Recommendation for prime lens.

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Steve Mack, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. Steve Mack

    Steve Mack Member

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    I have a 50mm f/.18 Nikkor lens for my F100, and I'm looking to get a wide angle lens, a prime, to go with it. I'm sure that I don't want a 35, or even a twenty-eight, but I'm not sure how wide to go. I've seen the view through a 24 mm lens. How challenging is it to use something wider yet, like a 20 or even an 18? Do any of you use such a lens on a regular basis? I'm looking to learn how to see differently than the 50, and I'd like some feedback if you would.

    With best regards,

    Stephen
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hi,

    It is all a matter of personal preference. I find 28 to be the perfect wide companion to a 50-58 mm lens. Any wider seems too extreme to me for general purposes, and too extreme a difference from the 50. And using them becomes much more difficult to me. I also find them to be "gimmicky" if overused. Kind of like "forced drama" in a way.

    This being said, I do like to have a super wide and a 24mm for occasional use. For me, these are a 20mm f.2.8 Canon S.S.C. (new to me after ditching my 17mm Canon to look for a 20) and a 24mm f/2.8 Nikkor pre-AI. Since they are lengths I don't use that often, I don't bother seeking out the fast versions. But I do want fixed-length lenses, not zooms. They are small, light, cheap, and optically superior, in general, especially in terms of minimizing distortion. There are some exceptions in terms of optical quality, but not many.

    So, I think a good thing to do might be to rent a wide zoom that covers about the 17-40, 16-35, 20-35, etc. range. Rent it over the weekend, keep track of what FLs you are using the most, and what shots you are liking the most.
     
  3. nhemann

    nhemann Member

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    I have a 19-35 for my Minolta's and for a long time it was one of my favorite lenes but the big challenge for me was to make sure I had interetsing things further up in the foreground than I otherwise would due to the "wide angle effect", for lack of a better term, making every thing look too far way. The image would just start to miss the corners as well - which I liked. It also depends on how much you like or dislike lens distortion - my 19 is pretty tame - things are still for the most part straight but you do start to notice things fisheye-ing.

    I have found that my particular vision is wide angle - I use a 28 a lot these days. In fact I usually find 50 to be too close for what I do - and I would love to have a Minolta MD 35mm if any y'all got one hanging around. lol
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    My favourite combination is 24mm, 35mm and 85mm. But the emphasis needs to be on the fact that that is my favourite.
     
  5. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    My "wide" is 28mm and really wide is 24mm. I rarely have a need to go wider than that. Often, 35mm isn't wide enough. Very subjective and highly personal. I had 16-35 zoom once. It was more novelty thing for me than practical. At the wide end of things, effects are so extreme, I didn't like it.
     
  6. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    I used a Tokina 11-16 for a weekend (it was on a digital so 17-24) and found it too wide for my personal taste. I like the 24mm a lot, dislike the 28mm but love the 35mm which I like to use as the standard lens. On my RZ, I shoot the 65mm probably 60% of the time which is equivalent to 35mm in the smaller format. I also prefer primes over zooms as they have less distortion and if you can see the focal length you have on the camera, shooting is always easier as there is less decisions to be made once the camera is raised to your eye (although I do walk backwards and forwards a lot to get the field-of-view I want but I try to do that before raising the camera).
     
  7. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    My wide is a 28mm. I use the 24mm too. In general wides are "tricky". They are not use to incorporate things in the picture. Sometimes a 35mm is good for the street. Many times I find myself quite comfortable with a good 50mm. My favorites are Canon S.S.C. and Nikkor pre AI and AIS. I have a 20mm AF f/2.8 for the F-100,but rarely use it.
     
  8. dnjl

    dnjl Member

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    I don't care for anything wider than 24mm. I had a 20mm for some time, but the perspective was just too wide. The FD 24mm f2.8 I have now is perfectly fine for when I need something wider than 35mm.

    My suggestion would be to lend a cheap wide zoom somewhere and check it at common prime lengths (17, 20, 24, 28). This will give you an idea of what suits you best.
     
  9. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    What exactly is the definition of a 'prime' lens? Is it your one and only, your favorite, etc? How can you have multiple prime lenses?
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    In this context, PRIME lens refers to a fixed focus length lens. In another word, NON-zoom lens.
     
  11. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    There are two definitions. An original "correct" one, and a misuse of the original "correct" one that has become so commonly used that it is now a definition in and of itself.

    The original definition (from the motion picture industry) is a fixed focal length lens, to which accessory wides and telephotos are attached. You might call it a "base" lens in other words. An example with a still camera would be the Yashica Electro 35. It has a fixed-length, permanently-affixed normal lens – the "prime" lens – and accessory wide or long converters can be placed in front of the prime lens to achieve different angles of view. This is the technically correct definition, but it is outdated given it's almost complete lack of use in commonly-used present-day photo technology.

    In very common usage (which does count as a definition, however incorrect it's original usage may have been), a prime lens is a fixed-focal length lens, as opposed to a zoom lens.

    The usage of the word "prime" to describe a non-zoom lens grates on me, but that does not mean that this meaning is completely incorrect, when you consider what a "definition" means in the world of etymology. Common use is enough to qualify something as a definition.
     
