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02-28-2011, 01:31 AM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eagle_Friends Quote
It is a great lens, but it was just not for me. My two cents.
And that's at the heart of these photographic explorations: finding what works for each of us. If we all had the same needs-desires-tastes then we'd all be using the very same glass and we wouldn't bother with these forums. Adam would go out of business and would need to find an honest job. Shipping services and eBay would lose a large chunk of their business. I would have to go back to conspiracy / UFO discussions. Oh, the horror! No, let us keep disagreeing about glass and stuff, and discovering more possibilities.

02-28-2011, 02:44 PM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I wonder about you guys saying you are more creative with a prime. If you have a zoom, you can still pick the focal length you think suits the shot, mess around all you want, then change focal lengths and do it again. The difference between primes and zooms is, with zooms, you don't have to take the lens off the camera to do that.
In theory this may sound okay, but in practice, if you want to confine yourself to a specific focal length, using a prime is the easier way to go. Primes are lighter, often faster and brighter, easier to balance on a ballhead, easier to carry around (they'll often fit in a pocket), have smaller filter size rings, and usually provide more IQ bang for the buck. And with a prime on your camera, you really are forced to see things in the confines of the prime, which leads you (1) to see things you might not otherwise have seen, and (2) to really concentrate on the framing, and (3) to concentrate harder to find the shot. With a zoom, the tendency is to take the obvious shot, even the cliche shot. You can call it undisciplined, but it's just human nature.

QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
The days of primes are past their prime.
From what I've been hearing from photographers, primes are beginning to become more popular. Digital photography and the web have enabled photographers to grasp the benefits of shooting with a shallow DOF; and the fact that primes provide more IQ bang for the buck (particularly on full-frame) is also making them more popular.

There are some areas in which primes still remain dominant, and probably will remain dominant for some time to come, such as macro lenses, professional supertelephotos, tiltshift lenses, and ultra fast lenses.
02-28-2011, 03:42 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
Agreed, wholeheartedly. The days of primes are past their prime. Some zooms are outperforming primes these days.
Sure, but you have to compare like with like. Some motorbikes are faster than cars. Its kind of a ridiculous comparison. The lenses do different things. If you compare a 100k motorbike with a 100k car, the motorbike will be faster. But you will get wet and you can't use it for shopping. Thats the way I see primes, a little less practical, but better at their primary purpose.

I was at a wedding recently, no expense spared, and the photographer had super fast Canon primes....not zooms. He had two cameras slung on his shoulder so he could switch between lenses without changing them on the body. Primes will always be better in terms of IQ than zooms, but for speed purposes, they are not as convenient.
02-28-2011, 04:13 PM   #49
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Boy, when I originally posted this question, I never expected this thread to get to this. Boy what a surprise, and an eye opener. Amazing the different opinions one can get on the same subject.

02-28-2011, 04:48 PM   #50
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I think you will save a lot of money investing in good zooms.

I like primes because of their compactness and sex-appeal. It has nothing to do with image quality. Old zooms are terrible compared to primes, but I'm simply amazed how a consumer zoom these days will stack up to sought after primes.
02-28-2011, 05:26 PM   #51
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So zooms have more quality control issues like decentering etc.? This certainly seems to be my impression/experience. There are more moving parts in a zoom.
02-28-2011, 05:48 PM   #52
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QuoteQuote:
The lenses do different things
Not quite, my DA* 60-250 set to 200mm does what the DA*200mm does, except you lose one stop between F2.8 and 4. Apart form that , the 60-250 is sharper. I love my Tamron 90 macro, I wish I could get it away from my wife, but that's a lens preference, not azoom vs prime preference.
02-28-2011, 05:50 PM   #53
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I've shot scads of pictures with my 16-45 and highly recommend it to anyone as a highly capable zoom at tremendous value. I found myself favoring the 16mm end of the range and when i wanted to "zoom", i'd typically pop on a 28mm or 50mm prime. Not because there was anything wrong with the 16-45, I'm just prefer the look of my favorite primes at those FL's instead.

