Photo & Video > Fundamentals > Photography 101 > Prime Vs. Zoom Lens

Prime vs. Zoom Lens


Photography 101


Lesson Info

Prime vs. Zoom Lens

In this video I want to talk about prime versus zoom lenses essentially what are the differences between the two? What are the advantages and disadvantages now let's first talk about a zoom lens and I have like the basic kitt zoom lenses, so this is the eighteen to fifty five we also have the fifty five to fifty with I think the nikon and a fifty five three hundred one of the other, so we have these different zoom lenses that come with our standard kit set and they're great I love zoom lenses but really the main functionality or the main reason why we get zoom lenses for the convenience, the fact that they consume and that can change focal length means that it saves us a lot of trouble often times there are many scenes where we simply can't get wide enough we simply can't get close enough to our subject, so having a zoom lens is exactly what you need. This is a case if you're shooting stay sports when you need to get a zoom it because you can't really wander onto the field while they'r...

e playing soccer football or anything like that you gotta stay from the sideline same thing if you're shooting say wide types of shots have the ability to zoom is an incredible feature when having basically to choose your overall composition, but there is a major trade off in that zoom functionality well there's actually, several major trade offs one is that in general, zoom lenses are going to provide the same quality as a prime lance prime lens is a lens that has a fixed focal ng, so, for example, this fifty millimeter lens it doesn't change an overall focal length. This makes it a prime in general, if you compare the same quality of zoom to the same quality of prime, well, you're going to get a little bit better image quality out of the prime lens. In addition, zoom lenses are going to cost more they're going to generally be heavier, and the reason for that is because they require a lot more glass, and if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense because for a zoom lens to be able to change in folk alike, do all the things that a zoom lens does well, you need additional glass. This makes them more expensive, it makes them heavier and more bulky as well. In addition, if we're talking about safe, fixed aperture zoom lenses, they get extremely expensive. For example, a twenty four, seventy f two eight with either an icon or canon or sony or anybody is going to cost roughly two thousand dollars it's expensive, and this is kind of the issue with a zoom lens. It's an expensive zoom linda's they're goingto lack the image quality. They won't have a wide aperture they have varying apertures, and overall, if we jump to say expensive zoom lenses with fixed actors with wide open afters, well, they still can't get his wide as a prime lands, and they also get very expensive and very bulky. Now my overall favorite kid to shoot with professionally is my twenty four seventy f two eight I have the cannon version, the mark to have the seven, two hundred to eight mark two for the cannon and also the fifty one point two, the eighty five one point two, and for ultra wide shots, I have my sixteen thirty five thes air the five lenses that I use the most for basically every type of scene in between them, I have lenders that basically can shoot with super wide, open apertures that are great for that boca aesthetic. They're great in low light, and I also have that zoom functionality. Now remember that any time any budget basically you can get these same lenses, we can get the fifty one point eight for a fraction of the cost of the fifty one point two, and you're still going to get an amazing look out of it, so what I would say is get your prime lenses prime lens is the easiest way to take your images to the next level, especially if you're just using the standard kit lenses and it's inexpensive as well. This is only a hundred bucks or so, and you've got a great lands that can do quite a bit. The eighty five one point is another linds I would highly recommend for a secondary prime lens to start out with and also the thirty five millimetre, really between the thirty five to fifty and eighty five the on ly difference there is going to be, well, the types of scenes and the types of overall composition that you typically take if you're typically shooting wider than you might be better off with a thirty five if you're tighter than maybe with a fifty or eighty five if you do primarily portrait than the eighty five one eight is an amazing starter prime lands to get started with. All right, so what we're gonna do in this scene is going to go ahead and show you the difference in kind of that overall aesthetic by shooting the same scene with our fifty one point eight and also my eighteen fifty five kit lens at fifty millimeters, basically. So let's, go ahead and go over our scene, and we'll talk about what we've done here. Now you'll notice that on me, I kind of have this spotty light and space because the sun is coming straight through this tree. So what we've done is we've placed whitney here against the sunlight, okay, so you can see that we have a very nice kind of flat look with the light here, and that means that we can do really anything with the light on the face. Is it weird for me to sit here talking about, like, the way he's, like, I just talk about me? Whatever, so well, I'm gonna probably d'oh is I'll have olivia step in, and we have a nice bit of direct sunlight from right here, and I'll have her use that just to fill into the face a little bit, it's going to kind of just fill the shadows, fill a little bit of lines on the face, it'll just be a little more flattering. Look, I could go bottom up, but the problem is that we have direct sunlight coming down that reflector we're gonna get direct, like, coming up and it's not gonna look good because gonna have that up let type of look, we don't want to do that. So one I'm going to do now is I'm gonna back up a little bit I have whitney kind of place she's kind of hanging on the tree right now which looks really great now libby let's bring out that light so we can kind of see what the difference is I think I'm gonna like it with that phil let's go right at head height I have a slightly different look teo I love that looks so let me go ahead and I'm going to switch out here by the way guys by the time we released this dvd this is our one bag this is one of the bags that we make and this should be available in the harlem store it's our quick change lens bag so it makes it really easy to flip lenses in and off which is something that we do frequently and that is kind of the other downside obviously that we didn't mention with prime lenses that is more movement involved you have to move and get into position quite a bit with a zoom you're just using that zoom functionality so all right give me that same lean into me a little bit there you go gorgeous. Okay, so you can see here that the aesthetic to the image is completely different here we're shooting an f five six we have a much wider depth of field and that blur that we would get in these branches isn't really as prominent. We don't have kind of that nice aesthetic with her popping off the background. This is why I chose this tree, because with this tree we have a lot of jutting kind of branches. They're coming forward towards the lens and away from the lens. So it makes for a great example showing you exactly what that shallow depth of field does in this scene like this that's over this video. What I want you guys to do is go ahead and for your assignment, you're going to compare your primes to your zooms, shoot them at the exact same focal ng so you can kind of see the differences on your own afterwards. Once you're done, go ahead and post those images to star lounge dot com and tell everybody about your experience. I'm going to go ahead and shoot a couple more shots with whitney, and this scene will show you the shots and you guys can head on to the next video now.

