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Gear Talk => Lenses => Topic started by: JumboShrimp on December 06, 2013, 03:59:56 PM

Title: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: JumboShrimp on December 06, 2013, 03:59:56 PM
When I take three primes with me for a days' shooting, say 24-50-100mm, I find that I come back with images that are much more interesting and artistic than if I would shoot the same subjects with my 24-105. I'm not necessarily talking about image quality between lenses, per se, but more about the "wow factor" that we all know when everything comes together. When I use a zoom, I am aware that the laziness factor kicks in sometimes, and I take the easy road to composition by just twisting the zoom ring, rather than expending the extra effort by getting closer or lower. Do you find that to be the case with your personal shooting style? Or do you take better pictures with a zoom? Or do you find no difference? Personal insights one way or the other would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Sebring5 on December 06, 2013, 04:23:07 PM
I take better pictures with Sigma zooms. Used a 400mm Canon f/5.6 faithfully until I saw what the Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 and 120-300mm f/2.8 could do.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: sjschall on December 06, 2013, 04:44:38 PM
Quote
I find that I come back with images that are much more interesting and artistic

I agree with this 100%. Something about those primes. I have your same sentiment, yet I am still always scared to leave the zooms at home...
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on December 06, 2013, 04:48:13 PM
A lens has little to do with taking better pictures as long as its the tight focal length.  The subject, composition and lighting are 99%.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Don Haines on December 06, 2013, 05:07:45 PM
A lens has little to do with taking better pictures as long as its the tight focal length.  The subject, composition and lighting are 99%.

Most of the time I would agree with that, but I find that when I go walking around with a macro lens on, that I see things differently.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: BozillaNZ on December 06, 2013, 05:08:53 PM
Started out with average zooms, then collected primes, then found that I missed too much opportunities by always having the wrong prime mounted. Finally settled on 24-70 II as the main lens.

But even when I am using the zoom lens, I will now consciously choose a focal length that I intend to use and shoot away. So now using 24-70 II my photos come back with EXIF showing 24, 35, 50, 70 but not much in between. To me it is a bag of primes on it's own.

Prime lens are very good at training your sense of perspective and low light stuff. But once you go over it, you will appreciate what a good zoom can offer.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Random Orbits on December 06, 2013, 10:32:45 PM
Love the zooms for sports (24-70 II/70-200 II), although I might change my mind if I had the superteles.  =)

Even though I take more pictures with the 24-70 than I do with any other of my lenses (the 70-200 is a close second), I usually bring a prime or two).  Primes with large apertures give you the option to blur out the background more effectively and pull the focus onto the subject and gives you more leeway indoors when not using a flash, which are really helpful when shooting in cluttered/confined spaces.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Eldar on December 07, 2013, 02:07:38 AM
At this time of year I skim through the year´s production (November is cold, dark and wet). I normally end up concluding that I do better with primes. I think this is because I work more for each image. Zooms tend to make me a bit lazy, so instead of moving around as i should, I move by zooming. Normally I do best with the 35/1.4, 50/1.2 or 85/1.2.

But this year is different. I believe this year´s winners are the 24-70 f2.8L II, 70-200 f2.8L IS II and 200-400 f4L IS 1.4x. Maybe because they have prime lens optical quality and they are fast enough to give sufficiently shallow DOF when needed. The 85 1.2L II is still the portrait champ though and for long reach the 600 f4L rules.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: RLPhoto on December 07, 2013, 09:10:22 AM
I would say yes to start on. Working with primes forces you to compose with perspective in mind. A zoom lens will tend to make you shoot with framing in mind. IE: stand in one spot and zoom for the frame you want. Which isn't always the best option.

I see a zoom lens more as a perspective control tool than a framing tool. That's because working with primes early on showed me to move the camera around for different perspectives.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Dylan777 on December 07, 2013, 10:12:23 AM
I have little bit of zoom and prime lenses. Prime lenses create more pop and isolate subject(s) from back ground better - more WOW factor.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Zv on December 07, 2013, 10:32:23 AM
I switch back and forth and though I love primes (who doesn't?) I find for most things a zoom is more practical. Things like events, parties, weddings and vacation are where I prefer zooms. For me it's more about getting the shot than getting the perfect shot. Get's the job done, ready for anything sort of thing.

However, I deliberately chose all f/4 zooms so that I would still feel the need for speed (sorry that one just slipped out!)  ;)

I am getting back into the primes, I think the 135L is what did it for me. So when I'm shooting for fun or to be creative I'll use that in combo with my EOS M & 22mm. For EOS M - primes. Definitely. Wish there were more available. Currently using old FD lenses via adaptor with it.

Ideally I'd like to have all fast primes with IS built in on two FF bodies plus an assistant to carry it all! Hahaha!

Sorry, forgot to answer the Q! Do I take better pictures with primes? Perhaps but I just try and make the best of what's on the camera at the time. A prime does make you want to experiment a bit more, you always wonder - "now what if I shoot this wide open??" And then theres the bokeh! oh and of course freezing action. So I guess you have more options available.

Someone mentioned using your zoom at specific focal lengths. That's a great idea and one I need to try more of.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: mrsfotografie on December 07, 2013, 11:30:26 AM
I'm increasingly finding that a 'classic' combination of wide-to-normal primes and tele-zooms works best for me. Given enough light I like to work with my 24-105 though, especially for events and holidays. In any case it's December - dark and miserable, it's 'prime' season to get the most out of the little light available.

I agree with what others said: primes force you to think more about what you're doing. Beforehand, even. Good shots follow from good preparation.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: sanj on December 07, 2013, 11:34:52 AM
No. Lens is a lens.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: takesome1 on December 07, 2013, 11:55:48 AM
The L primes will give better IQ  than most all zooms. (keep in mind resolution isn't the only thing that contributes to IQ)
Even the 24-70mm II will only match or slightly beat the L primes in resolution. It is still behind in other areas.

