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Monday, September 21, 2009

Prime Time

Prime Portrait
© 2009 Simon Hucko

This weekend my friend Matt (pictured above) came down to visit. He just picked up a brand new Nikon 35mm f/1.8 prime lens last week, and has been shooting with it ever since (I expect there will be plenty of new shots with it on his photostream soon). Inspired by his new purchase, I decided to shoot with my 50mm all weekend.

There are plenty of advantages to shooting with a prime lens. They're generally faster (larger maximum aperture), smaller, lighter, and sharper than a zoom lens in the equivalent price range. They also lock you into one focal length, which forces you to "zoom with your feet" to get the composition you want. While this may sound like a bad thing, it is a great learning tool and really makes you think about composition and perspective when you're shooting. There were times this weekend when I thought about switching back to my zoom, but I stuck with the 50 and forced myself to get creative to get the images that I wanted (or to find new shots that were more practical).

A fast prime will change the way you think about photography, and add a lot of creative possibilities to your kit. To anyone with a DSLR, I highly recommend picking up a 50mm f/1.8 (available for any system, usually around $100) or the new Nikon 35mm f/1.8 (around $200 retail). I don't usually talk gear here, but a fast prime really is a worthy investment, and lets you take shots that you just can't get with a kit zoom (nice blurred backgrounds, low light no flash photos, etc).


Note to Nikon DSLR users: If you shoot with an entry level Nikon DSLR (D40/60/3000/5000), the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 will not auto-focus on your camera. I strongly recommend spending the extra for the 35mm f/1.8, both for the auto-focus and for the wider field of view (better for shooting indoors).


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1 comment:

  1. I could not agree more - love my 50mm 1.8! It is also absolutely a must for any kind of indoor low light photography. Most food bloggers use a 50mm for their blog posts I think.