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Pointers By Paul's Photo

Fast Prime Lenses

Every photographer needs a Fast Prime lens in their bag. The added capabilities and unique qualities of a Fast Prime lens will optimize your creativity with a (relatively) compact lens, enhance your low-light photo ability and allow for amazing blurred backgrounds.

What is a Prime Lens? Why is it a creative advantage? A Prime Lens has a fixed focal length or fixed angle of view- 50mm, 35mm or 85mm lens. Using a prime lens forces the photographer to define the angle of view and see and compose photos with a specific look or vision. Yes, using a Prime Lens is a challenge but you are rewarded often with great pictures. Prime Lenses forces the photographer to be active-moving to frame the photo properly and searching for the best angle, perspective or background.

Fast lenses feature a wide aperture that offers fantastic low-light photo opportunities. Opening the f-stop to 1.2 or 1.4 or 1.8 gives you new view on the world. Couple the fast lens with the high-ISO ability of a modern full-frame mirrorless camera and it’s never too dark to take a picture.. think about capturing a Jazz Club or Pirate of the Caribbean at Disneyland!

Wide apertures feature a very narrow focus. This shallow focus, small depth-of-field- or Bokeh look is very popular and much desired today. Accurate focus and a steady hand are required to make great photos. The shallow focus range makes superb photos for portraits, groups and scenery alike.

                                        Which Fast Prime should I carry in my bag?

50mm is the old standard. 50mm 1.2 or 1.4 or 1.8 is a awesome walking around lens that captures what your human eye sees.

Ultra-Wide lens like 20mm 1.8 or 24mm 1.4 is ideal for astrophotography, night scenery and interiors.

Wide-Angle 28mm 1.8 or 35mm 1.4 is popular for events, groups, candid and street photography.

Telephoto 85mm 1.2 or 1.4 or 1.8 is the perfect portrait lens for the stunningly crisp eyes and soft background.

Adding a Fast Prime lens to your zoom kit or building a range of prime lenses most photographers see an improvement in the look and qualities of their photos.