There are many photographers out there that would argue prime lenses are superior to zoom lenses, and whilst this may be the case in specific circumstances, there are times when a zoom lens is better than a prime lens, and 5 of these include:-
1. When outdoors in dusty environments
Swapping lenses exposes the camera’s internals, which in turn increases the chances of dust and dirt sticking to the camera’s sensor, which can lead to dust spots on the photos. It may be possible to remove the dust spots using some photo editing software, but this is a long winded and painful process. Rather than swapping between prime lenses in dirty and dusty environments a zoom lens allows you to change the focal length without having to remove the lens, which in turn eliminates dust spots.
2. When you want to shoot quickly
Swapping lenses takes time, and these takes interrupts the shoot and can lead to subjects/models standing around getting bored. If you use a zoom lens you can change the focal length with a simple twist or pull of the lens barrel. Changing the focal length of a zoom lens is quick, efficient and allows the shoot to continue without interruption.
3. When you want a one lens solution
A zoom lens covers a range of focal lengths and if you want to cover the same range of focal lengths with a prime lens you would need several separate prime lenses. Carrying around multiple lenses brings about several problems and issues. For example, you need somewhere to store the lenses that aren’t on the camera, you need to make sure you keep an eye on the lenses that aren’t on the camera to make sure they don’t get pinched or you leave one (or more) behind etc. etc. Having a single zoom lens eliminates all of these problems.
4. When you need a long reach lens
If you need a long reach lens, i.e. one with a long focal length, a zoom lens is usually the best option. Long reach prime lenses, whilst faster than long reach zoom lenses, are big, heavy and take up a lot of room. Long reach zoom lenses, whilst slower, are smaller, more compact and also transportable. I should also point out that long reach prime lenses are damn expensive and significantly more expensive than a zoom lens with the same reach.
5. When you confined to the spot
If you are confined to a shooting position and unable to move closer to, or further away from the subject a zoom lens is much better than a fixed focal length prime lens. In these circumstances a zoom lens allows you to alter the framing and the composition to capture a large variety of shots. Using a prime lens in these circumstances results in a series of photos that are all the same.
The above are just 5 situations and scenarios when zoom lenses are better than prime lenses, and there are many others too. The key to getting the most out of zoom lenses is to know when, and in what situations to use them.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.