Prime and Zoom Lenses

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There's two type of lens, the Prime lens and Zoom lens.
Each lens type has advantages.
Depends on what pictures you want to take with lens, you need to decide what type is more suitable.

Here's the breakdown of each lens type.

Prime Lens

A prime lens has a fixed focal length, so it's usually also called fix lens.

Fixed focal length means the the focal length of the lens is set to one number (for example 50mm) and cannot be changed. If you want to change your angle of view, you must move back and forth with your camera.

So if you want to use different focal lengths, then you'll need to switch to other prime lens.
For example, if you want to take photos at 24mm, 85mm and 135mm, you'll need 3 lenses, one for each focal length.
So why buying more prime lenses when a couple of zoom lens could cover some or even more range ?

Here's some reason to buy prime lens.

They are High Quality

The prime lens built is from highest-quality glass so it takes very clear photos.
Since they are a fix lens and don't have a lot of moving parts like zoom lens, the glass inside a prime lens is very precise. You can get the sharpest focus possible with these lenses.

Prime Lens weight is quite light

Compared to 70-200mm zoom lens, a fix 85mm or 135mm prime lens is far more light.
So, when you need a maximum portability, just attach a 50mm or 35mm lens to your camera and you're ready to go.

The price is not too expensive

The prime lens construction is simpler than a zoom lens, because they don't have many moving parts, so the price of production these lens is cheaper.
You can also get a wide apertures prime lens with more reasonably price compared to zoom lens with a wide aperture.
These are great lens if you want to take photo in low light condition without using flash.

Click here to learn how to capture more great pictures.

Zoom Lens

A zoom lens has a variable focal length.

These are the most common types of lenses available for DSLR camera today.
When you buy DSLR, most lens kit packaged with the camera is an 18-55mm zoom lens.

Zoom lens built to offer flexibility. It's good for photographers who just starting with SLR, because he/she can experiment with the various focal length offered by the lens.
These lens also good for taking photos when you're in the crowd, when you're keep standing in one spot but still get the composition you want.

Zoom lens built is not always use the highest-quality glass and they are heavier than prime lens, and if they use highest-quality glass the price will be more expensive.

Zoom Power

Zoom power indicates how much focal range a particular lens can cover.

For example, a 28-300mm zoom lens is said to be more powerful than a 28-135mm zoom, because the 28-300mm covers a wider range from wide angle to telephoto.

You can see my article Choosing Focal Length to know what focal length that may suitable to your needs.

If you just get started, the Super Zoom lens (18-250mm or 28-300mm) maybe will suit you well, just attach one lens and you get all the focal length that you need.
But remember those lens don't offer the same optical quality as the specialty zooms (like 10-14mm, 16-85mm, etc).
And usually Super Zoom lens only have maximum aperture range of 3.5-6.3.
When you need to take a photo in low light condition without flash, it's not too reliable.

Next article is about Maximum Aperture.
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