But that is not the difference you are feeling with your shots.
To use an painting comparison the primes give you a larger pallet and higher quality brushes to work with.
You not only have the improved IQ of the prime but the prime is able to use wider apertures.
The same is true of using a FF over a Crop camera. The FF will give you more creative potential.

So for me yes the Primes "take better pics" because I utilize the extra tools they provide.

Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: mrsfotografie on December 07, 2013, 12:43:59 PM
The L primes will give better IQ  than most all zooms. (keep in mind resolution isn't the only thing that contributes to IQ)
Even the 24-70mm II will only match or slightly beat the L primes in resolution. It is still behind in other areas.

But that is not the difference you are feeling with your shots.
To use an painting comparison the primes give you a larger pallet and higher quality brushes to work with.
You not only have the improved IQ of the prime but the prime is able to use wider apertures.
The same is true of using a FF over a Crop camera. The FF will give you more creative potential.

So for me yes the Primes "take better pics" because I utilize the extra tools they provide.

I'll name a few of the (good) 'prime' advantages aside from resolution: Color rendition, contrast, flare resistance, less distortion, possibly better bokeh etc. Primes also handle differently, generally they're lighter and easier to handle (no zooming) so less to distract from photography.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: surapon on December 07, 2013, 12:45:08 PM
A lens has little to do with taking better pictures as long as its the tight focal length.  The subject, composition and lighting are 99%.

+ 100 For me, Dear Teacher, Mr. Mt Spokane.
Yes, Sir, One of My Teacher " The PRO" use   1 time disposable  Kodak 35 mm  film camera,( $ 5-7 US Dollars ?) 20 years ago , and shoot some scenery Views , and get the best Photos that I have ever seen.---Yes, Sir, It depend on  the Brain, Heart and the Skill of the person who press the shutter to create the masterpiece. The good/ great equipment will help/ support to get better one.
Have a great Weekend, Sir.
Surapon
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: surapon on December 07, 2013, 12:50:03 PM
At this time of year I skim through the year´s production (November is cold, dark and wet). I normally end up concluding that I do better with primes. I think this is because I work more for each image. Zooms tend to make me a bit lazy, so instead of moving around as i should, I move by zooming. Normally I do best with the 35/1.4, 50/1.2 or 85/1.2.

But this year is different. I believe this year´s winners are the 24-70 f2.8L II, 70-200 f2.8L IS II and 200-400 f4L IS 1.4x. Maybe because they have prime lens optical quality and they are fast enough to give sufficiently shallow DOF when needed. The 85 1.2L II is still the portrait champ though and for long reach the 600 f4L rules.

Dear Mr. Eldar, Thanks you, Sir---I agree with you 1000%---Special " Zooms tend to make me a bit lazy, so instead of moving around as i should, I move by zooming. Normally I do best with the 35/1.4, 50/1.2 or 85/1.2.  "---Yes, Ha, Ha, Ha.
Thanks you, Sir.
Surapon
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: mrsfotografie on December 07, 2013, 12:51:50 PM
A lens has little to do with taking better pictures as long as its the tight focal length.  The subject, composition and lighting are 99%.

+ 100 For me, Dear Teacher, Mr. Mt Spokane.
Yes, Sir, One of My Teacher " The PRO" use   1 time disposable  Kodak 35 mm  film camera,( $ 5-7 US Dollars ?) 20 years ago , and shoot some scenery Views , and get the best Photos that I have ever seen.---Yes, Sir, It depend on  the Brain, Heart and the Skill of the person who press the shutter to create the masterpiece. The good/ great equipment will help/ support to get better one.
Have a great Weekend, Sir.
Surapon

Guess at the cost of the equipment used to make this shot:  ;D
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: stringfellow1946 on December 07, 2013, 01:08:13 PM
NO! Why should they?
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: AlanF on December 07, 2013, 01:11:13 PM
I'm increasingly finding that a 'classic' combination of wide-to-normal primes and tele-zooms works best for me. Given enough light I like to work with my 24-105 though, especially for events and holidays. In any case it's December - dark and miserable, it's 'prime' season to get the most out of the little light available.

I agree with what others said: primes force you to think more about what you're doing. Beforehand, even. Good shots follow from good preparation.

Opposite for me. I need the sharpest possible telephotos for big cropping of nature photos, and zoom moderate wide to moderate teles for general carry around.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: surapon on December 07, 2013, 01:13:26 PM
A lens has little to do with taking better pictures as long as its the tight focal length.  The subject, composition and lighting are 99%.

+ 100 For me, Dear Teacher, Mr. Mt Spokane.
Yes, Sir, One of My Teacher " The PRO" use   1 time disposable  Kodak 35 mm  film camera,( $ 5-7 US Dollars ?) 20 years ago , and shoot some scenery Views , and get the best Photos that I have ever seen.---Yes, Sir, It depend on  the Brain, Heart and the Skill of the person who press the shutter to create the masterpiece. The good/ great equipment will help/ support to get better one.
Have a great Weekend, Sir.
Surapon

Guess at the cost of the equipment used to make this shot:  ;D

Ha, Ha, Ha, Dear mrsfotografie.
I can not guess how much the cost of Camera to recorded this Photo, But I can see = By the Skill Photographer, Who Have the Artistic in mind with Composition( Semi-Rule of Thirds), and strong hands to not let the camera move, and get the Sharp -Details of the subject.
Thanks , if you tell me that you use Fuji Disposal Card Board Camera = $ 3-4 Dollars.
Surapon
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on December 07, 2013, 01:45:42 PM

Opposite for me. I need the sharpest possible telephotos for big cropping of nature photos, and zoom moderate wide to moderate teles for general carry around.

