A Primer on Prime Lenses


For photography enthusiasts seeking to expand their horizons from pictures made with a mobile phone or a point-and-shoot, the major benefit in of upgrading to a DSLR or mirrorless camera system is the ability to swap out different lenses to fit your specific needs. Prime lenses are available in all lengths and varieties and offer numerous advantages in performance when compared to their zoom-lens brethren. Also, the particular choices associated with sticking to a specific focal length can help improve your photographic technique, as well as help you learn. And, a new prime lens can expand your capabilities with features such as a larger aperture for more effective low-light shooting or a specialized capability that enables you to get the close-ups you’ve always dreamed about.

Prime versus Zoom

Zoom lenses are incredibly convenient. They cover a wide range of focal lengths in a single package, and you don’t have to waste time constantly swapping out lenses to create the composition you desire. However, this huge strength also becomes their weakness. Designing a lens for optimal performance at multiple focal lengths is difficult, meaning that there will be some trade-offs in performance and size. Not to say there aren’t good zooms—there are—but they usually come with a premium price tag.

On the other hand, prime lenses are optimized to a specific focal length or purpose. This means that optical performance is generally much better and that the lenses can be made with larger apertures while still maintaining a fairly compact size. Another benefit is that a prime lens will have fewer moving parts, so there is less of an opportunity for problems to appear from general use. Generally, primes perform better than their zoom counterparts and are sharper, with fewer visible aberrations. These differences can be very apparent, especially with the high-resolution sensors currently available in modern DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

A prime is on the left and a zoom on the right. The size difference is very easy to see.

Another major difference is the inability to zoom for changes in composition. This requires a photographer to be more thoughtful in their process and to move around a bit more, since they can’t rely on a zoom lens to change perspective. This makes choosing a focal length one of the most important decisions when considering a prime lens.

Choosing a Focal Length

Different focal lengths are better suited to certain subjects or styles; this is why you will constantly see lenses like the 85mm referred to as a “portrait” lens, or the 35mm as a “street” lens. This has a lot to do with field of view and what you need the lens to do. Capturing cramped interiors will be the domain of the wide or extreme wide-angle lens, whereas distant wildlife or sports will obviously require the use of a telephoto lens.

Besides the obvious, different focal lengths have their own attributes and looks. For example, the longer the lens is, the shallower the depth of field will be when compared to a wider lens at the same aperture setting. The background of an image made with a 100mm lens at f/2.8 will be less distinct than that of a 35mm at f/2.8. Also, telephoto lenses tend to flatten features and compress space, making the background elements appear much closer to the subject than a wide-angle lens would. This is why an 85mm is a popular choice for portraiture; it has good background separation due to shallow depth of field and will flatten a subject’s features slightly for a more flattering image. Wide angles will exaggerate perspective, and will make subjects appear distorted, but they can capture a larger area and are well suited to architecture, landscapes, and other types of photography where dramatized elements are wanted.


Keep in mind that sensor size will affect the effective angle of view captured, and that lenses are commonly given a 35mm equivalent focal length for use with different formats, such as a DSLR with an APS-C sensor. A 50mm lens mounted on such a camera, with a 1.5x crop factor, for example, will have an equivalent focal length of 75mm. This doesn’t mean that the specific qualities of the lens have changed, a 50mm is still a 50mm, just that the area captured is similar to that of a 75mm lens on a full-frame camera, as if you had cropped the image in post.

Choosing a Focal Length

A benefit of this is that users can enjoy more reach from their longer lenses. This can convert already far-reaching lens options to longer equivalent focal lengths, which may not be available otherwise. For example, Nikon’s AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens or Canon’s EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM become equivalent 900mm and 960mm lenses respectively, which is longer than either company’s current longest lens at 800mm.

