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Author Topic: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?  (Read 7834 times)

Sporgon

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #30 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.

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2013, 04:59:19 PM »

TexPhoto

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #31 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.
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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".
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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.
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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.

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« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 06:48:47 AM by TexPhoto »

Tabor Warren Photography

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #32 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!

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JumboShrimp

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #33 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.)

Nishi Drew

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #34 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.

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #35 on: December 07, 2013, 09:43:59 PM »
yes

alexanderferdinand

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #36 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".
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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #36 on: December 07, 2013, 10:27:16 PM »

Hillsilly

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #37 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.
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sanj

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #38 on: December 08, 2013, 01:28:58 AM »
The question is not if primes are better than zooms.

Marsu42

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #39 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?

takesome1

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #40 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.

pwp

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #41 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

Marsu42

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #42 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...

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #42 on: December 08, 2013, 02:58:29 AM »

takesome1

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #43 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.



Sporgon

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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #44 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'.


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Re: Do You Take Better Pics with Primes?
« Reply #44 on: December 08, 2013, 03:37:32 AM »