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View Full Version : The "zoom lenses are the devil!!!!" Poll


gavinlg
05-01-2008, 20:46
Right... So I just received my nikkor 35 f2 to use on my d300 and fm2n... Ahhhhh... what a relief... I've been living with the 18-200 VR for the last couple of months as the only autofocus lens, and really, I hate zoom lenses. For some reason, they stifle my creativity, I find that I get really lazy composing with them. They're massive, slow, uninspiring pieces of junk! I can barely take the 18-200 VR anywhere without feeling like I'm holding a freakin 2kg dumbbell.

Now the 35 f2 nikkor - It's tiny, well built, has great IQ, focusses quickly and silently.



So the question is this: Do you hate zooms? Do you like zooms? Are you compensating for something with that 28-300 L lens you have?

erikhaugsby
05-01-2008, 21:15
I don't think I could ever be a primes-only guy with my dSLR. There just seems to be too much unpredictability in the way I shoot (with the dSLR) to consciously move around the scene to compensate for a fixed-focal length.

On the other hand, even if it was feasible to make a true zoom (an honest-to-gosh zoom, not something like a Tri-Elmar) for RFs I'd be the last guy to buy it. Something about the way the camera works changes my shooting style to the point where a 28/50 setup can cover just about any situation I'd use the camera for.

maddoc
05-01-2008, 21:46
I can't use zoom lenses with RF cameras (except for the Tri-Elmarit ... ;)) and don't have an 35mm (D)SLR anymore. Back, when I had a D1x, it was most often either the 35/2 or 50/1.8. Also had the 17 - 55 DX and 70 - 200 VR but hardly used them for obvious reasons ... :)

Nh3
05-01-2008, 21:57
With primes I need to carry four bodies at the same time. With zoom lenses two bodies.

ChrisN
05-01-2008, 23:07
Just back from holidays and starting to examine the photos (digital). For the sake of simplicity I only took two lenses for the dSLR - an 18-125 Sigma zoom and a FA 31.1.8 (high quality prime). I didn't use the prime enough - even before processing the images taken with the prime stand out. The zoom is convenient, but ...

drewbarb
05-01-2008, 23:51
With primes I need to carry four bodies at the same time. With zoom lenses two bodies.

Exactly- Now use two bodies and two lenses. (Your choice.)

I shoot primes, because that's what I have. When I use zooms, I tend to set them at one focal length anyway.

Spyderman
05-02-2008, 01:04
Prime lenses whenever situation permits.

But there are moments when I just need a zoom. Like when I'm not alone photographying but when I'm with a group of non-photographers (hiking, sight-seeing), and I have to move quickly. No time to play around, change lenses to find which focal length suits the best etc.

LOOP
05-02-2008, 01:09
I have had some zoom lenses, but it makes lazy and 70-200 f 4 from Canon is good but I replaced it with a 100 f 2 and a 200 f 2.8...and sold the zoom ...:confused::confused:

myoptic3
05-02-2008, 01:20
I never understood the odd notion that a zoom lens makes anyone lazy. By that reasoning, I guess AF, AE, in camera metering, and most everything else is laziness too. Sometimes one can't get close enough, or back up far enough, to use a fixed lens. And my Nikon zooms are as sharp as most any prime lens. Has anyone tried to capture a fleeting moment while having to change lenses?

Hey, using a camera is lazy. Pull out that pencil and paper and draw that portrait. But make sure you use a regular pencil. I think that mechanical pencils make you lazy.

Colman
05-02-2008, 01:35
In my case, zoom lenses facilitate my laziness. I don't have the discipline to work well with them: I admire the people who do. So I avoid them: I only own the Nikon 70-200/2.8 (for horses - hard to get action shots with a 50mm) and the Sigma 10-20mm (as an affordable wide angle for DX).

varjag
05-02-2008, 02:05
I never understood the odd notion that a zoom lens makes anyone lazy. By that reasoning, I guess AF, AE, in camera metering, and most everything else is laziness too.
You got it :)

Sometimes one can't get close enough, or back up far enough, to use a fixed lens.
But thing is, there is always something that too close, or too far, or too fast, or too dark. You have to live with limitations of what you have and focus on what you can achieve with it, rather than try to be a one-man-band. Right job for the tool, if you will :)

oftheherd
05-02-2008, 02:06
I have and use zooms. In fact, I put together a system a few years ago, consisting of a Yashica FX 103, and three zooms from 18mm to 150 (with the Contax T* 50mm f/1.4 thrown in) to cover most used focal lengths. It is nice in many ways. All the lenses are relatively small and light. However, I learned with primes, and never like the added weight of zooms. My first was a 75-260 Vivitar TX. Probably not a good choice for a first. It covered a lot of ground, but it was heavy.

Bottom line: I have and use them. They have their place. But I really prefer primes. I find them sharper, lighter, and more fun when I have the time to walk around and look for the exact photo I want.

maddoc
05-02-2008, 02:13
By that reasoning, I guess AF, AE, in camera metering, and most everything else is laziness too.

