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View Poll Results: Zooms are the Devil.... Aren't they?
I will not use a massive zoom lens no matter what. Primes all the way!!! 63 23.68%
I will use a zoom lens only if the situation requires it, otherwise Primes the other 98% of the time 156 58.65%
I will use zoom lenses more often than prime lenses, they're more versatile 42 15.79%
Prime lenses? What are you.... 80? (I only use zooms) 5 1.88%
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The "zoom lenses are the devil!!!!" Poll
Old 05-01-2008   #1
gavinlg
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The "zoom lenses are the devil!!!!" Poll

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?
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Old 05-01-2008   #2
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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.
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Old 05-01-2008   #3
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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 ...
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Old 05-01-2008   #4
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With primes I need to carry four bodies at the same time. With zoom lenses two bodies.
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Old 05-01-2008   #5
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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 ...
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Old 05-01-2008   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nh3 View Post
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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #7
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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.
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OK no zoom !!!
Old 05-02-2008   #8
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Thumbs down OK no zoom !!!

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 ...
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Old 05-02-2008   #9
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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.

Last edited by myoptic3 : 05-02-2008 at 00:23.
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Old 05-02-2008   #10
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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).
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Old 05-02-2008   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myoptic3 View Post
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

Quote:
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
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Old 05-02-2008   #12
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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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myoptic3 View Post
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....
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Old 05-02-2008   #14
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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.

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Old 05-02-2008   #15
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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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #16
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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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myoptic3 View Post
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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #18
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Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by myoptic3 View Post
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!
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Old 05-02-2008   #19
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Originally Posted by kalokeri View Post
...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?

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Old 05-02-2008   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiewakeham View Post
... 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.

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Old 05-02-2008   #21
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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.

Last edited by David Goldfarb : 05-02-2008 at 04:10.
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Old 05-02-2008   #22
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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.

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Old 05-02-2008   #23
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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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #24
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I would use one if I had to...but then I don't own any.
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Old 05-02-2008   #25
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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?
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Old 05-02-2008   #26
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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.

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Old 05-02-2008   #27
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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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #28
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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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #29
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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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #30
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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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #31
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I can't afford zooms that I'd use.
I'll use primes even those I can afford.

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Old 05-02-2008   #32
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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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #33
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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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #34
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Quote:
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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... ) 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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myoptic3 View Post
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...
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Old 05-02-2008   #36
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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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #37
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for sure...
Zoom are devils!!!!
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Old 05-02-2008   #38
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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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #39
jwhitley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by payasam View Post
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!" 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.
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Old 05-02-2008   #40
kalokeri
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Originally Posted by jamiewakeham View Post
..., 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/foru...704#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
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