Even though many customers want long zoom lenses, the key to super-sharp images is a primary lens. Since primes are trapped on one central duration with no zoom capability, they can improve for sharpness at that one duration. They’re usually highest-quality lenses you can buy in any lens family, and a very good way to move the most out of you.
Whether you’re a Fujifilm X-mount proprietor, a Small Four Thirds photographer, or even a Canon or Nikon DSLR proprietor, we’ve in comparison across all available primary lenses in this article to find out which are the very best.
Best standard prime lenses – APS-C
Nikon 35mm f/1.8 G AF-S DX
46 used from $150.00
- 35mm focal length, Minimum focus distance : 0.30m/11.81inch
- 52.5mm equivalent focal length on DX cameras, 52mm filters
- F1.8 maximum aperture; F22 minimum
- Ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing
- Nikon F mount for for DX DSLRs
- Lens not zoomable
This lightweight and affordable lens is ideal for customers of all DX systems on account of its Quiet Trend Motor, which guarantees it will auto-focus on cameras that lack their own engines. It provides an effective central length of around 52.5mm on a DX-format DSLR, which matches it to portraiture, road photography, characteristics and more.
Pentax 35mm f/2.4 SMC DA AL
2 used from $192.39
- Fast F2.4 maximum aperture for handheld photography in low lighting and depth of field flexibility.
- Highly lightweight design for improved comfort and portability.
- PENTAX Super Protect (SP) coating helps repel dust, water, and grease, making the lens easier to clean.
- An aspherical lens element helps to compensate for spherical aberration to maximize image quality.
- Equivalent to 53.5mm in the 35mm format.
Not quite as wide an optimum aperture as competing choices but with a temptingly low price, this Pentax Negatives lens has been prepared with Extremely Multiple Coverings for better light transmitting and has a responsive concentrating band at the end of its gun barrel. Its effective central duration is approximately equal to 52.5mm on APS-C-format Pentax systems.
Sony 35mm f/1.8 DT SAM
7 used from $155.00
- Lens not Zoomable
- DT 35mm f/1.8 Prime Lens (non-zoom)
- ALC-SH111 Solid-circular lens hood
- Front and rear lens cap
- 35 mm equivalent focal length when used with APS-C sensor camera - 52.5
- Angle of View, attached to APS-C-format camera; degrees - 44
The ‘SAM’ in the headline in this 52.5mm-equivalent lens signifies the use of a Sleek Auto-focus Engine, which is said to carry sensitive and liquid function, while the 23cm concentrating range allows for nearer concentrating than most other identical optics. A seven-bladed round aperture also functions, assisting to provide round out-of-focus functions.
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM
14 used from $377.00
- Offering the bright F1.4 aperture and an angle of view extremely close to that of human vision
- Macro Focus Range : 0.30 m, Focal Length : 30 mm
- Placed under the Art category, this large-aperture standard lens with an angle of view equivalent to 45mm on a 35mm camera
- A rear focus system prevents focus-dependent variation in aberration, making high-level image quality possible throughout the entire image
Available for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma and Sony models customers, this APS-C-specific optic in Sigma’s Art range has a extensive f/1.4 highest possible aperture as its primary attract, together with a Extremely Sound Engine, a curved diaphragm and an efficient central duration comparative 45mm on Negatives conditions (48mm on Canon bodies).
Best standard prime lenses – Full frame
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
18 used from $99.05
- 50mm focal length and maximum aperture of f/1.8
- Great for portraits, action, and nighttime photography
- Minimum focusing distance of 1.15 ft. (0.35m) and a maximum magnification of 0.21x
- Stepping motor (STM) delivers near silent, continous Move Servo AF for movies and smooth AF for stills
- 80mm effective focal-length on APS-C cameras, 50mm on full-frame cameras
A relatively newest buy for Canon’s most young 50mm offering, this lens functions “near-silent” Getting Motor technology that assures quick focusing for images and smooth focus activity when using it for video clips.
Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G AF-S
33 used from $160.00
- Fast, upgraded f/1.8, compact FX-format prime lens
- Focal Length-50 mm, Minimum Focus Distance-1.48 ft.(0.45 m)
- Newly developed optical system with Aspherical lens element, Exclusive Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
- M/A Focus Mode Switch,Filter Thread 58 mm, Autofocus: Yes
- Optimized for edge to edge sharpness on both FX and DX-format D-SLRs
- Lens not zoomable
Although Nikon still has a D edition of its 50mm f/1.8 lens, this G-version substitute features a weather-sealed steel install and an aspherical look at its visual development. With the further advantage of a Quiet Trend Engine, this optic will also auto-focus on Nikon’s DX-format systems that absence their own, such as the D3300.
Mid-range prime lenses
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
43 used from $230.00
- Standard focal length 50mm lens is effective in a multitude of shooting situations and ideal for day-to-day shooting
- Elements/Groups: 7/6; Diaphragm: Blades 8; Filter Thread: Font 58mm
- An f/1.4 maximum aperture provides clear imaging in low light situations and shallow depth of field
- Ultrasonic autofocus motor (USM) operation is fast, smooth and virtually silent
- Two high-refraction lens elements and new Gaussian optics eliminate astigmatism and suppress astigmatic difference
This may not be the latest of choices here, but you’d be challenging forced to discover another f/1.4 full-frame suitable optic at such a low cost. Canon points out this as suitable option for journey, images and reportage, with its eight aperture rotor blades appealing a nearly round diaphragm.
Samyang 50mm f/1.4 AS UMC
1 used from $311.69
- High performance, fast F1.4 aperture, "standard" 50mm prime lens with Full Frame Sensor Coverage
- Specialized Ultra Multi-Coating (UMC) improves light transmission and reduces ghosting and flare
- Internal Focusing design (IF) provides non rotating 77mm filter threads and close focusing to 17.7 Inches
- Hybrid A spherical and A spherical lens elements control aberrations for clear and color-accurate images
Developed for Canon, Nikon and Sony models A-mount customers, this manual-focus-only choice from Samyang has a multiple aspherial factor and multi-layered coverings on the interior, together with focused-distance marks on its gun barrel. Not quite as low as Canon’s f/1.4 edition although more cost-effective than Nikon’s.
Sony 50mm f/1.4 AF
6 used from $1,259.99
- 50mm wide aperture Prime lens with ZEISS Planar design, Center to corner sharpness with outstanding resolution, Bright F1.4 maximum aperture with excellent low light performance,
- ZEISS T* coating delivers superior contrast and resolution, 11-blade aperture and aspheric elements for gorgeous bokeh, 11-blade circular aperture for gorgeous bokeh
- 11-blade aperture and aspheric elements for smoothly defocused backgrounds, 12 Elements in 9 Groups with Advanced Aspheric and ED glass, Ring Drive SSM for fast, quiet and precise focusing
Acutely cost and with a sensible, little style, this wide-aperture lens has seven round diaphragm rotor blades on the interior, together with a focused-distance screen on the gun barrel. It also has the benefit of a non-rotating front side, which creates it far better for use with certain filtration.
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G
36 used from $298.97
- 50mm focal length, 75mm equivalent focal length on DX cameras
- F1.4 maximum aperture; F16 minimum
- Ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing, 58mm filters
- Minimum focus Distance : 0.45m/17.72 Inches
- Nikon F mount for FX and DX DSLRs
- Lens not zoomable
This is an cost-effective phase up from the f/1.8 edition (or mature D optics) for those after particularly superficial detail of area, or who regularly end up capturing in low-light circumstances. It activities a ring-type Quiet Trend Engine and nine-bladed diaphragm, as well as full-time manual-focus bypass for post-autofocus fine-tuning.