  12. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    sure you don't want a 28? here's what happened to me--i was saying "i hate 28" for twenty years; since i switched the 28/2.8 for a 28/2 i've been taking about half my pictures with it. looks like i hated it being slow :cool: ok, the 28/2 has much more character as well...

    the 24 i sold almost as fast as i got it--every picture was yelling, "hi, i'm a 24!" :confused: with the 28, i'm not sure sometimes the picture is not from a 50--just the subject, no formal distractions
     
  13. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning;

    I have and use the lenses in the range you mention.

    I like the 28mm focal length, and I often use the 24mm focal length. When I get to the 20mm focal length, at that point I start to really notice the "wide angle lens" effects, and I must start to really be careful in watching where the lines go with that lens. It only gets worse as I go shorter than 20mm, even with the well known "rectilinear 4.0/17mm" lens.

    For me, 28mm is fine, and the 24mm focal length is where I at least check to see that everything is still where it should be, or do I need to move up or down to get an errant line into the proper relationship with the rest of the scene.
     
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  15. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    I'm weighted to the wide angle end of things. The 28 is my real favorite, and I'm comfortable with the jump to 20mm if the subject "asks" for it. TV and PJs shoot with really short focal lengths these days and the young, it seems, have adjusted to this. My son lives on the 24 but it's a netherland to me. In the mid-70s a man who shot for the local paper told me something like 'The 50mm is the most boring lens. But if you can't make a good shot with it you have some homework to do'. My take is: 20, 28, 35, 105. Otherwise, it's the 28, every time.
     
  16. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    This may be a perfect reason to use zoom.... having dozens of people agree on focal length mean nothing IF op doesn't like it. I'd suggest getting an inexpensive (relatively speaking...) zoom, try it out, and see what you like. Then get a prime. You can always sell your un-needed lens right here on APUG classified.
     
  17. jacksond

    jacksond Subscriber

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    I just traded my Nikon 24-120G for a 1.8/50 and a 2.8/28 because I found the zoom far too big and heavy. It felt like I was holding a brick. I will be using them on the D200/700 as well as the F100. The 28 is not a D, unfortunately. I kept my 70-300G just on case. :whistling:
     
  18. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    Get the 24mm f/2.8 D, it's a gem of an optic. Want wider? Get the 20mm f/2.8 D in case you use loads of flash, if you don't, forget the D's.


    Cheers
     
  19. Paul VanAudenhove

    Paul VanAudenhove Member

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    I prefer the 28mm over the 35mm - but that's just my taste. I'm a little confused why the OP wants a wider prime other than 'to see differently' from a 50mm. If that's the case, shooting any other fixed focal length will teach that. It took me a while to get comfortable shooting with a 28mm when I first got it.

    As a very loose rule, a 28mm (or, some will say, a 24mm) is about as wide as you can get without being obviously wide angle. A 20mm or wider becomes more challenging to get a shot without it being obviously wide angle. (I shoot my 20mm with a grid screen, just to help keep things lined up.)

    If your limitation with the 50mm is that you find yourself 'running out of room,' then I would suggest either the 24mm or 28mm. If you want more of a wide angle look, the go for the 20mm or wider.
     
  20. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. Some days 35mm feels normal, other days 85mm feels more normal. Some days 24mm is too wide, other days 14mm isn't wide enough. One can never have too many primes...
     
  21. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    2F/2F, thanks for the explanation.
     
  22. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    That's funny... I *just* received my 24-120G from B&H. I bought it refurbished for $310. I thought it was light, convenient, and reasonably priced. Tested it real quick, and I am liking what I am seeing. I am seriously wondering why this lens is reviewed so badly almost universally.

    If OP is still undecided, I don't hesitate to recommend this one. Keep in mind, this is a G lens.... so it doesn't work with all bodies.

    I am more and more convinced, what's good is subjective and personal.... sure, we can measure technical characteristics but in real world, the best or the worst doesn't really translate to great or poor photographs.
     
  23. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Wider is better.

    I used to be a long lens freak, until I realized you can't print it if it's not on the negative.

    - Leigh
     
  24. OldBodyOldSoul

    OldBodyOldSoul Member

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    This is impossible to answer as people like or tolerate different FLs, especially at the wide end. The best thing would be to borrow or rent some lenses for a week or two and see how they feel.

    I personally have never shot anything wider than 24 until last week when, for the heck of it, I took a Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 and put it on F100. I bet you could see a bunch of exclamation and question marks above my head when I looked through that viewfinder, I almost got lost there. I'll keep it just to see if I can develop some kind of feeling for it, though I am not an optimist. It surely is fun at the moment, but I haven't made a single picture that's worth keeping yet.
    I believe 24 is widest that you can still use as a "normal" or "standard" lens, i.e. without turning your picture into 45% sky, 45% parking lot and 10% of something in between that is very hard to see because it's damn far. For me, 20mm already requires attention to the foreground and generally different approach to composition.
    Again, this is all highly individual so you may find this entirely false and call me an idiot, so you'd better find some wides and take them out for a walk.
     
  25. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I like wide angle lenses. I have a 24, 17, and a 15 Fisheye, love them all!

    Jeff
     
  26. jacksond

    jacksond Subscriber

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    The 24-120G is a good lens. At my dealer's we compared the new and older G's at both ends of the range. The only real difference was that the newer one had a bit more contrast. This was shooting jpeg with a D3s. I just found mine too bulky. I didn't trade it because of quality issues.