Prime or Zoom?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by winjeel, May 23, 2009.

  1. winjeel

    winjeel Member

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    I just edited my signature and thought for a moment. I've transitioned from primes, to zooms, and seemingly, back to primes. A little more thought, no, I really loved the old MD 50mm I had, and had a hankering to get another 50mm in AF. I absolutely love it. It's sooo fun! Strangely, I can still use sensible shutter speeds, iso100 and whatever f-stop I want, even in fading light. I didn't exactly intend to go into another Primes phase, as I preferred the Minolta 28-70mm G, but the cost was slightly out of my budget, but I'm loving this 50mm phase. But I have to admit, I use the 70-300mm about as much as I do this 50mm at the moment.

    Hmm... just out of interest, what's everyone else's current preferences?
     
  2. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    ***Prime or Zoom?***

    In my experience if you are just going to post shots onto a computer screen or choose 5X7" (maybe 6X8" ?) prints from a store/lab, then you wont see much difference between a GOOD zoom and prime. So I use both with two cameras e.g. 70-150mm 0r 70-210mm on one camera and other camera 24mm, 28mm or 50mm....why two cameras? well one reason is:- if you are cycling using a backpack and want to take a quick photo, it's easier to choose the camera than fumble around looking for another lens.
     
  3. winjeel

    winjeel Member

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    Interesting you should say that. I have my main kit in a backpack, but also a little waist pouch for swapping between two lenses. I did this recently at an event here. But I used the longer of the two much of the time.
     
  4. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    A 'prime' lens is a lens used with a 'secondary' lens.
    A zoom lens can be a prime lens too.

    A non-zoom lens is a 'non-zoom' lens. Or 'fixed focal length lens'.
    Or just plain 'lens'. It needs no qualifier.
     
  5. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Technically you may be correct. But isn't the term "prime" now generally accepted to define a fixed focal length lens as opposed to a zoom lens?
     
  6. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    It was, alas, very widespread a few years ago, yes.

    Not always though: it was during a short period that everyone starting talking about "primes".

    Before, and after (!), people just said "lens".
    Zoom lenses already have a different name to distinguish them from other lenses, so there was and is no need for something else to distinguish zoom lenses from other lenses. Certainly not when that something was the misuse of a term that already means something else.

    I haven't heard it for a while, and would not say it generally accepted use of the term. And as you have noticed, i am trying to keep the misuse in check.
    I do know that i can't have it my way, but will not let that stop me from trying. :wink:
     
  7. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    I do not own even a single zoom lens.

    Way back when, they just weren't good enough.
    And now that they are, i still like putting a simple, small lens on my camera more than carrying half of my, or even all of my 'arsenal' hanging from my camera at once.
    I never missed having the opportunity to continuously change the angle of view any more than the lower speed of zoom lenses, or the bigger size and greater weight of zoom lenses.
     
  8. unohuu

    unohuu Member

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    I like the SFL approach myself. 28mm; 50mm; 100mm; and 135mm. Zoom with my feet.
     
  9. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    Yes, it most definitely is. I much prefer primes to zooms.
     
  10. elekm

    elekm Member

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    If you really want to challenge yourself, dump the autofocus and autoexposure and find yourself an old manual camera, perhaps an SRT. Meter the scene yourself. Focus on your own.

    Electronics have made us lazy.
     
  11. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    *****Interesting you should say that. I have my main kit in a backpack, but also a little waist pouch for swapping between two lenses. I did this recently at an event here. But I used the longer of the two much of the time.***


    Quicker to have two cameras around your neck, they are cheap enough to buy, also would have 72X35mm shots available.
     
  12. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I do use zoom lenses for my 35mm, but I perfer to use prime lenses and use my feet for zooming. (I fell off a cliff once:D)

    Jeff
     
  13. WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    I have a 70-200mm F/4L lens that I use with my Canon K2. This lens is very sharp. I have read that the sharpness deteriorates a bit at the long and short end of the range, but I cant tell a difference. Maybe if I made big enlargements and/or studied it under a loupe (is that what they're called?).

    I'd like to get the 24-70mm F/2.8L before I get a few primes, just to make sure I have the whole range covered :smile: I doubt I'll need anything longer than a 200mm lens any time soon.

    I wouldnt mind having some primes. I'd like the wider apertures and less weight, but my zooms are just so much quicker than setting forward and back :smile:
     
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  15. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

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    Oooooh, I'f I would have known you were with the Evil Canonites, I might not have been so friendly and helpful in the Enlarger thread! Nikons Triumph over Evil! LOL! :smile:
     
  16. SoSideways

    SoSideways Member

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    hahahaha that's the truth!