In some way yes ;) but ... I myself find AE and / or TTL metering quite convenient recently.... :)

kalokeri
05-02-2008, 02:16
I tend to prefer primes even with dslr though everybody praises zooms as useful. But few weeks ago I bought the new 16-85 VR for my Nikon and did - for the first time in my life, I swear - a lens test, comparing the zoom to my primes 24, 50 and 85. Not really shocking, but the pictures with the zoom had more contrast and looked sharper especially in the corners at similar apertures. The 24 and the 50 looked a little bit soft compared to the zoom, the 85 was ok.

Conclusion ? I will use the zoom more often if small depth of field is not needed or intended.
I just wish it was not that big and heavy.

Thomas

Matt White
05-02-2008, 02:46
I sold a bagful of primes to fund my 18-200 Nikkor. One of the smartest moves I ever made. It's a terrific general purpose lens. I still have 50mm and 85mm f1.8 lenses for those times when more light-gathering power is needed, and a couple of longer telephotos for sports and birds, but the 18-200 is by far my most used SLR lens.

Kevin
05-02-2008, 02:51
All of my lenses are primes and I refuse to work with anything else. The zoom lens that came with my new Oly e-410 will soon be replaced with a prime pancake lens.

gavinlg
05-02-2008, 03:24
I never understood the odd notion that a zoom lens makes anyone lazy. By that reasoning, I guess AF, AE, in camera metering, and most everything else is laziness too. Sometimes one can't get close enough, or back up far enough, to use a fixed lens. And my Nikon zooms are as sharp as most any prime lens. Has anyone tried to capture a fleeting moment while having to change lenses?

Hey, using a camera is lazy. Pull out that pencil and paper and draw that portrait. But make sure you use a regular pencil. I think that mechanical pencils make you lazy.

To answer that, here is the scenario:

With a prime lens I tend to walk around and change positions to try and get the best possible angle with it.

With a zoom I tend to just zoom in or out without thinking when I want closer up or farther away, because it falls immediately to hand.


It's not so much that I'm lazy, it's just that I can barely make good good enough use of a single focal length let alone having 160mm or so of them. Having a prime focusses me on whats going on rather than how close or far away I am. I tend to think the closer you can get into the action you're photographing, the better the pics.... So thats easy...
With the zoom theres another factor in it to think about and it's enough to distract me from the actual thing I'm photographing.

It just feels like a more pure experience.

Of course I'm just talking out of what I LIKE doing - if I was photographing cars it would be a 70-200 2.8 VR all the way.

Senmu
05-02-2008, 03:28
I never understood the odd notion that a zoom lens makes anyone lazy. By that reasoning, I guess AF, AE, in camera metering, and most everything else is laziness too.

Yep. Mamiya C330, 120 slide film (Velvia 50 or Ektachrome 100GX), Sekonic incident light meter, ground-glass focus with the bellows. 12 exposures per roll, slowly and with consideration, as Eastman intended. Or Nothing!
;)

jamiewakeham
05-02-2008, 04:40
...the pictures with the zoom had more contrast and looked sharper...

Really? A common argument for primes over zooms (bar weight and speed) is that the prime, all other things being equal, will usually be sharper. Not doubting your results, of course, but could you post some more details? as I'm intrigued by this?

Cheers
Jamie

kalokeri
05-02-2008, 04:53
... Not doubting your results, of course, but could you post some more details? as I'm intrigued by this?

Cheers
Jamie

Sure, I will try to create some details over the weekend and post them next week.

Generally said is that older lenses made for film are useable but not the best choice for dslr-cameras. The 16-85 is designed for the use on Nikon DX dslr. Maybe that´s more important then I used to believe.

Thomas

David Goldfarb
05-02-2008, 04:59
I've got a couple of good zoom lenses and many prime lenses, and use prime lenses 95% of the time. The usual compromise with a zoom is the tradeoff between flatness of field and barrel/pincushion distortion--correct one and you lose the other, particularly at the extremes of the zoom range. They make some sense, though, for small formats, because you want to use every square mm of the frame when possible, and it's not always possible to stand where you want to stand.

So I use them mostly for event photography, where I'm photographing people and not usually as concerned about getting straight lines at the edge of the frame. I try to use short DOF to further minimize the importance of straight lines in the background.

They're both constant aperture lenses, so I can use manual or non-ttl auto flash with them.

I also use them sometimes with Super-8--there's no space to waste on that tiny frame, and cropping isn't an option for projected motion picture film.

Nikon Bob
05-02-2008, 05:08
I use both and find like Ondrej that it is far better to have a zoom when traveling with a group where you can't reasonably move to get into position all the time and or hold everyone up while you do. When I am alone and can take my time not inconveniencing others I prefer primes. Zooms also let me get more memories in the bag from a trip where the subject material is varied. I think too most modern zooms a good enough for what I want them for.

Bob

Pherdinand
05-02-2008, 05:47
i think zooms should be made for the people who knows how to use them:)
i don't:)

actually most people think they are easier to use than primes, and that is true on the most basic holiday family photo shooting level, but in fact they are much more difficult to use properly. There are just too many variables to screw up the composition.

spyder2000
05-02-2008, 06:16
I would use one if I had to...but then I don't own any.

nightfly
05-02-2008, 07:13
Never had one and since I shoot a Leica now primarily, I don't see that changing anytime soon. I think the more you get used to a focal length, the better you get at using it. But I don't use a meter, auto focus or any other things that many people enjoy so I'm sure people can learn to use them well.

