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Why I Prefer Primes

January 20th, 2010  |  Published in Featured, Shoot

Everyone has preferences. Some like Nikon, others like Canon. Some choose Mac, others PC. Some love sweet, some spicy. Differences keep things interesting!

When shooting, my preference is to use prime lenses.

When I first started shooting, my camera was the Nikon FM2, black body, all manual bay-bee! Yeah, even the focusing was manual!  At that time, primes were easier and faster for me for me to adjust exposure and focus. If I had added zooms to the mix, I’m sure a hand cramp would have prevented me from pressing the shutter as that award-winning moment unfolded in front of me!

I like to keep things simple. When I over-complicate, I over-think. When I over-think, I forget to see.  When I stop feeling a scene, I start dissecting it.  For me, that just doesn’t work.

Primes are lighter than zooms, so it’s easy for me to carry around my tried and true arsenal. Typically I shoot with two lenses on two separate bodies: the 24mm 2.8 (though recently it’s been the 28 1.4 for Nikon) and the 85mm 1.8.  I typically switch to the 50 1.4 during the first dance to capture the available light and bokeh the background.  I also use the 105 macro while the bride is getting ready to capture the details of the dress, shoes, and makeup application and then again while capturing the details of the reception. Those lenses combined with a few flashes, pocket wizards and a light stand are all that I carry.

Zooms make me feel like I am all thumbs. Half the time when I’ve tried a zoom, I space out and it stays at the same focal length the whole day.

I am not nor will I ever be a highly technical person. Folks can sit around and start talking iso, frames per second, or crop factors and my mind will just start to wander. Of course I know it– knowing your gear is essential to creating the images you want. But it’s not something I find very interesting to talk about or delve into for long periods of time. I’d talk about the things + moments that inspire you + ignite that fire that drives you to create.

I know some out there may have all sorts of technical reasons why zooms are highly advanced and exceptional pieces of glass. I don’t doubt that for one minute.

What I do know is that they aren’t for me. Primes work for me. They are simple and they are light, and I value that over all else.

Use what you know best. Shoot with what feels right to you. There is no wrong or right– there is only getting the shot or missing it!



About Stacey Doyle

Stacey Doyle has written 20 post in this blog.

Stacey is a New England Photojournalist, documenting the story of you.


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