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Initially, we only photographed with zoom lenses. Why? Because it was practical. Since our first personal fixed focal length moment, we can no longer imagine our photo equipment without it. Why we are so excited about a fixed focal length, we will tell you in this article.
With a zoom lens you have a larger focal length range and are super flexible.
Nevertheless, we think that every photo equipment should have at least a fixed focal length.
You’re probably wondering why we’re so excited about it! Rightly so!
In this we give you our 6 best reasons and explain why you should also try a fixed focal length.
What is fixed focal lengths at all?
Most hobby photographers usually use a zoom lens where you can set the focal length within a certain frame.So you can zoom in on motifs.
There we explain all the basics of technology in very simple words, so that you will soon take beautiful photos yourself.
You probably also bought your first camera in conjunction with a kit lens. These often have a focal length of 18-55 mm or 18-105 mm. That is perfectly legitimate. This allows you to zoom out and zoom in on your subject between the individual focal lengths.
You can’t do that with a fixed focal length. If you have a 35 mm fixed focal length, you can only take pictures with a focal length of 35 mm. So you can’t zoom with it.
We have a 35 mm and 50 mm fixed focal length.
If you’re wondering now why the hell you should limit yourself so much, we have some good reasons for you here.
Advantages of fixed focal lengths
Here are our 6 reasons for a fixed focal length. Of course, there are other benefits, but these are definitely the most important ones.
1 With a fixed focal length, you can take pictures more consciously and learn to take better pictures
With a zoom lens, everything is so simple. You’re somewhere and you’re just zooming in on your subject. With a fixed focal length, however, you have to use your legs to photograph the desired image cutout.
You have to approach your subject, maybe even change the side of the road or look for a new perspective. This makes you think much more intensively about your image design.
Sounds exhausting? Isn’t it. We really didn’t take much time to get used to it and quickly noticed the positive effects.
You worry a lot more about the subject and don’t just press the trigger so quickly. The result: better photos!
With our zoom lens you quickly take too many pictures of a subject – here still a bit of zoom, because a little further away – and in the end you decide on the laptop for the best picture from 50. Do you think this is known?
With a fixed focal length, the decision-making process shifts to photography.
This not only makes your photos much better, but it’s also more fun and that’s the be-all and end-all, isn’t it? This is also one reason why fixed focal lengths are great even for beginners.
The learning curve is enormous and just if you don’t have so much experience with the topic of image design, we can warmly recommend you to buy a fixed focal length.
2 A fixed focal length is small and light
A zoom lens is usually much heavier than a fixed focal length. An average zoom lens weighs about 500 to 600 grams. A fixed focal length often weighs only half and is of course much smaller.
Especially when travelling, we sometimes have the camera in our hands for hours. This makes a sky-wide difference whether we have screwed a lens with 600 grams or only 300 grams onto our camera.
When we are on a photo tour in cities, we often only have the fixed focal length with us. This makes every city much more relaxed to explore.
3 A fixed focal length is incredibly bright
Fixed focal lengths are often very bright. They thus allow more light on the sensor, which allows you to take good photos even in lower light conditions without having to use a tripod or to increase the ISO value.
Most fixed focal lengths have a maximum focal length range between f/1.4 and f/2.8. You won’t find such a luminous intensity with a zoom lens, at least not in the lower price segment.
For comparison, our kit zoom lens has a maximum aperture of f/3.5. This is literally a difference like day and night.
4 With a fixed focal length you can take great portrait photos
The larger the aperture, the lower the depth of field. The large luminous intensity of the fixed focal length lenses therefore has a second interesting side effect.
With a wide-open aperture, you can sharpen your subject in the foreground while the background is blurred. By the way, this blurring is called Bokeh.
Especially for portrait photos, such a thing is of course beautiful. Here you can see two portraits of us, which were created with a fixed focal length.
5 A fixed focal length is cheap to have
Before the outcry comes: Of course, not all fixed focal lengths are cheap.
As with all other lens types, you can also leave a small fortune for a fixed focal length. But the entry-level models are really cheap to have and are more than okay in terms of quality.
You can get a beginner fixed focal length for just over 100 euros. You can find a few examples at the end of the post.
6 You are walking in the footsteps of Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson is probably one of the most famous photographers in the world.
He was a co-founder of the agency Magnum, pioneer of street photography and always equipped exclusively with a 50 mm fixed focal length. At least that’s the myth.
Read Also: 10 tips for photography beginners
A reader pointed out to us that Cartier-Bresson was also travelling with other lenses.
But the 50 mm lens was certainly his absolute favourite. If this great photographer has come along with a fixed focal length, then you can, right?
Which fixed focal length to buy? A little guide!
Would you like to buy a fixed focal length now? Prima! As always, the market here is very large and confusing. So that you don’t despair, we present you here a small selection of lenses.
Cheap fixed focal lengths for entry
Cheap fixed focal lengths for Nikon
From Nikon there are two very cheap fixed focal lengths for beginners, both of which are very light, qualitative but really fine. Basti’s first fixed focal length was the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, which is available for less than 200 euros.
On Nikon there are two very cheap fixed focal lengths for beginners, both of which are very light, qualitative but really fine. Basti’s first fixed focal length was the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, which is available for less than 200 euros.
To nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8
The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8 moves in the same price range. Which of the two lenses you choose depends a bit on your preferences. We prefer a focal length of 35 mm to 50 mm, because with a 50 lens the cut-out is a little too narrow.
To the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8
Cheap fixed focal lengths for Canon
Also for Canon there are cheap entry-level fixed focal lengths, but only with a focal length of 50 mm. An absolute bargain is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8, which costs little more than 100 euros.
Go to Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
For about 300 euros you get an even brighter and better quality lens, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4.
Go to Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Cheap fixed focal lengths for Sony
Of course, there are also cheap entry-level models for other camera manufacturers. Sony offers the Sony SAL35F18 DT 35mm, f/1.8 or the Sony SAL50F18, 50 mm, f/1.8 for your SLR cameras, both of which are available for less than 200 euros.
Go to Sony SAL35F18 DT 35mm, f/1.8
Go to Sony SAL50F18, 50 mm, f/1.8
Also for Sony’s mirrorless system cameras, there are numerous low-cost fixed focal lengths. Here is an overview of available fixed focal lengths for mirrorless Sony cameras with the E-mount connection:
Cheap fixed focal length for Pentax
For Pentax, the cheap Pentax DA 50mm f/1.8 fixed focal length is available for just over 100 euros.
To THE DA 50mm f/1.8
Really good fixed focal lengths
The entry-level models for 100 to 300 euros are really recommended for the beginning. Especially for the first steps with a fixed focal length, it does not have to be a high-end lens.
But if you really want to treat yourself to something, there are also really great lenses on the fixed focal length market, such as the 35 mm f/1.8 fixed focal length from Tamron, which is available for Nikon, Canon and Sony.
We are absolutely thrilled by this lens: Brilliant sharpness, a beautiful bokeh and a very good workmanship also justify the price of about 600 to 700 euros.
To the 35 mm f/1.8 fixed focal length of Tamron
We hope we were able to inspire you with our 6 reasons for a fixed focal length and wish you a lot of fun while trying out!