9 Best Prime Lenses in 2022

By Tati Taylor 4 days ago, Cameras & Lenses

High-quality prime lenses from popular brands.

best prime lenses

There is a wide range of long zoom lenses available on the market, but professional photographers know that if they want perfectly sharp photographs, a prime lens is the best choice for the task. Such a lens has a fixed focal length, so it is possible to deliver ultra-sharp results at that distance.

Top 9 Prime Lenses to Buy

  1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 - Oue Choice
  2. Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G - DSLR
  3. Meike 35mm F1.7 - Cheap
  4. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 - Lightweight
  5. Sigma 70mm F2.8 Art - Macro
  6. Sony 85mm F/1.8-22 - Fixed
  7. Sony FE 28mm f/2-22 - Standard
  8. Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN - Compact
  9. Nikon AF-S 500mm F/5.6E - Sharpest Nikon prime lens

As opposed to a zoom lens, a standard prime lens has a fixed focal length. Anyway, it is professional optical equipment, with a more compact design. Also, because of wider apertures, the picture quality is often better.

1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

Oue Choice
prime lens canon ef 50mm f/1.8

Mount: Canon EF | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: Yes | Min focus distance: 0.35 m | Max magnification: 0.21x | Filter thread: 49 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 69.2x39.3 mm | Weight: 160 g

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⊕ A wide aperture
⊕ Clear and detailed images
⊕ Remarkable shooting results
⊕ Long-lasting design
⊕ Lightweight
⊖ Lacks hood

The Canon EF 50mm/ f.1.8 STM is a prime camera lens, which is highly recommended for portrait shooting, and for working in low-light conditions. F/1.8 wide aperture and a 50mm focal length make everyday objects look nicely defined.

An AF is quick but almost silent, as the lens is fitted with a special Stepping Motor (STM). The autofocus transitions are smooth, so you can also try your hand at videography.

It weighs only 160g, thus known as the most compact Canon lens. It is ideally compatible with Canon EOS APS-C for a short-telephoto 80mm equivalent viewing angle. It works great on a full-frame camera too.

2. Nikon AF-S DX 35mm

Best DSLR prime lens
prime lens nikon af-s dx 35mm f/1.8g

Mount: Nikon DX | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: Yes | Min focus distance: 0.3 m | Max magnification: 0.16x | Filter thread: 52 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 70.5x52.5 mm | Weight: 200 g

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⊕ Portable and lightweight construction
⊕ Aspherical lens element
⊕ Super integrated coating
⊕ Amazing performance in poor light
⊕ Quick and silent autofocus
⊖ Comes without optical stabilization

The Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G is a prime lens with an “Extra Dispersion” (ED) lens element, which guarantees the greatest sharpness and contrast, and an aspherical lens element to minimize spherical aberration.

The lens is equipped with a “Silent Wave Motor”, which ensures noiseless focusing on any DSLR camera from Nikon. You may also control the focus manually in the corresponding mode.

The barrel of the lens is made of top-quality plastics, so you shouldn’t worry about the longevity of the construction.

This 35mm prime lens weighs 200 grams and is a perfect lightweight choice for any Nikon DSLR camera.

3. Meike 35mm F1.7

Best cheap prime lens
prime lens meike 35mm f1.7

Mount: Sony E, Fuji X/M4/3, Canon EOS-M | Diaphragm blades: 8 | Autofocus: No | Min focus distance: 0.3 m | Max magnification: 0.113x | Filter thread: 49 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 60.5x41 mm | Weight: 176 g

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⊕ Wide aperture
⊕ Broad viewing angles
⊕ Perfect sharpness in the middle of a frame
⊕ Metal construction
⊕ Budget-friendly offer
⊖ Lacks autofocus

The Meike 35mm f/1.7 is ideal photographers, who are shopping for compact and budget-friendly lenses, which deliver good-quality images. You can use this 35mm prime lens in a wide range of situations, thanks to its focal length, which ensures a 50mm field of view. The lens has a f/1.7aperture, so you experiment with a bokeh effect and a shallow depth of field.

The barrel of the lens is made of metal, without any visible plastic insertions. The biggest shortcoming of this product is the absence of AF. Anyway, this peculiarity may interest shooters, who like to have utmost focusing control while taking images.

4. Canon EF-S 24mm

Best lightweight prime lens
prime lens canon ef-s 24mm f/2.8

Mount: Canon EF-S | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: Yes | Min focus distance: 0.16 m | Max magnification: 0.27 x | Filter thread: 52 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 68.2x22.8 mm | Weight: 125 g

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⊕ Top-quality optics
⊕ Great photos
⊕ Quiet STM focus motor
⊕ Weighs next to nothing
⊖ Without weather protection

The Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM may be considered a universal prime lens, with an innovative system of autofocus combined with top-quality optics. A lot of street photographers consider this model one of the top offers currently available. Optimized arrangement of lens elements and an aspheric component guarantee the best edge-to-edge image quality. Ghosting and flares are minimized thanks to special lens coating.

