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In brief a zoom lens is one which will allow you to change smoothly from a long/distant shot to a close up shot or vice versa.
A prime lens is one which has a fixed focal length and cannot be varied unless you physically move yourself closer or further away from the subject matter which you are photographing.
In days gone by you often used to hear and read that prime lens’s contained without question, more superior optics, hence provided a higher quality image.