zoom lens, albeit often not thought about, is that you would need to change your lens less often, and hence reduce the possibility of getting dust on your sensor.

    According to Wikipedia, a prime lens is a lens that has one focal length only. They come in all focal lengths ranging from wide angle ones through to the longer telephoto ones.

    Fixed focal length lenses are usually faster (have a wider aperture) than their zoom counterparts. To me personally, this is the greatest value of a fixed focal length lens. In low light situations which we often find ourselves at wedding receptions, having a wider aperture is important. Fixed focal length lenses are sometimes the only solution for dark indoor photography.

    A fast lens also allows excellent subject isolation by blurring the distracting background. Prime lenses are known for being high quality and having the ability to produce clean, crisp and precise shots. It's often one of my favorite lenses to use during our date-night engagement sessions for this quality alone. Another reason for using a prime fixed lens is the lighter weight. If I'm on the go a lot, walking everywhere, a prime fixed lens is considerably lighter than a zoom lens.

    There are arguments against both zoom and fixed lenses. A fixed lens forces a photographer to crop a picture in post-processing if you can't get close enough or stand where you wanted to be to frame the shot. On the flip-side, one argument against zoom lenses is that they make the photographer lazy. Instead of having to move around to find the best angle for the focal length they allow the photographer to stay in one place and just zoom in and out.

    I have to say that when asked what one lens you should buy when first starting out, I recommend the fixed prime 50mm 1.4 lens. This is due to the focal length being a good amount, and with it having an f-stop of as low as 1.4 it allows for flexibility for low light. Price-wise, at around $500, it's not super expensive and well worth the quality investment. Many of our other lenses range from $800 up to thousands of dollars.

  • Fixed (or prime) vs Zoom Lenses




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