Hey Everyone! Today I'm going to talk about using prime lenses and my favorite ones. Now this is not an original topic. As a matter of fact, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, "The Digital Story" by Derrick Story, and his topic was Prime Time. Here's the link Digital Story "Break out the Fast Glass" And I kind of just piggybacked off of it. Fantastic podcast by the way if you're looking for some interesting camera topics.
Prime lenses. Well, I mostly shoot zooms for what I do with all the focal lengths in one neat package, but sometimes I just love a prime. A long time ago, in the film days when you got an SLR camera, it always came with a 50mm prime lens on it and it was a good lens. Prime lenses have many advantages to them. They have very sharp focusing, they usually have a wider aperture than zoom lenses do, and they are less expensive. What's not to like? Well, they are a little old school and not as convenient as zooms as you have to use your feet to fill up the frame by getting closer. But I think zooms are fantastic. And if you're in a stay-at-home situation, what better time to pull out those old primes and see things through new eyes. Here is a list of my favorite prime lenses I have from shortest focal length to longest. Now I have a crop sensor camera, so I will give the equivalent full frame focal distance also.
Rokinon 12mm f2.0 lens. This little lens is a fantastic lens with very sharp results. This is the lens that I use mainly for astro photography and some wide-angle shots. Its full frame equivalent would be 18mm. This is a manual focus lens with manual aperture ring on lens. Its action when focusing is very smooth and a dream to work with. And to boot it is an inexpensive lens coming in at between $250 and $300.
Rokinon 24mm f2.8 lens. This is another Rokinon lens made in Korea. This is one of the lenses that I use for street photography with a full frame equivalent of 35mm. This is a good lens for close quarters with a decent aperture. This lens is very light and the construction is good, but it does have a plastic feel to it. This inexpensive lens is sharp, auto focusing and aperture is okay, and it comes in at $300.
Sony 35 f1.8 lens. This is one of my favorite lenses and travels with me often along side my zooms as a lone prime in the bag. This lens is super sharp and quick focusing, and auto aperture makes it great for street photography and general photography. The build quality of this lens is great with a metal construction, but it's still lightweight. It is a full frame equivalent of a 50mm. Maybe that's why I like it, because the film cameras used to come with 50s on them. This is a nifty 50 and comes in at $475.
Sony 50mm 1.8. This is probably one of my least used lenses, but it's great for portraits with a full frame equivalent of 75mm. This lens has auto focusing and auto aperture and is sharp. Its construction has more of a plastic feel to it, but for what I use it for it does great. Coming in at $250, it's one of the cheapest lenses on the list.
Nikon 60mm f2.8D AF Micro Lens. This is my macro lens. This is a fantastic old lens that I've had for a while. It's a full frame equivalent of 90mm, which makes it great for my crop sensor camera. I have to use a Nikon to Sony Adapter and lose all of my auto focus and aperture. It focuses smoothly with the focusing ring, and it has an aperture ring where I can dial in the aperture from 2.8 to 32. You can still buy these new in the box for a little over $500, but I got mine used when I shot Nikon and just can't get rid of it.
Notible Mentions- I do have a couple of lenses that I have used in the past that I want to give a quick shout out to, some from the film days and some from my Nikon days.
Nikon 105mm 2.8 Macro lens. If you have Nikon cameras, you must have this lens for your macro work. Just a stunning lens and sharp and built like a tank.
Nikon 75mm 1.8 Lens. Super sharp and inexpensive. I have shot some great shots with this lens, and when I sold it the person that bought it fell in love with it.
Pentax 50mm 1.4 lens. I got this lens on a Pentax MX 35mm film camera, and it's a great lens. I still use it when I shoot film with my Pentax, and I have shot it with my Sony with an adapter.
Chinion 135mm 2.8 lens. This was the first lens I ever used besides the 50mm that came on my camera. I got it from a friend and never got rid of it. It's so old that it has a screw mount on it, and I have to use an adapter to make it into Pentax and then an adapter to put on a Sony. I've only used it once or twice on digital cameras but truly loved the quality I got out of it, and it was built like a tank.
So those are some of my favorite prime lenses, and I hope you can get excited about primes like I can and put one on and get out and shoot.