Zooms seem to imply a bigger camera with more features and one size fits all style of shooting that doesn't really attract me at all. I prefer a very specific platform for my style of shooting and that happens to be a Leica with a 35mm Summicron pretty much permanently attached. I think limitations sometimes foster your creativity.

However when traveling recently, I started thinking that a short zoom like a 24-50 might be useful.

Maybe a OM1 and 28-48?

BillBingham2
05-02-2008, 07:28
While I do not have a dSLR yet, it's going to be Prime all the way for me. I look at an SLR (D or A) the same way I do an RF, get the best glass you can. The newest set of super zooms make way too many trade-offs in quality for me. While I'm hoping Pres K. will come out with a 24mm in his SLII line of lenses, for now it's a 24/2.8, 105/2.5, 180/2.8 ED Nikkor and an 58/1.4 CV SLII.

Yes, you can adjust for all sorts of distortion and stuff on a computer, but I'm an old slide shooter and way too lazy to want to tweak every picture.

B2 (;->

TheHub
05-02-2008, 07:55
I have two zooms, an AF & MF both Nikkor. The AF opens up to a whopping f5.6 at 70mm (read: it's cheap crap I used with digital) and the MF is very heavy and not that fun to carry around. Most of the time I walk around with a 50mm prime (SLR & RF.) In general I find zooms to be pretty dark.

I realized the validity of comments along the lines of "you're best zoom is a few steps forwards or backwards" but one cannot always do that. I sometimes shoot scenes where walking forward I'd end up in the river, or the zoom helps crop out those #$%& overhead powerlines that the Japanese have strung up everywhere. I think they are useful and have their place.

SolaresLarrave
05-02-2008, 08:03
To me, it's ergonomics and confort.

RF cameras are small, no need for a zoom that will be necessarily slower. I can carry two bodies and be as happy as a clam.

SLRs are heavy, cumbersome, big... and I don't want to walk around with two bodies and primes. One body and one zoom do the trick for me. Hence, I'm a zoom man with SLRs, and a fixed focal length user with RFs.

As for sharpness, image quality and the like, I believe most lenses are more than adequate performers. IOW, there's no such thing as a bad lens. :)

sienarot
05-02-2008, 08:07
I'm in the group that won't use zooms unless absolutely, positively necessary. yes, they have their benefits just as primes do, however I find I tend to force myself to be a little more creative when I have a prime since it restricts me to a focal length. When I used zooms, I found I would stay in one spot and let the lens do the work for me. It wasn't until after I started using primes did I try to get a little more creative with my shots. Fortunately 99% of my shooting is either wide angle or close range, so that also really limits the focal lengths I need or use.

dazedgonebye
05-02-2008, 08:26
I find zooms to be distracting...like carrying too many lenses and not being able to decide which to use...except they're all on the camera at once.
No knock against zooms, just how I react to them.
I also don't like the usual limitation to f2.8.

shadowfox
05-02-2008, 08:45
I can't afford zooms that I'd use.
I'll use primes even those I can afford.

:D

btgc
05-02-2008, 08:47
I'm with those who are confused by zooms. Though I've got 25-50. So I decided to use it as "several lenses in one barrel", choosing one focal length and zooming with feet. If I'm in "wide mood", I stay with 25mm and if I'm in "normal mode" I swing lens into 50mm. After all, FOV is important - if I think wide, 50mm and five steps back isn't exactly same as 25mm from 1.5m ?

What I get ? Not swapping lenses, that's it. Maybe over time I'll learn more about zooms.

Kin Lau
05-02-2008, 11:24
If I have/can_afford the prime, then I use that. At both the long and wide end, the zoom is often the only affordable choice.

jwhitley
05-02-2008, 11:26
I never understood the odd notion that a zoom lens makes anyone lazy. By that reasoning, I guess AF, AE, in camera metering, and most everything else is laziness too.

Since I'm "new" enough for this recollection to be fresh, I'll recount it now. I started out with a low-end dSLR and the kit zoom lens. I promptly got a Sigma 30mm 1.4 as a fast normal lens for available light. Soon I had a couple more primes (glo~~rious cheap MF glass... :angel:) in the stable. What I found by working with the primes vs. the zoom was more than the adage "zoom with your feet". I found that when using the primes it helped me to keep moving in all directions towards different compositions. Ultimately, I liked working with the primes so much better than the kit zoom lens that I sold the kit lens.

That said, I've nothing against zooms and there are times, especially when my movement is restricted, when I've desperately wanted a good zoom. I think that having concentrated on moving myself around with my primes will be an asset when I eventually return to working with zoom lenses.

Al Patterson
05-02-2008, 11:53
I never understood the odd notion that a zoom lens makes anyone lazy. By that reasoning, I guess AF, AE, in camera metering, and most everything else is laziness too. Sometimes one can't get close enough, or back up far enough, to use a fixed lens. And my Nikon zooms are as sharp as most any prime lens. Has anyone tried to capture a fleeting moment while having to change lenses?

Hey, using a camera is lazy. Pull out that pencil and paper and draw that portrait. But make sure you use a regular pencil. I think that mechanical pencils make you lazy.

When shooting air shows, car racing, sports, or train runbys, I'd use the SLR and a zoom because I can't change primes fast enough. I do note that I tend to use the same focal lengths repeatedly, like 105, 70, and 50 or 35 if I take three shots of a moving object.

Now, when items are moving slower or not at all, out comes the CL with the 40...

kuvvy
05-02-2008, 11:54
I have only one zoom, the Tamron 17-50 f2.8, an excellent performer for my D80. Despite it's performance I've only used it 3 times in the four months I've owned it. Bought it to shoot a wedding which now has been cancelled and find myself preferring my Nikkor primes, the 20mm f2.8 and 50 f1.8. I agree with other posters that a zoom is handy when travelling with others eg family etc but for more considered shooting I reach for the primes. Having said that I rarely use the D80 anyway. Must have used it only 10 times since buying it 14 months ago. The weight and bulk just puts me off using it most of the time and prefer my CLE or Contax T2 or for digi my Canon G7.

caila77
05-02-2008, 12:29
for sure...
Zoom are devils!!!!

payasam
05-02-2008, 12:54
I have never bought a zoom lens for a film camera. Until the 1970s at least, zooms were large, heavy, delicate and optically not so good: or so we thought. Things have changed since then; and besides, with a digital SLR there really is little choice.

jwhitley
05-02-2008, 13:29
and besides, with a digital SLR there really is little choice.

hmm? I'm not getting you here. Maybe I've got a sixth sense: "I see primes!" :p Such as: Sigma 30mm f/1.4, Voigtländer 58mm f/1.4, Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 AI-S... plus the tons of other ones new and used that I don't own. I will grant that some dSLR users only seem to "see" zoom lenses, but many seem to prize their fine primes.

kalokeri
05-02-2008, 14:10
..., but could you post some more details? as I'm intrigued by this?

Cheers
Jamie

Some details you can find here:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=811704#post811704

It wasn´t intended to be shown as a serious test. The modells are teddybears. Please look at it with a :).

I made details from the center at 5,6 and posted them. Hope you see what I mean.

Thomas

spysmart
05-02-2008, 14:52
I've used Leica M RF for the last 20 years and completely resisted all SLRs and especially zoom lenses until I felt I needed a DSLR.

All the forums showed many complaints of CA and soft corners in even the best Nikon and Canon lenses ... and the old school primes were often worse than the zooms.
The Olympus E lenses seemed to be the best around, but were mostly all zooms, but the tiny E1 viewfinder ruled Olympus out.

Then the Leica 25 f/1.4 arrived on the scene followed by the Olympus E-3 with a reasonably to good viewfinder.
As no wide primes existed, I reluctantly added the 7-14mm. I found I quite liked it :eek:

The 14-35 f/2 seems to be re-writing the zooms rules - superb resolution, distortion and contrast even wide open.

The E-3 +14-35f/2 weighs 1890g i.e. exactly the same as 2xM6 +28f/2 +50 f/1.4 and takes up the same space in the bag, so to accomplish the same job all is pretty much equal.

However, if Olympus had a 14 f/2.8 and 25 f/2, I would still prefer to go with 2 primes and two bodies.

Russ
05-02-2008, 15:57
The quality zooms of today and not long ago, are very good. Actually, you'd be hard pressed to tell a print made from a prime or a quality zoom. Some of them equal prime lenses in sharpness, contrast, etc. Of course, I'm not speaking of the "superzooms." There are compromises to be made, in order to make them that convenient. I'll use primes or zooms. I just depends upon the situation at hand.

R

cmogi10
05-02-2008, 16:21
In a perfect world I would shoot with my primes 100 percent of the time. Since this world is not perfect I only shoot with them 97.38 percent of the time.

dexdog
05-02-2008, 16:30
I like zooms, and use them in all the time. The number one best thing about an SLR is the through the lens viewing that makes zoom lenses practical to use. The only modern SLR prime lens that I own is a 35mm, perfect when strolling around charming or otherwise interesting urban landscapes. For everything else, it's a zoom.

mfunnell
05-02-2008, 16:32
With my RF cameras I use primes, of course. (Well, not quite "of course" in that I could get a zoom for my Contax G2 - but I'm not at all tempted.) With my dSLR my most-used lens is a long zoom (100-400) because that gives me the best set of tradeoffs for the wildlife photography (mostly birds) that I enjoy. At shorter focal lengths I prefer primes - but I also much prefer my RF cameras for most of the shooting I do at those ranges. But because I have a cropped-sensor SLR I'm restricted in my options for even moderately wide FOV primes. So I fill that niche with a 17-55 f2.8 zoom, which is a very good lens but also over-large and over-heavy for my preferences and way more expensive than I'd like. But sometimes I need it. Its probably my 2nd-most-used SLR lens, but 2nd by a very long way as I prefer my RF cameras for those focal lengths.

Which is the long way of saying I'm not voting in the poll as none of the options reflect my views on zooms or how and why I use them.

...Mike

crawdiddy
05-02-2008, 18:14
Zoom lenses are, in fact, a sign of the approaching apocalypse, along with the digital "beast" (0110010100000111001100101001110001010001010101010 101111110001001010). I'll be photographing the rapture with my primes. I'll post the photos in my cave dwelling, in case you're still around.

Al Patterson
05-02-2008, 18:17
In a perfect world I would shoot with my primes 100 percent of the time. Since this world is not perfect I only shoot with them 97.38 percent of the time.

I heard somewhere that 97.38 percent of all facts are made up....

