3 Must-Have Prime Lenses
Prime lenses offer plenty of benefits for shooters of all types and experience levels.
The question is, which prime lenses should you have in your bag?
Whether you’re a new photographer looking to add a new lens to your bag or a seasoned pro that wants a top-quality lens, you really can’t go wrong with a 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm lens.
Why You Need a 35mm Lens
The great thing about a 35mm lens is that it’s so versatile.
You can photograph anything from people to pets, buildings to mountains, and anything in between.
That being the case, a 35mm lens gives you plenty of opportunities to challenge yourself with new types of photography. That, in turn, allows you to grow as a photographer as you explore different subject matter to capture with your lens.
Better still, 35mm lenses tend to be small and compact, which means you don’t have to carry around a huge, heavy lens when you’re out shooting, either.
In other words, if you’re looking for a highly capable, all-around lens, a 35mm is a great choice.
Why You Need a 50mm Lens
A 50mm lens or “Nifty Fifty” is perhaps the most popular prime lens.
There’s plenty of reasons for this, too.
For starters, you can pick up a 50mm f/1.8 lens for under $150. You can find even better deals when you buy pre-owned!
Since these lenses are so inexpensive, it’s an ideal choice for a beginner’s first lens. But don’t think that these lenses are just for beginners.
With such a large aperture (many 50mm lenses open up to f/1.2), you can more easily blur the background in portraits. You also have greatly expanded abilities to shoot in low-light situations or at night.
And like the 35mm lens discussed above, 50mm lenses are hugely versatile, so you can use the same lens to photograph cityscapes, landscape, portraits, and everything in between.
Why You Need an 85mm Lens
Though 85mm lenses aren’t quite as versatile as a 35mm or a 50mm, they’re still a top choice for any photographer. That’s especially true if you primarily shoot portraits.
At 85mm, you can take close-up shots without being right in the model’s face. That allows the model to relax a little so you can get more natural-looking portraits.
Another benefit of 85mm lenses is that they also open up very wide like many 35mm and 50mm lenses. The result is gorgeous bokeh that help set your portraits off.
It’s worth noting that 85mm lenses have very little distortion, which is ideal for portraiture.
Where a model’s chin, nose, and forehead might look a little enlarged when shooting with a shorter focal length, with an 85mm, these facial features look natural.
Prime lenses are known for being fast, sharp, and easy to use.
Additionally, with a fixed focal length, a prime lens will challenge you to work on your composition and framing because you can’t rely on a lens zoom to help you.
That, in turn, helps you become a more creative and capable photographer.
No matter which of these lenses you choose to add to your bag, you really can’t go wrong with a great prime lens like a 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm.