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Film vs Digital Discussions about the relative advantages and disadvantages of Film vs Digital are important as they can help us understand our choices as photographers. Each medium has strengths and weaknesses which can best be used in a given circumstance. While this makes for an interesting and useful discussion, DO NOT attack others who disagree with you. Forum rules are explained in the RFF FAQ linked at the top of each page.

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Prime lenses on dSLRs?
Old 04-28-2012   #1
Pfreddee
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Prime lenses on dSLRs?

I'm going to add a Canon 60D to my very eclectic collection of cameras. I have an affinity for fast primes, and I'm somewhat dubious of zooms. Sometimes I get along with them, and other times I go back to my favourite: 50mm at f/2.8 or faster. My question: how many of you who own dSLRs use primes of one kind or another in preference to zooms? I'm currently using a 35 mm f/2.0 on my Digital Rebel, which works out with the crop factor to about 52 mm, or about the same as some of my Ukrainian rangefinders.

BTW, the 60D will come with a very nice 18-135 stabilized zoom, which I will of course use, but I was just curious about what other people do. As usual...

With best regards.

Pfreddee(Stephen)
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Old 04-28-2012   #2
mdarnton
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Like you, I like fast primes, and don't feel comfortable using zooms, nor do I like carrying them around--my usual kit is a film camera and 24+50 or 28+50, that's all, and I use a digital at work.

I only have two zooms for my Nikon D300--the one it came with (which got OK reviews, for a cheap zoom but is a crap lens next to the primes), and a 10-20mm Sigma, which was necessary to get a real wide angle on a crop format. Other than that, I'm stacked up with primes--20, 24, 28X3 35, 50X4, microX3, 85, 105, 180. I probably paid less for all of those than I would for one of Nikon's huge and not-too-fast pro zooms. The nice thing about Nikon (and the reason I got it instead of Canon) is that all of their lenses since the dawn of Nikon time work on current cameras, so there are a lot available, cheap, and I knew I was going to go for old primes.

The disadvantage of primes on crop formats is the lack of a good ultra wide-angle selection. I didn't see any easy way around the 10-20 Sigma, for that reason. If you use mostly longer lenses, you'll be fine.
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Old 04-28-2012   #3
foto_mike
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I like slow primes, but I'm afraid I'm about the only one who likes them because they pretty much don't exist for DSLRs.

An f2.8 50mm lens is about half the size of an f1.4 model and much easier to correct for edge sharpness and CA. Modern DSLR sensors, especially the Nikons, are so much better at low noise high ISO, I'd rather turn up the gain from ISO 100 to 200 or from 200 to 400 and carry a much smaller lens.

That's just me.
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Old 04-29-2012   #4
Spanik
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Really depends on what I want to do. When I know I'll be limited in my movements like in a museum I take a zoom. Otherwise I take a prime. I like fast ones but rarely use them at their full opening. More in the range 4-8 actually. It isn't a crime to have some depth in a photo.
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Old 04-29-2012   #5
Kent
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Shooting primes is perhaps not as conveniant as using a zoom lens, but it's more fun IMHO.

On my DSLR I love to use primes:

On my 5D and 40D I use a Sigma EX 1.8/24 and an EF 1.8/50 II as well as several adapted manual focus primes (Leica, Nikkor, Zuiko, Rokkor, MIR...). I use zoom lenses only for convenience reasons.

On my Sigma SD9 I mostly use M42 primes and on my Pentax K100D I mostly use K-mount primes.

Just on my Nikon D1 I - for some reason - use a 24-200 Tokina. This extreme zoom lens is a very good match for the D1.

Ah and yes, my NEX-cams are also more fun with adapted (or original) prime lenses!

And my beloved Sigma DP1s also "only" has a prime lens.
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Old 04-29-2012   #6
mdarnton
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The specific problem I have with zooms is that they tend to encourage me to zoom with the lens, rather than my feet. The result is the loss of having chosen a specific point of view for the picture, and weaker images as a result. That's me, anyway.
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Old 05-04-2012   #7
konicaman
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Primes for pleasure, zooms for paid work.

Nice walk around lens for APS-C is Canon 2.8/28 a rather cheap lens, but sharp.

Zenitar or Pentacon for normal lens on FF body - both with AF confirm adapters. Especially the Zenitar is outstanding both in colors and sharpness.

Also got a 30 year old Tamron 90, adaptall2 with AF confirm, great for portraits and macro work,

I am waiting for the postman to deliver a MIR 1B. Needed something between 28 and 50.

If you want fast, Sigma 1.4/50 with EOS mount is one of the best lenses money can buy.

An AF confirm adapter is essential IMHO, if using manual focus lenses, especially on APS-C as the viewfinder and focusing screen is too small and dark to focus properly, or maybe it is just my aging eyes...

Zoom lenses have gotten much better in the last 10-15 years, but IQ wise primes still rule.

Have fun with the 60D

Cheers
Henrik
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Old 05-05-2012   #8
Contarama
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I use only old MF primes on my Nikon DSLR...I don't trust in zooms like I do primes...
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Old 05-05-2012   #9
shadowfox
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I was waiting for any connection to film mentioned...

Maybe I'm in the wrong sub-forum.
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Old 05-05-2012   #10
Contarama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox View Post
I was waiting for any connection to film mentioned...

Maybe I'm in the wrong sub-forum.
I've convinced myself my F2 will hand my D5000 it's ass on a platter...at least with primes (I don't use zooms)...lol
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Old 05-20-2012   #11
damien.murphy
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Mostly primes, but a zoom & a fast prime for travel (if I travel with a dslr), and when I do shoot a zoom these days, tend to use it like a prime a little, only using prime/ marked focal lengths on them, eg, 24mm/28mm/35mm/50mm etc.

That said I was very happy with my old 17-55mm f2.8 zoom, which gave me all the focal lengths I shoot at (28-85mm) in one package, although it doesn't go to f1.4. It was a heavy beast, but that said, may very well get another one, as I'm already carrying a chunky dslr (D300), and small primes do not give me the benefit sizewise I usually appreciate.
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Old 05-22-2012   #12
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Mamiya Sekor C 80/2.8 and 45/2.8 are often on my 5D2. A very nice prime is the Voigtländer Ultron 40/2. Lovely lens! And soooo small!
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