That said, I upgraded to a DA 15mm and the thing rocks! To each their own but I am thrilled with the reduced barreling and better contrast, and it only cost me $150 more (used) than what i made off the 16-45 sale, so what a deal!
YMMV.


Last edited by mikeSF; 02-28-2011 at 07:57 PM.
02-28-2011, 06:18 PM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Not quite, my DA* 60-250 set to 200mm does what the DA*200mm does, except you lose one stop between F2.8 and 4. Apart form that , the 60-250 is sharper. I love my Tamron 90 macro, I wish I could get it away from my wife, but that's a lens preference, not azoom vs prime preference.
Sorry, but I completely disagree. If both lens are stepped down, the sharpness for both lens should be very similar. But what about the bokeh, the barrel distortion, the CA, the contrast? There's a reason why lenses like the 200mm f2.8 exist. Calling it the same as a 60-250mm (An incredible zoom on its own by the way) at 200mm is like saying the 16-50mm f2.8 creates the same image as a FA 31mm f1.8 Limited at 31mm.

I'm not trying to be a Prime Lens fanboys, because I know a lot of zoom lenses that are great and they're versatile and some even looks cooler on a body (if you care about that). But I just can't stand people saying stuff like "oh my zoom at ___mm is just like a prime at ___mm. It's the exact same thing! LOL!!!" or "Don't waste your money on ___ prime lens when you can get the same quality for cheaper on ____ zoom lens." Well, no it isn't and it doesn't. Do you get the same picture? Sure, but the differences comes in the smaller details. Some people don't care for the details so much and that's fine and if they're trying to save a couple bucks, that's definitely okay, but it just annoys me sometimes when stuff like that is stated over and over again. There are images that primes can't do that zooms can, and that goes the same the other way around.

Last edited by Eagle_Friends; 02-28-2011 at 06:42 PM.
02-28-2011, 11:30 PM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I think you will save a lot of money investing in good zooms.

I like primes because of their compactness and sex-appeal. It has nothing to do with image quality. Old zooms are terrible compared to primes, but I'm simply amazed how a consumer zoom these days will stack up to sought after primes.
They are still lagging behind. No so much as older ones, but still behind.
They have managed to achieve the same sharpness, but it's not the only parameter.
And, you don't mean Canonikon lenses: these guys made primes look as boring as their zooms. Seriously, the only japanese company who knew how to make primes was Pentax. The rest are german ones: Leitz, CZ, Voigt, etc.
02-28-2011, 11:46 PM   #56
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I think it would be neat to have a "photography battle" of sorts so everyone could try and prove their reasoning for using primes or zooms. Chances are the results would turn out nullified toward a "winner"
03-01-2011, 12:08 AM   #57
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EDIT:
On the prime side of the battle, My weapon of choice for portraits DA* 55mm f1.4 SDM:

While I've been a little negative about the DA* 55mm in the past, I think it is the epitome of why primes still have a well defined place. It's the perfect portrait lens (even or rather especially at f1.4) by all accounts. It's one of those lenses that fits the "whole package" ideal to make it almost perfect (IMO it could stand to be faster focusing and have a metal barrel, but nothing is completely perfect).

1. SDM for quiet focus meaning great for shooting all events/locations/etc
2. 55mm in APS-C is one of those "magical" focal lengths that is great for people photography among other things.
3. Large fast aperture with great bokeh.
4. Very sharp contrast-y lens.
5. Manageable size (not too small or big)
6. I'll just throw in WR as a plus considering the small size of the lens.
7. The manual focus ring is great, not to mention quick-shift.
8. A direct and to-the-point lens. It knows what it is good at and excels in those areas.
9. flat field (only 0.6% distortion)
10. Low vignetting, even at f1.4

Zooms can't touch it.
03-01-2011, 07:59 PM   #58
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QuoteQuote:
But what about the bokeh, the barrel distortion, the CA, the contrast?
What about it? Is there a tacit assumption in that statement that would imply that those things are intrinsically better in a prime? If you've been through the stats at photozone, and I've been through them pretty intensively, the Iq at F2.8 for most long lenses, primes and zooms is often the weakest part of the lens's range, until you get to f16 and higher, something that was certainly an eye opener for me.


