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Advantages of a Prime Lens

A prime lens has a fixed focal length.

The focal length of the lens is set to one number and cannot be changed. If you want to change your angle of view when using a prime lens, you actually have to move forward or backward with the camera.

If you want to use variable focal lengths, then you'll need a variety of prime lenses. Let's say that you enjoy taking photos at 28mm, 100mm and 300mm.

You'll need 3 lenses, one for each focal length.

So why would anyone want a prime lens when one zoom lens can cover the entire range from 50mm to 300mm?

They're Higher Quality

Ask any professional photographer about the benefit of a prime lens and the answer will be the same: it takes clearer photos.

Since they don't have a lot of moving parts like zooms, the glass inside of a prime lens is very precise.

Is there a huge difference between photos taken with prime lenses and those taken with zooms? No, not a huge one.

But there is a difference in cost. If you want to get a zoom lens that performs as well as a prime, you're going to spend a lot of money.

If budget is an issue for you, then think about getting a really good prime lens instead of a cheap zoom. Cheap zooms are frustrating to use and don't have the optical quality of a good prime.

They Don't Weigh a Lot

Advantage number two: prime lenses are pretty light.

An 80mm to 200mm zoom lens can add a lot of weight to a digital SLR camera that is already bulky to begin with.

If you want a digital SLR camera with maximum portability, just attach a really nice 50mm lens to it and go on your way.

Small prime lenses paired with small sized digital SLR cameras are the perfect tool for the digital SLR photographer on the go.

They Aren't Expensive

Here's the best part: you don't have to break the bank to get a superior lens for your digital SLR camera.

Since they have been around for so long, and since their construction is simpler (remember, no moving parts) you can get a great prime lens for a fraction of the cost of even a basic zoom.

You can also get reasonably priced prime lenses with wide apertures that let in a lot of light. These are great lenses for photographers who hate using flash.

Get a zoom lens with a maximum aperture of f2.8 and you'll expect to pay about $1,000 or more (for a 28mm to 70mm zoom).

Get a 50mm lens with a maximum aperture of f1.8 and you'll pay more like $320.

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