You will contemplate a prime lens vs zoom lens at some stage in your photographic journey. If you are a beginner photographer seeking to switch to a new lens, you must decide between prime and zoom lenses. Which one should you choose, and what makes them different?
Your DSLR or mirrorless camera may come with a kit lens, an entry-level zoom lens supporting the most prevalent focal lengths.
However, if you intend to get the best out of your camera, you will eventually have to abandon the primary lens. Then, you will hear the justification for using prime lenses instead of zoom lenses.
Prime lens vs zoom lens debate is not straightforward for anyone taking a stand. However, it truly depends on your intended use because each lens has benefits and drawbacks. Primes often have wider apertures, lighter, smaller, and sharper. Furthermore, they have a fixed focal length limitation, so a zoom lens is preferable in many circumstances.
- 1 What is a Prime Lens?
- 2 What is a Zoom Lens?
- 3 Prime Lens vs Zoom Lens – Real Differences(Video)
- 4 For What are Prime Lenses Best?
- 5 How Do I Know if My Lens is Zoom or Prime Lens?
- 6 Different Types of Prime Lenses
- 7 Best Wide-angle Prime Lens for Canon
- 8 Zoom or Prime Lens for Travel-Which is the Best?
- 9 Important FAQs:
- 10 Verdict
What is a Prime Lens?
A prime lens has a fixed focal length and a maximum aperture, usually between f/1.2 and f/2.8. They are great for photographers and filmmakers who prefer the best visual quality.
Since prime lenses come with a fixed focal length, they do not have a zoom ring and cannot make things look bigger like a zoom lens can.
What is a Zoom Lens?
As you have figured out, zoom lenses have an adjustable focal length. Therefore, it implies that you can alter the angle of view by shifting the optical components inside the lens.
Furthermore, it sometimes entails having three different lens types in one: a regular lens, a wide-angle lens, and a telephoto lens. For instance, a 35-105mm zoom lens can capture the entire scene.
Occasionally, it offers a range of adjustments while staying with the same lens type. With zoom lenses, you may change the perceived distance between your subject and yourself by turning a ring without changing it.
Prime Lens vs Zoom Lens – Real Differences(Video)
A prime lens has a fixed focal length, whereas a zoom lens has a ring that enables you to swap between different focal lengths. There is a major distinction between the two types of lenses.
Primes usually have a greater maximum aperture and are smaller and lighter. Each has advantages of its own.
For instance, a larger aperture gives the photographer more control over the depth of field and provides superior handheld low-light performance.
You can get closer to your target using a zoom lens without moving. Nowadays, this is helpful if you are capturing anything that limits your ability to move around considerably.
A zoom lens will be helpful since a bird will naturally fly away if you try to get close. Because of this, it is widely used for wildlife photography.
Some users may find a prime lens more engaging, especially if they are new to photography or like the art. In other words, rather than staying still and using your hand to zoom, you will be walking to find the ideal composition.
Professional photographers frequently select a prime lens for a particular subject and a complementary zoom for various subjects.
01. Best Prime Lens – Sony RX100 VII
Sony RX100 VII lens is designed for those looking for a flexible and premium compact gadget. You can also take stunning photographs for your Instagram account because it has great image quality.
There is the Zeiss Vario Sonnar lens, which has a focal length range of 24mm to 200mm. The Bionz X processor for processing photographs demonstrates its caliber by allowing you to capture up to 20 FPS of continuous shots.
Furthermore, the body has a huge 1-inch sensor that offers the best image quality regardless of the lighting.
02. Best Zoom Lens – Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS
Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS is the ideal zoom lens if you are on a tight budget. You will immediately see that this lens is an EF-S, which indicates that it can only be applied to crop-sensor cameras.
Your effective focal length will now be between 15 and 27mm, which should suit both landscape and architectural photographers. You might also want a wide lens like this if you shoot events. However, remember that a 16-35mm lens would work better.
Overall, the Canon 10-18mm is a nice, compact, and lightweight size. Even though the absence of weather sealing makes it less desirable for outside shooting in adverse weather, you will adore using it as a walk-around zoom lens.
There is no definite answer when deciding between a prime lens and zoom lens. Both are beneficial to use for several reasons. Prime lenses are frequently more affordable, compact, quality, and superior in dim light.
For artistic purposes, the prime lens works best for portraits and street photography. A zoom lens is more adaptable, more practical, and ideal for situations where you need to take a picture quickly. Zooms work particularly well for taking wildlife and landscape photography.
For What are Prime Lenses Best?
Compared to zooms, prime lenses offer a larger maximum aperture, allowing you to benefit from a narrower depth of field. An area of focus in your picture is the depth of field.
In comparison to shooting at f/2.8, using a wide aperture of f/1.4 yields higher “bokeh,” or the blurring of objects that are not in focus.
How Do I Know if My Lens is Zoom or Prime Lens?
Because prime and zoom lenses differ in their focal length, this is the most important distinction. All prime lenses have the same focal length, whereas a zoom lens include zoom rings that enable you to use different focal lengths. A prime lens does not have any rings.
Different Types of Prime Lenses
Widely used in overemphasizing viewpoints in landscape photography. Using a wide-angle lens, you can enlarge close-up details while reducing distant ones.
Wide-angle lenses are famous for taking landscape shots because they allow more of the scene to be included in the frame. Overall, they are suitable for capturing interiors and buildings.
Normally, the focal length range for a standard or “regular” lens is typically between 45mm and 60mm. Those focal lengths nearly resemble the seeing area the human eyes provide (50mm is the closest match).