I think the distinction is better pictures versus sharper images.  I think of content when I hear better pictures, versus higher IQ or sharper images.  A sharp image of a poor subject, or poorly done one might be inferior to a good camera phone shot done well.  Given the exact same subject at the exact same distance, its still not clear if a prime would do better at f/8 or f/16.  There are too many variables that the OP has left for us to assume.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Marsu42 on December 07, 2013, 01:54:31 PM
When I use a zoom, I am aware that the laziness factor kicks in sometimes, and I take the easy road to composition by just twisting the zoom ring, rather than expending the extra effort by getting closer or lower. Do you find that to be the case with your personal shooting style?

Currently I'm using my 100L/2.8 on ff a lot because the dof is really a change from crop with 70-300L/4... but that's because of the different look and depth of field, not because zoom vs. prime even if it's easy to attribute the difference to this. And it's easier to develop gas when buying primes :-p

That's why I'd like to make a case for zooms: Once you realize you have to beat your laziness, they have distinct advantages:
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: distant.star on December 07, 2013, 02:02:30 PM
.
This seems overly arcane to me.

Sort of like asking if your food tastes better when you use a spoon instead of a fork!

I most agree with the comment about the need for good preparation. For me, I think through to the outcome I want, and then I pick the lens(es) I think will do the job.

Some lenses are just wrong in certain circumstances, no matter what.

For something concrete to discuss, how much different can a picture be with a Canon 40mm pancake vs a Canon 24-105mmL? The 40 will take you down to f/2.8, but that's only one stop off the f/4.0 of the zoom. And the zoom has IS while the pancake does not. I'm seeing few instances these days where the 40mm gets mounted to my 5D3. The 24-105 usually gives me adequate results -- and a lot more versatility.

Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: takesome1 on December 07, 2013, 02:04:07 PM

 
I think the distinction is better pictures versus sharper images.  I think of content when I hear better pictures, versus higher IQ or sharper images.

I think of all of these when someone says "better pictures". Making a "better picture" should include everything that goes in to creating an image.

The lenses are nothing but tools and primes can improve your image when its specialty is required.

Making an assumption of the OP's post, it appears he is noticing some of the things the primes are capable of. Perhaps he noticed this by accident, it doesn't mean that what he is seeing makes the prime superior in all situations. In reality zooms and primes both have unique abilities and recognizing those abilities help make a "better picture".

Side note, some of my favorite pictures have been taken with my iPhone. What I find unfortunate is that the images will not hold up to large print.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: mrsfotografie on December 07, 2013, 02:11:36 PM
A lens has little to do with taking better pictures as long as its the tight focal length.  The subject, composition and lighting are 99%.

+ 100 For me, Dear Teacher, Mr. Mt Spokane.
Yes, Sir, One of My Teacher " The PRO" use   1 time disposable  Kodak 35 mm  film camera,( $ 5-7 US Dollars ?) 20 years ago , and shoot some scenery Views , and get the best Photos that I have ever seen.---Yes, Sir, It depend on  the Brain, Heart and the Skill of the person who press the shutter to create the masterpiece. The good/ great equipment will help/ support to get better one.
Have a great Weekend, Sir.
Surapon

Guess at the cost of the equipment used to make this shot:  ;D

Ha, Ha, Ha, Dear mrsfotografie.
I can not guess how much the cost of Camera to recorded this Photo, But I can see = By the Skill Photographer, Who Have the Artistic in mind with Composition( Semi-Rule of Thirds), and strong hands to not let the camera move, and get the Sharp -Details of the subject.
Thanks , if you tell me that you use Fuji Disposal Card Board Camera = $ 3-4 Dollars.
Surapon

Not quite, but it is this, bought last week (new) for 69 euro (95USD):  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: surapon on December 07, 2013, 03:30:46 PM
A lens has little to do with taking better pictures as long as its the tight focal length.  The subject, composition and lighting are 99%.

+ 100 For me, Dear Teacher, Mr. Mt Spokane.
Yes, Sir, One of My Teacher " The PRO" use   1 time disposable  Kodak 35 mm  film camera,( $ 5-7 US Dollars ?) 20 years ago , and shoot some scenery Views , and get the best Photos that I have ever seen.---Yes, Sir, It depend on  the Brain, Heart and the Skill of the person who press the shutter to create the masterpiece. The good/ great equipment will help/ support to get better one.
Have a great Weekend, Sir.
Surapon

Guess at the cost of the equipment used to make this shot:  ;D

Ha, Ha, Ha, Dear mrsfotografie.
I can not guess how much the cost of Camera to recorded this Photo, But I can see = By the Skill Photographer, Who Have the Artistic in mind with Composition( Semi-Rule of Thirds), and strong hands to not let the camera move, and get the Sharp -Details of the subject.
Thanks , if you tell me that you use Fuji Disposal Card Board Camera = $ 3-4 Dollars.
Surapon

Not quite, but it is this, bought last week (new) for 69 euro (95USD):  ;D ;D ;D

Wow, Wow, Wow----- Same As my Dear Teacher SAID,  The Great Photos are created from the Heart, Thew Brain and the Skill of that Photographer.
Thanbkssssss.
Surapon
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: cellomaster27 on December 07, 2013, 04:14:33 PM
Man, not gonna include any quotes because I agree with too many people here. But I want to say a few things..

The occasion determines zooms or primes. If you're dealing with fast moving subjects vs studio, you maybe want zooms. Oh and I am a strong advocate for primes! I've used my 28mm all day on a shoot before. Usually, because it's later in the day. Also, I feel like the IQ is so much better and sharper. Having the option of wider apertures is a major plus of course. Yes you have to move around for the framing but I don't know, for me that's the fun part. Main issue is not being wide enough. I think that the reason behind sharp primes is that it doesn't zoom and all that glass is focused on one focal length so the IQ is not compromised.

If you have a nice zoom, by all means use it. But I can get some excellent photos with a prime or two. I don't have to change too much either. Again, it's usually not being wide enough.  Anyways, I like this topic. Happy shooting!
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: candc on December 07, 2013, 04:27:12 PM
a good zoom will give you what you are looking for in most cases but just as some others have posted you should think about what you want to do first and then set the zoom to that. if you want to isolate your subject then zoom to the long end and step back, if you want the exaggerated perspective then zoom short and move closer. if you know your zoom is only good at certain focal lengths then use it there and just zoom around if there is no other way.

i guess if you are shooting in one type of scenario and you know what that is going to be ahead of time then a prime is better but if i am going to go for a walk in the woods and just carry the camera then i want a zoom on it.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Don Haines on December 07, 2013, 04:56:31 PM
A lens has little to do with taking better pictures as long as its the tight focal length.  The subject, composition and lighting are 99%.

+ 100 For me, Dear Teacher, Mr. Mt Spokane.
Yes, Sir, One of My Teacher " The PRO" use   1 time disposable  Kodak 35 mm  film camera,( $ 5-7 US Dollars ?) 20 years ago , and shoot some scenery Views , and get the best Photos that I have ever seen.---Yes, Sir, It depend on  the Brain, Heart and the Skill of the person who press the shutter to create the masterpiece. The good/ great equipment will help/ support to get better one.
Have a great Weekend, Sir.
Surapon

Guess at the cost of the equipment used to make this shot:  ;D

Ha, Ha, Ha, Dear mrsfotografie.
I can not guess how much the cost of Camera to recorded this Photo, But I can see = By the Skill Photographer, Who Have the Artistic in mind with Composition( Semi-Rule of Thirds), and strong hands to not let the camera move, and get the Sharp -Details of the subject.
Thanks , if you tell me that you use Fuji Disposal Card Board Camera = $ 3-4 Dollars.
Surapon

Not quite, but it is this, bought last week (new) for 69 euro (95USD):  ;D ;D ;D

Wow, Wow, Wow----- Same As my Dear Teacher SAID,  The Great Photos are created from the Heart, Thew Brain and the Skill of that Photographer.
Thanbkssssss.
Surapon

But you NEED! a $10,000 lens and a 1DX to keep up with exciting action.... like sleeping cats :)
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Sporgon on December 07, 2013, 04:59:19 PM

For something concrete to discuss, how much different can a picture be with a Canon 40mm pancake vs a Canon 24-105mmL? The 40 will take you down to f/2.8, but that's only one stop off the f/4.0 of the zoom. And the zoom has IS while the pancake does not. I'm seeing few instances these days where the 40mm gets mounted to my 5D3. The 24-105 usually gives me adequate results -- and a lot more versatility.

If you are looking at the centre of the frame (on FF) at apertures in the f 5 - 8 region then there is no perceivable difference, but as soon as you move out towards the four corners of mid frame there is a huge difference, and this makes a noticeable improvement on a landscape photo. On a zoom such as the 24-70 II you wouldn't see the same difference, and if you just had a central subject with the 24-105 then you wouldn't see the difference.

It depends on the application. Also the 24-70 II is a monster in order to achieve the same IQ as a tiny prime.

I understand the OP question, but I think it is possible to be disciplined with a zoom and work along as if you had primes.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: TexPhoto on December 07, 2013, 05:34:51 PM
Like the Tastes Great / Less Filling war of the mid 80s, Prime vs Zoom may never be decided.

My preference is for a great lens.  A 24-70 f2.8 II is a great lens.  An 85mm f1.2 is a great lens. 

I think it was Steve Martin who once said:
I believe in rainbows and puppy dogs and fairy tales.
And I believe in the family - Mom and Dad and Grandma.. and Uncle Tom, who waves his penis.
And I believe 8 of the 10 Commandments.
And I believe in going to church every Sunday, unless there's a game on.
And I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, wholesome and natural things.. that money can buy.
And I believe it's derogatory to refer to a woman's breasts as "boobs", "jugs", "winnebagos" or "golden bozos".. and that you should only refer to them as "hooters".
And I believe you should put a woman on a pedestal.. high enough so you can look up her dress.
And I believe in equality, equality for everyone.. no matter how stupid they are, or how much better I am than they are.
And, people say I'm crazy for believing this, but I believe that robots are stealing my luggage.
And I believe I made a mistake when I bought a 30-story 1-bedroom apartment.
And I believe the Battle of the Network Stars should be fought with guns.
And I believe that Ronald Reagan can make this country what it once was - an arctic region covered with ice.
And, lastly, I believe that of all the evils on this earth, there is nothing worse than the music you're listening to right now. That's what I believe.

We'll be right back.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Tabor Warren Photography on December 07, 2013, 05:50:15 PM
I would agree that my wife and I take the money pics with my primes, with the exception of the 70-200 2.8L ii on the 5Dii, wow, that's a great combination. On the 7D, it is hard to beat the 35L or 85L ii.

When my wife and I shoot a wedding, she will often take the 7D/60D combo with the 35/85 and I'll use the 5Dii with the 17-40/70-200 combo. She gets more of the "spectacular" shots, I get the majority of the keepers. It works out well, but we almost only stick to primes for our portrait shoots.

There's just something about shooting with the primes that continues to bring enjoyment to photography.

Good post!

Cheers,
-Tabor
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: JumboShrimp on December 07, 2013, 06:10:55 PM
As a follow-up to my original post, I believe that when you work with a prime, you think about your (potential) image much more than if you had a zoom. Primes make you "zoom" with your feet. They also have the capability of a much more shallow DOF, and probably a much closer focusing range. Primes have different limitations/opportunities than zooms, of course. Whatever you shoot with, we should all take a prime or two out for a walk-around every now and then to sharpen our skills. "It may not help but it couldn't hurt." (BTW, good threads and interesting comments by all.)
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Nishi Drew on December 07, 2013, 09:08:48 PM
As long as the lens is good and is of a usable focal length/aperture in the scenario I'm in then it's all good.
But I prefer using primes and the photos I can get by using them.