(Am I the only one here NOT drinking???)

cmogi10
05-02-2008, 23:02
I heard somewhere that 97.38 percent of all facts are made up....

(Am I the only one here NOT drinking???)




Someone said who? :eek:

amateriat
05-02-2008, 23:16
Besides my Konica Lexio 70 p/s (28-70mm) the only other thing in my gear cupboard is the recently-acquired (and more-recently-repaired...the non-removable lens hood was somehow re-installed in the wrong position by someone) Sigma 21-35 for my Olympus OM-2n. I got it because it was the cheapest means, by far, to get as wide as 21mm on some camera of mine, and it turns out to be a rather nice lens, supposedly the first lens of its kind for an SLR (made way back in the late 1980s).

When I shot with SLRs all the time, this was the drill with zooms: I liked their convenience, generally speaking, but I demanded performance as close to primes as possible. This usually meant large, heavy, expensive zooms with relatively limited range: the last, and best, examples I had were Minolta's 28-70mm f/2.8 "G" series AF zoom, and their 80-200 f/2.8 APO AF. Both lenses were phenomenal, especially the 28-70. Equally phenomenal was their size and weight, which began to get on my nerves less than an year after buying them. These lenses, interestingly enough, were the linchpin that led me to ditching the big SLR system for RFs and a few choice primes. The OM-2/Sigma 21-35 combo is crazy-tiny compared to my Minolta 9xi bodies with one of these bazooka-class zooms bolted on, and works well for those instances when I need that combo for a given subject or project. For everything else, to paraphrase the TV commercial, there's my Hexars. :)




- Barrett

Axel100
05-03-2008, 02:51
...
So the question is this: Do you hate zooms? ...

Yes, a bit... ;)
From my point of view zooms are not "the devil". But I try to avoid using them whenever I can. My felt comfort with a prime is much greater. A few settings less to control give me more room to watch the subject I want to photograph. It feels like I am part of the scene with a prime while I feel more as a silent watcher with a zoom.

I don´t know if there is one picture I could not take in the past because of having a prime attached to my camera instead of a zoom.
But I remember some situations where fiddling around with a zoom (and nevertheless remarking as "too short" or "too long" at the end) held me from getting my shot.

My short answer is that I don´t like zooms but, like flashlights, there might be situations where they can be helpful.

Regards, Axel

spysmart
05-03-2008, 05:51
Yes, a bit... ;)
But I remember some situations where fiddling around with a zoom (and nevertheless remarking as "too short" or "too long" at the end) held me from getting my shot.


I can remember all too often missing shots due to fiddling around changing prime lenses :bang:

Joe
05-03-2008, 22:47
my first camera was an argus brick, bought at a junk shop with money I saved from doing yardwork. Shortly thereafter I was given a canon SLR with a zoom lens, and even as a sixth grader I knew it sucked compared to the argus.

jky
05-03-2008, 23:34
Tamron 17-35 for the D300, but I much prefer the 24mm f2.8 (36mm fov)... wish Nikon had a faster 24mm prime (AF)!

Igor.Burshteyn
05-04-2008, 04:19
started from zoom lens, subsequently added 15 lenses for different camera systems all of them are primes. Will I use zoom? Occasionally, when situation demands. What stops me from using it more it's size&weight. Optically zoom I have is pretty decent one (minolta AF 28-135mm), I could compare it to the primes. But when I travel I always pack OM body with a few prime lenses. Do I loose photo opportunities with prime lenses versus zooms? Probably. But carrying whole day long OM/50mm prime feels like fun, while 800si/28-135mm feels like body building work.

Rick Waldroup
05-04-2008, 05:27
I recently retired from the photo biz and I sold off all my Nikon equipment, including some really nice primes- 180 2.8, 50 1.4, and 85 1.4- and purchased a Lumix L1 with the Leica 14-50 zoom and added an Olympus 40-150 zoom. The images with the Leica zoom are superb and the Olympus zoom is not too shabby either. I am extremely happy with this rig.

Kent
05-04-2008, 05:28
Zoom and AF if I need to be quick, primes and MF if I have the time to think. ;)

M like Leica M6
05-04-2008, 08:58
...I hate zoom lenses. For some reason, they stifle my creativity, I find that I get really lazy composing with them. They're massive, slow, uninspiring pieces of junk! I can barely take the 18-200 VR anywhere without feeling like I'm holding a freakin 2kg dumbbell.

Now the 35 f2 nikkor - It's tiny, well built, has great IQ, focusses quickly and silently.

Depends on what you photograph.

For landscapes, where I often need a wide range of focal lengths I really prefer zooms so that I can avoid carrying many lenses - I cover 24 to 200mm with two Canon lenses, both with IS, so I can often leave my tripod at home. With tele lenses I really prefer zooms because walking vs. zooming is often not possible. A 70-200 IS is wonderful as long as you don't use it as an adipose portrait lens. For much longer focal lengths there not so many choices, and none of them are affordable, especially with the costly IS. So, I still use my Novoflex 400 and 600 and a 2x converter. Very sharp lenses, and incredibly cheap these days.

For other general photography I find that primes in the wide to normal focal lengths are easier and do not disturb my photography, 35 and 50 are my main lenses and, of course, there are not so many zooms for my M6 and Canon Vt deluxe.

shadowfox
05-05-2008, 08:42
I've used Leica M RF for the last 20 years and completely resisted all SLRs and especially zoom lenses until I felt I needed a DSLR.

All the forums showed many complaints of CA and soft corners in even the best Nikon and Canon lenses ... and the old school primes were often worse than the zooms.
The Olympus E lenses seemed to be the best around, but were mostly all zooms, but the tiny E1 viewfinder ruled Olympus out.

Then the Leica 25 f/1.4 arrived on the scene followed by the Olympus E-3 with a reasonably to good viewfinder.
As no wide primes existed, I reluctantly added the 7-14mm. I found I quite liked it :eek:

The 14-35 f/2 seems to be re-writing the zooms rules - superb resolution, distortion and contrast even wide open.

The E-3 +14-35f/2 weighs 1890g i.e. exactly the same as 2xM6 +28f/2 +50 f/1.4 and takes up the same space in the bag, so to accomplish the same job all is pretty much equal.

However, if Olympus had a 14 f/2.8 and 25 f/2, I would still prefer to go with 2 primes and two bodies.

Just want to let you know that I'm drooling over your E3 setup :)

dmr
05-05-2008, 11:32
Not to be a total snot here, but ...



I will use a zoom lens only if the situation requires it, otherwise Primes the other 98% of the time

I will use zoom lenses more often than prime lenses, they're more versatile



... there's no valid answer for those who use zooms more than 2% but less than "more often" than primes!

There really needs to be an answer for those who use them when and where appropriate, when they are the correct tool for the job.

I know this is still primarily a rangefinder club, and zooms and rangefinders just don't mix well.

bottley1
05-05-2008, 11:35
when you are in Iceland in the middle of winter, and a stiff breeze is coming off the waterfall, the last thing you want to do is change lenses......

FallisPhoto
05-05-2008, 13:44
I never understood the odd notion that a zoom lens makes anyone lazy. By that reasoning, I guess AF, AE, in camera metering, and most everything else is laziness too.

Uh... if you have time to do it manually, then yes, it is.

Sometimes one can't get close enough, or back up far enough, to use a fixed lens. And my Nikon zooms are as sharp as most any prime lens. Has anyone tried to capture a fleeting moment while having to change lenses?

1. We're talking prime lenses vs zoom lenses here. Prime does not mean fixed.
2. If you have time to adjust a big honking zoom, then the moment is not exactly fleeting, is it?

Hey, using a camera is lazy. Pull out that pencil and paper and draw that portrait. But make sure you use a regular pencil. I think that mechanical pencils make you lazy.

Uh... Real artists use pens.

Matthew Allen
05-06-2008, 05:10
2. If you have time to adjust a big honking zoom, then the moment is not exactly fleeting, is it?

I love primes as much as the next guy but you can't pretend that zooming in or out takes as long as changing lenses. Even the 12x or greater zooms usually have a short enough throw that you can fully extend or retract them in less than a second.

Matthew

pvdhaar
05-06-2008, 05:27
It's only too bad there are no zoom lenses for RFs.. The only thing that comes near is a Tri-Elmar. If it were just a tad more affordable, I'd immediately go that way.

The possibility to crop without moving closer or further is just brilliant. This whole 'zoom with your feet' thing means you need to change perspective to fill the frame..

minoltist7
05-06-2008, 06:10
I use DSLR with zoom whether it required by situation, i.e. shooting fast-moving objects, or shooting events with external flash .
I use RFs with primes for "street" type photography and light travel

FallisPhoto
05-06-2008, 07:37
I love primes as much as the next guy but you can't pretend that zooming in or out takes as long as changing lenses. Even the 12x or greater zooms usually have a short enough throw that you can fully extend or retract them in less than a second.

Matthew

So who changes lenses? I usually change cameras. If I'm shooting small format, and if I am using SLRs, I usually have three with me.

gavinlg
05-06-2008, 07:47
Ease up turbos, it's a fun thread - I don't actually worship the prime lens on the little alter in my shrine room and fight off the little zoom lens that sits on my shoulder all day, I do use both.

My point was I enjoy using primes much more than zooms, and to hear what everyone else thought.

M like Leica M6
05-07-2008, 00:27
when you are in Iceland in the middle of winter, and a stiff breeze is coming off the waterfall, the last thing you want to do is change lenses......

...probably because it is completely dark anyhow? :D

Take this norwegian joke as an explanation:


A prosecutor asks a defendant:

"What did you do during the night between September and April?"

jonmanjiro
05-07-2008, 01:46
Right... So I just received my nikkor 35 f2 to use on my d300 and fm2n... Ahhhhh... what a relief... I've been living with the 18-200 VR for the last couple of months as the only autofocus lens, and really, I hate zoom lenses.

I hate zoom lenses too, and I particularly hated the 18-200 VR! My copy was an absolute dog. I couldn't believe how bad it was from 70mm to 200mm. The prime lenses I compared it to ate it for breakfast, spat it out, them stomped all over it. I got Nikon to adjust it, and it did come back marginally better, but not enough for me to want to keep it.

I picked up a 35/2 after getting rid of the 18-200 VR. Great little lens!

