Do I really need a prime lens?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
SmilerGrogan Senior Member • Posts: 1,199
Re: Do I really need a prime lens?

For about four years I shot cats every week for our local animal shelter and as long as you're not having problems with your current setup, spend the money elsewhere—tripods are nice. The problem with all small animals is that you need to get pretty close to fill the frame with a 50mm lens and all that beautiful fur will be out of focus at wide apertures. I think this was at around f/5.6 and it gets soft quickly.

Flash in my experience only frightens 1 out of 50 cats, but when it does, it's pretty traumatic for the animal.

I don't know if anyone's told you this yet, but always let the cat sniff and poke at the camera before you start shooting. It makes them much more relaxed and much less prone to bite; cat bites are extremely, extremely painful whether it's your hand or your forehead (guess how I know).

The one benefit of prime lenses is that using one teaches you to be more creative about moving around your subject to get different angles. With a zoom, I find I tend to stay in one place and zoom rather than getting up off my a$$ and seeing where else I can shoot from to tell the story I want to tell.

Flashes: Whatever brand you buy, make sure it will work with the camera's autofocus assist light. With Nikons the flash will throw a grid of red light onto your subject in low light when you are in Single Point AF; but check the manual for your camera, it may have changed..

If you're going to get a tripod, consider buying used if you're trying to save money I bought both my small Gitzo and a beast of a Manfrotto for way less than half what I would have paid new, the Gitzo was around $100 and the Manfrotto, which came out of a college equipment sale, was $20.

Or buy new if you prefer. I'm an incurable cheapskate and as the old saying goes "the miser cheats only himself."

Just make sure all the knobs and screws are there and the legs and head slide smoothly. Also be sure and get the camera plate for attaching the camera to the tripod head. Some of them are horrendously expensive.

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?


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