Do I really need a prime lens?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
TacticDesigns Veteran Member • Posts: 7,534
Re: Do I really need a prime lens?

LordKOTL wrote:

Jeff Farkas wrote:

As the title says.. do I really need a prime lens? So far I have two zoom lenses that suit my needs just fine. 1) Nikon 55-200 2) Nikon 18-200. The one I was thinking of getting is the 50MM 1.8 but I wonder if I really need it. I shoot mostly outside and when I shoot indoors I use a flash.

Would it be better to get a third party flash and not get a prime to deal with indoor work?


Need? only if the specific prime will do what your zooms won't. So, hypothetically the only thing that I can see is the 50mm f/1.8 is the aperture. Are you looking for a more slender DoF? Do you need more light at a given shutter? Do you just want to challenge yourself to be stuck as a specific AoV and compose around that or do you like the ability to compose via zoom?

Also, one thing to mention: if your camera does not have screwdrive autofocus (D3xxx, D5xxx, and I believe the D7500), get the 50mm f/1.8G. Do not get the D.

Jeff Farkas wrote:

I take mostly cat pictures and the flash would disturb them so the 50mm is the best way to go I guess. The price is decent and I can use it outside as well.



Bounce flash or softbox:

Homemade softbox made with a box (best guess was about 30"x30"x10"--this was years ago), tinfoil, an old white t-shirt, and a infraredremote triggered SB-500

Bounce On-camera flash (Godox TT685N) off of some white curtains Holly (the cat) was staring right at them.

Godox AD-200 in a 23.6x35.4 softbox camera right, Godox AD-200 in a stripbox camera left. As you can see, Firefly (car) is looking almost right at the softbox.

I posted those as examples of bouncing or truly softboxing a flash and the lack of reaction of our cats to it. Now a tiny little cloth sock or a small piece of "tupperware" as a diffuser won't help much--you still have all of the flash power being emanated from a relatively small source--whereas bouncing or putting it in a large box spreads the amount of light over a larger area at lesser intensity, and my cats at least tolerate it--if not seeming to mind it. When the flash is unmodified--even my pop up invariably causes their eyes to close--as opposed to being wide open as in these examples. Plus, in the lower photo I killed the ambient light so the only lighting was from the 2 AD200 pocketstrobes, so the light pulses has some decent power to them to illuminate the scene.

If I had to offer a suggestion for your cat photos? I would say bounced flash is the way to go--as long as your ceiling or walls have a good, neutral color.


I would say that that suggestion covers even more than cat photos!

It would be the way I'd suggest for portraits and even still or product photography as well!

Take care & Happy Shooting!

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