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Old 01-06-2015, 10:53 PM
Location: Neptune Beach, FL.
1,049 posts, read 1,275,001 times
Reputation: 2453


I have only been taking photos for about 8 months now, and I was wondering ... to improve my photos should I get a prime lens and if so which one should I get. I have a Nikon D90 that came with an 18-105 and a70-300mm lens as a package deal I got off of Craigslist. I guess my main question is, in your opinion what prime lens should I get? (35, 50, 85 or ???) Thanks for any advice or opinions in advance.
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Old 01-06-2015, 11:38 PM
28,460 posts, read 81,537,147 times
Reputation: 18676
The odds of switching from a zoom to a lens of fixed focal length having any visual "improvement" is your pictures is so remote as to be laughable.

While the theoretical resolving power of some zoom lenses may be less impressive than some fixed focal length lenses the degree to which you'd have enlarge your pictures would probably mean you'd end up covering a billboard...

Honestly even if you got the cheapest piece of junk zoom lens from a secondhand store the range of things that would have to be wrong with it before it would negatively impact any comparison to a normal enlargement of a scene taken with a fixed focus lens would mean the lens would be basically inoperable...

So, why do primes exist? Number one would be ease of handling -- fixed focal length lenses are lighter and smaller. That won't improve image quality but can make carrying easier and I supppose if you don't take your camera out enough that could explain why you are not happy with image quality.

The second advantage that primes have is that they do tend to have a f ratio -- smaller minimum f stop means greater ability to gather light. That could be an advantage if you are at the limit of sensitivity but that is not really an issue except is really le light.

The third advantage is similarly more "edge case" -- fixed focal length lenses can achieve focus a hair faster than a zoom. This really is so remote a factor that I hesitate to mention, after all every major sports / news photography that makes a living having good shots relies almost exclusively on zooms -- if it good enough for them to grab well focused shots of high speed sports or breaking news events believe me that is NOT some reason to give up on zooms...

It is your money but you won't benefit from spending money on primes ...
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:52 AM
Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
414 posts, read 1,043,992 times
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You have two zoom lenses that cover a really good range, so if I were you, my next step would be to purchase a prime lens. chet everett makes some good points, but if you're in the market for a prime, the positive aspects of the lens will outweigh any hassle--even if you find yourself going back to the zooms on a regular basis. That is rather the point of having an interchangeable lens camera, so you can switch based upon your needs.

A prime lens will typically be lighter, more compact and have fewer moving parts than a zoom lens, making it easy to carry around. They're generally faster lenses than zooms, especially when you're talking low-to-mid range prices. A wider aperture range gives you more creative options.

However, the biggest reason for someone who is still relatively new to photography to pick up a prime lens is to improve your skills. Zoom lenses can make even the most experienced photographers lazy. Why get closer to your subject when you can just zoom in? A prime lens forces you to think about your position in relation to your subject, it encourages you to be more active when choosing how to frame your photographs. The physical movement engages you with your subject and helps you find new ideas for shots that may not have occurred to you otherwise. Moving around your subject because you don't have a zoom helps ensure you've exhausted all compositional possibilities and is really helpful for developing your photography skills.

Additionally, the versatility offered by having a faster lens will allow you to take more available light photos and help you pay even closer attention to depth of field and optimal focus.

The first prime lens I recommend for anyone to pick up is a 50mm (or equivalent for cropped sensor cameras). This is a versatile mid-focal length lens that works well in a variety of situations. "Back in the day" before zoom lenses were inexpensive enough to provide as the stock lens, SLR cameras came equipped standard with a 50mm lens. This was due not just to being an inexpensive option, but also because of their versatility.

A 50mm lens is a great "average" that can be used on a massive variety of subjects. Today, with zooms being so prevalent, a 50mm prime lends a bit of a classic, comfortable feel to your photos.

Keep in mind that with a cropped sensor camera like the D90, a 50mm lens is a 75mm equivalent, which is great for portraits, but if you want to get as close as possible to the classic feel of a 50mm lens on your D90, the best bet is a 35mm, which is about a 52mm equivalent on that camera.
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Old 01-07-2015, 02:22 AM
98,764 posts, read 97,940,163 times
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until i went full frame i only used primes. not only is the quality excellent but you always have a nice fast low light lens and the weight savings is big..

for the d90 you could use what i did and get nice coverage.

nikon 28mm f2.8

nikon 35mm f1.8

nikon 50mm f1.4

nikon 105mm vr macro.

that took in 95% of all my shooting. a 70-200mm f2.8 took over the longer range for me but that is a 2800.00 lens.
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Old 01-07-2015, 02:46 AM
Location: Glasgow Scotland
17,891 posts, read 16,929,851 times
Reputation: 27257
Good that your looking into this more after only starting photography such a short time ago.... others on here know all about this as you can see..me I know nothing.. only have a cheap camera..
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:03 AM
Location: Tricity, PL
54,805 posts, read 76,445,590 times
Reputation: 121220
Judging from your posted pix, perhaps a wide angle lens?
I just got one for Christmas, and that's what I wanted.
Here you can check how to use it:
Using Wide Angle Lenses
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