Design & Style

Photography 101: How to Use a Parfocal Lens and the Difference Between Parfocal vs. Varifocal Lenses

Written by the MasterClass staff

Last updated: Sep 28, 2021 • 2 min read

In photography, zoom lenses can be either parfocal or varifocal. Parfocal lenses maintain focus when the focal length is changed, while varifocal lenses do not. For this reason, varifocal lenses are more useful in still photography (where a change in composition requires a change in focus), while parfocal lenses are more useful in situations where a subject is moving rapidly (think sports photography, wedding photography, and videography).