As much as I love my 35mm, I've always been jealous of 24-70 users, but to be honest I don't need it.
I can always crop in if necessary, and if I need a telephoto then 70mm isn't nearly long enough anyways, I have an
85mm and 70-200 for that. And if I need wider then rarely is 24mm enough, I'll go all the way to 16mm.

And browsing through Reuter's photos of the year I was rather surprised at the complete lack of 24-70 lenses amongst the dozens of shots, either ultra wide zooms or the same 'ol set of teles which make sense, and then in between those are the fast primes of 24, 35 and 50. The speed and subject separation even at wide angles is definitely nice to work with in all sorts of situations, and I can agree that with a good FL you feel comfortable with in that normal-wide range is enough, and zooming using your feet I believe will produce better photos, as with what Capa said about you're photos not being good enough means you aren't close enough.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: crasher8 on December 07, 2013, 09:43:59 PM
yes
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: alexanderferdinand on December 07, 2013, 10:27:16 PM
I use my 24-70II most of the time.
Expensive- but worth it.
I like it.
My 35/1,4L I love to use.

Why? I dont know.

BTW: in german they are called "fixed- focal".
Interesting the english name "prime". Like "number one" or "the best".
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Hillsilly on December 08, 2013, 12:07:41 AM
I'm personally a big prime fan.  They typically have a wider aperture, better bokeh, are usually cheaper and are often smaller and lighter (unless you start carrying multiple lenses).  My 40mm is almost glued to my camera and I normally prefer my 135mm to my 70-200mm.  I do a lot of walking with my camera, and I like lighter gear (despite my main camera being a 1Ds MkII).  I also dislike being the centre of attention, and the 40mm is better at this than a 24-70 or 24-105.  Plus I'm an enthusiast, not a professional.  My livelihood doesn't rely upon me getting a particular shot.  But I tend to have the opposite problem to the OP.  With a prime, I often get close to the shot  I want, whereas with a zoom I might have nailed it.  If I was more serious, I'd probably stick to zooms.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: sanj on December 08, 2013, 01:28:58 AM
The question is not if primes are better than zooms.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Marsu42 on December 08, 2013, 02:12:18 AM
BTW: in german they are called "fixed- focal". Interesting the english name "prime". Like "number one" or "the best".

I'm also German and same with me: "prime" sounds irritating because my first association is not "basic/one", but "premium". My guess was that it's a bit of a marketing term - or isn't it? Does the name "prime" have the same "premium" connotation for native English speakers?
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: takesome1 on December 08, 2013, 02:32:37 AM
BTW: in german they are called "fixed- focal". Interesting the english name "prime". Like "number one" or "the best".

I'm also German and same with me: "prime" sounds irritating because my first association is not "basic/one", but "premium". My guess was that it's a bit of a marketing term - or isn't it? Does the name "prime" have the same "premium" connotation for native English speakers?

Primary Focal Length. Not a marketing or quality statement.

No it does not have the same connotation, depending on its use the word prime can mean many several things other than the association you give. In fact the word "premium" would be low the list of words to associate with the word prime.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: pwp on December 08, 2013, 02:56:01 AM
When I take three primes with me for a days' shooting, say 24-50-100mm, I find that I come back with images that are much more interesting and artistic than if I would shoot the same subjects with my 24-105.
A prime may deliver better IQ, but I'd take the zoom every time. In the time it takes to switch from the 100mm to the 24mm, you might miss the shot of a lifetime. Content is king.

A lens won't deliver great photos; creativity, a quick eye, skilled composition, technical adeptness and an eye for the magic of life is where the memorable images happen.

-pw
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Marsu42 on December 08, 2013, 02:58:29 AM
No it does not have the same connotation, depending on its use the word prime can mean many several things other than the association you give. In fact the word "premium" would be low the list of words to associate with the word prime.

Very interesting, thank you! I'm sure I'm not alone with this fallacy (see my fellow Fritz above), and for other trade items abroad I guess marketing is involved. Take "prime rib" which is an English term often found on German menus for that I suspect to be this very same reason - though it has nothing to do with "premium" or "prime grade beef" as trusty Wikipedia informs me...
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: takesome1 on December 08, 2013, 03:10:58 AM
No it does not have the same connotation, depending on its use the word prime can mean many several things other than the association you give. In fact the word "premium" would be low the list of words to associate with the word prime.

Very interesting, thank you! I'm sure I'm not alone with this fallacy (see my fellow Fritz above), and for other trade items abroad I guess marketing is involved - take "prime rib" which is an English term for what I suspect to be this very same reason is often found on German menus, though it has nothing to do with "premium" or "prime grade beef" as trusty Wikipedia informs me...

Notice I said low on the list, but not off.

If you looked up prime rib it got its name from the rib  and most of the time I would consider it a premium cut. Very tasty if prepared correctly.
Of course if it comes off of a 10 year old bull, you might not think it is premium.


Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Sporgon on December 08, 2013, 03:37:32 AM
Intersting when the word 'prime' came into common use to describe a fixed focal length lens. Certainly in my early days of photography, from around 1975, I never recal hearing them being referred to as 'prime' lenses.

I'm guessing that the term was coined after the rise of zoom lenses in order to differentiate.

Similar situation with the term 'kit' lens. Again in the early days of SLRs they were always sold with a 50mm lens, but were never referred to as a 'kit'.

Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: rpt on December 08, 2013, 04:08:28 AM
Intersting when the word 'prime' came into common use to describe a fixed focal length lens. Certainly in my early days of photography, from around 1975, I never recal hearing them being referred to as 'prime' lenses.

