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Author Topic: Transitioning to Primes  (Read 8870 times)

bleephotography

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Transitioning to Primes
« on: September 13, 2013, 08:18:32 PM »
So I've had the 24-70 II and 70-200 II for some time now and they are wonderful pieces of kit, but I simply can't get over this incessant longing to replace them with primes; they just feel more natural to me, and the weight/size/faster aperture are major factors in my decision.

Therefore, I've decided to replace these two zooms with the following lenses and I am hoping those of you with some experience can give me your honest feedback:

Option 1
Canon 24 f/1.4L II
Canon 40 f/2.8 STM
Canon 85 f/1.2L II
Canon 135 f/2L or Canon 200 f/2.8L II

or

Option 2
Canon 10-22 or Tokina 11-16 II
Sigma 18-35 f/1.8
Canon 40 f/2.8 STM
Canon 85 f/1.2L II
Canon 135 f/2L or Canon 200 f/2.8L II

or

Option 3
? ? ?

Eventually I'll upgrade the 135 or 200 f/2.8 to the 200 f/2 when funds warrant such a purchase, but for now I'll have to make do combined with the 1.4x III and 2x III teleconverters. I'll be using all of these lenses both on my two FF cameras and also on my 70D (with exception to the UWAs in Option 2, and the Sigma 18-35 would only be acceptable between 24-35).

Side note: I mostly do portraits and street photography, but I'll occasionally do an amateur sporting event as well. All casually.

Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 08:58:42 PM by bleephotography »
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Transitioning to Primes
« on: September 13, 2013, 08:18:32 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2013, 08:34:07 PM »
Option 1, for a wide angle on your FF bodies.
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bleephotography

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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2013, 08:57:46 PM »
Option 1, for a wide angle on your FF bodies.

Thanks for your input, Neuro. Based on your extensive collection :) do you have any other recommendations to cover my intended purposes? I've since added Option 3 because the only lens I've actually tried is the 85 II. The others i've just researched a bit.
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2013, 09:02:56 PM »
I'm going the other way.  For years, the zooms could not match the primes for sharpness, and camera bodies struggled at ISO 3200.  Now, with the sharper zooms, my primes are going unused.
 I'd buy just one from a shop that has a 30 day return, and see how much you use it.

ajfotofilmagem

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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2013, 09:51:09 PM »
I'm not a fan of the idea "or this, or that." :-X The combination of zooms and primes gives you more flexibility, depending on the type of photo. Indeed, in works of great responsibility, I always carry two bodies. One with a F2.8 zoom and flash, and other with F1.4 prime. If you shoot in the studio only, makes sense to abandon zoom lenses. Otherwise, your second option is safer for times when you do not have total control over people or objects.

bholliman

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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2013, 09:57:05 PM »
The combination of zooms and primes gives you more flexibility, depending on the type of photo.

+1

I can't imagine limiting myself to primes OR zooms.  I own both and use both frequently.  Different tools for different purposes.

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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2013, 10:12:01 PM »
My choice would be Option 1.

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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2013, 10:12:01 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2013, 10:45:40 PM »
Not sure about your overall budget, but you might consider keeping the 24-70 II, and swap the 70-200 II for the 135L and 85L, or perhaps the Sigma 85/1.4.

IMO, for many portrait uses the 70-200 II is great.  On FF, the 85L often needs to be stopped down for sufficient DoF (I often shoot at f/1.6-2 for one person, f/2.8 for more than one).  But the 70-200 II isn't really a discreet lens.

But...I see a Zeiss 100/2 in your signature, a fine portrait lens if MF works for you in that situation.

As for the 135L vs. 200/2.8L, you've got the 70-200 now - check EXIF or set it to each focal length and see which would better meet your needs.
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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2013, 10:47:34 PM »
I'm in transition to zooms.

bleephotography

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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2013, 11:59:31 PM »
As for the 135L vs. 200/2.8L, you've got the 70-200 now - check EXIF or set it to each focal length and see which would better meet your needs.

Good advice all, thanks! I've looked at my EXIF and the lenses I've used, and 90% of the time I use them at either the widest or longest ends. When I had the 16-35, I used it solely at 16; the 24-70 usually sits at 24 or 70; and the 70-200 at 70 or 200. Give or take 10-15mm, on rare occasion. I find myself instinctually foot-zooming if I need just a few more (or less) mm, which is why I'm considering making the switch. Honestly, the 24-70 II isn't that bad on weight for me, but the 70-200 II tends to irritate my mild case of carpal tunnel...but I do really enjoy both lenses, although I often wish they had an extra stop or two (hence my interest in primes).

I'm in transition to zooms.

