Prime vs. Zoom
I'm a fairly recent convert to MF - about 6-7 months. I have been using a Pentax 645N with a 75mm prime and a 200mm prime. Mostly I am shooting slower films (50 - 100 ISO) with tripod striving for very sharp, detailed, low grain negatives. I have been very pleased with the ability of these lenses to deliver just that. I am considering an 80-160mm (FA) zoom to fill in all the focal lengths between the primes, and for portrait work. Will there be a discernible difference in sharpness with the zoom as compared to the primes?
I always though that primes were better than zooms as far as sharpness. I'm not sure about the 80-160 zoom. It may not be a heck of whole difference in the long run. I would give it a try!
I have been happy with zoom lens in 35mm.
I have only used primes in MF because the Hasselblad-Zeiss zoom lenses are so expensive. Besides, I already have the range covered with primes.
Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!
Nothing beats a great piece of glass!
I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
I shoot with primes...mostly due to their availability, affordability (relative), and the fact that (at least with my bronica systems) I could keep two great primes for the weight and bulk of one zoom lens...plus zooms just give you another ring around the lens to fiddle with and I just can't be bothered - stepping forward or backward (with or without a tripod) is usually an option available to me and I find I work better this way.
I didnt' used to be like that - when I first started I hunted forever for a zoom for my ETRSi...then found it, bought it, used it very little, and put it back into the marketplace.
While primes have a reputation for better sharpness than their zoom counterparts (a reputation that is generally deserved), the Pentax zooms may be one of the few exceptions. The 80-160 and 45-85 Pentax zooms are exceptional zooms. The 45-85 is generally regarded as sharper at 45mm than the 45mm prime. I use both of these zooms on my Pentax 645 (NII) without any qualms regarding sharpness.
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Thanks you for this helpful response. I will zoom without qualm, but still check it out at 16x20!
Zooms have come a loooong way since the awful optics of the 1980s. Here on APUG, passion and pain has been played out between exponents of both who fiercely proffer that one is superior to the other. Not necessarily so! Doesn't Leica now have zooms? Who else? And the marques? Of course. Canon, Nikon, Pentax all have excellent optics build on solid R&D. I have confidence in my Canon zooms but also my Canon primes as I'm trained to know how to get the best benefit from both, not just relying on what others tell me, or any fancy enumeration on the lens barrel — just good old fashioned knowledge and experience.
.::Gary Rowan Higgins
One beautiful image is worth
a thousand hours of therapy.
"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government
to save the environment."
I use primes as well, but hope i can find a zoom which give me more range equivalent to 24-70 or 70-200 in DSLRs, i saw one zoom for Mamiya RZ67 Pro which is 100-200, didn't find one zoom for Hasselblad 500 series even i am sure there is, so i think i better stay with primes.
I have been consistently impressed by Mamiya's zooms. The 55-110 and 105-210 were both outstanding 645 lenses - I simply added the 45 N, 80 1.9, 150 2.8 (and my old 140 Soft Focus!) and I could cover 99% of my needs - selling my other, slower primes paid for the 2 zooms that replaced them.
Originally Posted by TareqPhoto
The Mamiya 100-200mm zooms for the RB & RZ (35mm equivalent 48-97mm) are also remarkably sharp and free from distortion. A useful tip is, if you're using cameras like a 'Blad or Mamiya RZ, you should be able to hire a zoom for a day and then review the results. It won't cost too much and you'll have empirical proof of their worth - or lack of it.
Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour
I agree completely.
Mind you, that doesn't mean that the zooms made, what?, 20 - 30 years ago have become better lenses, now that their present day brothers and sisters have.
So the anti-zoom sentiment still is justified, as far as old gear is concerned. And i believe that many of us here have heaps and heaps of old gear, and are looking for more old gear to heap on those heaps of old gear.
So beware of the zoom!