If you decide to record footage, the process will be effortless and enjoyable. The STM motor ensures quick and quiet focusing. An aperture changes silently thanks to the micro-stepping drive. All in all, affordable price, compact design, small weight, and Movie Servo video performance attract many potential buyers.

5. Sigma 70mm F2.8 Art

Best macro prime lens
prime lens sigma 70mm f2.8 art dg macro

Mount: Sigma, Sony E, Nikon F, Canon EF, L-mount | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Yes | Min focus distance: 0.258 m | Max magnification: 1x | Filter thread: 49 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 70.8x105.8mm | Weight: 515 g

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⊕ 1:1 macro capabilities
⊕ Focus-by-wire system
⊕ Top-notch low-dispersion glass
⊕ Multi-Layer coating
⊕ Weathertight design
⊖ Cumbersome lens hood

The Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Art DG Macro lens is an amazing macro prime lens to practice close-up and macro photography. A special feature of this lens is a Super Multi-Layer coating, which makes a great contribution to image quality. It minimizes flare and ghosting, this balancing contrasts and color even in the harsh light.

The coreless DC motor guarantees fast and precise subject detection. Manual focusing is possible too. An angle of rotation of the focus ring is adjusted based on the peculiarities of the macro shooting conditions. Another attractive feature is a rubber sealing, which means you can hone your shooting skills regardless of the weather.

6. Sony 85mm F/1.8-22

Best fixed prime lens
prime lens sony 85mm f/1.8-22

Mount: Sony E | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Yes | Min focus distance: 0.8 m | Max magnification: 0.13x | Filter thread: 67 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 78x82mm | Weight: 371 g

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⊕ Portable design
⊕ High-quality build
⊕ Silent and accurate focus
⊕ Amazingly sharp
⊕ Weather-sealed
⊖ Flare against the light

The Sony 85mm f/1.8-22 is a prime camera lens, which is going to surprise you with amazing image quality and sharpness. You can use the lens in low-light conditions with the bright f/1.8 aperture and control the depth of field by dint of selective focus techniques.

The lens is compatible with full-frame and APS C cameras. Choosing this lens, you get an adjustable focus hold button, a physical AF/MF switch, and a double linear AF motor for fast, silent, and smooth focusing.

7. Sony FE 28mm f/2-22

Best standard prime lens
prime lens sony fe 28mm f/2-22

Mount: Sony FE | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Yes | Min focus distance: 0.29 m | Max magnification: 0.13x | Filter thread: 49 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 64x60 mm | Weight: 200 g

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⊕ Portable construction
⊕ Innovative piece of optics with a fixed focal length
⊕ Multi-coated body
⊕ Smooth and pronounced bokeh
⊖ Lack of image stabilization

The Sony FE 28mm f/2-22 is a good prime camera lens, made of durable plastic with metal parts. The surfaces of the lens are covered with a special multi-coating to minimize flare and ghosting. The lens has a built-in advanced linear actuator, ensuring silent and precise focusing. The sharpness this model produces is amazing.

The lens is compact, doesn’t weigh a lot, has many attractive features, all of which are offered at an attractive price.

8. Sigma 56mm f/1.4 E

Best compact prime lens
prime lens

Mount: Sony E | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Yes | Min focus distance: 0.5 m | Max magnification: 0.135x | Filter thread: 55 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 66.5x59.5mm | Weight: 280 g

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⊕ Small and lightweight
⊕ Wonderful image quality
⊕ Smooth AF
⊕ Fast aperture
⊖ Lacks IS

The Sigma 56mm f/1.4 E DC DN is a compact prime lens, which weighs 280g and is 6cm long. It offers quick f/1.4 aperture and telephoto focal length. The focus is very precise, it works smoothly and quietly.

You will be absolutely satisfied with the perfect build quality of the lens. The body is made of plastic with some metallic parts. Inside it consists of compound materials, TSC (Thermally Stable Composite). The lens has a bayonet-fit hood, which is an additional advantage. The most notable features are top sharpness and well-balanced contrast. The chromatic aberrations and distortion are minimized. The price is also moderate.