I'm guessing that the term was coined after the rise of zoom lenses in order to differentiate.

Similar situation with the term 'kit' lens. Again in the early days of SLRs they were always sold with a 50mm lens, but were never referred to as a 'kit'.
+1 x infinity...
Short answer: No.
Long answer: No.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Knut Skywalker on December 08, 2013, 04:47:34 AM
For portraits: Yes. I like working with primes for portraits way better than with Zooms. I like it when my gear gets out of my way during the shoot, and primes do that for me.

For my work in club-environments: No. In such an environment it's hard to switch lenses all the time so use a wide-angle zoom to photograph the DJs and the crowd. I also like it to play around with flash, long exposure and zooming for some crazy results. :)
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: mb66energy on December 08, 2013, 04:51:18 AM
During the FD lens era I omitted zooms-by principle. In the EF(-S) lens era my first lens was the 60mm macro, the 2nd one the 70-2000 f /4L zoom followed by the 2.8/24mm lens.

I learned that the technical image quality of zooms is absolutely comparable to primes and learned to use that zoom like "a set of primes in one package": Setting the focal length to 70, 100, 135 or 200 mm and starting the composition afterwards. The same with the 10-22 lens which had no prime surrogates: 10 (16), 15(24) on 22(35) are my most used settings.

I would say it depends on "intelligent use" of zooms-this includes the "lazy" use of the zoom ring if you can't change your position! Which isn't-exactly laziness!

EDIT: So -for me- I don't see principle differences between zooms and primes - except if f/2 at 100mm can only realized with aprime or in the case of real macro.

One hint to Canon and other manufacturers: give us a "click-option" for focal length stops e.g. 24-35-50 -85-105 and a focal length hint in the viewfinder!
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Viggo on December 08, 2013, 05:52:13 AM
Started out with average zooms, then collected primes, then found that I missed too much opportunities by always having the wrong prime mounted. Finally settled on 24-70 II as the main lens.

But even when I am using the zoom lens, I will now consciously choose a focal length that I intend to use and shoot away. So now using 24-70 II my photos come back with EXIF showing 24, 35, 50, 70 but not much in between. To me it is a bag of primes on it's own.

Prime lens are very good at training your sense of perspective and low light stuff. But once you go over it, you will appreciate what a good zoom can offer.

Every single word you wrote I agree with completely 100%, it's like I wrote it myself.

I have two primes currently, but they are WAY different than a "normal" fast prime in the 24-70 range, so they have a few tricks the zoom doesn't have, but shooting the 24-70 makes no difference where I used to shoot my primes.

But since I change my mind every so often, the 35 L II is THE lens I want. I miss the old one  ;D
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: ajfotofilmagem on December 08, 2013, 09:01:31 AM
When using zoom lenses, have a higher percentage of good photos. But with prime lenses, I have some extraordinary photos. The question is who do extraordinary photos takes time, planning and calmly to "see" the image in your mind before shooting the photo. If time is a constraint, then the biggest advantage provided by the zoom lens is more appropriate.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: ajfotofilmagem on December 08, 2013, 09:14:36 AM
For those who do not give up just using prime lenses, a solution is always put three cameras on her neck. ??? ::) Thus, you can use your holy trinity of primes and not lose photos for having the wrong lens for that moment. :o Hopefully shooters birds do not follow my advice. ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: surapon on December 08, 2013, 09:27:44 AM
Yes, Long, Long time, My dear Canon EF 24-70 MM. F/ 2.8 L ( 5-7 years ago) is my walking Lens = 85% of the time, But After I get the  Prime Lens, Canon TS-E 24 MM. L MK II( Only Manual Focus--BUT SUPER SHARP LENS), about 5 months ago--Yes, This Prime Lens with me 90%  in my 5D MK II,( Yes, I use my two legs as the ZOOM Functions---Ha, Ha, Ha ) and  EF 70-200 F/ 2.8 L IS  with 7D  = 100%.
Have a good Sunday.
Surapon
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: bdunbar79 on December 08, 2013, 09:36:35 AM
The L primes will give better IQ  than most all zooms. (keep in mind resolution isn't the only thing that contributes to IQ)
Even the 24-70mm II will only match or slightly beat the L primes in resolution. It is still behind in other areas.

But that is not the difference you are feeling with your shots.
To use an painting comparison the primes give you a larger pallet and higher quality brushes to work with.
You not only have the improved IQ of the prime but the prime is able to use wider apertures.
The same is true of using a FF over a Crop camera. The FF will give you more creative potential.

So for me yes the Primes "take better pics" because I utilize the extra tools they provide.

I'll name a few of the (good) 'prime' advantages aside from resolution: Color rendition, contrast, flare resistance, less distortion, possibly better bokeh etc. Primes also handle differently, generally they're lighter and easier to handle (no zooming) so less to distract from photography.

Well of course though, the 24-70L II handles those better than the primes in that range, including the 35L and 50L, at f/2.8.  So the 24-70L II is an exception.  It's better.  The only disadvantage is that it can't go wider.  I sold my 35L and 50L once I got the 24-70L II, because the IQ, including everything, was better and yes I noticed it in my photos. 
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: surapon on December 08, 2013, 09:46:10 AM
For those who do not give up just using prime lenses, a solution is always put three cameras on her neck. ??? ::) Thus, you can use your holy trinity of primes and not lose photos for having the wrong lens for that moment. :o Hopefully shooters birds do not follow my advice. ;D ;D ;D


