3 Must-Have Prime Lenses Every Videographer Needs

Lenses are both personal and practical decisions that videographers need to make. There’s the look you are hoping to achieve as well as the needs of the space, subject, and story.

For versatility it isn’t uncommon to toss a decent zoom in your pack, but I think I speak for most filmmakers in saying that primes are usually preferred if the shoot allows for it.

There are some go-to focal lengths you’ll want to pick up if you are looking for your next prime lenses. Or three if you are following along with filmmaker Will Walker and his preferred lenses.

Will is a Sony shooter, so the specific lenses mentioned are going to be for the E mount. However, all of these focal lengths are widely available from nearly every manufacturer in a variety of different aperture ranges to fit most budgets. Meaning anybody can benefit from the advice in this video.

So what are the three lenses you need?

The 24mm

Having a good wide-angle lens is essential for video production. Even though you aren’t getting that super shallow depth of field and subject separation of telephoto optics, the ability to get more in the frame is invaluable.

The 24mm is perfect for B roll, documentary, establishing shots, and more. It gives you a lot of flexibility with framing.

Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM Lens

Image Credit: Sony

Another useful aspect is that it is easier to stabilize and can be handheld quite effectively. Throwing it on a gimbal makes it even better. Camera shake is much less noticeable with wide-angle lenses.

Documentary and story-driven content demand the extra field of view so you can position your subject in its location.

The 35mm

A common favorite focal length for many is the classic 35mm. This is an amazing environmental portrait lens. It’s wide enough to get you a bit of the scene along with your subject but isn’t so wide as to give you an awkward look.

Sony FE 35mm F1.4 ZA Lens

Image Credit: Sony

Will happens to use this as his A cam lens even with talking head interviews. A bit of an interesting choice in my opinion.

It’s also just a good walkaround lens. So if you do use it for A-roll you can then get a very fast transition between that and your B-roll.

The 50mm

While generally considered the most classic of focal lengths, the 50mm seems to be a controversial pick for Will. The reason for the controversy is that some people may prefer a slightly longer focal length, like 85mm, instead of the more normal look of the 50mm.

I think the 50mm is great. It’s a good look for people and he uses it as the B cam for his interviews. B roll is good too and it gets you the focus and shallow depth of field people love.

Sony FE 50mm F1.2 GM Lens

Image Credit: Sony

In contrast to the 85mm, the 50mm is a bit easier to use in most situations since the 85mm can be a bit more tight and shows off more camera shake when working handheld.

Still, it is a dealer’s choice and with modern high-res cameras if you want to punch in a touch later you can easily do that in post.

Now, a final note is that if you only want one lens then you should go for the 35mm since it is an ideal blend of the two other options here.

What do you think of this list? What would you pick?

[source: Will Walker]

Order Links:

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate partner and participant in B&H and Adorama Affiliate programmes, we earn a small comission from each purchase made through the affiliate links listed above at no additional cost to you.

Claim your copy of DAVINCI RESOLVE - SIMPLIFIED COURSE with 50% off! Get Instant Access!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.