Yes the video is just 5 reasons but in this post you get a bonus 6th reason you should own a prime lens. Watch, read and let me know your thoughts on prime lenses in the comments below.

What is a prime lens?

A prime lens has a fixed focal length; it doesn’t zoom. Why would you want a lens that doesn’t zoom? 5 Reasons below!

What are the advantages of prime lenses?

  1. Prime lenses often offer very wide maximum apertures, ideal for isolating your subjects from the background and capturing beautiful bokeh(background out of focus).
Screenshot 2014-07-06 12.18.09
Shallow depth of field allows for better subject isolation (on right) and better bokeh.
  1. Those wide apertures also allow you to maximizing the light entering your camera. Keep your aperture wide and you can then keep your shutter speed higher or your ISO lower. This makes prime lenses a good choice for low light photography.
Screenshot 2014-06-30 14.56.12
Comparing the light gathering abilities of a typical kit lens vs a typical prime lens.
  1. Because of their smaller and simpler construction, prime lenses have fewer moving parts which means less distortion and better quality images than your typical zoom lenses.
  1. Reasons 1 through 3 means you get a better value for your money as primes are often hundreds of dollars cheaper than zoom lenses.
  1. They are often smaller and lighter compared to typical zoom lenses – making primes a great choice when you want to travel light.

Screenshot 2014-07-06 12.28.47


  1. Forcing yourself to use a prime encourages you to move to achieve the frame you want, as opposed to the lazy zoom in out and approach and moving and thinking critically about your framing is a good habit to build as a photographer.

Let me know in the comments your favorite prime lens and your favorite reason(s) for attaching a prime lens to your camera.

I have recommended prime lenses for Canon and Nikon and 5 tips for sharper images

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 I doubt many Amish have seen the movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off but I can't get this quote out of my head "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." On our last day in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania we were treated to a beautiful sunrise, an Amish dairy farm tour, a buggy ride and beautiful blue skies. I had a few Amish buggy photos and wanted to try a panning shot - I talk about how to capture shots like this in my popular Shutter Speed Explained video - Watch at *  Captured with the #Sony #a7RII and #Canon #70200L at 70mm and 1/30 second
 #oink Farm life in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania ...That'll do, pig.
 They all had dreams. They all had family. They died for us. Arlington National Cemetery is a heavy place, I can't help but think about all the pain and suffering when presented with row upon row of a headstone representing a fallen soldier and my mind boggles that this still happens today. On this little planet hurtling through an incomprehensible ginormous space - some people think it is ok to kill each other. :( p.s. You should google Cornelius H. Charlton - his story is interesting p.p.s My grandfather is buried in Arlington- my Mom's father was instrumental in designing and implementing early radar systems for the Navy in WW2. Captured with the #Sony #a7RII and #Canon #70200L at 200mm and f/3.2

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  1. I have two primes for each camera. My Nikon are 24mm f/2.8 and 50mm f/!.8 and both used. On my Olympus I have a 25mm f/ 1.8 and a 45mm f/1.8 for portraits. And it’s one sweet lens too. I like primes because they are fast and light to carry. My cameras are Nikon D750 and Olympus E-M1.

    • I like the Canon 100 f/2.8L Macro. Not only do I get nice macro shots, but awesome portrait shots with good Bokeh.

  2. Toby, after your recommendation late last year i purchased the “nifty 40”–my first prime. i’ve loved what i’ve done with it so far. it was great on my Christchurch walkabout in Feb–very light to carry on such a hot day–and the images i captured were much better than the same ones i took on my 24-105 (as i experimented). thank you!

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