Some manufacturers take the popularity of crop-sensor cameras into account when making lenses. This means that some prime lenses work properly only on APS-C or smaller sensors and will not provide full coverage when using a full-frame camera. This does allow lenses to be much smaller than what is required to achieve equivalent focal lengths with a full-frame lens. FUJIFILM does this with its APS-C mirrorless camera series by releasing 23mm, 35mm, and 56mm lenses, which are equivalent to the popular, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm lenses on full-frame cameras.

However, if you do own a crop-sensor camera and your brand offers full-frame options, you should consider whether you would like to eventually upgrade to the larger sensor later on. If so, crop-sensor lenses will not work on your later camera, though full-frame lenses will work properly on crop-sensor cameras. Purchasing full-frame-compatible glass now can save you time and money later.

There are other features, such as maximum aperture, minimum focus distance, and autofocus motors, which play a significant role in any final lens choice, but focal length remains the most important consideration.

Standard Lenses

One of the most common options for prime glass is the standard or normal lens. These lenses have an angle of view close to 45°, which replicates the perspective seen by our eyes. This is a good first lens for beginners because it is easy to imagine what your images will look like before you even put the viewfinder up to your eye. In 35mm terms, these lenses fall between 40mm and 65mm, though the 50mm is the most popular and well-known option.

Standard prime Lenses

Many prominent photographers have claimed the “nifty fifty as their favorite lens, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the most important photojournalists of the Twentieth Century, and an icon for amateur and professional street photographers. He famously used a 50mm lens almost exclusively for its ability to act as “an extension of (the) eye,” permitting photographers to trap life in a frame that resembles the way we experience the world.

Normal primes are also well liked because they are easy to manufacture, inexpensive, and generally reliable due to their simple design. Also, manufacturers tend to make multiple varieties of this lens for all levels of photographers, be it beginner, amateur, or professional. Lenses like Nikon’s AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G and Canon’s EF 50mm f/1.8 STM are great budget options with wide maximum apertures that can dramatically expand a beginner’s capabilities compared to a kit zoom lens. And, for more advanced needs, there are higher-quality optics like ZEISS’s Otus 55mm f/1.4 lens, designed to provide near-perfect imagery, at a cost.

Telephoto Lenses

Beyond a normal lens, photographers can find themselves wanting or needing a little more reach this is where telephoto lenses come in handy. Telephotos typically have focal lengths greater than 80mm and can extend to upwards of 400mm, though at that point they are usually referred to as super telephotos.

Short to medium telephotos are the first branches of this category and include the popular 85mm, 100mm, and 135mm options. Each of these lenses has a slightly different perspective, but the longer the focal length, the more compression, shallower depth of field and, obviously, the greater the distance you can be from your subject. Portraiture generally sees the use of these shorter lengths because photographers like to maintain a reasonable working distance to their subjects, since yelling across a field on a windy day isn’t ideal. Also, shorter telephotos are easier to shoot handheld and can be less intimidating, without losing the benefits of shallow depth of field and flatter features.

Standard telephotos and super telephotos are the next level of lens and offer the huge advantage of distance. If you need to capture a faraway subject, like a rare bird or a football player downfield, there is really no other choice. The drawback to these larger lenses is the size and aperture. The longer the focal length, the larger the aperture required, which makes options like an 800mm f/2 lens practically impossible. But, aperture is an important consideration when purchasing a telephoto lens, especially if you are considering the use of teleconverters.

Additional size and weight, coupled with the narrow field of view, make image stabilization an essential feature of telephotos, especially once you exceed a focal length of 200mm. This technology will correct for camera shake, especially since the longer lengths amplify its appearance. Image stabilization is incredibly useful for shooting at slower shutter speeds and low ISOs, by allowing users to capture photographs that would have otherwise been impossible. Additionally, video shooters will greatly benefit from this technology, because it will dramatically smooth out handheld footage.

