Whats the best normal ZOOM lens?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by darinwc, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    We talk alot about how primes are better than zooms.. but theres been advances in coating and lens design over the years.

    So what are the best / better normal zoom lenses for 35mm cameras?
     
  2. pelerin

    pelerin Member

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    What kind of 35mm camera? If you had this you might mount it on this. (...makes me smile thinking about it, but I would still prefer a prime) It might help to define what range you consider "normal" and if you care about what it will mount to.
    Celac
     
  3. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    My God what a monster for a camera. The price is probably out of range anyway.
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Canon L or Nikon ED are good in my experience, but expensive. The wide to short tele ones (24-70 or so) would cover "normal". However, even some of the cheaper ones are OK. I particularly like the Canon 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 II USM as far as bang for the buck goes. It seems to really shine focused close and at 105mm. The problem is you never know which cheap ones are good and which cheap ones are dogs until you shoot with them.

    Over all, I find most zooms to be more of a hassle than the primes they are intended to replace. There are exceptions, like the ones with IS/VR, which I think is a great feature. But even so, this is only because IS is a feature unique to the zooms. Aside from the fat teles, zooms are all they put IS on. If they had IS on primes like the 200 f/2.8, 135 f/2.0, 100mm f/2.0, and even into the wide end of things, I would definitely never use a zoom for anything! I also don't find the wide zooms (such as 17-40 or 16-35) to be a hassle, as they are rather compact.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2008
  5. BobbyR

    BobbyR Member

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    BEST-- is probably the Leica 35-70 f2.8 but it takes a expensive Leica camera and has become asininely expensive.
    Angenieux has a good one.
    Other wise, Nikon is the most versatile and has probably surpassed Canon, who used to be optically superior to Nikon, but that was a long, long time back.
    Some of the generic lenses, if you find one to fit your slr, are extremely good but still not really cheap.
     
  6. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Well, right now I have a bit of a collection.. cannon FD, Nikon AI, Nikon AF, Pentax k, Minolta MD, and soon to be M42.
    To put it in perspective, I cannot afford Leica/Zeiss/canonL glass.. so I guess "reasonably priced" or even inexpensive.

    But my main reason for asking is to understand what goes into making a good zoom lens.
    For primes, the number of glass-to-air surfaces affect contast, as does multicoating all surfaces. Prime lens designs, such as tessar, planar, plasmat, etc are easy to recognize. However zoom lenses can have 12 or more lens elements so it's anyones guess as to what designs are better. Also primes can have rather simple barrels since the whole lens unit will move. But with zooms different portions of the lens move independently, and thus I bet that precise mechanical design and manufacture plays a much larger role than in a prime lens.
     
  7. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I guess I'm old-fashioned. I would rather have a fast prime lens than a slow zoom any day. As for framing the subject, back up or walk forward--or switch to another prime lens if you want to change the perspective.
     
  8. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

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    Best as in highest image quality or as in what normal zoom we use the most?

    I like a 24-70; aperture does not matter to me as long as it's useable at f/5.6. I don't like zooms that start at 28 or 35mm.
     
  9. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    There is no such thing as a "Normal Zoom Lens". It is either a normal or a zoom.
     
  10. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    I love my Canon 24-70 F2.8...razor sharp wide open and great edge sharpness too. Colors are punchy, contrasty, and built like a tank, as it is weather/dust sealed...the negatives might be (user dependent) it's large size, and weight though...is it the best? I don't know...but for EOS mount I believe that it is.
     
  11. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Possibly Conflicting Signals

    Good morning;

    Under the general heading of "Does anyone really read this stuff?" I offer the following:

    The comment by SilverGlow (I like the orange tabby, by the way) has me a little confused.

    Quoting; "I love my Canon 24-70 F2.8 . . . " And quoting again from the signature area of "Coming back to my film roots. . . . Prime lens only user."

    Have I detected a possible conflict here?
     
  12. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    y
    Well, it sure seems like a conflict! ;-)

    I've got 5 Canon L zooms that just sit. It's not that I don't like them, nor do I think they're bad...actually I think the're awesome.

    But, I have 9+ primes that I use 9 times out of ten. I prefer primes and in fact shoot all my weddings only with primes. So why do I keep the zoomies? I don't know...I don't use them much, but I also don't want to part with them either. They're legacy pieces of my kit from the days way back when, when I only shot with zoomies.
     
  13. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    I had a Canon L series in 20-35mm, IIRC, that was excellent. I was shooting mainly that lens and a 85 1.2L on a couple of bodies and the zoom was so good I never felt the need for primes in that range. If you consider the 35mm normal then this is a good one to have, provided you are using a camera that can take Canon lenses, even with a Leica rangefinder with a FD adapter and zone focus.

