9 Dec 2016

Photography Experiment: Prime Lenses Are Noticeably Better Than Zoom Lenses

Photographers choose between two types of lenses: zoom lenses, and prime lenses, which don't zoom. Prime lenses are considered to have better quality. But is the difference noticeable? To find out, I did an experiment, shooting a scene with a zoom lens:



And then with a 35mm prime lens:



Notice the richer colors and higher contrast? The photo taken with the zoom lens is washed out by comparison. Notice that the sky, too, is washed out.

I then repeated this exercise at a different focal length, first with the zoom lens:



And then with a 19mm prime lens:



Again, the prime lens generates richer colors and higher contrast, while the photo taken with the zoom lens is slightly washed out by comparison.

The conclusion is not to make a habit of using your zoom lens as a substitute for your prime lens.

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