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'Prime' Lens?
Can someone please explain what a "prime" lens is and what the advantages are of having one? maybe post some pictures? Thanks!..

Comments (31)

Haroon08 wrote:.

Can someone please explain what a "prime" lens is and what theadvantages are of having one? maybe post some pictures? Thanks!.

Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_lens.

Most time when used (apparently in-correctly per above article), it's is in reference a a fixed focal length lens..

Couple advantages are the belief that they "tend to be" sharper than zooms and can usually have (available) larger apertures than zooms at given focal length..

Good Day,Roonal.

'Money doesn't buy happiness, but it makes for an extravagant depression' by golf tournament sportscaster..

Comment #1

Small, lightweight, fast, relatively inexpensive, generally free of distortion all at the expense of flexibility.

Haroon08 wrote:.

What the advantages are of having one?..

Comment #2

All of the above posters are correct, and primes are definitely sharper. That being said I mostly use my canon 24-105, f4 IS for my walk around lens..

Stevehttp://vette74.smugmug.com..

Comment #3

Haroon08 wrote:.

Can someone please explain what a "prime" lens is and what theadvantages are of having one? maybe post some pictures? Thanks!.

All of your previous answers are right. Main advantage of common prime lenses like 35mm, 50mm or 85mm is usually good low light ability. Even quality zooms rarely come with a wider aperture than f/2.8 whereas f/1.4 is common in primes..

My Nikon 50mm f/1.4 gives outstanding results from f/2 - f/4. Most zoom lenses are not at the their best until f/5.6 or f/8..

Chris Elliot.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #4

It's not just the sharpness. good lenses have smooth tonal gradations and transitions between sharp and out-of-focus areas while maintaining high contrast and color saturation. critical sharpness is not always necessary or desirable. look, this picture was shot with one of the best available primes, leica summilux 1.4/50.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Irakly Shanidzehttp://www.shanidze.com/en..

Comment #5

I would also like to reinforce that primes are definately sharper than zooms..

Also a good prime to start with is a "normal" lens. A 50 1.4 or even 1.8 are both particularly fast. with a full frame camera it is an excellent lens to "hone" your skills with..

That is learn first with that lens to compose and you probably will become better photographer. I have been shooting for 27 years and I find that it is always a great lens to walk around with and practice just to keep a camera in my hands and keep myself honoest.the 50 on a ff is a purest lens IMO.

A 28mm would be considered a wideangle an 80 or 105 would be a "long" or a "portrait" lens. Can be used for sports of portraits (that is not to say that one could not shoot sports or portraits with a normal or a wideangle; it is just a general rule thast longer lenses are used for these aplications. iDavid..

Comment #6

"Prime" means "primary" lens. It's the main lens attached to the body. On some point and shoots, you can add an auxiliary lens to the prime lens (which has a variable focal length)..

You can set yourself apart from the sheep by using "prime" lens properly, instead of incorrectly insisting it means Fixed Focal Length..

Let's all try to stop the debasement of our language. "Prime" is a valuable term...let's not lose it to those who use it incorrectly...

Comment #7

Doesnt it also mean that there is only one symetrical () or )( optic glass encased within the lens housing, not including any filters of course, where as others have more?.

Ty..

Comment #8

Snycer wrote:.

You can set yourself apart from the sheep by using "prime" lensproperly, instead of incorrectly insisting it means Fixed FocalLength..

The meaning of words constantly changes based upon useage as one can see from any good dictionary. I would have to accept that a dictionary definition of "prime" would now have to include FFL as one of the meanings..

Your suggestion that those who "misuse" the term are sheep is offensive to 99% plus of the readers of this site..

P.S. I hate split infinitives but I gave up making a fuss about them long ago!.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #9

Chris, it's sheep-like when people follow the crowd without thinking..

Help me out here...what's the justification for calling a fixed focal length lens a "prime lens"?.

And, please, "everyone else is doing it" isn't going to fly among adults...

