Tip No.2 : Buy prime
So we’ve got an idea of what’s what. And ready to spend some money. You’ve found a lens that covers wide, standard and telephoto, for not much cash and to boot will save you all the hassle of changing them over and so on.
Unfortunately, this is a trap. As we mentioned in another post on buying cameras, everything on the market is pretty damn good. But put a crappy lens on the front of your shiny new megapixel-wonder and you’re taking it’s legs away.
Those same beancounters who decided to add kit lenses onto the ‘deal’, also came up with all-in-one zoom lenses. Built from flimsy plastic, wafter thin glass and sticky tape – yes, some are better than others, but in the main, they should be used as book stoppers on your shelves, or burnt to death. They are crap. Anything that reads 18-300, 28-200 and so on. Sell.
If you’ve got a spare £500+, by all means buy a zoom, but make it a smaller range, e.g. 24-70. They’re not anywhere near as bad, but there is a Plan B that will cost less and improve your photographs at the same time. That plan is Prime.
Prime lenses are fixed focal lengths, e.g. 50mm, 28mm, 100mm etc. And the difference? Unlike their estranged all-in-one cousins, the colours ‘pop’, your subjects look three-dimensional, and they are oh-so sharp. But that’s not the best thing about them. You see, if you’ve ever used a big all-in-one-zoom, inevitably you get lazy. Cross the street to get closer to the action? Move a little higher so you can get a better vista? Nah. Just crank up the zoom and you can do all your shots from a single position.
But with primes, you decide on the shot, look through the viewfinder, and because you can’t zoom in, you decide you’re not close enough. By getting closer, you notice more, your images become more richer, detailed and interesting. It’s a win-win.
However, that’s still not the best thing about them. That is the price. A Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM, which produces lovely colours, super sharp and that lovely blur in the background. Yours for £78. The Nikon equivalent? £84. Sure, some of the other focal lengths are a tad more, but it’s a great place to start.
And your camera will be forever grateful.