Wide-Angle Lenses

Sometimes you just can’t fit everything into the frame, whether it’s a group picture or your favorite piece of architecture. Wide-angle lenses, usually found at focal lengths of less than 40mm, fill in this gap with their large angles of view. They work well for landscape and architectural photography, as well as street photography, with the 35mm lens commonly found attached to a photojournalist’s camera.

Options like the 28mm and 35mm will slightly expand your field of view, which makes them critical to some users. Beyond just getting a tad more captured in the frame, wide angles offer a couple of notable benefits, due to their design. One of these is deep depth of field, caused by the shorter focal length. While not ideal for portraits, the ability to capture entire scenes in focus is great for landscapes and architectural photography. Also, photojournalists are afforded more room for focusing errors with split-second shots.

There is one other popular wide-angle category: the fisheye lens. Circular fisheyes cover the widest angles of view, with lenses such as Rokinon’s 8mm f/3.5 HD Fisheye lens. Offering a powerful circular image on a full-frame camera or a 167-degree angle of view with dramatic, exaggerated perspective when used with an APS-C camera, this type of novelty glass is great for infusing an image with some creative distortion and a very distinct look.

Specialty Lenses

The specificity of prime lenses allows them to be used as a high-performing optic with a dedicated purpose. Macro lenses are one type of specialty glass that enable extremely close minimum focusing distances, often with a 1:1 magnification ratio for true-to-life captures. Macros are available in a variety of sizes, from wide to telephoto, though more commonly you will see telephoto options like the AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED from Nikon. Such focal lengths offer users a good working distance so that you won’t accidentally block light from hitting your subject or scaring away a tiny insect. If still life and product photography, or extreme close-ups of blooming flowers and other natural beauties are subjects of your photographic interest, then a prime macro lens is uniquely suited to help achieve the best image quality possible.

Another type of specialty optic is the tilt-shift lens. These lenses allow you to adjust the relationship between the lens plane and the sensor plane to correct converging lines, reduce perspective distortion, or to achieve more or less depth of field than typically possible. The advantages of these lenses are dramatic, and they offer are the only in-camera way to get movements similar to a large format camera on a DSLR or mirrorless camera body. Image flaws such as keystoning, when shooting upwards at a building, can now be corrected in-camera to avoid the headache sometimes associated with dramatic edits made in Photoshop.


What is your favorite flavor of prime lens? Is there a specific focal length you’d like to try out, but haven’t had the chance to acquire yet? Whatever your fancy, please tell us about it in the Comments section, below.


Very interesting article. I have just moved from a dslr set up: Olympus e5; 7-14; 14-35; 50-200; because of the bulk and weight of the set up. My initial thought was to go for a smaller sensor mirrorless set up, but as the Sony a7r2 is such a bargain I looked at that system instead, figuring that with a careful choice of primes I could get the best of both worlds of sensor size and resolution plus smaller gear. I did a list of my last 100 photographs that I was pleased enough with to post on Flickr and found that 20% were taken at 24mm so I have bought 24mm and 50mm primes to go with it. A telephoto will wait, and I liked your reminder about tele converters and aperture. 


Thanks for your comment Guy, it sounds like this article was a real eye opener for you! What a great idea to review your best photographs and identify a common focal length. Here's hoping that your Sony mirrorless will help you make some great pictures using your new primes, with much greater ease!

Great artical for beginners answers so many questions if read carefully! 

I do have one suggestion for the image of focal leangth comparison. Have the lines that show the coverage alternate in color so it is easier to track the coverage.


No credits for photos so is the author the creator of all photos in article?

Came upon the photo of the girl with red hair doing a google search and I really love that photo. The expression, the wind blowing the hair, colors and background. Everything works so well in it.

Hi Gregory, thanks for writing in with a compliment on the image we used. Since there are no photo credits for this article I expect that the images were licensed from a stock image company. Our primary source for stock images is Shutterstock. Thanks again for your interest and for reading the Explora blog.

