Zoom Lenses vs. Fixed Lenses: A Photographer’s Perspective

April 10, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Photography is an art that is greatly influenced by the tools we use. Among these tools, the choice of lens can dramatically affect the outcome of our images. In this post, we’ll explore the differences between zoom lenses and fixed lenses, and how they can be used to achieve different effects in your photography.

My Journey with Lenses

In my early days of photography, I covered my first and second weddings using only a 28-300 mm zoom lens. The results were fantastic. The versatility of the zoom lens allowed me to capture a wide range of shots, from wide-angle group photos to close-ups of the happy couple.

However, my photography took a dramatic turn when I purchased an 85mm 1.8 fixed lens. The sharpness, depth of field, and overall image quality that this lens provided was a game-changer. It made me realize the potential of using fixed lenses in my work.

When to Use Zoom Lenses

Zoom lenses are incredibly versatile. They allow you to adjust your focal length on the fly, making them ideal for situations where you need to quickly switch between wide, mid, and close-up shots. This makes them particularly suitable for group shots with a background, where you want to capture both the people and the environment.

When to Use Fixed Lenses

Fixed lenses, also known as prime lenses, have a single focal length. They are often favored for their superior optical quality, wider apertures, and lighter weight. If you want to make your subject pop, a fixed lens, especially an 85mm or 105mm, is a great choice. The wide aperture of these lenses allows for a shallow depth of field, which can create a beautiful bokeh effect and make your subject stand out from the background.

Exploring the Possibilities

While I’ve had great results with both types of lenses, I’m still exploring the possibilities of using a zoom lens to achieve that “pop” typically associated with fixed lenses. One technique I’ve found effective is to get closer to the subject. This can help to create a nice bokeh effect, even with a zoom lens.


In the end, the choice between a zoom lens and a fixed lens depends on what you’re photographing. Both types of lenses have their strengths and can be used to create stunning images. As photographers, our job is to understand these tools and how to use them to bring our vision to life.

Remember, the best lens is the one that allows you to capture your vision. So whether you’re using a zoom lens or a fixed lens, the most important thing is to keep practicing, keep exploring, and keep capturing those beautiful moments. Happy shooting!



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