TRINITY IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE TRINITY! (OR???)

SwissFrank

from EOS 1N to R
Dec 9, 2018
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I got into Canon just when the 17-35 came out around '96, so had the 17-200 trinity at f/2.8 and a couple TC's.

I think many shooters would be best-served with an f/4 trinity of 14-35, 24-105, and 70-400 (this last going to f/5.6 or what have you at the narrow end). Besides a lot more range of focal lengths, it offers overlap so you don't need to have a specific lens for a specific focal length. The wide and narrow zooms are close enough arguably you don't need a middle zoom, or can use a 50/1.2 when you really need to bridge that gap.

Alternatively, 10-24, 24-105, and 100-500.

f/2.8 was a necessity when you didn't have a bright viewfinder at f/4, and had film grain by ISO 400. Now we only don't need it for those reasons. The third reason might be depth of field, but remember that bokeh really comes not from f-stop, but from the entrance pupil's aperture in mm. And the 70/2.8 and 105/4 both have a 25mm entrance pupil, so comperable bokeh albeit at a little bit different focal length. 200/2.8, 400/5.6, and 500/7.1 all have comperable apertures of 72mm and 70.5mm at the long end, so again similar aperture. Granted the focal length is now substantially different to the naked lens, but still quite similar look to the 70-200/2.8 with TC.

I suppose another direction that one could go is a 20-50 and 50-300 or something? Would a two-lens outfit like that be better than the alternatives above?

And what about a new-school replacement for the 35-350? Anyone miss that lens on RF and what should the focal length be now?
 

PCM-madison

EOS 90D
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Dec 9, 2013
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And what about a new-school replacement for the 35-350? Anyone miss that lens on RF and what should the focal length be now?
It doesn't have the build quality, but my opinion is that the RF 24-240mm has better optical quality than the 35-350mm (at least the copies I've owned). I did not own them both at the same time so I do not have side by side comparisons on the same camera.
 

neuroanatomist

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The f/2.8 trinity isn’t going anywhere for those who need to stop fast action in low light. 400/5.6 may provide equivalent OOF blur as 200/2.8, but the perspective is very different and I don’t want to have to shout at portrait subjects.

The RF f/2.8 trinity runs from 15-200mm instead of starting at 16mm, both the UWA and the standard zooms have IS, and the 70-200 is much lighter and more compact. Significant improvements.

The f/4 trinity now starts at 14mm and the 70-200 is much lighter and more compact. Decent improvements, but not as substantial as the f/2.8 trinity.

But the RF trinity for ‘most people’ should more likely be the 16/2.8, 24-105 f/4-7.1, and 100-400. A 16-400mm range for lower cost than most of the single lenses in either fixed-aperture trilogy.
 

YuengLinger

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How many times have we been told that we no longer need f/2.8? Did it start with the 5DIII? Before? Tiresome.

Please don't get carried away and cancel f/2.8! I can't see any virtue in doing so. :p
 

unfocused

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Personally, I've always thought this "trinity" stuff was kind of silly.

A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work. What you need depends on what you shoot and how you shoot.

Many years ago, when I worked as a newspaper photographer I had a "fivity:" 24 f2.8, 35 f2, 50 1.8, 135 f2.8, 200 f2.8.

Today, I am working toward an RF "fourvity:" RF 16 f2.8, 24-105 f4, 70-200 f2.8, 100-500 f7.1. But that's not really accurate because most times the 70-200 and 100-500 are mutually exclusive. Shooting inside I use the 70-200, outdoors I'll use the 100-500. The only time I need both is when I don't know what might arise during the day, or if there is both an outdoor and an indoor event on the same day.

I prefer the longer range of the 24-105 f4 over the 1 stop advantage of the 24-70 f2.8. Having the extra reach is more important to me and I don't want the weight of a 24-70 f2.8 lens. But, that's just my personal preference. People should choose lenses and bodies based on what they need and use, not on some theoretical idea about a "trinity."
 

SwissFrank

from EOS 1N to R
Dec 9, 2018
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70-400? I’ve never seen one of those. Did you mean 100-400?
Just talking hypothetically, as kaihp guessed!

How many times have we been told that we no longer need f/2.8? Did it start with the 5DIII? Before? Tiresome.
??? I've never heard it before. All the SLR's need f/2.8 for viewfinder brightness, I think.

