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Prime Lenses

Lesson 21 from: Choosing the Right Camera Lens

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

21. Prime Lenses

Lesson Info

Prime Lenses

Now let's talk about prime lenses. So these are lenses that have no zooming capability and these are gonna be where people are going when they have a more specific target about what they wanna shoot. First up, we're gonna look at your normal prime lens. And I think every photographer at some point in their career should own a normal prime lens. They're small, they're lightweight, they let in a lot of light, they're very practical for a lot of things. Not every photographer is gonna love it, but it's a rite of passage for all photographers I think, in owning one of these basic lenses that just makes photography really easy in the sense of how much gear you have. It's very practical. Some people think of a zoom lens as practical. I think a lens that lets in a lot of light makes it very practical in where you can use it. Now that little Cannon 40, let me show you that one. This is what's known as a pancake lens. And that's because it's about as flat as a pancake. It's really small and for...

people who do street photography, they really like a lens like that, because they can put it on their camera and it just doesn't look like much more than a point-and-shoot camera at that point, even if they put it on a fairly large camera. And so there's a number of these pancake lenses available out there. And they're generally not too much money 'cause they're really small lenses to make. And so there's some really good values in here. Some very nice, basic lenses in here. None of these are considered the best lens that money can buy but for the value, they return at a tremendous good value for it. Now the premium lenses, we're gonna get into some nicer quality lenses with some higher end features. That Canon f1.2 is a favorite of people and lifestyle type photographers 'cause they get to shoot with that really shallow depth of feel. The Canon has an image stabilization, which is really rare, it's the only 35mm prime lens out there with stabilization. Nikon made a very special 58mm lens that really renders the out of focus area very, very nicely to a particular type of look to it. The Sony f/1.4 is huge, but it's also tremendous in quality. We have some other very nice lenses. Olympus just introduced great 25mm 1.2 lens out there. Alright, your moderately wide lens. This is your documentary lens, your photojournalist lens, great for street photography. This is the desert island lens that a lot of people would put on their camera. A lot of these are gonna have maximum apertures, somewhere around f/2 to f/2.8. I think f/2 is gonna keep them in a very modest size. Some of them will go a little bit faster than that. And these are gonna be really compact lenses that you can put on your camera. So if you wanna lighten your camera up, and just do some simple straight photography with a slight wide angle lens, all of these are very good choices. The premium options on this are gonna have apertures that are going down to 1.4. This is a favorite for a lot of wedding photographers working low light in a reception, where they are shooting at 1. and trying to get a shutter speed fast enough to stop people's movement. There's not a lot of options when it comes to the crop frame options in here. There are some other things that you could use, they're a little overkill you might say and so most people are using full frame when it comes to this system. And so Olympus has their new 17 to 1. and Panasonic has a really beautiful, kind of Leica influenced 1.7 15mm lens. It does a good job there. Getting down to kind of a full wide angle capability here. This is one of my favorite areas, a 24mm lens. And this is great for landscape, and travel photography. Basic lenses, you're gonna see a lot of options for the full frame. And this is where the crop frame from Nikon and Canon, well they just haven't done a great job filling those lens holes up with the crop frame lenses so you kinda have to use other lenses to get into this category here. Nikon's introduced a whole series of 1.8 lenses at different focal lengths that are really, really good value. They're lightweight and not too big as well. And so some really nice options in here, for those who wanna keep things pretty small and lightweight. Now the premium category in here is gonna offer a mix of different options. A lot of these are 1.4 apertures. And this is where anyone who is interested in doing astrophotography, shooting the stars. This is gonna be one of the best lenses that you can do for that, is a 24 1.4 lens. And we're gonna see that Sony is still filling their line of lenses here. They don't have a lens for every different category. In this case, we do see a very nice Panasonic 12mm 1.4, which would also be good for that astrophotography. Which is one of the few times where you really need to shoot with a wide angle, at an extremely wide aperture. The next category, the final wide one here is, the ultra wide prime, and there's gonna be a lot of holes in these categories. And that's because a lot of the manufacturers have zoom lenses that cover this range quite well. Lately the lens manufacturers have been very good at making wide angle lenses that are very good quality. We still see a few different options in here with 20mm lenses. Once again, good for astrophotography. And we're just gonna see a lot of empty holes in here because this is a very, very niche area in photography. When it gets to the premium options. There's a couple of 14mm. Those have been around for a little while now, but there's some very interesting zoom options that are available for that sort of system. And once again, in the mirror-less options for the ultra wide premium, there's a lot of holes here. This is not an area that a lot of companies are making lenses because they do have some very good, more versatile, zoom lenses that you may want to consider in this category.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Choosing The Right Camera Lens Handout (15 pages)

Ratings and Reviews

E.L. Bl/Du

John is one of the best instructors Ive watched. he's clear, concise, and gets right to the point. His display's and diagrams are so great, he makes very complicated subjects easy to understand, and fun. He holds your attention and interest b/c everything he says is valuable. This really helped me understand the vast complicated world of lenses. I would highly recommend this class to anyone who doesnt know what hyperfocal distance is.

Boris Dimitrov

Excellent class packed with incredibly useful knowledge. John is an amazing lecturer. He has also developed really great materials to help explain all the concepts and technologies that are explored in the class. Looking forward to my next class with him!

a Creativelive Student

Great class. So informative. John Greengo is such a fantastic tutor and explains everything in such and easy-to-understand way. I would highly recommend this class. Prior to doing this class, I was so confused about which lenses are best for various photography. Now I understand lenses completely. Thanks John!

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