Photography 101: Primes or Zooms?


Check out this post from photojournalist Stephen Dennstedt on prime vs. zoom lenses.

Expat Journal: Postcards from the Edge

Stephen F. Dennstedt

When it comes to camera lenses should they be primes or zooms? The simple answer is: it depends. Back in my film days most zoom lenses got a bad rap (well deserved) as being inferior to prime lenses. Zooms are complex with more elements (glass) between you and the subject. Typically the more glass you have between the camera and the subject the more degraded the image quality becomes. But that was in the old days. Since digital came onboard most equipment discussions have been about camera bodies.

And while the new camera bodies (Canon, Nikon, Sony et al) are AMAZING there has been a quieter revolution going on in the world of lenses—especially zoom lenses. The modern zoom lens is not your mother’s old zoom lens. The new zooms rival the primes when it comes to image quality and at the same time provide more…

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