Primes vs Zooms for portraits


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gremlin

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Nov 15, 2002
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#1
The following questions apply more to digital photography.
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I have heard some people who ask why use a prime lens to shoot portrait when a good zoom lens (eg, 70-200 f2/8) can do the job at producing good bokeh and image sharpness.

I am interested to know what are your thoughts on this? Is weight the issue that makes most people use a prime? Or are there some special inherent qualities in an image produced by a portrait prime lens that no zooms can ever touch? :think:
 

malkw

Senior Member
Jul 9, 2002
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#2
- Prime lenses are also often much faster than most zoom lenses eg f1.4

- prime lenses still often have half the elements of zoom lens and therefore less flare versus zoom lenses and greater contrast

- More creative as prime require you to move from your shooting positions

- If you have prime lenses, you probably carry several prime lenses to replicate the zoom's range. If one lens dies, you can still take pictures with the other prime lenses.
 

Zerstorer

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Jul 8, 2002
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#3
gremlin said:
The following questions apply more to digital photography.
-------------------------------------------------------

I have heard some people who ask why use a prime lens to shoot portrait when a good zoom lens (eg, 70-200 f2/8) can do the job at producing good bokeh and image sharpness.
Primes generally have wider maximum apertures and smoother bokeh. But if that is not an issue......

I am interested to know what are your thoughts on this? Is weight the issue that makes most people use a prime? Or are there some special inherent qualities in an image produced by a portrait prime lens that no zooms can ever touch? :think:
A 70-200mm is rather intimidating to the subject and can be tiresome if used for long sessions.
 

AJ23

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Jun 12, 2003
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#4
IMO, prime lense is,

(1) sharper (mostly)
(2) lighter
(3) cheaper (relatively but not absolutely)
(4) has bigger aperture (f/1.4, f/1.8, etc)
(5) has nicer bokeh

cons
(1) yourself is the zooming engine
(2) need several primes for a "range" of focal length
(3) looks small and cheap (for some ppl) :blah:
 

AJ23

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Jun 12, 2003
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#5
gremlin said:
I am interested to know what are your thoughts on this? Is weight the issue that makes most people use a prime? Or are there some special inherent qualities in an image produced by a portrait prime lens that no zooms can ever touch? :think:
Weight is one of the consideration, most 70-200mm f/2.8 or f/4 lenses can take beautiful portraits, but then the weight factor will kick in for long sessions. And I don't like to use a tripod to take portraits.

A consideration is camera shake, inside the studio might be still ok at higher shutter speeds, if at outdoors in low light or shooting ambient, you would appreciate a lighter lense.

And shooting portraits, I like to move around looking for different angles and "zooming" in physically, a zoom lense will make me lazy, I need more exercise. :bsmilie:

But again, like old Comrade Deng once said, "Be it a black lense or white lense, can capture picture is a good lense." :blah:
 

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