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07-13-2011, 01:25 PM   #76
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I have a mix of primes and zooms and will always have both. I tested a 16-50mm at 50mm and f2.8 against my FA 50mm. The 50mm murdered it, and still had two more stops. So in this case, I get speed the zoom can't match and better performance. I have the FA 35 f2 for the same reason, speed and IQ vs. a zoom. The DA 15mm and DA 40mm are not that fast, and my 16-45 is in the ballpark for sharpness at f4**. The Limiteds have better contrast, but that's easy to make up. I bought the Limiteds strictly for their size. I carry them with my K-x in a little fanny pack, or to supplement the 18-135mm. The 100mm macro gives me macro capability beyond what any zoom can do. I have a Kiron 28mm f2 and Sears 135mm 2.8 for their speed, and just for fun and variety.

In summary, I use primes for specific characteristics I can't have with a zoom; whether it's size, IQ, performance, speed or rendering. I only change a zoom out if I'm shooting something formal or need the widest apertures. For day to day photos, I'm happy with the IQ from my zooms.

** My 16-45 at 16mm is actually a little sharper than my 15mm, as shown here: https://picasaweb.google.com/bonhommed/Comparo?authkey=Gv1sRgCLOD9LjmoOKTlAE#

07-13-2011, 02:33 PM   #77
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Fwiw, I checked out those samples, and don't see the difference you do. Depending on exactly where I look within he image, I see either the tiniest of edges for the 15, the tiniest of edges for the 16-45, or - and this is much more to the point - no discernible difference st all.
07-13-2011, 03:18 PM   #78
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Fwiw, I checked out those samples, and don't see the difference you do. Depending on exactly where I look within he image, I see either the tiniest of edges for the 15, the tiniest of edges for the 16-45, or - and this is much more to the point - no discernible difference st all.
The 16-45 shows better corners.
07-13-2011, 03:36 PM   #79
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
The 16-45 shows better corners.
Not surprised at all. The 16-45/4 is better than the DA14 by a wide margin too. Pity Pentax chose to put such nice optics in trash barrels.

07-13-2011, 09:57 PM   #80
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
Not surprised at all. The 16-45/4 is better than the DA14 by a wide margin too. Pity Pentax chose to put such nice optics in trash barrels.
The real pity Pentax made such a bad optics like DA 14. It must performs like Distagon 21 being so huge. But it doesn't.
07-14-2011, 12:53 AM   #81
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Perhaps they were rushing for a super wide when the Pentax the *istD was new.

Some data on this lens:
The Lens Design of smc PENTAX-DA 14mmF2.8ED[IF]
07-14-2011, 10:45 AM   #82
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
The 16-45 shows better corners.
Which may or may not be in focus - probably not, in fact. Whereas the DA15 shows a better center - by a surprisingly large margin, actually. As I said, depends where you look, but I think center performance is more important in most cases, especially given how rare it would be for corners to be in focus at that AOV.
07-14-2011, 04:49 PM   #83
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Getting back to the original question, the best primes are better than the best zooms, but the difference may not matter to many users. Zooms offer greater versatility and convenience, which is their entire reason for existence.

On my own personal photographic odyssey, I started out shooting prime lenses exclusively with a Contax G2 rangefinder. The lenses were all from Zeiss and were uniformly outstanding. However, I did grow weary of having to change lenses frequently to get just the desired focal length. When I went digital, starting with a K10D, I began using zoom lenses for most of my shooting--the DA16-45 followed by the DA17-70 and finally the DA*16-50. I must admit that I got some great photos with them. But then I started building a collection of FA Limited lenses, to which I have become somewhat addicted. Now, I am back to using prime lenses for most of my shooting, but I have learned to use a single focal length and to stick with it, unless there is a photo that absolutely requires a lens change. I also have one DA Limited, the 15/4, which I like very much. It renders very differently than my FA Limiteds. The DA15 produces exceptionally crisp, punchy images, but they lack the silky smoothness of the FAs. If there were an FA15 Limited, I would most certainly want it.

Rob


Last edited by robgo2; 07-14-2011 at 06:47 PM.
07-15-2011, 12:16 AM   #84
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
Getting back to the original question, the best primes are better than the best zooms, but the difference may not matter to many users. Zooms offer greater versatility and convenience, which is their entire reason for existence.
And so primes and zooms each promote different approaches to photography, as do all the many types of cameras. Each are different tools for different work. None is completely generally THE BEST. At times I definitely want/need a 6x9cm folder, not the K20D. In some places I rely on an old 50/2.8 MFL, not a newer AFL zoom that covers 50mm. Dynamic situations call for a zoom; I work with primes at a different pace.

