Tech Talk – Prime Lens

OK so I will firstly admit, I am a nuffy………..when I originally bought my first DSLR I thought I knew what I wanted and what everything was………I will freely admit now, I knew NOTHING!!! In my defense it is all very confusing and many staff in some major retail stores know very little as well. Next point go to a reputable camera store not an electronics store!

Nikon-AF-S-50mm-f1.8G1-300x249I purchased my camera and kit lens, a way too small camera bag, UV filters and then inquired about a macro lens,  what I bought came highly recommended for what I wanted to do (bugs and flowers). I thought I’d picked up a bargain a 50mm 1.8g Nikon lens. Now it took me awhile before I played around with it, honestly I wasn’t very impressed, it takes a magnificent photo, beautifully sharp, but not great close up; in fact I really couldn’t get that close at all; no more than 10 – 12 inches away

I have recently been reading up on Prime Lenses:

In photography a prime lens is a photographic lens whose focal length is fixed, as opposed to a zoom lens, which is variable.  A prime lens of a given focal length is less versatile than a zoom whose range includes that focal length, but is often of superior optical quality, wider maximum aperture, lighter weight, smaller size or lower cost. In comparison with a zoom lens, a prime lens has fewer moving parts and fewer optical elements which can be optimized for one particular focal length. With a less complicated lens formula they suffer from fewer problems related to optical aberration. Because their optics are simpler, prime lenses usually have a larger maximum aperture (smaller f-number) than zoom lenses. This allows photography in lower light and a shallower depth of field. – Wikipedia

My Nikon Micro-Nikkor f/1.8, 50mm is in fact a Prime lens and only 1:2 (half life size) and can get approx 10.8″ away, yes it can be used for larger Macro objects but a true macro is 1:1 life size and can get at least 4-6″ from the subject like the following

Nikon AF-S Nikkor f/2.8G ED 60mm 1:1 (life size) 6in.
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor f/3.5G ED VR 85mm 1:1 (life size) 6in.


Well at least it’s not a total loss, or is it a bonus? Now you know I do a lot of portraits and was looking at a Prime Lens, as most portrait photographers recommend a Prime Lens, as it has a larger aperture and clearer images, most of them use, I believe, an 85mm, but some have mentioned that a 55mm can be a great substitute, some even recommend a 35mm. So now I will be trying out my so called ‘Macro’ lens for my portraits, a brief trial has seen improved results in sharper focus, but it does take some getting used to a fixed lens; I have to physically move me and the camera, not just zoom in, zoom out.

So now my drama becomes, do I buy a more expensive 85mm Prime for portraits (do I need it?) and do I buy a proper macro? I find I can actually shoot a fairly decent macro with my 18-200mm zoom, just not the really, really good & close macro stuff. Perhaps I can get that 100mm I want? Oh well they say you know you are a photographer when you have more lenses than shoes………… appears that I am heading that way! lol Here are just a few happy snaps, gotta love that sharpness and DOF

Til next time, happy snapping (info and lens images from Google Images and Wikipedia)