Choosing your first Prime Lens

February 10, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! Hows your week going? Mine Great! Thanks for asking. Today I want to talk about your first prime lens. There are so many which one to get? Why a prime? What is a prime? All good questions and we will answer them. When your new into photography you get a entry level camera which is awesome and the company, no matter what brand you get, will put an inexpensive lens on so you can shoot right away. Its usually a zoom lens that give you many focal lengths to play with. These Zoom lenses are called Kit lenses and can be great lenses but more than not they are cheaply built and have smaller aperture ranges. But for someone just starting they are great! So after you've shot with them a while you start thinking about your next lens purchase. Really this will be your first lens purchase. You do some research and see what all the popular pros are shooting and those lenses are expensive and seem to be made out of un-obtainium. I think your first lens purchase should be a prime lens. It only has one focal length. Instead of being a 16-55mm its AMT2016-sony-a6300-review-0423-2AMT2016-sony-a6300-review-0423-2Photographer: Anthony Thurston a 35mm or a 50mm. Instead of having a variable maximum f-stop rating of f3.5-5.6 it may have a rating of f1.8 or f2.8. These lenses are cheaper have wider apertures and are sharper than the kit lenses. So there is the why to get a prime and the what is a prime. But which one? Well let me tell you about my story. When I started in photography long, long time ago zooms were made out of un-obtainium and weren't that good or sharp. So when you bought a camera it usually came with a 50mm prime lens usually at f1.8 or 2.8. That is what you learned on and your feet were you're zoom. Now how does that help you? It doesn't I just wanted to talk about the old days. LOL Lets talk about some of the different focal lengths.

24mm is a very popular focal length now a days for VLOGing and for video most phones shoot at the widest in the 20's and the photo's that are on instagram and face book shot with phones are starting to be the normal for some folks. I think of 24 being a specialty wide angle lens and would not get this lens for my first prime. Unless your a VLOGer.

35mm is another popular lens.  It's not as wide as the 24 but wide enough for environmental portraits and Art MuseumArt Museum street photography to capture the whole scene. This lens is very popular with street photographers being able to get into tight corners of the city and still be wide enough to get the shot. This is a good choice for a first prime lens if you shoot in the city a lot or love to shoot environmental portraits.

50mm is the bread and butter lens. It is said to be the closest to how we see the world threw our own eyes. This is a good street although not as wide as the 35 but also great for portraits with the least amount of  Max Stansell Photography distortion.  Good for head shots and full length as well. They are sometimes called the nifty 50.  They can be had for just a couple of hundred or even cheaper used. This is a great value lens and I think every photographer should have one in their lens lineup. But the first one?

85mm is a portrait beast for head shots. Maybe a little too tight for everyday DavidDavid street but I would have one on me if I shot a lot of street for the longer shots that can compress a little. One of my favorite lenses to shoot portraits with. I just love how one can really blur out the background. If you take a lot of Portraits its a must have in your lens lineup. But the first one?

135mm this is another great portrait lens and the first focal length that I bought as a teenager. This lens is long enough that you can do some telephoto work with it and shoot scenes that compress (bring the background in closer) .  I actually still have that lens that is so old that it is a screw mount lens as it screws into the body of the camera instead of a bayonet type that all modern camera's have now. 

SarahSarah So which one to use? Well it depends on what type of photographer you are. If you notice in all of the descriptions above I never mentioned Landscape. I don't think that a prime lens would be my choice for landscape although you could certainly use  one It would not be my choice. The easy and simple way to check is if your using Lightroom look and see which focal length you use more often by sorting your photos by focal length. The one with the most photo's wins. That would be the focal length that I would get. But take into consideration on what your going to use the lens for .  If you take portraits then the 50 or the 85 would be great choices. If you like environmental shots then the 35 would be great. If your a VLOGer then the 24 would be great. I really don't think the 135 should be the first. I think its too specialized in what it can do and the others are more versatile. My opinion.  So there you have it which prime to get first. So until next week . Get out and Shoot!


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