From photozone

For the DA*200

Purple Fringing Unfortunately the DA* 200mm f/2.8 has quite a problem regarding purple fringing. Purple fringing is a blooming effect that occurs at extreme contrast transitions. The camera sensor has surely a few stakes in here but the effect is also dependent on the lens. Here's a 100% crop showing a particularly bad scenario. You will find others in the sample image section although with a lesser severity.

Bokeh

The bokeh (the quality of the out-of-focus blur) is a major aspect for all tele lenses because it is often an essential part of a scene. The Pentax DA* lens does a very good job here. The out-of-focus highlights are perfectly circular and very uniform at f/2.8. At f/4 the aspect remains pretty much intact whereas the circular shape deteriorates somewhat more at f/5.6. The general quality of the blur is good but a tiny bit bit nervous at f/2.8 and very smooth beyond. As already mentioned above you will also find a rather significant amount of longitudinal chromatic aberrations (LoCA) in this test scene.

For the DA* 60-250

Bokeh

While not formally tested the high quality of the bokeh (out-of-focus blur) seems to be a differentiator compared to similar lenses - long tele zoom lenses are often problematic here.

The only place where the prime significantly outperforms the zoom at the same FL us in CA where it perform better at every f-stop, but, the zoom still sin't bad.

IN MTF (resolution) the DA* outperforms the 200 prime at every f-5.6,f8 and f11. The prime is marginally better at f4. Not only that, if you're buying the prime for it's speed the DA* 200 prime's weakest resolution is at f2.8 where it posts it's weakest resolution numbers, below any of the numbers posted for the zoom.

The largest differences are at f5.6 and f8 where the DA* 60-250 leaves the DA*200 200 points behind in center resolution.

Bokeh may be more than a little subjective and contrast... I can't find much to say there except to say for my preferences the 60-250 can hold it's own. I researched both lenses before my last purchase, I'd love to be able to work with both, but on paper, I saw no advantage to the prime. You trade purple fringing for chromatic aberration. With one having an extra stop and one having better MTF scores. So at 200 it's a tradeoff, but, I also get a 60-250 zoom. At 135mm the zoom's CA numbers are comparable to the 200 primes, so I even have a workaround should CA become an issue.



I don't own a DA 200 prime, but I considered the lens before I bought the DA* 60-250. So according to what I've read, it's quite possible that the DA* 60-250 set to 200mm is a better lens than the 200 prime. There is certainly no knockout winner, but the notion that the prime is the better than the zoom at 200mm just isn't supported. They both have strengths and weakness, neither is the clear winner. Given that is the case, the zoom is a much better value for the money. Even at 200mm and a FLs from 60 to 250 as well.

I could well be that after trying both lenses, someone might prefer the DA*200 at to the DA*60-250 at 200mm, but it certainly isn't a given.

Last edited by normhead; 03-01-2011 at 08:10 PM.
03-01-2011, 08:11 PM   #59
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The 200 prime blows away the zoom at f/2.8 though I would like a DA*200 one day, but it wont be to shoot at f/4 thats for sure.
03-01-2011, 08:24 PM   #60
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QuoteQuote:
The 200 prime blows away the zoom at f/2.8 though I would like a DA*200 one day, but it wont be to shoot at f/4 thats for sure.
I usually shoot at 200 ISO, having to go to 400 ISO won't kill me. It's one stop. That's not to say there won't be occasions where that stop will come in handy. But the DA 60-250's numbers including CA are out of site at 135mm , 60mm is better than average and the numbers are still good if not as good at 250mm. So it's like having at least 4 very good lenses in your bag. As stated before if I'm going for speed, I want under F2. That's worth paying for. 2.8.. not so much.
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