I enjoyed reading this rticle until you started to call the APS-C sensor a crop-sensor. Do you call the 1" sensor a crop-sensor? Or the 4/3 sensor a crop- sensor? Then why call the APS-C sensor a crop-sensor. It's not. 

As I've said before the APS-C sensor cameras are the 35mm cameras of the digital age. Get used to it FF users because your cameras just aren't pratical for everyday and all day usage. 

PS: I love primes and for that reason I left my Nikon DX cameras in the closet and I'm now a Fuji X series shooter.

Correction: ALL digitals are crop sensors unless stated that the camera is a full-frame sensor. There are only three types of sensors at this point and my knowledge. Point and click cameras are diminishing in the cell phone age.


Note, also, that a 35mm camera that is not full-frame is 1.6 smaller than the size of a full-frame. It is simple math no different from converting miles to kilometres or vice versa:


• APS-C crop sensor focal length to EQUIVALENT FOV full frame focal length - MULTIPLY by 1.6

• Full Frame focal length to EQUIVALENT FOV for APS-C crop sensor - DIVIDE by 1.6

yes canuckman, john krill obviously knows that.  I am canadian but lived in the states for a decade.  It seems when browsing websites 'canucks' seem to make the most annoying comments and are self righteous.  Makes me embarrased. Notice that you did not receive a reply from John, silence is telling.

in other words, you missed his real point

I would like to start a YouTube channel . I have the Sony a6000 with the 16-50mm. I was told for autofocus I would have to get a lager lens . Which would you recommend? 

Hi Jo -

It sounds to me like you are looking for this lens:

The black Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens is a prime portrait-length lens featuring a bright f/1.8 maximum aperture and a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 75mm. The lens has a lightweight and compact design with an aluminum alloy lens barrel and engraved focusing ring to provide greater handling as well as an aesthetic appearance. Greatly benefitting handheld usage with this lens is Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, which works to minimize the appearance of camera shake by up to four shutter speed steps to support use in low-light conditions.

I am shooting with a Sony a600 and have 4 lenses: the Zeiss Touit f/4 1670 zoom, the Zeiss Touit 2.8 12mm, the Zeiss Touit 1.8 32mm, and the Zeiss 1.8 55mm.  I prefer using prime lenses vs. the 1670.  I like the sharpness of a prime lens and have had difficulty with dust intrusion into the 1670 zoom in windy, dusty conditions.  I'd also prefer an f2.8 vs. the f4 on the zoom.  To enable me to do macro photography and to provide a telephoto for shooting church interiors and close-ups of architectural details, I am thinking of selling the 1670 and buying the Zeiss 2.8 90mm macro lens.  Would the 90mm work well for architectural and landscape details where a telephoto is needed, or would I be better off staying with the 1670?  Or do you have another suggestion?  Thanks.

If you think you could use a lens that is slightly more telephoto than the 16-70mm, then the 90mm would be a solid option.  It would be a great option for getting close up shots of detail work, and also images of objects slightly further away.  If you find that you mostly use the 16-70mm for the 70mm, and can suffice with your primes to cover the rest of the range, I think the 90mm would definitely suit.  Especially if you find that you prefer using prime lenses.  It would definitely be the best option for a telephoto prime amongst the current E-mount lens selection. 

Thanks.  I do use the 1670 primarily for the full zoom.  I love the crisp sharpness of the primes.  It is a nuisance to change lenses, and risky in a dusty environment, but as I've mentioned, I had the dust problem with the 1670.  Will I need a tripod with the 90mm, or will OSS really help with camera shake?  I haven't sprung for a tripod yet, mostly because it's awkward when traveling in a group.  Do you have a recommendation for a moderately priced travel tripod that is super compact and will hold the a6000 with the 90mm lens?


You should be able to shoot the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Lens hand held as long as there is a reasonable amount of light.  The OSS will give you a couple more stops to work with, and the a6000 should be able to shoot at fairly high ISO before noise becomes noticeable.  That being said, you might look at the MeFOTO BackPacker Travel Tripod for your a6000.  It’s an extremely compact and light weight travel tripod that would be more than capable of supporting your a6000 and lenses. 