And note that many use a zoom only or primarily at its extremes. A 'prime' example of this is the DA10-17, which reportedly gets used mostly at 10 OR 17 but not much in between. That's not much different that the odd Soligor C/D DualFocal 85+135mm lens I once had. Or when walking down a populated street, my DA18-250 spends much time locked at 18mm for from-the-hip shots. It might only be extended when I stop to grab faces or shapes. So it's truly a VERY versatile and convenient zoom, while still mostly being used as a wide prime.
07-15-2011, 01:18 AM   #85
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
And so primes and zooms each promote different approaches to photography, as do all the many types of cameras. Each are different tools for different work. None is completely generally THE BEST. At times I definitely want/need a 6x9cm folder, not the K20D. In some places I rely on an old 50/2.8 MFL, not a newer AFL zoom that covers 50mm. Dynamic situations call for a zoom; I work with primes at a different pace.

And note that many use a zoom only or primarily at its extremes. A 'prime' example of this is the DA10-17, which reportedly gets used mostly at 10 OR 17 but not much in between. That's not much different that the odd Soligor C/D DualFocal 85+135mm lens I once had. Or when walking down a populated street, my DA18-250 spends much time locked at 18mm for from-the-hip shots. It might only be extended when I stop to grab faces or shapes. So it's truly a VERY versatile and convenient zoom, while still mostly being used as a wide prime.
I would punish for the decision to make fish eye a zoom lens. I only need 10mm and nothing else. But sometimes I occassionaly move zoom ring and then lose shots.
07-15-2011, 05:18 AM   #86
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
Getting back to the original question, the best primes are better than the best zooms, but the difference may not matter to many users. Zooms offer greater versatility and convenience, which is their entire reason for existence.
For the time being.

A lens that can change it's focal length seems to me to be the natural course of lens development.

Talking about the differences between primes and zooms here sounds very much like the talk 50 years ago between manual and auto transmissions in cars. A manual tranny was thought to be more reliable with a longer service life and gave better efficiency - now none of that is true at least with respect to passenger cars.

I think the time is coming when serious photographers, not just hobbyists, would no more use a lens that would not change focal length than they would accept a lens without a auto diaphragm.

The prime , due to it's optical simplicity, will probably always have a theoretical optical advantage but the time is coming soon, I think, when there will be no real world practical advantage to the prime even for demanding uses.

It would be interesting to read these posts 15 years from now.
07-15-2011, 07:34 AM   #87
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emacs Quote
I would punish for the decision to make fish eye a zoom lens. I only need 10mm and nothing else. But sometimes I occassionaly move zoom ring and then lose shots.
If there were a 12mm prime, I'm not sure I would need a 12-24mm lens, either.
07-15-2011, 09:59 AM   #88
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emacs Quote
I would punish for the decision to make fish eye a zoom lens. I only need 10mm and nothing else.
I came to Pentax specifically because of the DA10-17, and I do use it throughout its range. It is just so much fun to play with angles and contexts! I also use a Kenko 180 degree fisheye adapter on a zoom lens. At 40mm it is full-circle, at 60mm it is frame-filling, and above 60mm it shows various possible projections. Wide is just NOT ENOUGH!!

QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
A lens that can change it's focal length seems to me to be the natural course of lens development.
The design of a variable-focal-length lens goes 'WAY back, like to around 1890. Look at figure 3 here. I have some Eastman 100-150mm slide-projector lenses that seem to be built like this.

QuoteQuote:
It would be interesting to read these posts 15 years from now.
Will humans still be reading in 15 years?

QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
If there were a 12mm prime, I'm not sure I would need a 12-24mm lens, either.
You want a 12mm prime? I have one! It is branded as Vemar but is may be given many different names. Yes, a 12mm fisheye with f/8-11-16 Waterhouse stops, a full-circle lens hood, and lousy optics. No, you *do* need a 12-24, or a 10-20 or 10-24. Some primes suck.
07-15-2011, 11:16 AM   #89
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
Talking about the differences between primes and zooms here sounds very much like the talk 50 years ago between manual and auto transmissions in cars. A manual tranny was thought to be more reliable with a longer service life and gave better efficiency - now none of that is true at least with respect to passenger cars.
True, but to stick to the analogy - manual transmissions still exist, and there are still lots of people (more so in Europe than in the US) who would take a manual over an automatic any day of the week. Just like prime lenses, I predict they are here to stay for a long time to come.
07-15-2011, 11:51 AM   #90
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
For the time being.

A lens that can change it's focal length seems to me to be the natural course of lens development.

Talking about the differences between primes and zooms here sounds very much like the talk 50 years ago between manual and auto transmissions in cars. A manual tranny was thought to be more reliable with a longer service life and gave better efficiency - now none of that is true at least with respect to passenger cars.

I think the time is coming when serious photographers, not just hobbyists, would no more use a lens that would not change focal length than they would accept a lens without a auto diaphragm.

The prime , due to it's optical simplicity, will probably always have a theoretical optical advantage but the time is coming soon, I think, when there will be no real world practical advantage to the prime even for demanding uses.

It would be interesting to read these posts 15 years from now.
When you learn more about optics, 1 year from now, you'll be extremely embarrassed by your current posts.
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