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12-05-2007, 08:47 AM   #1
racinsince55
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My, my, how things have changed

Everyday, I see a number of posts extolling the virtues of this zoom lens, or that zoom lens.

It hasn't been that long ago that anyone who even owned a zoom lens wasn't considered to much of a photographer.

Now, don't get me wrong here. I own several zoom lens and am quite happy with them. Although, I don't consider myself to be much of a photographer.

I just think the 180 degree shift in philosophy is quite interesting.

12-05-2007, 09:28 AM   #2
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You do have a point and I remember those days as well. Of course it was back in the film days when most of the zooms around were not as good as some of the offerings we now have. But it still holds true that a good prime will out perform a good zoom in a number of ways. Of course back with film, even if you had your own darkroom, the choices were limited as to how much you could do to sharpen and enhance the final print. Today everyone has a 'home darkroom' on thier computers.

Plus with the introduction of zooms like the FA*80-200 the 'rules' changed. That lens can rival many primes in the same range. Reports of the DA*50-135mm are similar.

But given the choice of carrying an FA50, 77Ltd,100macro and FA135mm or just the DA*50-135 in a backpack for a day of hiking, I might just carry the one lens if I owned it (it's on the wish list).
12-05-2007, 10:24 AM   #3
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The primary reason why I use a zoom on my k100d is to minimize lens changes. I'll do just about anything to keep my sensor dust free! I have a few nice primes, but they are gathering dust.
12-05-2007, 11:28 AM   #4
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For some reason, I actually find primes to be more fun to use. I love the image quality that my FA 50mm gives, and the fixed focal length forces me to be creative, so I think my pictures are actually a bit more interesting because of it.

12-05-2007, 11:41 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by racinsince55 Quote
It hasn't been that long ago that anyone who even owned a zoom lens wasn't considered to much of a photographer.
.
I've recently converted from P&S, so I don't understand why a zoom lens had a negative stigma. I frequent a website that shows pics of birds taken with a 500 & even 600 mm lenses. What did they do before then?
12-05-2007, 11:54 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by spillway Quote
I've recently converted from P&S, so I don't understand why a zoom lens had a negative stigma. I frequent a website that shows pics of birds taken with a 500 & even 600 mm lenses. What did they do before then?
I think you misunderstand the term 'zoom'.

Zoom means that there is the ability to glide across focal lengths from one end to another. For example, the kit lens is a zoom lens.

The focal lengths go from 18mm to 55mm. The other type of lens, a prime, is one that only has one focal length.

This would be the 500's & 600's you'd be thinking about, most likely. Even though they can capture something far away, they're not a 'zoom lens' because they are only to be used at 500mm.

x works in accordance with this, which basically means x is useless in the way P&S cameras use it.

My point and shoot goes from like 2.8-9. Meaning it's a 3x lens, however, on my SLR I have a lens that is a 70-300. That would be a '4x' lens, yet, it can reach ~33x farther then the P&S can.

Hope this clears it up!
12-05-2007, 12:00 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by spillway Quote
I've recently converted from P&S, so I don't understand why a zoom lens had a negative stigma. I frequent a website that shows pics of birds taken with a 500 & even 600 mm lenses. What did they do before then?
They used manual focus lenses prior to the current crop of lenses. 500mm and 600mm lenses have been around for a long time. Probably longer than zooms have.

However, if you are referring to what did the individual shooter do before they could afford the expensive lens, then who knows......... anyones guess. Maybe shot birds with a 70-200 f2.8 as I used to do, or even a 100-300 f4 or 300 f4, as I also used to do.
12-05-2007, 12:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by spillway Quote
I've recently converted from P&S, so I don't understand why a zoom lens had a negative stigma. I frequent a website that shows pics of birds taken with a 500 & even 600 mm lenses. What did they do before then?
Generally, the feeling was that all zooms represented a compromise of some sort. The compromise may be in image quality, speed, size, or price. And the wider the range...the bigger the compromise. In the film days, the camera was just a box. Your lenses were the difference maker. So that was the LAST place you'd want to compromise. These days, zooms have gotten much better. Particularly the more moderately priced zooms. Plus, as Peter pointed out, it much easier to fix problems with sharpness or contrast in post processing, whereas, in film (again...if you were serious about your photography), you'd usually shoot slides because many magazines would accept nothing else.

12-05-2007, 12:10 PM   #9
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Well, I like primes more over zooms. They are sharper, easy to use and the ones I own are really compact. I love my Zenitar 16/f2.8 and my M50 /f1.7.
I like the small Limited-lenses (DA 21, 40 etc) and in future I will probably only buy primes.
The DA 21mm is in pole-position on my wish-list.
A Zoom-lens is nice if you don't want to carry lots of gear around, or on a weekend/holiday-trip, but it just doesn't convince me over primes.
As I shoot with a K100D (which is way smaller than a 10D) I want my lenses to be lightweight and compact.
And talking about dust? The Pentax DSLR's do have Sensor-cleaning, changing lenses does mean more dust, but that shouldn't stop one from using different lenses. After all, good lenses last long, a camera-body gets replaced after a few years.
12-06-2007, 12:08 PM   #10
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Thanks for the clarification on 'zooms'. I understand now!

I do have the 50 f1.4, and it's a fine lens, but I will need some more reach before next summer. I shoot equestrian events in indoor arenas. The 50 did not get me close enough, and my zooms were to slow. I'm keeping my eye out for that 200 f2.8!
12-07-2007, 06:36 AM   #11
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Personally, I use the zooms for snapshots, primes for more careful work.

(only been shooting snapshots lately though).
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