I agree with the first part of you answer about being able to hand hold. 

But my experiance with light weight travel tripods is they offer very little added stablity. I would hesitate to recomend them with out a disclamier.


Thank you for this article. I have been shooting auto since 2008/9. Finally, I have the time to shoot manual. It was difficult to transition to manual until now. I have challenged myself to shoot in low light settings. Recently, I didn't understand why my 28-70mm zoom lens couldn't open up to pass f/4.5 with an ISO of 400 without my subject looking blurry or grainy...Then I spoke to an instructor regarding prime lenses...Now, I will be looking into a 55mm f/1.8 and 90mm f/2.8 prime lens for Sony A7.


Wonderful article. I'm learning to use prime lenses for my T5i. I already have the nifty-50 and am looking at the 24mm 2.8. I was wondering if a 35 or 40mm was necessary if I have the 50 and 24.


A 35mm prime might be a nice addition to a kit with 24mm and 50mm prime lenses.  Though, I would start out shooting with the 24mm and 50mm for a bit.  You might find that these two focal lengths cover everything you need.  If you do find that you’re missing something betwixt the two, I would definitely suggest looking into one of Canon’s 35mm prime lenses.  

Thank you very much for this great article, I am new to photography and this article helped me a lot. I am going to buy my first prime lens for my Sony A6000, but the Sony lens is a little bit too pricey for me, so my first option is Sigma lens, but I was told that Sony does not allow third party lens manufacturers to utilize full screen hybrid focus area in intelligent auto or superior auto, I would like to know more details about that. Does it mean that I will have a very slow auto focus when I use a third party lens? Does it have a big impact on performance?

According to Sony, the camera's Fast Hybrid AF feature can only be utilized by Sony lenses.  Other 3rd party lenses such as Sigma's options will be able to autofocus, but not as quickly as the Sony options.

See the following link for a list of all the lenses compatible with Fast Hyrbid AF and the A6000 camera:  http://bit.ly/1MSErwo

I have a few questions about lens. Okay so I have a Canon Rebel t3i and I own the kit lens (55mm) and a zoom lens (75mm) and I make YouTube videos. I was wondering what would be the best lens for filming video (preferably full body) and make the background extrmemely blurry. I am currently chosing between the Sigma 30mm because I heard awesome reviews about it and the Canon 50mm because it gives a similar effect as the 30mm but is a lot cheaper. Thank you! :)

What lens to go with would really depend on how much room you have.  If you have enough room to get a full body shot with a 50mm, then I would likely go with the Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM.  If you upgrade to one of Canon’s cameras with autofocus during video, the quiet smooth STM motor will be key for video.  Though, if you have limited space, you might need to go with a wider lens such as the Sigma 30mm f/1.4.  An easy way to get a feel for what focal length would best meet your needs would be to spend some time shooting your 18-55mm at 50mm, and then at 30mm.  That would give you a better since for which focal length would have the angle of view you want.  Both would allow for a shallow depth of field when shooting wide open. 

Nice article.  I would like to see an article just like this in the future but only pretaining to 1.5 cropped sensors.  The lens that would represent a 35mm and 50mm and 105mm as opposed to what they are on full frame and what the f stop becomes and the depth becomesbecause of the crop.  It is easy to understand the formatting done with a 35mm lens on a full frame camera but a lot of people do not consider the fact that there are fundamental differences with APS sensors.


As an example if a person is shooting with a 100mm 2.8 lens on a cropped sensor it becomesa 150mm lens on that cropped sensor.  Does that not change the minimum shutter speed one can shoot at?




I will make the suggestion to do an article as you've requested but I cant promise one as a result.  We do our best to keep our topics and artciles useful and relevant and we always welcome any feedback.  Thank you.

