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4.0 Rating
Photograph Family and Friends During the Holidays

The holidays are prime picture-taking time. Get some great tips on…

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4.2 Rating
How to Choose Your Next Nikon 1 Lens

Go beyond your Nikon 1 camera's kit lens

Beginner

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4.8 Rating
Lucas Gilman

Adventure sports and multimedia storyteller Lucas Gilman is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his…

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4.2 Rating
Using Teleconverters

Teleconverters let you extend your photographic reach

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Which NIKKOR Lens Type is Right for Your DSLR?

Learn what the different types of NIKKOR lenses are and which ones will…

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4.4 Rating
Bokeh for Beginners

Have your subjects stand apart from the background with this easy technique

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4.4 Rating
How To Grow Your Garden Photography Skills

Taking great photographs of your own garden is easy with a few simple tips

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4.4 Rating
Quick Tips for Taking Better Portraits

Suggested Lens choices, exposure settings and focus modes

Beginner

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3.5 Rating
1 NIKKOR Technology: Retractable Lens Barrel

Retractable lens barrel technology offers ultra-compact lens design.

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4.4 Rating
Using legacy NIKKOR lenses with the Nikon Df

How to set the Df to accept legacy Non-Ai or Ai lenses

Advanced

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4.7 Rating
Destination Europe: Do a Little Research, Then Go Light on the Gear

Blaine Harrington on travel photography in Europe

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My Lens Choices for Weddings

Jerry Ghionis discusses his favorite lenses for wedding photography

Beginner

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4.3 Rating
Video Tutorial Series: Getting Started with your Nikon D3300 DSLR

Series of six videos to help you set-up and shoot and…

Beginner

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3.1 Rating
Taking Pictures at Dusk and at Night

How do I take pictures at dusk and at night?

Advanced

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4.4 Rating
Jim Richardson: Why Fast Lenses Make All the Difference

When You’re Constantly on the Move, Fast Glass Makes Tough Shots…

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4.5 Rating
John Shaw: A Photographer's Vision Simplified

See how one of the foremost nature, outdoor and natural history…

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4.9 Rating
Brian Skerry: Below the Surface

An underwater photojournalist's stunning images

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4.2 Rating
Top Photography Tips from Nikon School Instructors

Learn photography the easy way, at Nikon School

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4.3 Rating
Understanding Auto ISO

Auto ISO can simplify shooting under changing lighting conditions

Beginner

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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power
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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power

Creating a starburst in your photographs

Beginner

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4.6 Rating
Ski Photography 101

Tips and tricks for getting great photos of skiers and snowboarders

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4.6 Rating
Photographing the Night Sky

Astrophotography: tips for making great images of the stars, moon and night sky time-lapse

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4.7 Rating
Extra Added Attraction: How to Boost the Reach of Your Nikon 1

Mark Alberhasky on using the FT-1 and NIKKOR lenses on…

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4.4 Rating
Versatile Views of the World of Wildlife:

Ron Magill field tests the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens

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3.5 Rating
Have Fun Shooting Selfies (Self-Portrait) Photos

Tips and tricks for taking great Selfies

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4.5 Rating
How a Sports Illustrated Photographer Shoots his Kid's Games

What can a Sports Illustrated photographer teach you about…

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4.6 Rating
Action and People Photography

For those who want to take better people and action photos

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Matthew Jordan Smith

Celebrity and fashion photographer Matthew Jordan Smith is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his…

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4.4 Rating
Taking Better Photographs on the Water

Harbors, bays, oceans and rivers all have one thing in common—interesting and…

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The Power and Beauty of Bears and Other Animals

When the animal in the viewfinder is a bear, this photographer knows…

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4.9 Rating
A New Sharp Shooter

Mike Corrado on shooting with the Nikon D810

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4.3 Rating
Shooting with Remote Cameras

Andrew Hancock discusses the art of shooting sports with remote cameras

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3.9 Rating
Making Pictures in the Rain

Just because it's raining doesn't mean there aren't great pictures waiting to be made.

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3.9 Rating
Tips and Techniques For High Flying Photos

Tom Bol discusses taking photos from hot air balloons, planes and helicopters

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4.7 Rating
Take a New Look at an Everyday Object

Robin Layton discusses opening your eyes to looking at subjects differently

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4.7 Rating
Building Your Creative Team

Dixie Dixon on building a creative support team

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Prime Lenses

What is a prime lens? Well, it's a lens that isn't a zoom. A prime lens has a fixed focal length which means it has only one focal length. Examples of NIKKOR prime lenses are the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G and AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II, and the new AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G. Some prime lenses are designed for specific uses, such as the Micro-NIKKOR (AF-S Micro-NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR), Perspective Control (PC-E Micro NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D), and Fisheye (AF DX Fisheye-NIKKOR 10.5mm f/2.8D ED) lenses.

If a prime lens gives you only one focal length, but a zoom gives you a range of focal lengths, what are the benefits to using a prime lens?

Prime lenses, are smaller, lighter and more compact than zoom lenses and tend to be faster, offering wide apertures of f/2.8, f/1.8 or even f/1.4. The large apertures let in more light, which benefits the photographer in a number of ways. First, you can use fast shutter speeds with large apertures to freeze motion. This becomes important when you're shooting in low light. By using a high ISO, and wide aperture, you'll be able to use high enough shutter speeds so you can hand-hold the camera.

Secondly, because fast lenses let in lots of light, the viewfinder will be brighter, and so it will be easier to confirm focus, ensuring your images will be sharp.

One of the most sought after benefits of using a prime lens is for the Bokeh achievable by photographers, especially portrait shooters. Bokeh refers to the pleasing diffused softness of the blurred background in an image with shallow depth-of-field.

According to many photographers, a byproduct of using a prime lens is that you physically have to walk into- or step back from your subject(s) when shooting—since you can't zoom in and out. This will often cause them to be more creative in their picture making.


Using a Prime Lens for Video

When shooting HD video, prime lenses are ideal to use. They give you the ability to achieve the same shallow depth-of-field at wide open apertures for your video footage as you already get with your still photography. This is something that is generally difficult to do using a traditional video camera. Many photographers who are shooting HD video with their Nikon D-SLRs will appreciate the prime lenses ability to autofocus precisely and quickly when AF-F (Full-time AF) is selected or even to manually focus, which will lessen the occurrence of noise from the lens being picked up by the camera's internal microphone.

Prime lenses are well suited to a variety of subjects including; portraits, architecture, nature, landscape, sports and action, flora and low light. Nikon offers a range of prime or fixed focal length lenses. Click here to view the full line of NIKKOR prime / fixed focal length lenses.

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