Photographers face many difficult choices, but there is one which torments every photographer at one point, either he is an amateur or a professional. What type of lens should one buy?
As you’ve already assumed, the choice is based on the photographed subjects, the financial resources and the benefits each lens has to offer. There are two types of lenses: zoom lenses and prime lenses.
Understanding the prime lenses
Prime lenses don’t offer the zoom function as they have a fixed focal length. The only way you can get all the details in the shot is to get closer to your target. Prime lenses have two customizable functions, which are the aperture and the focusing distance.
The advantages of prime lenses
Prime lenses offer a generally better image as they are built for that. Zooming can distort the focus on wide images, as it is harder to make an all-distances lens to offer high quality pictures.
Usually prime lenses are smaller and lighter. This is a matter of great importance when you want to move around a lot with your camera. Also, the sight of smaller lenses can chase away stage fright that some people get in front of a professional camera.
Prime lenses have wide maximum apertures and can let more light in, being helpful on portraits and giving a brighter image. But this aspect can be easily overcome by a camera with a high ISO performance, which levels up the difference of the aperture width between the two types of cameras.
The financial point of view scores a point for the prime lenses, which are more economical than zoom lenses, offering the same quality level of the image.
Zoom lenses pros and cons
Zoom lenses have a variable focal length which can be adjusted along with the aperture and the focusing distance.
Advantages and disadvantages of zoom lenses
Zoom lenses are more easy to work with in certain un-friendly conditions and help you protect the camera. They can also be a money saver if you buy a zoom lens instead of multiple prime lenses.
The nasty side of the trade come in quality as zoom lenses don’t offer the same image quality on all the focal length range. But there is a compromise to be made and you can buy zoom lens with short focal range, somewhere around 24-77mm.
Variable aperture is also undesirable and you can avoid it only by paying more for a zoom camera.
But the huge advantage given by the zoom camera is that you don’t need to move all the time. This gives you the chance to shot amazing scenery and inaccessible places. You can also protect your camera by using zoom lenses and avoid going too close to water, dusty beaches or other places which can harm the camera.
The decision of buying one kind of lenses is always left at the photographer’s choice since only the photographer can figure out which type of lens meets his expectations.