As far as your question goes about a cropped sensor and a full frame lens, such as the 100mm f2.8 and the minimum shutterspeed one can shoot handheld at goes yes, it could change the minimum shutterspeed one could shoot at, but its a nominal change that I've  honestly never had to consider as a game changer or pitfall.  Going by the shutterspeed/focal rule -  one's shutter speed should resemble to the focal shooting at for a minimum speed to yield a sharp image with.  With a 100mm focal  your shutterspeed would be 1/125th of a second (unless your using a camera that allows for fractional shutter speed stop selection).  With 100mm f2.8 on a crop sensor of 1.5x and its new field of view being 150mm f2.8, I would say that 1/125th of a second would or could possibly suffice here depending on the particular subject.  Taking it up to 1/250 of a second would be prudent.  With the 1.5x factor it is closer to a fraction of a stop, which at the end of the day is easy to compensate for in either direction. 

Hi there, thank you for this article, nice.

What would be your advice for a multi-purpose lease compatible full-frame ? My wish would have been the Tamron 18-200 (wide enough with great Tele) but not compatible full-frame !

Thanks in advance.

So I may search compatible options for you, can you please indicate what specific model camera you are inquiring about such a lens for?  Thank you in advance. 

article says : " slower the aperture"    did you mean "lower the aperture"  

Thanks for the question Don Low.  I believe the author was trying to suggest that wide-angle primes normally don't offer as wide a maximum aperture as do standard length (50mm) lenses, however we also felt the sentence was a bit confusing so we edited the piece to clarify.  Thank you again.   

I wish the article would have referenced the Sigma 50mm 1.4 ART lens. This is an incredible lens and should be recognized as an excellent alternative to Nikon and Canon lens. Bench reviews put it at near the same as the Zeiss and field use makes it even more appealing as the cost is a quarter of the Zeiss. There are lots of online reviews available --- take the time to read them before making a purchase.

"A good workman never blames his tools."

I went from a 50mm/f1.2 to a 100mm/F2.8 a couple of years ago and never looked back. It works perfectly for most everything I need.

I am learning about high end DSLR cinematography. Just wondering which prime lenses are good for the cinematography because some people preffer to have 24mm and 35mm but the other may buy 20mm, 24mm and 28mm lenses. Could anyone let me know the big difference in all those lenses. I do wedding cinematography so just wondering whinch lens is best for me.

Thanks in advance. 

There is no right or wrong answer to your question.  The best lens for any particular shot or scene could change, and each prime lens offers a different field of view/width.  If you are using a zoom lens now, it would pay take some video clips with it and see what focal you most commonly use throughout the various test shots you take.  Otherwise you may wish to borrow/rent prime lenses so that you can get a feel for how each one views on your camera until you see a perspective that appeals to you.  Most shooters would have a wider range of lenses in their kit bag to accommodate each scene’s potentially different need.  If you like, you may email us at [email protected] and indicate what specific model camera you are using, and list all the lenses you currently have for it and which  you use the most, and also what types of shots you envision capturing with a prime lens and our agents there can offer you specific recommendations.

Below is a link to Canon USA’s website to a specific page with a focal length comparison tool, so you  may see how one width compares in the same scenario to the next. 


Thank you for a great article! I didn't know about the distortion and compression aspects of the lenses. The article says of normal lenses, "In 35mm terms, these lenses fall between 40mm and 65mm, though the 50mm is the most popular and well-known option."

I understand that, on a FF camera, lenses between 40mm and 65mm are considered normal; a 28mm lens will distort my subject a little (close-up shots), and a 135 mm lens will flatten my subject’s features. My question is: what determines this distorting or flattening effect? Is it angle of view or focal length? 

In other words, if I use a crop sensor camera like Canon 70D, and a 28mm EF lens, will faces in close-up shots look slightly distorted, like what we expect a 28mm lens on a FF camera would do, or will the faces look more normal, like the ones taken with a (hypothetical) 44.8mm EF lens on a FF camera? 