Comment #10

Snycer wrote:.

Chris, it's sheep-like when people follow the crowd without thinking..

You have a link missing. It has got something to do with that word "thinking". There is an unwarranted assumption that the crowd have the means of knowing there is an alternative. Most people have never heard of a prime lens. They will accept whatever definition is given to them when first they come across the term. They will probably never be aware of an alternative description to make any form of decision to follow one path rather than another..

Help me out here...what's the justification for calling a fixed focallength lens a "prime lens"?.

What is the justification for calling a stop a stop? Short answer is common useage..

And, please, "everyone else is doing it" isn't going to fly amongadults..

Perhaps you need to live a bit longer in the real world? Would wish to fight a rearguard action against the change of useage of a word such as "gay"?.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #11

E ccan all add "Snycer" to our list of ignorant showoffs who mislead the newcomers looking for answers..

BAK..

Comment #12

Explaining the misuse of a word is misleading?.

Interesting thought process you got there, son...

Comment #13

Chris Elliott wrote:.

Would wishto fight a rearguard action against the change of useage of a wordsuch as "gay"?.

The change of the meaning of the word "gay" was the result of political action..

The change in the use of the term "prime lens" is the result of ignorancenothing more, nothing less..

Can you explain the justification for changing the meaning of "prime lens"?..

Comment #14

This is not entirely correect. there are some very sharp zooms, like canon 70-200/2.8, or contax n 24-85, or leica 28-90. at the same time, there are some pretty filthy primes, like sigma 20/1.8, for instance, and there are some that are intentionally or by design not critically sharp, like leica noctilux 50mm f/1, or contax 85/1.2.

It used to be the case that all zooms cross the board were softer than primes, but not anymore. there other characteristics that make primes lenses of choice sometimes (or most of the time in my case).Irakly Shanidzehttp://www.shanidze.com/en..

Comment #15

Exactly..

Newbies think that a "prime" somehow has something to do with focal length (and it's ability to change)..

Those of us who have been around for a few years know better...

Comment #16

Irakly, I hate to break it to you, but those zooms are also prime lenses (as opposed to auxiliary lenses)..

Don't worry, you're making a common error...but an error, nonetheless...

Comment #17

Snycer wrote:.

Can you explain the justification for changing the meaning of "primelens"?.

I don't have to explain (or justify) anything. I repeat the meaning of words changes. This is an example. You are /..

Comment #18

Chris Elliott wrote:.

I don't have to explain (or justify) anything..

In other words, you can't...which was pretty much obvious to anyone reading..

You need to wake up and post with a clear head...

Comment #19

Snycer wrote:.

Chris Elliott wrote:.

I don't have to explain (or justify) anything..

In other words, you can't...which was pretty much obvious to anyonereading..

I don't have to explain (or justify) anything. I repeat the meaning of words changes. This is an example. Get over it. There are more important things in the world. Just plough through the first hundred links on this Google search and you will see what I mean:.

Http://www.google.com/...search?hl=en&q=prime+lens&btnG=Google+Search.

You need to wake up and post with a clear head..

Coming from someone who is obsessed enough to post in the middle of the night (or is your profile incorrect?) that may say much about you..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #20

I am personally responsible for the original political actions that started the linguistic change so that "prime lens" became synonymous with "fixed focal length". I began that process 15 years ago. Where have you been?.

And what the hell is the point of where you are going?.

Nothing is enough for the man to whom nothing is enough...

Comment #21

Snycer wrote:.

Explaining the misuse of a word is misleading?.

Well Snycer I appreciate your effort and sentiment..

In formulating MY response (2nd post of thread) to the OP, to help the OP, I myself happened to learn something new.

" Correct meaning of the term ".

" The misusage of prime lens to mean fixed focal length lens has now been around for several years, and unfortunately has become widespread through the Internet and especially Usenet newsgroups, in recent years extending to printed sources as well. The misusage has become so common that now when it's used correctly, and it still is, the majority of readers are likely to misunderstand it. ".