Class Description

Learn how to create, edit, and share stunning digital images.

To a photography beginner, the gleaming complexity of a new camera seems to demand an arsenal of expensive equipment and a long legacy of training. This is a common misconception – beautiful, professional-grade shots are within reach to any with a mastery of the basic mechanics of photography.

Join Pye Jirsa of SLR Lounge for a thorough, practical exploration of the fundamentals. Photography 101 teaches you how to use standard, inexpensive equipment to:

  • Explore the inner mechanical workings of your camera
  • Learn how to recognize good light and modify it to your needs
  • Make the elements of manual mode - aperture, shutter speed and ISO - work for you
Take advantage of the flexibility and control offered by your camera’s manual mode by shadowing Pye on 5 days of shooting at 8 different locations. You’ll learn how to capture both crisp action shots of moving subjects and classic portraiture with posed models. You’ll also gain a sense of what makes a great photograph, and how to mix professional staging with candid, humanizing moments.

You will walk away from Photography 101 with SLR Lounge's Pye Jirsa as a better photographer, and you’ll have the creative and practical skills to create, edit, and share stunning digital images; all with no more gear than you started with. 


2The Camera is Simply a Tool
3How Does a Camera Work?
4How to Adjust Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO
5Exposure Triangle
6What is a Stop of Light
7Reading Exposure Via the Histogram
8Blown Highlights or Clipped Details
9White Balance & Color Temperature
10No Such Thing as the Correct Exposure
11How To Measure or Meter Light
128 Key Points to Understanding ISO and Image Quality
13Understanding the 3 Primary Metering Methods
14How to Get Perfect Exposures in One Shot
15Equivalent Exposure but Different Images
16Compensating for Light and Dark Scenes
17Starting with Automated Modes
18Auto Mode and Flash-Off Mode
19Portrait Mode on a Fashion Shoot
20Landscape Mode on the Beach
21Sports or Action Mode
22Macro Mode with Food Photography
23Creative Effects Mode - Floral Photography
24In-Camera Processing
25A Glimpse into RAW Processing
2615 Tips When You’re Having Trouble Focusing
273 Primary Types of Autofocus
28Single Shot with Portrait Session
29Single Shot with Action Shots
30AI Servo with Action Shots
31Focus Recomposing vs. AF Point Selection
32Shutter Speed and the Reciprocal Rule
33How to Hold a Camera and Panning Tutorial
34What Makes a Great Photograph?
35How to Capture Candid Moments
36How to Find the Right Light Direction
375 Basic Compositional Theories
38The Power of Cropping
39Color Schemes
40Diving into the Narrative
41If It’s Not Working With, It’s Probably Working Against
42More About Your Camera and Lenses
43Understanding Megapixels
44Crop vs. Full Frame Cameras
45Crop vs. Full Frame Cameras Demonstration
46Prime vs. Zoom Lens
47How the Lens Affects Composition
48Dynamic Range and RAW vs. JPEG
495 Tips on Memory Cards
5010 Tips on Buying Gear
52The Good Karma Jar
53Posing and Action Shots with Female Model
54Posing and Lighting with Female Model
55Posing and Lighting Couples Portraits