    Can get slimmer too if you zoom with your feet! hahaha

    That's also the reason why I think I'm going to start collecting a few FT2/FT3s and FM2s.

    FMs for primary cameras, FTs for back up cameras.
     
  17. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    “... just out of interest, what's everyone else's current preferences?”

    When I first started in photography, I used primes lenses because the zooms were too expensive and their image quality was too low. In fact, the first zoom lens I purchased produced images that were so bad that this lens soured me to zoom lenses for decades. Thank goodness zoom lenses have improved since then.

    Today, I primarily use my older manual focus prime lenses on my film cameras. However, I primarily use newer auto focus zoom lenses on my digital camera not for the zoom feature but for the auto focus feature because manually focusing on an APS-sized digital camera is very difficult for me.
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I own two zooms, but only use one (the other came with a body that I wanted).

    The one that I use (although infrequently) is an Olympus Zuiko 75-150mm f/4 lens. I use it when it is likely that I won't be able to "zoom with my feet". I like it's size (including filter size) as well as the fact that it is a two-touch zoom.

    Otherwise, I prefer fixed focal lengths (24mm, 35 mm, 85mm is my favourite kit).

    Matt
     
  19. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

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    I use zooms, with a few specialized exceptions. I use a fast nifty fifty for available light work, and I use 55mm and 90mm manual focus macro lenses, and I use an older 300mm f2.8 manual lens, usually with a 2X TC, for extreme tele work. (I'd greatly prefer a modern fast 600mm VR AF lens, but my long fast manual tele rig cost me under $500, not $6000).

    But most of my shooting is with a 12-24mm, a 24-120mm zoom, a 70-200mm zoom, and a 200-400 (cheap Tamron) zoom.

    I had been using a Sigma 14mm f2.8 prime for ultra wide, but my testing showed me that the Tokina 12-24 was slightly sharper than the Sigma 14mm, so I switched and sold my 14mm.
     
  20. Pumal

    Pumal Member

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    I usually stick to primes (24mm. 55mm f/1.2, 85mm f/1.8). There are a couple of zooms I sometimes use: Olympus 75-150mm f/4 and a Vivitar Series 1 70-210 f/3.5. I make heavy use of Macros: 55mm Micro-Nikkor, 105mm Micro-Nikkor, 200mm Micro-Nikkor f/4
     
  21. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    35mm three high quality zooms.
    MF all Zeiss primes. This includes a Hasselblad and a circa 1935 folder.

    Steve
     
  22. winjeel

    winjeel Member

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    If I really want to challenge myself, I get up in the morning... Jokes aside. I have a challenge. My Seagull's internal light meter is on the blink, and so I'm still torn between replacing it with a NEW X700 (still available here), an Alpha 7 (aka Dynax 7 elsewhere), or a light meter (to go with the the Seagull). Interestingly, the Alpha 7 is the cheapest option, and the light meter is the most expensive. I know electronics make us lazy, research in brain plasticity has shown that, and even the in-car GPS maps now available are a threat to our brains when we (young-un's) are in our older ages.

    It's interesting to see that most people have a twenty-something, a fifty-ish, and another one before 100mm. But no one has a really wide angle? If did get one, it'd be the Sigma 12-24. Seems really good, but I don't have a use for it... yet.
     
  23. Pumal

    Pumal Member

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    I have the AF Nikkor 18-35mm and use it a lot. Quite good.
     
  24. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    I use prime/sfl lenses because when I bought them, I couldn't afford a really good zoom and really good prime/sfl's were in my budget. A Nikkor 35mm f/2 and 105mm/f2.5 were all I used for a very long time.
     
  25. winjeel

    winjeel Member

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    If I had one, I'd be using it to exaggerate temple architecture, especially roofs. But I'm not sure what else. What do you use it for?

    Finding good zooms that have f2 is rather difficult. However, I've found it fun just to play with one lens, even if I do get more exercise stepping forwards and back. I think the only time I'd miss having a short zoom would be for certain events like parades and street festivals. Hmm... No big loss to me, I suppose.
     
  26. WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    Had I been given a Nikon as a graduation present when I graduated high school, I would probably flaunt my Nikon lenses as proudly as I flaunt my "OMG! Look at me!" white attention whore Canon L lens :smile:

    To each his own :smile: