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View Poll Results: Which type of lens gets your creative juices flowing?

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  • Wide Angle Zooms

    3 9.68%
  • Wide Angle Primes

    21 67.74%
  • I use them equally/they both inspire me

    7 22.58%
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  1. #21

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    Wide to short tele zooms have their place, but ultra wide to wide are strange fish. Wide angle lenses have very particular characteristics at each focal length.

  2. #22

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    Nikon 17-35/2.8 is simply more practical than primes as my terrain often doesn't allow feet-shuffling. I don't care much for the weight of such a beefy lens yet the image-quality is the end-all and be-all.

  3. #23

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    I use primes only for my Canon FD bodies.

    I use zooms on my Pentax MF and Canon EOS bodies.

    When backpacking a Canon Rebel 2000, 20-35 USM and a 28-105 USM Zooms cover everything I need and are much lighter than primes.

    If it's just a walk I'll take anything that takes my fancy that day from a Canon FTBn with a matching BL 50/1.8, or a T-90 with a handful of primes, or an EOS-3 with zooms and primes. Or maybe a Mamiya 645 with primes. It just depends.

    Sometimes the choice of tool (and a camera is just a tool) is driven by terrain and accessability, other times the creative vision (pitiful though that may be in my case) is the driver.

    Galen Rowell had a lot to say on matters like this and I tend to share his approach to equipment, and always have.

  4. #24
    narsuitus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakeblues View Post
    I'm wondering if there is anyone who is an active user of wide-angle zooms. What do you like about them? Do you find yourself using the middle of the zoom range, or just the extremes?
    I use wide-angle primes and zooms.

    For example, I have a Nikon 18mm f/3.5 and a Nikon 24mm f/2 that I primarily use with my 35mm film cameras. These two manual focus lenses are also useful when I need to use filters.

    I also have a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 auto focus zoom that I primarily use on my APS size digital SLR because I cannot focus my dSLR as easily as my film cameras. Since this lens does not readily accept filters, my prime wide-angle lenses replace this zoom if a filter is needed.

  5. #25
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    The elephant in the room with zoom vs prime is cost. While wide-angle zooms are not cheap, and GOOD wide-angle zooms are very pricey, a 16-35-ish pro-quality zoom is usually not much more than a single fixed prime in that range. I used to have a Sigma 18-35 f3.5 for my Contax SLR outfit, and while it was about $500 new (back in the early 90's), just the 28 f2.8 and 25 f2.8 alone would have set me back closer to $1K. Not to mention any of the really wide lenses in the Contax lineup, like the 21 or the 16.

  6. #26
    fotch's Avatar
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    I usually have a specific use in mind and the few WA zooms I own cannot replace the primes I have.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  7. #27

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    The posting was not clear as to whether the question was referring to the technical capability of a zoom, or the artistic process of using them. And the answers have covered both areas. Technically, a modern zoom is probably as good as a prime, but rarely as fast. But I have to give the winning vote to the comments about composition. I have the Zuiko 28-48mm and a couple 35-70mm (including the legendary f3.6), and rarely use any of them. You should be viewing the world for the lens(es) you are carrying and look for compositions that work well for that lens. Nothing marks a snapshooter faster that standing in one place, zooming the lens in and out.

  8. #28
    Poisson Du Jour's Avatar
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    It would be very difficult for most people to pick up subtle differences of a prime vs a zoom, for what has already been said that the quality of zooms is now on a par with primes. The wider a zoom is, the more technically challenging it is for designers to correct for aberrations, very especially at the wide angle end (e.g. the Five Aberrations of Siedel). Some aberrations will be corrected beautifully, but within a cost restraint, others must remain; this is true for even the costliest lenses from Nikon and Canon. The better corrected the aberrations are, the more astronomical the cost. Barrel or pincushion distortion is still very common even on expensive ultra-wide to normal zooms, including my non-rectilinear 17-40 Canon.

    The best experience, if it is within reach, is to use both types of lens and enjoy the benefits (and attendant drawbacks) of either. If there was a zoom from, say 45mm to 105mm for my 67, I would probably use it, though I the mind's eye tells me such a zoom would be costly and very heavy — as with anything of the MF Pentax stuff. I'm taking my EOS1N and sole 17-40mm zoom with me on a mini-roadie from tomorrow — no prime on it this time. And of course, occupying most of the back seat will be the heavy-hitter Pentax.
    “The photographer must determine how he wants the finished print to look before he exposes the negative.
    Before releasing the shutter, he must seek 'the flame of recognition,' a sense that the picture would reveal
    the greater mystery of things...more clearly than the eyes see."
    ~Edward Weston, 1922.

  9. #29

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    I've always thought that something like a 40-120mm f2.8 zoom would be the ideal walkabout lens. I always find 80-200mm (ish) lenses too long, but a 35-70mm isn't quite long enough so you end up lugging two about (or more likely going back to a 28/50/120mm triple as the size and weight is about the same).

    Pentax made a K mount 45-125mm but only for three years. It's supposed to be a decent performer and I do keep my eyes open for one at a sane price, it's a bit slow at f4 but that range would cover a lot of shooting.
    Matt

  10. #30
    Poisson Du Jour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PentaxBronica View Post
    I've always thought that something like a 40-120mm f2.8 zoom would be the ideal walkabout lens. I always find 80-200mm (ish) lenses too long, but a 35-70mm isn't quite long enough so you end up lugging two about (or more likely going back to a 28/50/120mm triple as the size and weight is about the same).

    Pentax made a K mount 45-125mm but only for three years. It's supposed to be a decent performer and I do keep my eyes open for one at a sane price, it's a bit slow at f4 but that range would cover a lot of shooting.

    They did!? I want one!!
    (well, maybe I don't: I do have enough trouble carrying 3 primes about, and so we turn full circle and address the issue of prime weight vs zoom weight... )
    “The photographer must determine how he wants the finished print to look before he exposes the negative.
    Before releasing the shutter, he must seek 'the flame of recognition,' a sense that the picture would reveal
    the greater mystery of things...more clearly than the eyes see."
    ~Edward Weston, 1922.

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