A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work. What you need depends on what you shoot and how you shoot.

Many years ago, when I worked as a newspaper photographer I had a "fivity:" 24 f2.8, 35 f2, 50 1.8, 135 f2.8, 200 f2.8.

I remember reading the US military issued photographers a 35, 50, and 135. Funny, I think I've never seen a 200/2.8. I think I've seen every other Canon EF lens except the earliest zooms.

am working toward an RF "fourvity:" RF 16 f2.8, 24-105 f4, 70-200 f2.8, 100-500 f7.1. But that's not really accurate because most times the 70-200 and 100-500 are mutually exclusive. Shooting inside I use the 70-200, outdoors I'll use the 100-500. The only time I need both is when I don't know what might arise during the day, or if there is both an outdoor and an indoor event on the same day.

I prefer the longer range of the 24-105 f4 over the 1 stop advantage of the 24-70 f2.8. Having the extra reach is more important to me and I don't want the weight of a 24-70 f2.8 lens.
Yeah, that's kind of my point though. Before, with SLRs, you just had one trinity possibility it seems.

Now with modern lens design and the fact raw f-stop isn't so needed, I think there are more possibilities.

  • f/2.8 trinity as always
  • f/4 trinity without overlap, but HUGE range from wide to narrow: 10-24; 24-105; 100-500
  • f/4 trinity with overlap, trade range for the convenience of not having to change lenses so much: 14-35; 24-105;70-300 or 400
  • f/2 standard zoom is still thought-provoking but is a trinity even possible? 18-35/2? 14-28/2? 70-135/2? 70-200/2???
It also begs the question: what is even the point of matching f-stops for wide and narrow? It doesn't equalize look, as (say) 2.8 is a tiny aperture with massive DOF for wideangles, and the opposite for teles. (Arguably the 28-70/2 and 70-200/4 are closer-matched in look!) It doesn't equalize "how much light I can shoot in." (Now 28-105/4 and 200/2 are closer-matched in light requirement.) Again the answer is SLR-specific: the SLR AF sensors required 2.8. Viewfinder brightness required 2.8. So at that point it didn't even matter whether the looks matched or light requirement matched. You HAD to have 2.8, no matter what you were shooting, what you wanted the photos to look like, or what the light was.
 

YuengLinger

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The biggest downsides to a "Trinity," in my opinion, are carrying and swapping the members.

And even though carrying three lenses covers many focal lengths with little or no overlap, sometimes, as lighting changes, and some shots call for even more separation and blurred backgrounds than 2.8 generally offers, a sweet prime, say 35, 50, 85, or even 135mm, is good to have on hand.
 
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EricN

EOS 90D
Aug 10, 2021
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The biggest downsides to a "Trinity," in my opinion, are carrying and swapping the members.

And even though carrying three lenses covers many focal lengths with little or no overlap, sometimes, as lighting changes, and some shots call for even more separation and blurred backgrounds than 2.8 generally offers, a sweet prime, say 35, 50, 85, or even 135mm, is good to have on hand.
I'm very pleased with 28-70 f2
 
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neuroanatomist

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It also begs the question: what is even the point of matching f-stops for wide and narrow?
There isn't one. Get the lenses that fit your needs. My 'trinity' is currently the EF 16-35/4 IS, RF 24-105/4 IS, and RF 70-200/2.8 IS. I will likely add the RF 24-70/2.8 IS soon, but may end up keeping both the f/2.8 and f/4 standard zooms.

I have the EF 11-24/4 if I want to go wider, and the RF 100-500 if I want to go longer (and the 600/4 II for beyond that).
 

privatebydesign

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To me the zoom trinity was always either a stopgap for photographers until they worked out what they need and best suited their personal use need and style, or a reporter style lens selection where you just stand in a designated spot and shoot the most appropriate focal length. That is the beauty of ILC's, you keep the body but the lens selection can be adjusted as you go.

I started with the f2.8 trinity and the 300 f2.8 IS. Then I got primes at my preferred focal lengths and rarely touch the zooms, they just serve backup duty. Indeed the 16-35 f2.8 got sold and I have the 11-24 f4 and the 24-70 died and I never felt the need to replace it.
 
