First off if you don’t already own a prime lens I always recommend the following two lenses
If you’re a Canon shooter like me the “Nifty 50” (50mm 1.8) is a must have lens. It’s only about $100.
As a Canon shooter I also love the 85mm F1.8. These are both very affordable lenses. I need to do a little more research but it is my understanding that Nikon has equivalent lenses. If you’re reading this and your a Nikon shooter maybe you could post something in the comments and let me know what the Nikon equivalent of those lenses are.
So here’s the exercise. I go out and shoot with just that one single lens for 30 days. I’m a professional photographer and I’m under pressure to perform because I’m getting paid while I do this.
I go out for shoots and force myself to shoot with just one single prime lens for the first 30 days. Now obviously since I’m a portrait photographer I don’t shoot with anything under a 50mm equivalent. If you’re a landscape photographer you might do the opposite and shoot with a wide lens. I do shoot landscapes but not professionally.
Let me tell you though, shooting with the 135 mm lens presents challenges. You need a lot of space to make up for that focal length. However after 30 days I know that lens like the back of my hand.
I know how much compression I’m going to get in the background I know exactly what aperture I need to dial into to get the right depth of focus.
This way I can master that lens. Instead of focusing on zooming in and out I am walking back-and-forth and fully learning the ins and outs of that lens. I want to completely master just that one lens.
I’ve heard people suggest that you can do the same thing with a zoom lens if you just mark the focal length with tape and don’t move it.
- I don’t believe a zoom will give you as good of results as the prime. There are a lot of tests on lenses to back this up
- I would be to tempted to cheat and change my focal length.
So I use the prime and I fully learn exactly what that lens can and cannot compose. Plus I’m getting higher-quality images because I’m using the prime instead of a zoom.
To support the point here’s a video that shows five reasons why a prime lens is better than a zoom.