World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Prime Lens

Article Id: WHEBN0003528292
Reproduction Date:

Title: Prime Lens  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 3D film, Inception
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Prime Lens


In film and photography, a prime lens is either a photographic lens whose focal length is fixed, as opposed to a zoom lens, or it is the primary lens in a combination lens system.

Confusion can sometimes result due to the two meanings of the term if the context does not make the interpretation clear. Alternative terms primary focal length, fixed focal length, and FFL are sometimes used to avoid ambiguity.

As alternative to zoom lens

The term prime has come to be used as the opposite of zoom; that is, a prime lens is a fixed-focal-length, or unifocal lens, while a zoom lens has a variable focal length.[1][2][3]

A prime lens of a given focal length is less versatile than a zoom whose range includes that focal length, but is often of superior optical quality, wider maximum aperture, lighter weight, smaller size or lower cost. In comparison with a zoom lens, a prime lens has fewer moving parts and fewer optical elements which can be optimized for one particular focal length. With a less complicated lens formula they suffer from fewer problems related to optical aberration.

Because their optics are simpler, prime lenses usually have a larger maximum aperture (smaller f-number) than zoom lenses. This allows photography in lower light and a shallower depth of field.

A normal lens or "normal prime" is a lens with a focal length about equal to the diagonal size of the film or sensor format, or that reproduces perspective that generally looks "natural" to a human observer under normal viewing conditions.

Traditional meaning as primary lens

An alternate and apparently somewhat older meaning of the term prime lens is the main lens in a combination lens system.[4] When the camera lens is used with some other optical device, such as a close-up lens, teleconverter, or teleside converter, the camera lens itself is properly called the prime lens. Prime is here used in the sense of primary, chief, original, first in order, etc.

Lens manufacturers such as ARRI Media,[5] ISCO Precision Optics,[6] Schneider,[7] Carl Zeiss AG,[8] Canon[9] and others still make variable focal length cine and video lenses regularly catalogued as variable prime lenses. A variable prime is sometimes distinguished from a "true zoom" in that the latter maintains focus as the focal length is varied.

This use of the term "prime lens" is an example of a retronym. Early in photography only primary camera lenses were available, and were merely called "lenses" or "objectives". Later, "auxiliary" lenses were available, which usually fit in front of the front element of the primary, or "prime" lens.

Popular focal lengths

Many lens manufacturers produce or produced prime lenses at or near the following focal lengths: 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 105mm, 135mm, 200mm, 300mm, 400mm, 600mm. For these lengths many manufacturers produce two or more lenses with the same focal length but with different maximum apertures to suit the different needs of photographers. Additional focal lengths can be created by using a teleconverter.

Specialist lenses

Some specialist lenses are only available as prime lenses due to design or cost constraints. Examples of such specialist lenses are: extreme telephoto or wide angle, lenses with tilt and / or shift function, lenses with large apertures and macro lenses.

References

External links

  • Photo Dictionary definition
  • Photography Terms
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.