Primes Versus Zoom Lenses: Which Lens to Use and Why?

As far as I can remember, this debate has been around for so many years. There are some photographers for and against each type of lens. Some photographers prefer to use prime lenses while others prefer to use zoom lenses and there are some others who choose to use the two depending on the situation they found themselves.

Before we can go further, let's take a look at each of the lens:

What is a Prime lens?

Simply, a prime lens can be defined as a lens with just one focal length. This type of lens comes in all focal lengths which ranges from wide angle prime lens to the longer telephoto lens. They have no moving elements inside.

What is a Zoom lens?

On the other hand, a zoom lens has more than one focal lengths which a photographer can use in a single lens. The ability to shoot at both wide and longer focal lengths without the need to switch lenses in between shoot was what made this lens popular in the past couple of years.

The both types of lens have their advantage and disadvantages. You will easily find photographers that are on both sides. In this article, it is our opinion that prime lens is the best and you will learn the reasons below:

7 Reasons Why Prime Lenses Are Better than Zoom Lenses

1. Wider Aperture

One of the best attractions of prime lenses is because they allow photographers to shoot at f/1.8, 1.4 as well as at 1.2 apertures. This is a feature that is not possible with zoom lenses. If you are using zoom lenses, the widest aperture available is f/2.8.

2. Performs Better in Low Light Situation

If you are a landscape photographer, you will find yourself working in low light situation constantly. Thus, you need a lens that performs well in this type of situation. You will see a huge difference shooting at f/1.2, 1.4 or even at 1.8 when limited to using only natural light, compared to shooting at f/2.8. This is because the wider the aperture the more light allowed. Obviously, the wider aperture capability of zoom lenses makes this possible. It is the perfect lens for covering weddings, church ceremonies, and other activities where you can't use flash.

3. Avoids Lens Distortion

If you want to avoid lens distortion, you can only achieve that with prime lens. Prime lenses have fixed focal length which means there are no moving parts except for focus. Therefore, using a prime lens will yield smaller amount of distortion compared to the focal length of zoom lenses.

4. Less Bulky

If you plan on traveling with your camera, you will find prime lenses extremely convenient. Generally, they are smaller in size and weigh less when compared to zoom lenses. These lenses are more suitable for travels.

5. Product Sharper Images

Prime lenses are generally believed to produce sharper images than zoom lenses. This is because they contain no extra glass inside that moves to zoom. Hence, you will get sharper and better quality images because of less diffraction that increases with higher number of elements inside lenses as in the case of zoom lenses.

6. Create Beautiful Bokeh

If you want to capture a beautiful bokeh, you can do the job with these bad boys. Their wider aperture which will allow you to shoot at f/1.2, f/1.4 and even f/0.95 provides you with an intense background blur and very small field of focus. Moreover, it also means that your lens gets significantly sharper when stopped down.

Without a doubt, these lenses can deliver those beautiful lights known as bokeh. This is impossible with zoom lenses as it will make everything blurry and smooth.

7. Lower Price

Despite having so many advantages compared to zoom lenses, prime lenses are much more affordable. They are lower in price because they don't have moving parts.


Note that zoom lenses also have their own advantages. One of the major advantages of zoom lenses is that they have more flexibility. You can shoot at a variety of focal lengths without swapping lenses.

When it comes to prime and zoom lenses, it doesn't have to be one or the other. You can create a healthy balance between the use of both types of lenses. The important thing is to know when you need which one. You will achieve better results if you master how to combine both of them in your photography.

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