+ 100 for me too, Dear Teacher Mr. ajfotofilmagem
I am original from Thailand, and was reserved in Thai Army, In the Platoon, We have many kinds and type of Guns/ Equipments  for difference Functions of each  member in the Platoon. Same thing as in Our Love Hobby ( some of our CR. members are the PRO )---Difference Cameras and Difference Lenses for Difference functions or type of Situation/ Kinds of Photography that we want to create for the best of our ability---Yes, If Lucky, We can walk in the woods with 50 mm Lens and shoot the Eagle, But If we have 200-400 + 1.4X in our hand, We will get the best chance to get the Masterpiece too---Not have to wait 6-12 hours in the Camouflage tent on the top of tree near the eagle's net with 50 mm. or 85 mm  F/ 1.2 L--Great Prime Lens.
And take the risk to fall down from the tree, because we are sleepy.
Nice to talk to you, Sir.
Surapon

PS "  a solution is always put three cameras on her neck. ??? ::) "---Here are my Photos, Crazy Surapon on the Job---Ha, Ha, Ha---Like my dear teacher Said.
---The Last Photo is With The Crown Princess of Thailand.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: ajfotofilmagem on December 08, 2013, 09:57:20 AM
For those who do not give up just using prime lenses, a solution is always put three cameras on her neck. ??? ::) Thus, you can use your holy trinity of primes and not lose photos for having the wrong lens for that moment. :o Hopefully shooters birds do not follow my advice. ;D ;D ;D


+ 100 for me too, Dear Teacher Mr. ajfotofilmagem
I am original from Thailand, and was reserved in Thai Army, In the Platoon, We have many kinds and type of Guns/ Equipments  for difference Functions of each  member in the Platoon. Same thing as in Our Love Hobby ( some of our CR. members are the PRO )---Difference Cameras and Difference Lenses for Difference functions or type of Situation/ Kinds of Photography that we want to create for the best of our ability---Yes, If Lucky, We can walk in the woods with 50 mm Lens and shoot the Eagle, But If we have 200-400 + 1.4X in our hand, We will get the best chance to get the Masterpiece too---Not have to wait 6-12 hours in the Camouflage tent on the top of tree near the eagle's net with 50 mm. or 85 mm  F/ 1.2 L--Great Prime Lens.
And take the risk to fall down from the tree, because we are sleepy.
Nice to talk to you, Sir.
Surapon
Yes If Robert Capa had zoom lenses in its time, would not have risked so much to get photos like this:
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7b/Capa%2C_Death_of_a_Loyalist_Soldier.jpg)
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: surapon on December 08, 2013, 10:01:07 AM
For those who do not give up just using prime lenses, a solution is always put three cameras on her neck. ??? ::) Thus, you can use your holy trinity of primes and not lose photos for having the wrong lens for that moment. :o Hopefully shooters birds do not follow my advice. ;D ;D ;D


+ 100 for me too, Dear Teacher Mr. ajfotofilmagem
I am original from Thailand, and was reserved in Thai Army, In the Platoon, We have many kinds and type of Guns/ Equipments  for difference Functions of each  member in the Platoon. Same thing as in Our Love Hobby ( some of our CR. members are the PRO )---Difference Cameras and Difference Lenses for Difference functions or type of Situation/ Kinds of Photography that we want to create for the best of our ability---Yes, If Lucky, We can walk in the woods with 50 mm Lens and shoot the Eagle, But If we have 200-400 + 1.4X in our hand, We will get the best chance to get the Masterpiece too---Not have to wait 6-12 hours in the Camouflage tent on the top of tree near the eagle's net with 50 mm. or 85 mm  F/ 1.2 L--Great Prime Lens.
And take the risk to fall down from the tree, because we are sleepy.
Nice to talk to you, Sir.
Surapon
Yes If Robert Capa had zoom lenses in its time, would not have risked so much to get photos like this:
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7b/Capa%2C_Death_of_a_Loyalist_Soldier.jpg)


Ha, Ha, Ha---Dear Teacher--But He is the Most smart man, Have the small camera  and the Big Rifle in each Hand----Ha, Ha, Ha.
Thank you , Sir.
Surapon
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: crasher8 on December 08, 2013, 10:34:03 AM
A Prime is also a bonus, an award and other things in sport. basically is comes down to being a good thing. We all like a good thing, like my Sigma 35.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: And-Rew on December 08, 2013, 11:26:59 AM
When I take three primes with me for a days' shooting, say 24-50-100mm, I find that I come back with images that are much more interesting and artistic than if I would shoot the same subjects with my 24-105. I'm not necessarily talking about image quality between lenses, per se, but more about the "wow factor" that we all know when everything comes together. When I use a zoom, I am aware that the laziness factor kicks in sometimes, and I take the easy road to composition by just twisting the zoom ring, rather than expending the extra effort by getting closer or lower. Do you find that to be the case with your personal shooting style? Or do you take better pictures with a zoom? Or do you find no difference? Personal insights one way or the other would be appreciated.

In  simple terms - yes, because I've reverted back to working with a single body and single 'prime' lens to try and energise my photography which has lost its sparkle of late. As said in a previous reply, in film days - you bought a body with a 'nifty fifty' - and it is with this i learned how to use a camera. So, by reverting back to that set up I'm hoping to get back that which is currently lost.  :'(
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Don Haines on December 08, 2013, 11:35:09 AM
The quality of both primes and zooms has increased a lot in the past ten years. We are starting to see zoom lenses that are sharper than the primes used to be, and at the same time some of the new primes seem to be approaching perfection... look at the MTF charts of the series 2 superzooms, all the curves are straight lines at the top of the graph....

In the good old days you took a good hit in quality if you used a zoom lens, but now the difference is not so striking, unless you are going to slap on a teleconverter or crop heavily, in which case the better optics of a recent prime shine through.
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: MLfan3 on December 08, 2013, 01:02:29 PM
Intersting when the word 'prime' came into common use to describe a fixed focal length lens. Certainly in my early days of photography, from around 1975, I never recal hearing them being referred to as 'prime' lenses.

I'm guessing that the term was coined after the rise of zoom lenses in order to differentiate.