Thanks in advance!

Essentially you're on the right track in regards to your understanding of how the lenses behave on the APS-C camera.  What I would state is that a 28mm EF lens on your 70D will have a narrower field of view (due to the 1.6x magnification) but there could be some noticeable distortion still depending on your angle and distance to the subject.  When I purchased my first DSLR many years ago I was working with a 24mm lens on a Nikon DX body (1.5x factor there) and I was less impressed with the images due to the cropping.  It would not quite appear the same as a 44.8mm lens on a full-frame camera (it would appear similar but possibly some noticeable distortion).  On the wider side of focals and APS-C cameras, I would more commonly recommend buying lenses such as the EF-S models which are optimized for the format.

Interesting topic, great article, I use the 35 50 85 100 and 200 can0n primes. lovde the 17-40 for use on crop becomes a 24-70 and wide on full frame. 70-300 is is good for low light 70-200 f4 is good for outdoors, 5d 50 1.4 mm is my favorite daily lense.  thanks, tito

I use both... But the whole zoom vs prime thing is kind of annoying. Use what you need to get the shots you want, and nothing more. 

I use an 18-70 and 70-300 on DX, plus a 30mm 1.4 and 50mm 1.8. I simply don't need anything else. 

If I was shooting weddings I'd upgrade to FX and get a fast 35/85 combo. Other needs require a 2.8 mid-range zoom, etc. etc. 

An artist might only want a 50mm. 

A landscape guy might want a prime 10mm, etc etc.

I also hate the whole post processing aspect, it's not fun, and very time consuming. That's why I think multiple lenses is a better and more fun solution than trying to crop, edit, etc etc. The most I do in post is maybe adjust the brightness/contrast and saturation a bit in lightroom, then I'm done. Most of the time I just pull straight off the camera. 

A great lens for travel photography and architectural/urban photography is a 20 2.8 especially with a high resolution full frame camera. With Lightroom, I can crop if necessary.

Very informative and topical. There is one point, and almost the most important for me is: With today's lens quality and amazing pin-point focus and high definition pixel rate, it is certainly better to use a good prime lense and use the digital zoom. This enables the user to have more versatility in picture composition.

The lens I use most is my 100mm/ macro, followed by my 50mm. It's usually pretty easy to back up or move forward a couple steps as needed.:) I carry a few zooms but they haven't seen the light of day for a while.



I respectfully enjoy using both Nikon Prime and  Nikon Zoom lenses. Primes are expensive, heavy but precise. Zooms are cheaper in cost, lighter in weight plus have an expandable range to shoot wide to telephoto but with a very slight image quality loss. An even mix of lenses will cover all types of jobs. I own several lenses, and have found I like Nikon's lens construction and weight of their lenses to be the best. I have owned Canon cameras and lens in the past. The article is interesting and informative. Remember to add a converter 1.4x to increase your range. I found adding a 2x is too many f- stops lost and some Nikon lenses recommend not to use the 2x converter. One other bit of information most large telephoto lenses should be mounted on a strudy tripod but zooms can be hand-held, very helpful when one is on a tree limb shooting...

"If you do, crop-sensor lenses will not work on your later camera, though full-frame lenses will work properly on crop-sensor cameras."

I don't think this is entirely true, at least for Nikon cameras.  You are able to use a crop-sensor lens on a FF nikon camera, albeit, in crop mode.  However, from what I understand, Canon EF-S lenses (APS-C) will not mount on a FF Canon camera due to the different mounting system.  EF (FF) lenses will however mount on a Canon APS-C camera body.


I do not know Nikon but I do know crop sensors.  The important point you gloss over is "IN CROP MODE."  For a crop lens to work on a full frame bodyyou need to block part of the sensor or you will get an image surrounded by a lot of negative space.  Crop specific lenses are lighter and smaller becase the image "cone" is designed to fit the crop which is why they do not work on full frame.

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