Why when you have such a nice kit? ;) Do you plan on keeping all your primes?
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sdsr

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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2013, 12:04:57 AM »
I'm slightly puzzled - you say that primes feel more natural than zooms, but apparently you only own one.  So I'm wondering whether you've spent a considerable amount of time using nothing but a couple of primes instead of zooms.  If you haven't, follow Mt Spokane's advice.... (I find I go through phases liking both, either separately or together; it can be simultaneously restricting and liberating to wander around all day with just one prime.)  If you're certain you want to take the prime route, option 1 makes more sense to me.

Option 3:  Monogamy's all very well, but why not shake things up a little.  If I were you, you would be me, and this is sort-of what I did: Two Canon DSLRs are enough.  Keep your Canon lenses for now (they're awfully good and you may end up with seller's remorse), sell a Canon body and, if this is financially feasible, develop a primes-only alter ego via one of the newest Olympus or Panasonic M43 bodies (the new OM-D EM-1 seems especially appealing; check out Ming Thien's recent two-part review on his blog) and a handful of primes - e.g. Olympus 12mm f/2, 17mm 1.8, 45mm 1.8, 60mm macro, 75mm 1.8; Panasonic/Leica 25mm 1.4.  Among the factors you mention, in terms of weight and size, and for street photography, such a combination is likely peerless.

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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2013, 12:32:01 AM »
After having only zooms and then only primes... and now having both, I can understand your desires but...

Why does it have to be one or the other. Zooms or primes... why limit yourself. That 24-70II is a killer lens with as good if not better IQ as most primes. Paired with the 70-200II, ridiculous versatility. Then pull out the 15mm, 17L, 24L, 35L, 50L, or 85L, or 135L when you're in the mood for it. Pretty much how I roll most of the time.

eml58

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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2013, 12:55:23 AM »
It's often a good idea, when you have a good idea, to wait a while & see if it was a genuinely good idea, or Lens Envy in this case, perhaps.

You own a couple of Canon's current best Lenses, the 24-70f/2.8L II & 70-200f/2.8L II, getting rid of them to replace them with Only Primes may not be in your best interests, You can certainly replace them with a selection of fast Primes 24f/1.4, 50f/1.2, 85f/1.2 L II, 135f/2, 200f/2, but the cost will be significant, and I'm not convinced you will see a Major difference in IQ.

I am of the opinion that Good Primes (The ones I mentioned Above) will generally produce better IQ at a given Length than a Zoom that covers the particular Length, in the 24-70 Range I have the 24-70f/2.8L II, 24f/1.4L II & the 50f/1.2 L, these Primes are excellent lenses, are they significantly better than the 24-70f/2.8l II ??, I don't think so, are you able to produce better Images with the Primes in this range, not better in my opinion, but different, mainly due to the ability to Blow out the Background more @ f/1.2 or f/1.4, But again, how often ??, not so much has been my experience.

Again in the 70-200 Range, I use the 85f/1.2 L II, 135f/2 & 200f/2, all again amazing Lenses, but they are pretty well particular Tools for again a certain job, primarily where you want to Blow the background, the only caveat I would add in this Range is I find the 85/135 & 200 Primes all produce a sharper image generally than the 70-200 at a similar Range, but it's at a cost, and it's at an inconvenience at times of carrying 3 Lenses instead of one.

Another factor to consider is weather sealing, in the 70-200f/2.8L II you have a well sealed Lens, that's not the case with the Primes until you get to the 200f/2, this may not be a major factor dependent on what you shoot, in my case, wildlife in Africa & Arctic/Antarctic environments, it's a major decider of what Kit I take to these Places.

Admittedly I'm fortunate in that I can afford to own &utilise both, the Zooms & the Primes, but having both, and using both, if I could only afford the one or the other, given the excellent IQ offered by the two Zooms in question, I'de stay with the Zooms, then set your sights on a particular Lens you feel you absolutely have to have, rent one for a while, if it's what you wanted, work on adding it to the Zooms you have and using it for that particular situation where the Prime will enhance your Photography.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 01:02:02 AM by eml58 »
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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2013, 12:55:23 AM »

scottkinfw

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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2013, 01:15:56 AM »
Great info!

Just an observation.  In option 2, you are thinking about two zooms, while trying to get away from zooms.  The 24-70 2.8 II is awesome.  The 70-200 2.8 II is also quite excellent.  Think hard and long before parting with these gems.
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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2013, 01:35:12 AM »
Maybe I am not adding anything new, but PWP, who often comments here, is a seasoned professional and he  has abandonded the primes in the 24-70 range due to the fact that the MkII is just so good.

Myself, I can't afford to mock about too much, but I would never abandon my 70-200 2.8 MkII. I have one prime, the 35L and I like it very much for what it gives me. I think a combination is the best for those who can afford.

I am sure that whatever you choose, you will be happy as all are quality lenses. Good luck.

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Re: Transitioning to Primes
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2013, 01:35:12 AM »