P is for Prime…

I have a preference for prime lenses – lenses with a fixed focal length (no zoom). Trying to get my head around different crop factors for different sensor sizes was confusing to start with, but I think I’m getting there now.

I’ve got a kit zoom lens for my Nikon D3000 DSLR – an 18-55mm (27-83mm equivalent, with x1.5 crop factor on APS-C) – but I rarely use it. And if I do use it, it’s usually out of necessity rather than choice because I simply can’t create whatever particular image I’m hoping to achieve with the prime lenses I currently own. I really hate losing those extra stops of light through having a higher minimum aperture, though, especially at full zoom, so wherever possible I stick to keeping a single focal length, wide aperture lens on my camera.

So for now I’m happy with either a 35mm f1.8 (50mm equivalent) standard or a 50mm f1.8 (75mm equivalent) short telephoto lens on my Nikon, and have a 14mm f2.5 wide angle pancake lens (28mm equivalent with its micro-four-thirds x2 crop factor) on my dinky little gem of a Compact System Camera, a Panasonic Lumix GF3, keeping it super-light and ultra-portable. I find these three lenses across two cameras cover most of what I want to photograph at the moment, and I just work around any on-the-spot limitations by trying to be a bit more creative, and if necessary, cropping the shot later…

I took these images the other day while out for a walk in our local park here in East London with my 35mm (50mm equivalent) standard prime – it gives the most neutral viewing angle of all my lenses, being neither wide-angle nor telephoto, so pretty much captures a scene as the eye sees it which makes it a good practical all-round lens for everyday use. I’ve kept the pics exactly as they were taken, straight out of the camera with no cropping or horizon-straightening, so you can see just how comfortably subjects can be framed with a fixed lens at that focal length whether close up or further away.

One of the good things about a standard lens is not having the kind of lens distortions that can happen with either wide-angle or extreme telephoto lenses. When I first started taking pictures with my standard lens the images looked a bit odd to me, and it took me a while to realise it was partly because any vertical lines were… well… actually vertical rather than slightly bowed inwards, which I was far more used to seeing…  bluebell-tree bluebell-woodspondtreewhite-bossombright-flower


9 thoughts on “P is for Prime…

    • Thanks Dan. The bluebells were in full bloom this time last year, but are only starting to flower this year – think I need to to keep checking on them, the whole woods become carpeted with blue when you catch it just right, and I’d hate to miss it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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