When I get asked for lens recommendations, I will almost always recommend a prime lens. My current ‘go to’ prime is a Fujifilm 35mm f1.4. It’s a beauty and ideal for street photography. The 35mm focal length gives you just enough freedom to capture a wide range of scenes, including street portraits. I even shot a recent studio portrait shoot using only the 35mm 1.4.
My first experience with a prime lens was a bit of a eureka moment. The lens was an old 35mm f1.7 Minolta, and it changed the way I photographed. Replacing the indecision and freedom of a zoom lens with simplicity and something that felt like a more pure frame of mind when taking photos.
Prime lenses have a set focal length, which means you have to use your legs to compose the photos you take. Removing the option to adjust the focal length frees up your mind to simply work the scene to get the best shot.
Prime lenses are fast lenses. It’s not uncommon for a prime to have an f1.2, f1.4, or even faster aperture. These fast apertures are ideal for street photography because they accommodate fast shutter speeds along with a shallow depth of focus, which isolates your subject and creates some great bokeh. Giving photos taken with prime lenses a unique ‘look’.
So, if you're in the market for a new lens, pick up a prime. You won't be sorry.
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