Prime as first lens for a beginner

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
jrtrent Veteran Member • Posts: 5,236
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner

Photodog2 wrote:

. . . Anyone here whose first beginners camera lens was a prime instead of a zoom? Any thoughts or advice welcome.

My early cameras all had normal focal length, fixed prime lenses. My first SLR came with a 55mm prime, and it was years before I bought a second lens for it. Philip Greenspun, in an article for which the link no longer works, said, "The novice photographer who starts with a zoom lens typically uses it in lieu of backing up or stepping forward. An experienced photographer visualizes the scene first, chooses a focal length, then gets into the appropriate position to capture the scene with that focal length. It is much better to get a lens with a fixed focal length, learn to recognize scenes where that lens can be used effectively, and then add additional lenses once that focal length has been mastered."

He recommended starting with something around a 50mm equivalent, suggested several photography projects to help learn that focal length, and felt that acquiring and using things like image editing software and a tripod should come before the purchase of the beginner's next lens.

Of course, your niece is not a novice, and has been accustomed to using the wide angle lens of a phone camera with the ability to pinch to zoom, but I don't see where there could possibly be any harm in her trying the OM10 with a 50mm standard lens.

For my own pictures, after much fun in using a variety of focal lengths for a while, I trimmed back a decade or two ago and now shoot about 95% of all my pictures at a 50mm equivalent focal length, and a short telephoto (about 85mm equivalent) takes care of everything else.  Even with my digital compact zoom, which has a 28-300 equivalent focal length range, I simply toggle between 50 and 85 mm equivalents using its step-zoom feature.

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