In this course, Rich Harrington joins cinematographer James Ball for a detailed look at the pros and cons of using prime lenses for both photography and video projects. Together, they look at practical implications of shooting with primes as well as creative opportunities and challenges.
- Understanding prime lenses
- Adapting lenses to specific cameras
- Identifying benefits and challenges when working with prime lenses
- Working with specialty prime lenses: macro and Lomography lenses
- Exploring options with a shallow depth of field
- Strategies for success with prime lenses
Skill Level Intermediate
- Hi, we're gonna be exploring today, a look at prime lenses for both photo and video applications. My name's Rich Harrington, and I am a photographer, as well as a director for video productions. And joining me today is Jim Ball. Jim, tell the folks a little bit about yourself. - Well I work in the film and video industry, mostly video these days. And I do a variety of different types of programming from documentaries to commercials, to broadcast TV. - [Rich] To get started, we're gonna explore what is a prime lens, and how is it different from a zoom lens? Now, many of you may shoot with zoom lenses, as these are the lenses that are typically included in the kit with a camera.
And most traditional video cameras ship with zoom lenses, due to their flexibility. But there are both pros, and of course cons to shooting with prime lenses, we're gonna walk you through what those are. We'll also explore common mounting types for photo and video workflows. As well as how you can adapt a lens. A lot of times, people will find vintage lenses, or have lenses from one manufacturer that they want to take to a different camera. And these can be made to work through a series of adapters. Plus, we'll talk about options like making sure that the lens properly covers your camera sensor, so you get optimal image quality.
And, explore some of the options both in camera and on lens for stabilization. - In this class we're also gonna go through pros and cons of using prime lenses. One of the big advantages, of course, is that enhanced shallow depth of field that you get from the wider aperture. There's specialty lenses, one of the more popular is the macro lens, that you can do very extreme close ups, and we'll go through some of these specialty lenses that have not only a single focal length, but have their own particular use.
And because cameras are getting smaller and more portable, having lenses that are equally portable, and great for mobile productions are a perfect example to take advantage of prime lenses. Now we'll certainly discuss some of the cons, the disadvantages of working with primes. Because we like working with that shallow depth of field, we'll also look at some of the challenges of working practically with that aesthetic like very shallow focus, the requirement to have maybe a, some help in the focus department.
- [Rich] Prime lenses offer the opportunity for specialty shooting types. We'll explore some of the many ones out there that offer unique performance options. As well as some aesthetic choices, things like lensbaby lenses and lomography lenses, which give you a very particular look in camera. And because all of this will affect how you shoot, whether it's stills or video, we're gonna share with you some practical strategies on how we get the shot, and really take you out onto the field as well, so you can witness how these lenses are put to use and what results you get.
So, we've got a lot to cover, I'm really excited that you could join us. Let's get started.