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If you have a camera with an interchangeable lens, you probably started using it (or are still using it) with the included kit lens. While this is fine for the first few weeks-months, when you’re ready to use your camera to it’s full potential, you’re gonna need to upgrade your lens.

Why?

It comes down to 2 main reasons. First, is the literal quality of the glass. Kit lenses often have a high amount of distortion and discoloration, and this is just from the pure fact that the actual glass is low quality. Second, aperture. Having a fast aperture (2.8 or better) is key in getting creamy, bokehlicious backgrounds.

kit lens
This image was taken using my kit lens – notice the slight discoloration in the clouds.
This image was taken on my 50mm prime lens with an f/2.8 aperture - creamy background!
This image was taken on my 50mm prime lens with an f/1.8 aperture – creamy background!

Sounds Awesome, But How Is This Budget?

When looking to upgrade your kit lens, you might be intimidated by prices. Canon’s 24-105mm f/4 L lens is $999 – and it’s only F/4! Even a Sigma lens of the same nature will cost you around $400.

The Answer: Primes

The secret to getting a low aperture and high quality glass is a prime lens. While it’s not as convenient as having optical zoom, it’s the best bang for your buck. The only way to get a fast aperture and a lens with optical zoom is to fork over a high price. For Canon users, starting with the Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM lens is recommended. For only $125, this offers some quality performance. While it’s great for portraits and close ups, it’s not a wide lens by any means. If you are looking for a wide lens, then check out the Canon 24mm f/2.8 STM, which will set you back $149.

LensLearning To Live With Primes

Primes can be challenging, and quite annoying at times. Not having the ability to zoom is a pain, but unfortunately it’s your best bet unless you can afford an L glass lens. Walking is your zoom! It’s as simple as that.
Instead of conveniently sitting around and zooming, you’ll be forced to think outside the box and get at different angles! Although it sounds annoying at first, I’ve gotten used to it, and I prefer primes now. You just can’t beat the quality you get with a prime lens, not even with an L lens. In addition, prime lenses are light and compact.

Conclusion

While prime lenses are inconvenient, they offer better quality and a better price tag over zoom lenses.

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Christian Taylor
Christian Taylor is a tech enthusiast, video producer, graphic designer, journalist, and drummer from Nashville, TN. He makes weekly videos about tech on his YouTube Channel, Drumrocker365. As his username says, he is a professional drummer with a touring band, The Zach Allen Band. Starting his channel in 2011, Christian is experienced in YouTube. He also enjoys programming, and developing websites. He has experience with HTML, JavaScript, CSS, C#, and PHP. Christian also has an entrepreneurial background, starting his first company, Emerald Hosting, at age 13.