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SwissFrank

from EOS 1N to R
Dec 9, 2018
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The biggest downsides to a "Trinity," in my opinion, are carrying and swapping the members.

And even though carrying three lenses covers many focal lengths with little or no overlap, sometimes, as lighting changes, and some shots call for even more separation and blurred backgrounds than 2.8 generally offers, a sweet prime, say 35, 50, 85, or even 135mm, is good to have on hand.
I remember about a year after buying a Canon EOS-1N and 14, 24TS, 50/1, and 50/1.8 MkI, 100Mac, and 70-200+TCs, I heard a guy state you really could get buy with the wide and tele zoom and a 50. That's pretty true words. At 50 you can zoom with your feet and take any shot you'd take from 35 to 70 for sure. And as you say, it give a good variety: you get bokeh with the 200 at 2.8, and low-light and streetability with a 50/1.4.
 
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stevelee

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In the early ‘70s I didn’t own any zooms at all. I did have some variety of primes. I found that if I took a 28mm, 85mm, and 200mm, I never felt I missed anything else. These days for me, 24 is the new 28, I still shoot 85ish a lot, and I rarely shoot anything between 105 and 400. My 100–400mm zoom might as well be a 400 prime 90% of the time. The kit 24mm to 105mm was supposed to be a stopgap until I decided what I wanted. It has remained my most-used lens. If occasions suggest other uses, then I will take the appropriate lens. I may take the 16–35mm along on a shoot just in case, and it never leaves the trunk of the car. But of course, it is a great lens when appropriate.

I have been looking at Fuji G lenses for an unlikely GFX 100S impulse purchase after a couple folks suggested here that it seemed to fit what I might want. I thought through my EF lens usage to inform the lens choice, but decided that was not so relevant since my usage of the cameras would differ. With the 100S I would take many more landscapes than I do now. Lens choice was one thing keeping me from the impulse purchase. More significantly, there is a long wait, making impulse instant gratification impossible, and probably even more significantly, is the likelihood that I wouldn’t take a whole lot more landscapes after the novelty of the new toy wore off.
 

Bdbtoys

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I guess I look at the trinity in a literal sense. A group of 3 zoom lenses of like characteristics that covers wide+standard+telephoto.

For RF we currently have the f2.8's & f4's... and perhaps they will finish the f2's.

I see these as a good starting point, and although I would love to have them all (both 2.8's & 4's), I picked the ones I felt were better suited for me (each has it's pro's/con's). Outside of these, we still have the long tele's, macros, and other primes to pick from... and although those might make up a kit for an outing, they are not part of a trinity as I see it. If I put (insert number here) lenses with me, that becomes my kit for that outing (and I do have my favorite combo's).

That being said I don't often bring all 3 of the trinity with me in one outing. I usually have a good idea what I want to shoot with so I grab what's appropriate... however I can say I 'almost' always have 1 lens of the trinity with me.
 

neuroanatomist

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That being said I don't often bring all 3 of the trinity with me in one outing. I usually have a good idea what I want to shoot with so I grab what's appropriate...
That is a big reason I hope Canon comes out with a true pancake lens like the EF 40/2.8. When I would take just the 70-200/2.8, having a normal FoV lens that literally fit in a pocket was very useful.
 

SwissFrank

from EOS 1N to R
Dec 9, 2018
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I guess I look at the trinity in a literal sense. A group of 3 zoom lenses of like characteristics that covers wide+standard+telephoto.

For RF we currently have the f2.8's & f4's... and perhaps they will finish the f2's.

One of my points is that with modern lens design nous, and without the pressure to produce f/2 or f/2.8 optics, they're able to get very wide zoom ranges with high IQ.

This opens up a desire to have TWO f/4 trinities.

The first would be for perhaps a slower worker, such as myself, shooting travel, say, and able to work at their own pace to some extent, certainly to be able to mount the right lens for a shot. This would be say 10-24, 24-105, 100-500 or similar.

The second would be better for faster work in wedding or perhaps sports, and include 15-35, 24-105, and 70-300 or 70-400. A substantial range of overlap means you'll have the "wrong lens" substantially less often.

Arguably there's also room for a duo, say 20-50/4 and 50-200/4, for two-camera work in weddings and the like...