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Author Topic: Zoom vs Primes?  (Read 10987 times)

rafaelsynths

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Zoom vs Primes?
« on: December 10, 2012, 09:59:37 PM »
I don't want to invest in a lot of money in glass until I hear from other photographers. I do a lot of photography in the streets with my canon 5D mark ii ( got from eBay at a amazing price!) . I don't have any lens at the moment. I'm thinking about the 24-70 mark 2 or should I just go for some primes for my work? What do you recommend me?

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Zoom vs Primes?
« on: December 10, 2012, 09:59:37 PM »

jondave

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2012, 10:42:04 PM »
Depends really what kind of photography you do on the street.

If you take a lot of candid, off-the-hip shots, a wide prime may be best as it gives you to get up close with larger framing. The wide framing also gives you room to crop if your framing isn't spot on.

The zoom gives you a lot of framing options and allows you to shoot from afar if you can't get close enough to your subject.

TexPhoto

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2012, 11:06:44 PM »
As jon says, hard to say without knowing what you are doing.

Also, the choice of zoom or prime(s) is largely one of personal preference, for almost any type of photography.

The 24-70 II is an awesome lens, but hardly a budget match to your 5dII (not that there is anything wrong with that.)

Artifex

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2012, 11:31:15 PM »
As it was already said, it is hard to tell without knowing more, however, I am going to try to answer keeping a general view, and understanding from your post that you shoot street photography, as you say you do a lot of photography in the street.

I know lots of people are going to disagree with me, but I greatly prefer prime over zoom lens.
I am a big fan of Henri Cartier-Bresson (who can be consider as one of the most (if not the most) influential and talented street photographer); whenever he was shooting for himself, he would use a 50mm, so his camera can really become an "extension of his eye". I personally think that he was right in doing so.

Prime can have much bigger maximal aperture than zoom; I personally don't know a zoom lens that is faster than f/2.8, but know a lot of f/1.4 prime. Bigger aperture can not only be useful in low light situation, but gives you more option in term of depth of field control. Everybody love bokeh ;) Also, they tend to be sharper or/and cheaper, however, this is not always the case.

Of course, having access to multiple focal length is extremely useful; zoom lens are far more practical that prime in that regard. However, I tend to think that limiting yourself to only a few focal length gives you the opportunity to master them. I personally view photography much more as an art form than a business form (this is really just my opinion), so the usefulness isn't all that important compare to the possibility of growing as an artist.

Ultimately, the most important thing to keep in mind is that what really matters is which lens you prefer, even though  I am sure that you will get some awesome advices from this forum. In street photography, I think the best focal are 50mm, 35mm, 85mm and 135mm. However, everybody as their own view and their own preference, depending on their style and their view of what is photography in itself. This is, for me, an awesome thing; people having different view and preference is one of the reason why, after nearly 200 years, there is still lots of great and unique photos taken nowadays.

In summary (sorry for the long text, I hope it was not too boring!), if I was you, it would use that money on a few fast prime. The 24-70 II is about 2300$, so that leaves enough money for some good lens! If you are into manual lens, Zeiss are close to top (a poor man choice would be Samyang, which are extremely good for the price!). If you prefer lens build in a more modern view, I heard great things about Sigma 35mm and saw great things about Sigma 50mm f/1.4. Also, the Canon 85mm f/1.8 is one of the best values IMO in Canon's lens.
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roadrunner

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2012, 11:42:18 PM »
Like others have said, it's hard to say without knowing more.

That said, I think I would jump on the 24-70 if money is not an issue. Because you are doing street photography, and you don't have any lenses yet, the 24-70 will cover a very wide range of subject matters and give you amazing image quality. I don't think you could go wrong this lense, but if you only get a single prime, you may find you feel very limited. Take the time with the 24-70, figure out what focal lengths you actually need, and if you determine F2.8 just isn't fast enough for you, then invest in the prime.

Honestly though, the route Artifex suggested is good too. It just depends on what you want and your budget.

Dylan777

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2012, 12:09:21 AM »
In term of super bokeh, it's hard for zoom lens to out perform prime - f.1ish vs f2.8

However, to have a zoom lens that can produce same sharpness(even better in some copies) as primes at f2.8, the new 24-70 f2.8 II is your LENS. It's sharp end to end at f2.8 with decent bokeh.

I have no regret on my purchases: 24-70 f2.8 II + 70-200 f2.8 IS II


Body: 1DX -- 5D III
Zoom: 16-35L f4 IS -- 24-70L II -- 70-200L f2.8 IS II
Prime: 40mm -- 85L II -- 135L -- 200L f2 IS -- 400L f2.8 IS II

rafaelsynths

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2012, 02:22:59 AM »
As it was already said, it is hard to tell without knowing more, however, I am going to try to answer keeping a general view, and understanding from your post that you shoot street photography, as you say you do a lot of photography in the street.

I know lots of people are going to disagree with me, but I greatly prefer prime over zoom lens.
I am a big fan of Henri Cartier-Bresson (who can be consider as one of the most (if not the most) influential and talented street photographer); whenever he was shooting for himself, he would use a 50mm, so his camera can really become an "extension of his eye". I personally think that he was right in doing so.

Prime can have much bigger maximal aperture than zoom; I personally don't know a zoom lens that is faster than f/2.8, but know a lot of f/1.4 prime. Bigger aperture can not only be useful in low light situation, but gives you more option in term of depth of field control. Everybody love bokeh ;) Also, they tend to be sharper or/and cheaper, however, this is not always the case.