Pentax 50mm f/1.4 SMC FA
16 used from $195.00
- Compact, Standard Lens
- Extremely Large F/1.4 Aperture Allows Extra-fast Shutter Speeds & Wonderful Depth Of Field Control
- Focal Length Equivalent To 75mm When Used On A Pentax(r) Digital SLR Camera Body (1.5x Crop Factor)
- Pentax(r) Super Multi-coating For Very Low Light Loss
- Compatible With All Pentax(r) Film & Digital SLR Cameras
- Only 1.5 inches and 7.8 ounces
As its style will testify this lens has been around for a long time, although with the latest appearance of the full-frame K-1, it may well appreciate upset in reputation. Functions consist of Extremely Multiple Covering and a non-rotating front side, the latter of which should please those planning to use it with polarisers.
Tamron 45mm f/1.8 SP Di VC USD
11 used from $435.22
- Fast f/1.8 aperture
- Dynamic close focusing capability
- VC (Vibration Compensation) system
- Fluorine coating on front element to repel water and fingerprints
- High speed AF with USD (ultrasonic drive)
Lately released together with a similar Negatives alternative, and with the numerous benefit of Vibrations Settlement over competing contacts, this attractive purpose features an in-depth concentrating band, an Ultrasound Quiet Drive engine and a moisture-resistant development. It’s available for Canon, Nikon and Sony models customers, the latter without Vibrations Settlement on account of picture stabilisation already being present in Sony models systems.
Best standard prime lenses – Pro
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
36 used from $1,011.00
- Weather-resistant standard lens
- Focal Length & Maximum Aperture-50mm F/1.2, Closest Focusing Distance - 1.48 ft. / 0.45m
- AF with full-time manual focus, 72mm filter size
- Ultrasonic Motor (USM), Lens not zoomable
- Purchase this product between May 1, 2016 and July 30, 2016 and get 13 months of free damage protection from Canon. The product must be registered within 30 days of the purchase date to be eligible. Visit http://usa.canon.com/protection to learn more.
With its super-wide f/1.2 aperture this is a pretty significant optic, although it’s Canon’s primary 50mm option. The gun barrel provides and wetness and mud level of resistance, while Extremely Spectra Coverings guarantee to keep mild transmitting great and surface and blurry low.
Nikon 58mm f/1.4 G AF-S
14 used from $1,173.95
- Excels in low-light and nighttime applications
- Exceptionally sharp, evenly lit, high-contrast shots
- 9 rounded-blade aperture for excellent bokeh control
Declared towards the end of 2013, this pro-grade Nikkor provides a a little bit more time 58mm central duration than most of the other choices here, and on a DX body system provides a useful efficient central duration equal to around 87mm in Negatives conditions. Two aspherical components aim to keep aberrations low while nine curved diaphragm rotor blades guarantee to keep bokeh organic. New ipod nano Amazingly Cover technological innovation and a Quiet Trend Engine also function.
Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 ZA SSM
12 used from $914.99
- A new optical design for top-end image quality
- Quiet and smooth AF operation thanks to SSM • Dust and drip resistant design • High-grade metal body • Superior Large-Aperture Performance
- Dust and drip resistant design
- High-grade metal body
- Superior Large-Aperture Performance
Within this optic’s dust- and weather-resistant body system lie two aspherical components to fight aberrations, as well as a rear-focusing program that keep the gun barrel duration continuous while concentrating. The further addition of a nine-blade round diaphragm should also create it attraction even more to image photographers.
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM
14 used from $669.99
- 50mm focal length
- 75mm equivalent focal length on APS-C cameras, 80mm equivalent focal length on Canon APS-C cameras
- F1.4 maximum aperture; F16 minimum
- Ring-type ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing
- 77mm filters
- 0.4m/15.7" minimum focus
This latest accessory for Sigma’s Art constant may not be the most lightweight or cost-effective of 50mm f/1.4 choices, but it’s challenging to think of another lens that’s been so popular and globally recognized in the past few decades – at least at this cost. Available for Canon, Nikon, Sony models and Sigma customers, with inner concentrating, a Extremely Sound Engine and interface with Sigma’s USB Docking station for efficiency servicing.
Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 T* Planar ZE / ZF.2
5 used from $395.00
- Lens Shade
- Front & Rear Lens Caps
- Type F Bayonet Mount
- 2-Year Zeiss Limited Warranty
- Lens not zoomable
Available in Canon and Nikon suits, this manual-focus Zeiss lens has a durable steel install and a responsive concentrating band on the outside to suggest it, together with a nine-bladed aperture and T* coverings on the interior. The Planar is a traditional dual Gauss visual style so it’s relatively lightweight, but it does have the knock-on impact of being less distinct at f/1.4.
Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 T* Otus ZE / ZF.2
3 used from $2,689.00
- Fast f/1.4 maximum aperture for shallow depth of field and low-light performance
- Engineered for optimal image quality using a DSLR with a full-frame sensor
- Zeiss T* anti-reflective coated lens system enhances image contrast and clarity
- Floating element design with 12 elements in 10 groups
- All-metal focus mechanism with extended angle of rotation for precise focus placement
This lately launched lens has been regularly pit against the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM, and while it’s already designed a good name for high quality, its cost tag and deficiency of auto-focus has frustrated some. Still, when high quality is key, this is very much as good as it gets. The Otus lines are a no-holds-barred visual style, providing the overall best efficiency of the Zeiss variety, though this does come side available with a very high cost tag.
5 Easy Steps to Choose the Perfect Prime Lens for You
My first experience with the idea of set or primary contacts was when they were described to me (a baby photographer) when I met with a regional wedding photographer whose work I was (and still am) smashing on. I was so amazed to know that there were contacts that (gulp) didn’t zoom capability. ‘What’s the point of that?’ I considered. Why pay more for less?
Clearly, I had plenty of making up ground to do!
There are many benefits to using primary contacts in your photography. One is that you will probably discover can perform amazing sharpness and top quality with a lens that isn’t 10 contacts in one. I like to say that the 50mm primary lens doesn’t have to try to be anything other than 50mm. It only needs to concentrate on (pun intended) being the best 50mm it can be. Of course, there are many extremely distinct and able zoom capability contacts out there, but you will discover that you’re not only spending money on top quality, but flexibility. Prime contacts aren’t very flexible, but what they absence in flexibility, they can make up for in top quality which could give you asking, “what zoom?”
How to choose
So with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal primary lens for you? You can be like me and buy-to-try a huge 14 contacts in 5 years, to the track of $10,250, (true story) or you can try these excellent 5 steps:
- Choose one of your present zoom capability lenses
- Set it on a central duration keep it there
- Shoot for a 7 days or so only on that establishing. Encounter what it’s like to use you instead of your zoom capability. Picture your common topics, ones you photograph the most of the time, and see how that central duration seems.
- Repeat the work out at different central measures.
- Assess your experience capturing at different measures. The establishing at which you experienced most relaxed will be a excellent sign of where to begin when buying the ideal primary lens for you.
If you use several contacts (or even just a few), there’s a out of this world way to use Lightroom to see all the pictures taken with a particular lens. First, ensure that you’re in the collection component. On the remaining (under small review image) just click ‘all photos’. Then on the top bar, just click ‘metadata’. You’ll then see many organizing choices based on what images you want to see. In the center is the box which reveals every lens you’ve used for all the pictures in your collection (if you don’t see that use the take down selection to choose “lens”. How awesome is that?! Then you can type by central duration and see which one(s) you use most often.
My Final Choice
As I previously described, I’ve played around with with many different zoom capability and primary contacts. As for primes, I’ve possessed the following Canon lenses: 50mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.2, 85mm f/1.8, and 24mm f/2.8. After all that, the only one that continues to be in my selection is the 50mm f/1.2. To keep really like quite limited image photos so although I think the standard was amazing, the 24mm was too extensive. The 85mm had phenominal sharpness and top quality, but I marketed it to help pay for the 50mm. I look for the 50mm excellent on my complete structure digicam for wideish members of the family photos but also tight-enough images. The f/1.2 indicates it’s my best lens for super low mild and the sharpness is a little amazing. For me, it’s the best primary lens.
Now, there are many contacts from which to select and that’s where you excellent individuals come in! If you’re a primary lens powerful or even just a fan of a particular lens, get engaged below and tell us what primary contacts you have information about, and which are your favourites!