Prime Lens


What is a prime lens? Why do people say that it is better than other lenses?
Pramod Jha, via email

This story was originally published in September 2014.

A lens with a fixed focal length and constant field of view is called a ‘prime lens’. This means that this lens’s focal length cannot be varied like in zoom lenses. It is preferred by photographers, because of its superior optical quality as it uses fewer lens elements in the lens. This results in images with better colour, contrast and sharpness.

Also, prime lenses offer faster, wide open apertures as compared to the equivalent focal length in zoom lenses. Therefore, they are better for low light and indoor ambient light photography. You can shoot quality images at higher shutterspeeds, with limited use of a tripod for sharp images. The only disadvantage of using a prime lens is that you may have to change lenses more often than when using a zoom lens.

Tags: Lens, better photography, Question of the Day, aperture, Prime lens, January, 2009, fixed focal length, optical quality