Of course, having access to multiple focal length is extremely useful; zoom lens are far more practical that prime in that regard. However, I tend to think that limiting yourself to only a few focal length gives you the opportunity to master them. I personally view photography much more as an art form than a business form (this is really just my opinion), so the usefulness isn't all that important compare to the possibility of growing as an artist.

Ultimately, the most important thing to keep in mind is that what really matters is which lens you prefer, even though  I am sure that you will get some awesome advices from this forum. In street photography, I think the best focal are 50mm, 35mm, 85mm and 135mm. However, everybody as their own view and their own preference, depending on their style and their view of what is photography in itself. This is, for me, an awesome thing; people having different view and preference is one of the reason why, after nearly 200 years, there is still lots of great and unique photos taken nowadays.

In summary (sorry for the long text, I hope it was not too boring!), if I was you, it would use that money on a few fast prime. The 24-70 II is about 2300$, so that leaves enough money for some good lens! If you are into manual lens, Zeiss are close to top (a poor man choice would be Samyang, which are extremely good for the price!). If you prefer lens build in a more modern view, I heard great things about Sigma 35mm and saw great things about Sigma 50mm f/1.4. Also, the Canon 85mm f/1.8 is one of the best values IMO in Canon's lens.

 

Thank you, it wasn't boring at all :)
Very informative indeed +1
This weekend i'm taking a trip to Santa Cruz with my girlfriend.  Mostly not going to shoot Street Photography but mostly just shots of the gal and me.  Mostly shots of her.
I'm also going to order tomorrow some lenses and do 2 day shipping on them so they can arrive early.
Now i've never tried the mark 2 zoom but for $2,000 do you think it's better then most of the primes out there?
I found the 35mm L lens for about a Grand and might be able to buy an 85mm.
Just don't know, I want bokeh shots but then again a zoom might be more useful.

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2012, 02:22:59 AM »

bycostello

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2012, 02:26:49 AM »
zoom...  gives u flexibility.... 

rafaelsynths

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2012, 02:38:12 AM »
In term of super bokeh, it's hard for zoom lens to out perform prime - f.1ish vs f2.8

However, to have a zoom lens that can produce same sharpness(even better in some copies) as primes at f2.8, the new 24-70 f2.8 II is your LENS. It's sharp end to end at f2.8 with decent bokeh.

I have no regret on my purchases: 24-70 f2.8 II + 70-200 f2.8 IS II

hahahah I would hope you have no regrets - you lost $1000 on your hasty 5d3 purchase!!!

Come on, no more trolls on this forum pleaseeee.

rafaelsynths

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2012, 02:40:48 AM »
zoom...  gives u flexibility.... 
I won't be having a tripod with me.  I think I might just go with the canon 24-105 since it has IS.
And get 2 primes.
Which other primes do you guys recommend?
35mm sounds yummy bokehlious to me, maybe a 135 also?

eml58

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2012, 03:04:37 AM »
If this is a little new for you, and sounds as though it might be, new purchase of the 5DMK2 etc, you may want to feel your way slowly into the bottomless pit of shinny new lenses, I know what I'm on about in this department because I'm a self confessed Lensaholhic, and enjoy every moment of my addiction.

You wont go wrong with starting with the 24-70 f/2.8 L II, look next at the 135 f/2 L, then when you decide where to go next you can start to look at specialised lenses, 24 f/2.8, 50f/1.2, 85 f/1.2, 70-200 f/2.8 L II etc etc.

Work your way into it as your experience develops and your Photographic needs begin to determine what Lenses you are going to use most going forward.
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nicku

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2012, 04:05:27 AM »
I don't want to invest in a lot of money in glass until I hear from other photographers. I do a lot of photography in the streets with my canon 5D mark ii ( got from eBay at a amazing price!) . I don't have any lens at the moment. I'm thinking about the 24-70 mark 2 or should I just go for some primes for my work? What do you recommend me?

+1 for primes

I use the camera professional work. I always use primes.... very rare zooms for landscapes ( under 2% of my pictures)
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 04:07:04 AM by nicku »

AudioGlenn

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2012, 04:45:00 AM »
as a newer shooter, I'd recommend going for a good zoom like the 24-70 II.  I had the 24-105 to begin with but was never wowed by it.  I personally feel primes are for more experienced shooters who know that they want to work with a particular focal length. 
5D mkIII  |  40 f/2.8 | 8-15 f/4L | 24-70 f/2.8L II | 70-200 f/2.8L IS II | 1.4x III TC | 600ex-rt | 430 ex ii | EOS M+22mm f/2 | EF to EF-M adapter

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2012, 04:45:00 AM »

Sporgon

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2012, 05:06:37 AM »
Lets have a reality check: we're not talking about the '70 and '80 anymore.

if we are talking about expensive zooms, then we can say they are very good, with some caveats.

If you are shooting anywhere from f5.6 to f11 don't expect to see much difference apart from the extreme corners. If you want pictures created around thin DoF, shooting from anywhere f1.2 to f4 then primes can produce a much better result.

Then there is the cost issue: fast primes can be much much cheaper than the equivalent quality zoom.

The weight issue - primes are smaller / lighter.

And another point that I haven't heard discussed - the zooms are more modern and better corrected for digital in terms of contrast when compared with prime lenses from the film era.

At Building Panoramics we try and use primes, mainly because we stitch and edge quality is very important, but to be quite honest you cannot tell the difference in the finished product.

sandymandy

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2012, 05:17:24 AM »
If u prefer to be active and run around a lot then get primes, if not get zoom :P Its just about what kind of workstyle u prefer, quality is not a factor anymore really, except u need really wide open aperture which only primes deliver.

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2012, 05:17:24 AM »