Ronald M
05-07-2008, 02:20
tOO BIG, SLOW, expensive, too much distortion. Great for digital if you don`t like to change lenses. I just compled my set of Nikkor prime for the D200, 24 to 200mmm but retained the 12/24 18/70 and 55/200.
Trust me though, nothing is as nice as Leica M primes in front of tri x or Plus x. Zeiss glass is pretty good too, just different.

narsuitus
05-07-2008, 20:13
I primarily use zoom lenses on my digital cameras.
I primarily use prime lenses on my 35mm film SLRs.
I use zoom lenses on my cameras with a fixed zoom lens.
I use prime lenses on my cameras with a fixed prime lens.

Since none of the options fix my situation, I did not vote.

caperunner
05-08-2008, 03:44
I am quite pleased with my Canon FD 100-300mm f5.6 zoom + tripod or fence post. Very sharp.

rxmd
05-25-2008, 04:35
I particularly hated the 18-200 VR! My copy was an absolute dog. I couldn't believe how bad it was from 70mm to 200mm. [...] I picked up a 35/2 after getting rid of the 18-200 VR.
You two sound a bit like this: "I particularly hate minivans. Mine was an absolute dog. Everytime I wanted to haul more than 5 people or more than 1 ton of stuff, mine completely broke down. I picked up a Harley after I got rid of the minivan and now all my transportation problems are solved!"

Or in other words, how's the 35/f2 in the 70mm to 200mm range?

Philipp

jonmanjiro
05-25-2008, 05:11
You two sound a bit like this: "I particularly hate minivans. Mine was an absolute dog. Everytime I wanted to haul more than 5 people or more than 1 ton of stuff, mine completely broke down. I picked up a Harley after I got rid of the minivan and now all my transportation problems are solved!"

Or in other words, how's the 35/f2 in the 70mm to 200mm range?

Philipp

It's taken you two weeks to find this thread and comment? Things must be slow at RFF today ;)

Regarding the 18-200mm, I bought the hype of it being a great performer (for an 11x zoom), but it didn't give the performance I hoped for, so I sold it. I bought a 35/f2 with the proceeds, but that wasn't necessarily to replace the 18-200mm. Rather, I purchased a 35/f2 because I wanted a 35/f2. I've since purchased other lenses to cover the 70-200mm range.

I would never buy a Harley, but do sometimes hire a minivan when needed :angel:

wolves3012
05-26-2008, 02:13
I own just one zoom, a 28-200 and rarely use it (not least because I use mostly RFs). It has its uses for when it's not practical to "zoom with your feet". I read in a book somewhere "even if you own every lens in the line, use a 50mm unless there's a compelling reason to do otherwise" and I think that's good advice.

From simple optical physics, a zoom has more compromises than a prime, so a prime is inevitably better quality (all other things being equal). With modern zooms being so good, however, it's not that often that their lower quality will actually affect the end result so I'm happy to use them where demanded.

dee
05-26-2008, 14:55
I bought a Leica Dig 3 with the Leica f2.8 / 3.5 zoom

I am also using my Rokkors with it , somewhat inconveniently !

I also have prime K lenses for my Pentax K 10D which I love using .

I am beginning to become less '' compact / snapshot ''orientated with the zoom , and less quality conscious in that it seem to provide excellent images , the 4/3rds format and older processor probably being the limiting factor

But I find zooms and auto focus too distracting for my ASdee !

Doug
05-26-2008, 19:12
With RF cameras an fixed focal lengths, I'll try to find the best composition in the field of view I have, moving if possible and if time permits. I do have three zooms for medium format; a monster 55-100 f4.5 for 6x7, and for 645 format 33-55 and 45-85mm. These are particularly useful for more carefully considered compositions, often landscapes or cityscapes where you locate yourself as best you can for the perspective you want, and then zoom for the field of view for optimimum composition.

I have a tentative theory that zooms are most useful at the very wide angles and at the longer focal lengths.

btgc
06-09-2008, 12:13
So who changes lenses? I usually change cameras. If I'm shooting small format, and if I am using SLRs, I usually have three with me.

This is why I purchased another SLR body - to mount something longer on it while another has wide prime or 25-50 zoom. Maybe I'm wrong, but I want to try this way.

I can agree that zooms can be tricky to use, primes are easier - because of less controls. Maybe I have to grow up, don't care. Using zoom, I imagine FOV I want, set lens to desired setting and don't fuss with "zooming". Feet are still good enough :)

Finally, pictures are what count. If it works, let it be prime or mooz.

cosmonot
06-29-2008, 23:20
I generally prefer a zoom for anything longer than 80mm. I've got an old Tamron SP 80-200/2.8 that's tack sharp and got lots of use when I used to shoot sports every week. Size or weight never bothered me with lenses. Add a motor drive to the OM and it was a very balanced rig. Sometimes I'd add a 1.4x or 2x converter and then I'd pull out the monopod.

user237428934
06-30-2008, 00:21
From simple optical physics, a zoom has more compromises than a prime, so a prime is inevitably better quality (all other things being equal). With modern zooms being so good, however, it's not that often that their lower quality will actually affect the end result....

This may be still true for a Canon 35/1.4 that has a superb quality. But there were so many tests done where the Canon 35/2 and the Nikon 35/2 were compared to the high quality zooms like Canon 17-55/2.8 or Nikon 17-55/2.8 or Tamron 17-50/2.8. And the zooms won the quality battle by far.

historicist
06-30-2008, 05:11
I'm dead opposed to zoom lenses on my cameras, but purely on aesthetic grounds - I just don't like the look of big, long lenses.

