View Poll Results: Which type of lens gets your creative juices flowing?
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Any champions of WA zooms?
After owning and borrowing a few wide angle zooms (canon 16-35L, Pentax M 28-50, old Canon 20-35 L), I find using them a COMPLETELY different experience than wide angle primes. I find myself using prime lenses much more frequently for the challenge that they present. By this I mean that I am forced to find a good composition by moving, squatting, lying on the ground, etc. I took a Tokina 14mm prime and an old Canon film body out in downtown LA recently. I had a blast trying to find pictures I could take, as that was the only lens I brought. I don't think I would have had the same experience with a 16-35 zoom.
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? How does using a zoom expand your creative possibilities?
Sorry, I use primes only, mostly 35mm and 50mm. For zoom, I use my feet.
Canon EOS-1V | Canon 5D2 | 17-40/4L | 24-105/4L | 14/2.8L | 24/1.4L | 35/1.4L | 50/1.2L | 85/1.2L | 200-400/4L | 580EX
“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.”
― Henri Cartier-Bresson
Primes only here, too. Won't own a zoom, for any reason. They're too much of a compromise.
I use a 20, 35, and 50. The 35 and 50 are about equally used, the 20 is really a special purpose lens, not for general photography.
I use both, while I prefer a prime in some cases a zoom is more practical.
I have a Sigma 15-30 Ex zoom and it is probably the most used lens I own. Sharp all over from 5.6 down to about f16 when diffraction starts to take over. Compared to the lies of a Nikon 17/35 it is no match but there again it is about 1/4 of the price even 2nd hand. I will get a 12x16 colour print from it anytime ant any focal length.
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This is the Sigma 15/30 at 15mm set at f8 The house in the distance is about 80yds away and the dead reeds in the foreground are about 3 feet distant. Film was the Regenerated Agfa 200 reversaL
I use a 16-35, I don't stick to the extremes but zoom freely for framing accuracy. I also use a 17mm f4 on a T90, as well as a Zeiss C/Y 25mm on an EOS body with an adapter. I can't say I have a preference, and I rarely bring more than one lens per body anymore. I'm learning to make use of whatever I have on hand, and to enjoy it.
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I have that Pentax 28-50mm and would use it more often if it were a bit faster. It's f3.5 at the 28mm end which isn't so bad, but f4.5 at the 50mm end gives a dim viewfinder. It's fine in good sunlight but not so wonderful in city streets on a dull day.
Mine is a fungus survivor, I had to take every element out, clean it, and rebuild it. Despite this and the inevitable dust it's decently sharp, only slightly behind my SMC P 28mm f3.5. However, I'd rather carry the 28mm and my 50/1.4. I keep meaning to strip the zoom down again and see if I can get it back together with less dust (and without the speck of fibre I noticed just as I tightened the last bit up).
My main complaint with zooms is the size and weight required for comparable performance and aperture to a prime. I also have the Pentax-M 35-70mm f2.8-3.5 which while a good lens weighs a ton (you really need a winder to balance it on an M series body). Meanwhile the 35mm f2.8 from the same range is only slightly longer than the 50mm.
Zoom technology has come a long way since the terrible examples of the 70s, 80s and early 90s. Canon's 17-40mm f4L zoom, bought speculatively given my preference for primes, is a gem, though a very hard one to master at 17mm. The extreme wide angle means key elements are placed further away than often desired, and distortion is very noticeable of horizontals. It redeems itself well in overall, edge to edge sharpness, just a bit too wide to be practical. My other favourite is an old EF 20mm f2.8 prime that, 22 years after purchase, is still a much-loved member of my 35mm kit.
In medium format my favourite is an ultra-wide 45mm.
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Yes, zoom technology has greatly benefited from the last two decades of competition among the Japanese camera manufacturers to make the best zooms. Canon makes some amazing zooms. Though I haven't tried the 17-40L, I almost bought one last year as a friend swears by it. I'll have to borrow his and stick it on my Elan 7 and go shoot some Tri-x.
Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour
It seems perfectly logical that a lens like the Canon 17-40L would be an amazing creative tool, as most of my favorite prime focal lengths fall between 17 and 40mm. However, in my experience (with other zooms, including the 16-35LII), this just hasn't been the case. Maybe you can elaborate on how you use a WA zoom, and if your process differs at all from using WA primes.