Quote above from Wikipedia link contained here:http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1002&message=26173160.

Good Day,Roonal.

'Money doesn't buy happiness, but it makes for an extravagant depression' by golf tournament sportscaster..

Comment #22

Thank, Roonal, I appreciate it..

As I'm sure you are aware, attempting to educate the willfully ignorant can be a frustrating and thankless job...

Comment #23

Aletheia wrote:.

I am personally responsible for the original political actions thatstarted the linguistic change so that "prime lens" became synonymouswith "fixed focal length". I began that process 15 years ago. Wherehave you been?.

Heh..

And what the hell is the point of where you are going?.

Education is it's own reward...

Comment #24

Snycer wrote:.

Chris, it's sheep-like when people follow the crowd without thinking..

Help me out here...what's the justification for calling a fixed focallength lens a "prime lens"?.

Since you're determined to convince us that "Prime Does Not Mean Fixed Focal Length", EXACTLY what is the definition of PRIME LENS???? Can you point me to any web site reinforcing this definition?.

Also, maybe you could clear up a couple of things:.

If I have five lenses, which one is my 'prime' lens? The one I use the most? The one that was first mounted on the camera? The one that came with the camera? What if I bought a body only?.

And if I start using another one more than the first one, does the 'new' one now become my 'prime' lens?.

Can I only have one 'prime' lens at any one time? What if I get a new camera, can that one now have it's own 'prime' lens?.

Please enlighten us...

Comment #25

Thanks for asking. It's always refreshing to run across people who enjoy knowledge enhancement..

A prime lens is the primary lens on your camera. This is in contrast to an auxiliary (or secondary) lens, such as the wide angle and telephoto adapters you see for some point-and-shoots, or close-up lenses that are added to the front of lenses for SLRs. A teleconverter would also be considered an auxiliary lens, rather than a prime lens..

Here are examples of variable focal length prime lenses:.

Http://www.arrimedia.com/productlist.php?catalog_id=193.

I'm sure you're familiar with ARRI, one of the most respected optics companies on the planet. These lenses were designed with assistance from Carl Zeiss..

This will help you understand the concept:.

Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessory_lens.

The funny thing about all the people who insist that "prime lens" means "fixed focal length" is that not a single one of them can explain the connection between the two terms...and they get quite cranky when asked to explain the connection. That is, of course, understandable, as there is no connection...

Comment #26

Hahahahaha..

Now you're just getting silly, which I can understand, given the position you have forced yourself to defend..

But, really, pointing out what time I posted factual information does nothing to support your fallacy-filled argument...

Comment #27

Roonal wrote:.

Snycer wrote:.

Explaining the misuse of a word is misleading?.

Well Snycer I appreciate your effort and sentiment..

I suppose every delusional obsessive is entitled to one sycophantic acolyte..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #28

Chris Elliott wrote:.

I suppose every delusional obsessive is entitled to one sycophanticacolyte..

And I suppose every keyboard blowhard needs someone to rail against to make themselves feel better. You have a nice day now .

Good Day,Roonal.

'Money doesn't buy happiness, but it makes for an extravagant depression' by golf tournament sportscaster..

Comment #29

Snycer wrote:.

You can set yourself apart from the sheep by using "prime" lensproperly, instead of incorrectly insisting it means Fixed FocalLength..

Let's all try to stop the debasement of our language. "Prime" is avaluable term...let's not lose it to those who use it incorrectly..

Language and the meaning of words has changed for tens of thousands of years. I recommend you to buy a etymology dictionary and to stop using all words which have changed their original meaning. Good look for your crusade..

I bet the OP simply wanted to know what people commonly mean when talking about a "prime": A fixed focal length lens...

Comment #30

It is your opinion that when non-technical people misuse a technical term that the term should lose it's meaning?.

Psychological terms are thrown around by the common person quite sloppily. Should physicians change the DSM-IV because of that?..

Comment #31

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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