I would imagine that wide most prime lens designs (at least for the normal focal lengths in the major SLR manufacturers) being so old, many a recent zoom would be as good or better in quality, but I still wouldn't use one.

Form over function ;)

user237428934
06-30-2008, 06:03
I'm dead opposed to zoom lenses on my cameras, but purely on aesthetic grounds - I just don't like the look of big, long lenses.

I would imagine that wide most prime lens designs (at least for the normal focal lengths in the major SLR manufacturers) being so old, many a recent zoom would be as good or better in quality, but I still wouldn't use one.

Form over function ;)

Perhaps you should use a nice wooden pinhole. Nice material and a nice form ;)

I agree with you about the look of a zoom lens. I own the Canon 17-55/2.8 and together with my evil DSLR it's just an ugly package.

But I prefer function over form (a little) so I carry my ugly package around.

OldNick
06-30-2008, 08:25
I have used a mix of RF and SLR cameras for many years. I picked up an inexpensive zoom lens for my Pentax Spotmatic years ago, and, after trying it for a while, I found it to be so useless that I swapped it for another prime. That turned me off on zooms. A few months ago I bought an Oly E-510 with a good Zuiko 14-54 zoom, the equivalent of 28mm-108mm in terms of full-frame 35s. This lens is so sharp that it amazes me. While I have tried some of my Pentax primes on the 510, the zoom is still my preferred way to go.

Jim N.

Al Patterson
06-30-2008, 10:00
I'm dead opposed to zoom lenses on my cameras, but purely on aesthetic grounds - I just don't like the look of big, long lenses.

I would imagine that wide most prime lens designs (at least for the normal focal lengths in the major SLR manufacturers) being so old, many a recent zoom would be as good or better in quality, but I still wouldn't use one.

Form over function ;)

I prefer function over form, so when I need a big honking zoom, I'll use one. When I need the sharpest lens possible I'll go with a prime. The situation I'm in determines the lens. One wouldn't use a 70-210 zoom for street shooting, or a 28mm prime at an air show or out railfanning.

Too each their own I guess...

Beemermark
06-30-2008, 10:28
One body one lens - 50mm.

Pablito
08-12-2008, 12:03
They're massive, slow, uninspiring pieces of junk!

Personally, l neither seek nor find any inspiration in lenses or cameras.

raid
08-12-2008, 12:07
When it came to choosing a zoom lens in the past, I would carefully choose a lens with a reputation of being excellent optically.

Canon 28-50/3.5 SSC
Canon 80-200/4L
Angenieux 70-210/3.5

Else, I prefer my prime lenses. This is especially applicable to wide angle lenses.

ampguy
08-12-2008, 18:02
zooms work best when the long length divided by the shorter length is a whole number, preferably 2.

Check out one of the 4 or 5 variations of the 43-86 Nikkor zoom.

ferider
08-12-2008, 18:09
When I've used zooms in the past, I always ended up using either the short or the long end. So I thought I might as well just use primes instead ....

mh2000
10-03-2008, 09:25
I voted that I wouldn't use a massive zoom lens ever... being that I sold my otherwise beautiful Canon 24-70L recently... but I would occasionally use a small light weight zoom that was decent enough... maybe. Primes are more fun to work with IMO.

mh2000
10-03-2008, 09:28
ahhh... geez... that is no fun. Even though I am always confronted with the truth that there is no magic in photo equipment... the search is still exciting sometimes... and I still take photos while on this journey... so it isn't completely a waste of time or money.

>>Personally, l neither seek nor find any inspiration in lenses or cameras.

FallisPhoto
10-03-2008, 10:49
This is why I purchased another SLR body - to mount something longer on it while another has wide prime or 25-50 zoom. Maybe I'm wrong, but I want to try this way.

I can agree that zooms can be tricky to use, primes are easier - because of less controls. Maybe I have to grow up, don't care. Using zoom, I imagine FOV I want, set lens to desired setting and don't fuss with "zooming". Feet are still good enough :)

Finally, pictures are what count. If it works, let it be prime or mooz.

When you are paying a model $50,000,000 per minute, every second counts. Okay, $100 per hour, but still.

dof
10-03-2008, 11:34
I don't use zoom lenses, but "Hate" is such a strong word for so benign and inconsequential a concept.

luchoh
10-03-2008, 17:55
I have a sweet spot for OM (SLR) glass - I have 28/3.5, 24/2.8 and 21/3.5 and am currently looking for a good 18mm Zuiko. I use the small Zuikos most of the time - if I had 2 bodies, perhaps I would have stuk with primes only, however the lens that stays most of the time on my 5D now is Contax 35-70. Amazing lens that is better or on par with most primes within that range. Yes, it is slow (3.5) and has a short focal range, but the results are fantastic. If all zooms were like that (or EF 70-200/4 IS), I wouldn't have had nothing against them.

For MF and RF - primes all the way, of course.

Bottomline is - depends on the particular zoom and the application.

italy74
10-05-2008, 14:31
Well, I think one should have a walkaround zoom for travel but aside that shooting with primes is for sure more exciting and challenging