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Author Topic: Zoom vs Primes?  (Read 11315 times)

Marsu42

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2012, 05:21:45 AM »
I use the camera professional work. I always use primes.... very rare zooms for landscapes ( under 2% of my pictures)

Meaning you're using primes for weddings/events, too? In this case I guess you're shooting with multiple camera bodies? And as for street photography, I guess it depends on the personal style how much time is spent for framing and "zooming with your feet" with a prime, or if a smaller zoom is a plus simply for the size (like 6d+40 pankake).

Lets have a reality check: we're not talking about the '70 and '80 anymore.

But still a shooting style - and most likely results - are different with a prime or zoom, at least for me, ymmv.

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.

I guess that's because except for some long-living L primes most lenses are from the digital era, and even these are being in the process of being replaced, amended (like the IS primes) or at least Sigma has new ones.

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.

I am really wondering about that - with modern software like autopano, isn't the software smart enough to throw away soft edge areas when there is a sharp overlap from the center? That's why I usually do more shots with larger overlap with my rather crappy wide angle zoom, seems to work so far.

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2012, 05:21:45 AM »

The Bad Duck

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2012, 05:31:37 AM »
Primes, no doubt.

The cancake 40, the new 35 or a 100 /2.
Why? They are stealthier. Unless you want to develop a style of "people looking at your camera"-photography... L-zooms are too "loud".

Primes also makes you a better photographer since you have to try harder. It also make you better since you can skip all the images you can not capture and fokus on the ones you can capture - no need to think about what focal length you would want to use when you only have one! Yes, you will miss shots but you will find other shots that you would not have even seen with a zoom. Or at least that is how it is to me.

Also, the satisfaction in capturing a striking photo using the most boring of focal lengths is something else. When photographing at 50mm or 35mm you know its YOU that made the picture work, not the unusual focal lenght or other effect.

zooms are equal in most technical aspects but not in DoF - but in the streets it can be hard to get proper focus in a f/1.4 shot, so you may want to be at f/4 - f/8 anyway? But zooms are also larger, and that is why i think they should be avoided. Same goes for the large primes like 85 /1.2. Skip that and go for the above lenses.

Or a G1-X?

Anyway, good luck and have fun!

Danielle

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2012, 06:02:15 AM »
Any given focal length is only limited by ones talent and imagination.

I can think of one prime which is the approximate cost of the new and in my opinion overpriced 24-70! Modern too. And in the right hands I know would be amazing. Not trying to dis-credit really good zooms out there, but there's not a lot you can't do with a decent prime if you frame it right.

Try some of the really good ones, you may not look back. Nobody can twist your arm, you have to do that yourself. Just like someone else in-particular whom you've never met (like myself) can truly advise on focal length, or lengths.

TexPhoto

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2012, 09:18:59 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?

The 24-105mm f4 IS is a wonderful lens, and I highly recommend it.  You can often buy them new on eBay for  a little < $800 as people buy the Canon kits and sell off the lens.

The 35mm f1.4 prime is a great lens, as is the 135mm.  Why not pick one, buy it with the zoom, and start to feel if you are a prime or zoom person.  (Or a lenshog / lensaholic) like me....

Artifex

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2012, 09:33:45 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.

Happy you liked it!

I have no personal experience with the 24-70mm II; I heard it was a fantastic lens in term of sharpness, AF, etc. This zoom range covers what is normally all the most "all around' focal length, so it is far from being useless. However, from what I understand, it seems that you are starting in photography; although I'm a bit of a "sharpness junkie" myself, investing that kind of money in a single lens might not be your best bet. If you are not an already experience photograph, I doubt you are going to take better picture with a 24-70 II than with a 24-70 I or a 24-105. Since they cost 2-3 x less (depending if you buy used or not) than the 24-70 II, it could leave you with enough money to find yourself lens to complete your needs. For instance, you could go with a 24-70 I or 24-105 for a walk around lens and a 85mm f/1.8 for some awesome bokehlicious portrait of your girlfriend!  ;) Even then, you would still have save about 800$; it is close to the price of a Sigma 35mm f/1.4!

I think you should not buy to much lens right at the beginning though, 2 or 3 maximum. It is important to know what you are going to be shooting and where what you already have is laking before spending money on lens you might not need all that much.

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.

I know I just recommended the 24-105, however, I feel I should tell you that IS, as much as it can be useful in some situation, is not always necessary. It is going to be useful on long focal length and in low light situation. If you plan to do night photography, you are probably going to need a tripod anyway; no IS can help you having clean 5s shoot! During daylight, you won't need it that much neither. However, it can be really nice to have for low light and interior shoots, considering also that the 24-105 as a maximum aperture of f/4.

I feel this lens could be a great choice for a standard zoom, especially if bought used (great idea TexPhoto)!:)
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bdunbar79

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2012, 10:24:58 AM »
It just depends on what you're shooting.  I'd have missed hundreds of sports shots without the 70-200 f/2.8L II IS zoom lens.  Likewise I'd have missed hundreds of football and soccer shots without my 400 and 300 primes.  Again, just depends.  Some modern zooms are way better in IQ than primes in that range.
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verysimplejason

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2012, 10:35:29 AM »
I survived on 28mm, 50mm, 100mm, and a 55-250 in an APS-C for those rare times that I need longer focal length.  I find my 28mm 80% of the time in my camera body.  The 50mm, I use exclusively for portraits.  Once, I covered a whole wedding with just the 28mm and the 55-250.  You just need to be more agile and aware when using a prime lens.  Yes, you get the good IQ with primes but you need to work for it.  As for the zoom, I think this is more for event type usage.  I'd carry both depending on the situation.  For me, IQ is nothing if you can't get the shot you want.  That said, I'm fit and athletic enough to compensate for my lack of zoom lens like a 24-70 or 24-105 but sometimes, being able to zoom with your feet isn't enough.

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2012, 10:35:29 AM »

RLPhoto

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2012, 10:48:26 AM »
Primes have been my choice for years, but I've warmed up to zooms a little more lately. I could purchase a set of good primes for the cost of one Pro-zoom. IE: 24mm 1.8, 50mm 1.4, & 100 F/2.

For street work, Primes have always been the choice for that field. Small, Fast, & Discreet.

I've been considering a 24-70 + 70-200 2.8 Set of zooms for awhile now but its the weight that continues to put me off on those purchases.


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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2012, 10:54:48 AM »
I live in Santa Cruz... I will be out shooting with a few friends sunday afternoon testing my new 1DX and 300 f/2.8. I will be with about 5 good friends to keep the gear secure, you gotta protect yourself ;o).  I shoot street and studio. I have loads of L and if you'd like, we could meet up and you could test drive some glass. Hit me up if you're interested.

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Family photo with some faves....
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 07:16:35 PM by ChilledXpress »

RLPhoto

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2012, 10:57:11 AM »
I see you also skipped the 85L II, Is that because the 135L is so good?

ChilledXpress

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2012, 11:06:38 AM »
I see you also skipped the 85L II, Is that because the 135L is so good?

I owned the 85 but a little too slow for my tastes and I do think the 135 is devine... Stealthy perfect for the street work that I do.

Dylan777

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2012, 11:12:15 AM »
I live in Santa Cruz... I will be out shooting with a few friends sunday afternoon testing my a 1DX and 300 f/2.8. I shoot street and studio. I have loads of L and if you'd like, we could meet up and you could test drive some glass. Hit me up if you're interested.

 Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM II
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 Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
 Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM
 Canon EF 1.4x II Extender
 Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Fisheye
 Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM

Family photo with some faves....

That 50L looks so sexy on the 5D III :P :P :P....I might have to pull trigger soon.
Body: 1DX -- 5D III
Zoom: 16-35L f4 IS -- 24-70L II -- 70-200L f2.8 IS II
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RLPhoto

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2012, 11:14:17 AM »
I see you also skipped the 85L II, Is that because the 135L is so good?

I owned the 85 but a little too slow for my tastes and I do think the 135 is devine... Stealthy perfect for the street work that I do.

It indeed is a slow mammoth.  ;D

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2012, 11:14:17 AM »

ChilledXpress

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2012, 11:17:28 AM »
I live in Santa Cruz... I will be out shooting with a few friends sunday afternoon testing my a 1DX and 300 f/2.8. I shoot street and studio. I have loads of L and if you'd like, we could meet up and you could test drive some glass. Hit me up if you're interested.

 Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM II
 Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM
 Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake
 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
 Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
 Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
 Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM
 Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM
 Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM
 Canon EF 16-35 f/2.8L USM
 Canon EF 17-40 f/4L USM
 Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
 Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM
 Canon EF 1.4x II Extender
 Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Fisheye
 Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM

Family photo with some faves....

That 50L looks so sexy on the 5D III :P :P :P....I might have to pull trigger soon.

It performs on the 5D3 superbly and is now my fave goto combo on that body and the 1DX. Get it!!! DO IT !!!  :D

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2012, 11:42:41 AM »
Couple of primes I reckon are the way to go. One on the camera and one in the pocket, maybe a 35 and a small 85/100 ought to do it! Zooms have their place too, so it's good to have a mix. Get 24-somethin and a 70-200 then a bunch of primes.

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Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2012, 11:42:41 AM »