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If you only buy one lens this year...

Hope your Valentine’s Day is going well!

Have you ever taken a photo with your camera and spent several seconds messing with the lens, zooming in and zooming out to get the picture just right, only to have it turn out blurry?

There’s a solution to that problem, and it’s called a prime lens. No zoom features, no problem.

Every photographer, from a mom documenting her kid’s childhood to a professional making a living, should have a prime lens in their camera bag. If your goal is a photo with vibrant colors, wide depth, and intense sharpness, a prime lens is the perfect option. An added bonus? Prime lenses are cheaper than their zoom lens counterparts, meaning you get more bang for your buck with a wider aperture. Here are just a few reasons why a 50mm prime lens is perfect for all photographers.

1. Your Wallet Will Thank You

Stop counting your pennies on the search for a great photo! 50mm prime lenses are an incredible choice for photographers looking to capture high-quality photos at a low cost. The base Canon and Nikon versions are less than $200, providing great quality and high performance at a relatively low price. It’s easy to think saving and splurging up to $900 on a Sigma Art or Canon EF lens is the better choice, but imagine what else you could spend those pennies on. Taking your kids on a beach vacation and using a prime lens to capture better photos of them, perhaps?

 2. Super Light and Fast

Out of all the lenses I have, the Nikkor 50mm is still my preferred choice when out on the town. Prime lenses are known for their lightweight feel, which means you can keep shooting all day and not worry about feeling it in your arms the next morning. Another reason every photographer should use a prime lens? They’re a lot smaller than zoom lenses. I love the fact that I can bring it with me on every shoot without having to worry about the space it occupies in my bag.

But wait, there’s more! Prime lenses are great for capturing scenes in motion. My Nikkor 50mm is fast enough to keep up with the action wherever I am. When I mean action, of course, I mean chasing my camera-shy nephews and capturing those rare moments they’ll come to regret when they’re teenagers.

3. Great for Portraits

You’ll often hear from many photographers how popular telephoto lenses are for portraits. This is because the long focal length is better for slimming figures and faces. Yet, I’ve actually used my 50mm more often than my 85mm or 70-200mm for portrait shots. The photos come out full of life and beautifully vibrant. 

4. Wider Field-of-View

Portraits are often taken in special, unique places for a reason – prime lenses allow you to easily encompass both the subject and the background. In portraiture, I strive to capture my environment and the entire subject in a single frame. Anything longer in focal length is trickier to negotiate and makes the field-of-view too narrow.

When shooting with the 85mm, I’ll often have to take several steps back or more to accommodate my composition. Trying to encompass both my subject and surroundings in the same frame makes everything appear too distant. I prefer to photograph what I can immediately see with my eyes. The 50mm offers the convenience of capturing my entire field of view without the distortion of a much wider lens. 

Do you have a favorite lens? Share it with us in the comments below!


The Author

Eric Kinney

Eric Kinney

Photographer for Fracture. Passion for telling stories through imagery and immortalizing them through compelling mediums.