Similar situation with the term 'kit' lens. Again in the early days of SLRs they were always sold with a 50mm lens, but were never referred to as a 'kit'.
+1 x infinity...
Short answer: No.
Long answer: No.

actually pure IQ wise , yes.
but it is not that simple , sometimes freedom of composition and speed of zooming option is very important , therefore, PJs use zooms.
for us studio guys, we prefer primes but we can change lenses as often as we want , so I think for my studio work , I use primes(Zeiss 25, 35, 135mm  Canon 85, TSE24, TSE45,etc)but for my personal photography, I tend to use zooms simply I do not like changing lenses outside of my studio due to the annoying dust issue I  have experienced with my Nikons and Sony cameras.
I think Canon Oly Pana ,etc have very effective super sonic sensor cleaning system and so it might not be as serious a issue as with Nikon , but I just want to baby my cameras.
that said , when I know what I will shoot and what FL I will need , I just carry a couple of primes.
So in short if using of a couple of primes without having to swap lenses over and over , I 'd always use primes, other wise , I 'd use zooms(I do not like UWA look , so I just carry 2 zooms or 2 primes on a session).
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: MLfan3 on December 08, 2013, 01:11:35 PM
For those who do not give up just using prime lenses, a solution is always put three cameras on her neck. ??? ::) Thus, you can use your holy trinity of primes and not lose photos for having the wrong lens for that moment. :o Hopefully shooters birds do not follow my advice. ;D ;D ;D


+ 100 for me too, Dear Teacher Mr. ajfotofilmagem
I am original from Thailand, and was reserved in Thai Army, In the Platoon, We have many kinds and type of Guns/ Equipments  for difference Functions of each  member in the Platoon. Same thing as in Our Love Hobby ( some of our CR. members are the PRO )---Difference Cameras and Difference Lenses for Difference functions or type of Situation/ Kinds of Photography that we want to create for the best of our ability---Yes, If Lucky, We can walk in the woods with 50 mm Lens and shoot the Eagle, But If we have 200-400 + 1.4X in our hand, We will get the best chance to get the Masterpiece too---Not have to wait 6-12 hours in the Camouflage tent on the top of tree near the eagle's net with 50 mm. or 85 mm  F/ 1.2 L--Great Prime Lens.
And take the risk to fall down from the tree, because we are sleepy.
Nice to talk to you, Sir.
Surapon

PS "  a solution is always put three cameras on her neck. ??? ::) "---Here are my Photos, Crazy Surapon on the Job---Ha, Ha, Ha---Like my dear teacher Said.
---The Last Photo is With The Crown Princess of Thailand.

amazing, I miss Thailand and hope everything goes better again there, love land of smiles.

Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: surapon on December 08, 2013, 01:36:15 PM
For those who do not give up just using prime lenses, a solution is always put three cameras on her neck. ??? ::) Thus, you can use your holy trinity of primes and not lose photos for having the wrong lens for that moment. :o Hopefully shooters birds do not follow my advice. ;D ;D ;D


+ 100 for me too, Dear Teacher Mr. ajfotofilmagem
I am original from Thailand, and was reserved in Thai Army, In the Platoon, We have many kinds and type of Guns/ Equipments  for difference Functions of each  member in the Platoon. Same thing as in Our Love Hobby ( some of our CR. members are the PRO )---Difference Cameras and Difference Lenses for Difference functions or type of Situation/ Kinds of Photography that we want to create for the best of our ability---Yes, If Lucky, We can walk in the woods with 50 mm Lens and shoot the Eagle, But If we have 200-400 + 1.4X in our hand, We will get the best chance to get the Masterpiece too---Not have to wait 6-12 hours in the Camouflage tent on the top of tree near the eagle's net with 50 mm. or 85 mm  F/ 1.2 L--Great Prime Lens.
And take the risk to fall down from the tree, because we are sleepy.
Nice to talk to you, Sir.
Surapon

PS "  a solution is always put three cameras on her neck. ??? ::) "---Here are my Photos, Crazy Surapon on the Job---Ha, Ha, Ha---Like my dear teacher Said.
---The Last Photo is With The Crown Princess of Thailand.

amazing, I miss Thailand and hope everything goes better again there, love land of smiles.


Thanks you, Sir, Dear Mr. MLfan3.
I miss my Mother's home country too, After  come to Study, Live, work and have family in North Carolina, USA for almost 40 years, But I go back home to visit every 2 years.
Here, Sir, My Thailand Albums :
The Buddhist Temples in Thailand
https://surapon.shutterfly.com/10767
The Old City, Northern part of Thailand
https://surapon.shutterfly.com/614
Just Point and shoot Photos in Thailand.
https://surapon.shutterfly.com/11884

Enjoy
Surapon

Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: Grumbaki on December 08, 2013, 10:00:45 PM
Yes If Robert Capa had zoom lenses in its time, would not have risked so much to get photos like this:
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7b/Capa%2C_Death_of_a_Loyalist_Soldier.jpg)

True but Zooms don't go over embankments.

(if you all ever are in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh city, visit the war museum. Most of it is propaganda but they have a great photo exhibition with the last roll of Capa and the full story of his death by witnesses. He went off the road to see what was beyong a bank. Minefield.)

I go back to listening Taro by Alt J  :(

Addendum: but if he had digital, we wouldn't miss 95 pictures of DDay :(
Title: Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
Post by: privatebydesign on December 08, 2013, 10:12:52 PM
Yes If Robert Capa had zoom lenses in its time, would not have risked so much to get photos like this:
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7b/Capa%2C_Death_of_a_Loyalist_Soldier.jpg)

Capa didn't risk anything taking that image, it has been proven to be staged. Having said that, he did end up losing his life in combat, and the mine he stepped on didn't give a damn if he had a zoom or a prime.

To suggest, even in jest, that combat photographers don't risk as much as Capa, because the vast majority of them shoot zooms, is a disgusting thought.