9. Nikon AF-S 500mm

Best sharpest Nikon prime lens
prime lens nikon af-s 500mm f/5.6e

Mount: Nikon F | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Yes | Min focus distance: 3 m | Max magnification: 0.18x | Filter thread: 95 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 106x237 mm | Weight: 1460 g

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⊕ Solid build
⊕ VR image stabilization
⊕ Quick autofocus
⊕ Wonderful image quality
⊖ High price

The Nikon AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR is one of the most compact and lightweight prime lenses for Nikon DSLR cameras. It has an electromagnetic control of aperture, VR and a Silent Wave Motor, which ensures soundless focusing.

The PF (Phase Fresnel) minimizes chromatic aberration, using the diffraction phenomenon. In a combination with a normal glass lens, it ensures the most effective handling of chromatic aberration.

The lens is weather-sealed with a special protective front meniscus, featuring Nikon’s Fluorine Coating, protecting the lens from water, dust, and dirt, and ensuring easy cleaning.

Image Name Features  
prime lens canon ef 50mm f/1.8
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
Our Choice
  • Min focus distance: 0.35 m
  • Max magnification: 0.21x
  • Filter thread: 49 mm
  • Weight: 160 g
CHECK PRICE
prime lens nikon af-s dx 35mm f/1.8g
Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G
for DSLR
  • Min focus distance: 0.3 m
  • Max magnification: 0.16x
  • Filter thread: 52 mm
  • Weight: 200 g
CHECK PRICE
prime lens meike 35mm f1.7
Meike 35mm F1.7
Fixed
  • Min focus distance: 0.3 m
  • Max magnification: 0.113x
  • Filter thread: 49 mm
  • Weight: 176 g
CHECK PRICE

How to Choose the Best Prime Camera Lens?

best prime lenses

There is a great variety of prime lenses on the market, so the choice won’t be easy. Some photographers believe, that if they buy the most expensive lens, it will give them perfect results. But it is not true. To make the right choice, you should decide on your goals and requirements, and then choose the prime lens, which will help you make your ideas come true.

Lens Mount

A lens mount is not universal, so you should be attentive while choosing a lens to make sure it is compatible with your camera. There are manufacturers, who offer a wide range of sizes. The Olympus and Panasonic have two standard sizes of the mount, for DSLRs, it is the Four-thirds mount, and for the mirrorless cameras, it is Micro Four thirds.

Focal Length

The focal length is one of the most important characteristics of a lens. This parameter is always specified in millimeters, and you will find it in the name of the lens. A prime lens has a fixed focal length, so there will be only one number in its name (for example, a 50mm). A zoom lens has two numbers, indicating the far ends of the focal length range (for example, 24-70mm).

You should be aware that the sensor of your camera will influence the declared focal length of a lens. A wide-angle lens mounted on a full-frame camera, may give a “normal view” on a crop sensor.

Aperture

The aperture is a circular opening in the lens, which is responsible for letting light in. It may be bigger or smaller, therefore transmitting more or less light.

The size of this opening is very important. The more light comes in, the better. That’s why photographers are always looking for lenses with the maximum aperture. An “f” number stands for the aperture, a wider aperture means a smaller “f” number. For instance, an f/5.6 lets less light in than f/1.8.

Image Stabilization

An image stabilization system is a special mechanism, which compensates handshaking when you are holding a camera. The mechanism may consist of gyroscope sensors or floating lens elements. Image stabilization is a wonderful innovation, allowing you to take pictures at slower shutter speeds in low light to prevent blurring, caused by hand movements.

Weight

best prime lenses

A prime camera lens is small and lightweight, as opposed to an average zoom lens. It is a great advantage if you don’t want to travel with a massive and heavy device. But be aware that sometimes, even a prime lens may be rather heavy, if it is fitted with many glass elements and has a super protected body. These lenses are often rather expensive.

FAQ

  • • What is a prime lens?

A prime camera lens is a lens with a fixed focal length. Usually, the maximum aperture varies from f/2.8 to f/1.2. It also means a primary lens in the entire setup.

  • • Is a prime lens better than a zoom?

As a rule, a prime lens delivers higher image quality and performs better in low-light conditions, although its price is higher. This type of lens is not universal, as opposed to a zoom lens. Zoom lenses are not as good in low light, but they have a wider focal length range and are more affordable.

  • • 35mm vs 50mm prime lens – which to choose?

A 35mm prime lens is great for full-length and waist portraits, as it can capture more of the scene. Use a 50mm lens to take a shoulder-length portrait photo with minimal distortion and a bokeh effect. Capturing more of the scene is also possible if you step back.

  • • Are prime lenses sharper?

A standard prime lens is sharper than a zoom lens. Inside a prime lens, there is no additional moving glass, which moves to zoom. A zoom lens has more lens elements inside, so there is more diffraction, and that is the reason you might get worse quality.

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