A standard lens, sometimes known as a “street lens,” works well for everyday photography circumstances. It will be part of every professional photographer’s lens set.
Telephoto lenses magnify the scene for a closer look and have a smaller field of view. Medium telephoto lenses have focal lengths ranging from around 70mm to about 135mm.
Many photographers choose to use that focal length while shooting portraits. Super telephoto lenses are telephoto lenses with a focal length of 300mm or more.
Telephoto lenses are perfect when you cannot or do not want to get up close to the subject. When you prefer to take a closer look at a section of a very vast region when taking landscape photography, you may also use a telephoto lens.
Best Wide-angle Prime Lens for Canon
A wide-angle lens is ideal for capturing large scenes or small scenes in restricted spaces. Alternatively, you can use it when creating a close-up view that makes the viewer feel they are within the image.
Since most people have a minimum of one general zoom lens, having an additional wide-angle lens is required to obtain even broader angles of view. Let us explore the top features and benefits of the best wide-angle prime lenses for Canon.
01. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L Lens
One of the best Canon wide-angle zoom lenses you need is the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens. A high-quality lens is ideal for many applications, and its images are outstanding. Interestingly, the lens has weather sealing and is nicely constructed.
Furthermore, you need to include this lens in your kit s to be in your kit if you plan to photograph weddings and other interior events. In addition, the f/2.8 aperture will be helpful for those taking nighttime sky photos.
02. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L Lens
You may create a fantastic lens that can be used in several situations by combining outstanding corner-to-corner image quality, wide focal lengths with fast and precise focusing. Furthermore, it has excellent weather-sealed build quality and image stabilization.
Although it is not Canon’s highest aperture ultra-wide zoom lens, the EF 16-35 f/4L IS is a high-performing model. You will be convinced by the image quality this professional-grade lens produces and how affordable it is on the market.
03. Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens
Canon produces some of the finest wide-angle prime lenses for cameras. Does that make any logical sense? Is there any brand that can beat the best brand maker?
Canon created the 11mm widest angle lens ever made in history. Only 15mm is the nearest any other lens can go. Notably, the lens retains an exceptional sharpness despite the wide frame.
04. Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Lens
When looking for a wide-angle lens, photographers or videographers frequently use Canon’s 17-40 f/4. The exceptional quality of the whole L line of Canon lenses is well acknowledged. Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Lens maintains the high standards maintained by its forerunners while also costing less.
More than almost any lens on our list, the 17-40mm focal range provides photographers with several options. Besides that, it complies with APS-C and full-frame cameras, producing excellent results.
05. Canon 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 I
There is always good news regarding photography equipment: Canon provides a far more affordable option for individuals who simply want a wide-angle lens without burning a hole in their wallets.
Canon 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 I produce sharp results in terms of quality. However, some performance degradation is to be anticipated. Not as much as you might anticipate.
On 10mm and 16mm film, there is just a small amount of distortion near the edge of the frame. Nevertheless, not to the point that it detracts from the overall effect. With this one, you get image stabilization, which is both great and unexpected. It is typically absent from Canon lenses.
06. Canon ef 85mm f 1.8 usm prime lens
Despite being very affordable, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens produces excellent image quality. Even on a 1.6x FOVCF body, vignetting will be seen when the lens is wide open. Users of full-frame bodies will still see slight vignetting at f/2.
Watch the background fade away by wide opening the 85 f/1.8’s aperture. Thanks to its 8-blade aperture, the bokeh (quality of the background blur) are excellent. Of course, it is challenging to maintain both eyes in focus when taking a close-up portrait photo at f/1.8.
Saturation and contrast are excellent. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens’s ring USM (Ultrasonic Motor) focuses quickly and softly. In addition, the 85 f/1.8’s construction quality is quite good.
Small and light in weight. With the 85 f/1.8 lens, you can take beautiful images without attracting much attention. In conclusion, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens is a great lens at an affordable price.
Zoom or Prime Lens for Travel-Which is the Best?
Most photographers explore travel photography at some point because it is a fundamental craft specialty. Nevertheless, it might be challenging to retain a light bag given its wide range and the numerous different genres it incorporates. What is the best prime lens, then?
There is no definitive answer. Although zoom lenses are frequently used as all-purpose, walk-around lenses, if you like a prime lens or require quicker glass, a prime lens may be your only choice. Additionally, you must decide the focal length that suits your traveling.
Many photographers have long loved the nifty-fifty, but it is a short-term fix for some. Instead, many travel photographers choose a wider prime lens. Therefore, whether you opt for a prime lens or Zoom lens, all boils down to personal choice.
Finally, if you are one of the beginner photographers and love portrait photography, you will feel more comfortable with prime lenses.
Are prime lenses more precise than zooms lenses?
In general, prime lenses have better sharpness than zoom lenses with similar focal lengths. That is due to the extra glass inherent inside zoom lenses, which must move to change the focal length, which results in some diffraction.
Should I get a prime lens or a zoom lens?
Consider your shooting style and the purpose of your photographs. Choose a zoom lens if you desire versatility and adaptability as they work in various settings. If you want a portrait lens with gorgeous bokeh or a lens that is easier to carry, use a prime lens.
What are the drawbacks of a zoom lens?
You should be aware that zoom lenses have some drawbacks compared to prime lenses. Most of the time, zoom lenses are not as sharp as prime lenses. A zoom lens is also slower than a regular lens. A zoom lens’s maximum aperture is smaller, letting less light into the camera.
Which is superior in the contest between prime lens and zoom lens? There is no appropriate response to the issue of choosing the suitable lens in this situation. Everything comes down to what is better for you.