    Cheers
     
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  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    It depends on what you call normal.

    If you are a bird watcher then you would want something that covers for 400mm to 600mm range.

    Generally, all modern zoom lenses of the same range are about equal. Thus a 28-300mm of one brand is about the same as a 28-300mm of another brand.

    Generally, the shorter the range the better the optics due to fewer surfaces or less complicated designs. Thus a 28-200mm of one brand is slightly better a 28-300mm of the same brand.

    I use a Nikon 20mm-35mm Nikon zoom, 28mm-200mm Nikon zoom, and a 28-300mm Tamron zoom. Between the 28mm-200mm Nikon zoom and a 28-300mm Tamron zoom the Nikon is slightly better because of the shorter range. For the most part they are interchangeable except when I really need 300mms. ====> either the 28mm-200mm zoom or the 28-300mm zoom have me most of my needs. The 20-35mm zoom covers the rest.

    For the Hasselblad I only use fixed focal length lenses.

    Steve
     
  16. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    The term "normal" means "standard", like in mid range, like in around 50mm. So a 24-70mm zoom is considered a "normal" or "standard" zoom as it is "around" 50mm (-30mm and +20mm around 50mm).
     
  17. cdholden

    cdholden Member

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    My feet do the zooming. It's a nuisance at times, but then I get the performance of prime lenses as my reward.
    Depending on the terrain, this may require more focal lengths with you to choose from or a stronger determination to get the shot. YMMV.
     
  18. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I own lots of lenses, but only one zoom, which I like to use for photographing people at events and such, and it's a razor sharp, constant aperture lens that will work on all your camera bodies--Tamron Adaptall II SP 35-105/2.8 ASL.

    Downsides--a little barrel/pincushion distortion at the extremes of the range, but this is true to some extent of all tele-wide zooms (the inherent design tradeoff in a zoom lens of this range is usually either distortion or field curvature), and I wish the push-pull zoom were a little smoother, but you can get used to it. There is a later version with a slightly wider zoom range, but I'd stick to the 35-105, because I think one invites more problems by widening the zoom range.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2008
  19. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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  20. eskyone

    eskyone Member

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    My Nikon 28-70 2.8 is my favorite.
     
  21. Simon E

    Simon E Member

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    Olympus OM Zuiko 35-80 f2.8, one of their last designs, has a pretty good reputation (with a price tag to match).

    Some really rate the OM 35-105 f3.5~4.5 as a 'sleeper' for that marque, and they can be picked up really cheaply now. But I find focussing slow and awkward compared to my primes so don't often take it out.
     
  22. nsouto

    nsouto Subscriber

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    My current "normal" zoom is a Sigma 24-70/2.8 EX DG.
    Not the best nor the most expensive either but it does the job in 90% of the cases. And for a Sigma, it is really well put together.

    Cost no objection? Then the 28-70/2.8 Nikkor or its recent replacement. Can't afford those yet...

    But I still prefer a Nikkor 50/1.4 or the little Ultron 35/1.7, and my feet!
     
  23. Ken N

    Ken N Member

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    The 35-80/2.8 is on my shortlist of lenses to acquire. I've played with Joel's enough to know that it is the equal or better of any other Zuiko prime within the focal-length range. I'll probably shed a couple of primes if/when I get one of these. The lens truely is a legend and should find a nice comfy near-permanent home on the OM-3Ti or 4Ti. It's just too bad that they moved the aperture ring to the rear...

    The 14-54 on my E-1 has returned my faith in zooms.
     
  24. j37r

    j37r Member

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    For me it has to be the FD 35-105mm F3.5 attached to my T90, plus the use of my feet if I need to get closer.

    It just feels right.
     
  25. Vanishing Point Ent.

    Vanishing Point Ent. Member

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    Tamron 35 - 105 mm f 2.8 ASL, Various Versions.

    MY ALL TIME FAVORITE LENS ! I've shot more images with that lens than any other.
    I know people that used it with Leica R cameras.

    Everybody I know that owns one says the same thing; " From My Cold Dead Hands ".

    I changed to the EOS EF version of this lens, when I heard that they were bringing out the 28 - 105 f 2.8. It was also available in Nikon AF, but non-D & Konica - Minolta / Sony AF.

    To check out my online portfolio, ( all film ), most of the images there were shot with it. Go to:
    www.ModelMayhem.com/VanishingPointEnterprises
     
  26. glockman99

    glockman99 Member

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    I really like my Tokina AT-X 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens alot...It's the lens that I have on my Nikon F3HP "walkabout" camera.