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View Poll Results: prime vs zoom
I shot primes only 2114.58%
I only shoot with zooms 106.94%
I own both and use both 11378.47%
Voters: 144. You may not vote on this poll

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02-10-2008, 02:10 PM   #1
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primes vs zooms ?

I was just wondering does it have to be one or the other or are there people out there that use both? I ask only because I currently have both and find that I use one or the other based on what I plan on taking pictures of am I an out of the norm here or do others hang out in both camps of the issue?

02-10-2008, 02:24 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by gokenin Quote
I was just wondering does it have to be one or the other or are there people out there that use both? I ask only because I currently have both and find that I use one or the other based on what I plan on taking pictures of am I an out of the norm here or do others hang out in both camps of the issue?
I am in the both camp, as you can see in the signature. For long focus, I have never been satisfied with anything but primes. I tried the well reviewed Sigma 170-500, but it was softer than the 400/5.6 I still have.

For macro, there is no choice but the prime lens.

For scenics, the zooms allow me to frame using the perspective I want. Note that perspective is changed with the feet, framing with the lens. Here in the mountains, there are quite a few occasions when using the feet to move around is not an option, and framing must be done by changing focal length no matter the effect on perspective.

I have also used other primes in the past. I used to have a 28/3.5 Pentax Shift lens. It was superb for taking shots in Chicago, the home of the sky scraper, but not as useful here in the Rocky Mountains. 135 mm primes on 35mm film were near perfect for taking images of children, but a bit long for portrait work.

For a very long time, I used only three lenses: 28/3.5, 55/1.8 and 135/3.5 on a fully manual KX body. I still own the 28, but my daughter in law seems to have taken full possession of it. My daughter got the 55, and the 135 was swapped for the A 70-210.

Zooms have gradually become very good lenses indeed, so the quality loss is not as noticeable in the wide to moderate telephoto range. I would have been ecstatic with the quality of the Sigma 170-500 twenty years ago, but now I want the sharpness of the prime long lens.
02-10-2008, 03:09 PM   #3
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While I own both, zoom lenses and primes, I use zoom mostly - Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 I have a sharp copy, and results are to my satisfaction even wide open at f2.8 I find this lens very convenient for every day use and it stays on K10D 90% of the time.

Primes - well, as Albert said, macro indeed, sometimes for small clubs/concerts I use FA 50mm f1.4 if the lighting is very poor, the only other prime I use (if you can call it that) is 50mm lensbaby 2.0 f2, fun lens for days when you just want something different. I still own 135mm f2.8 smc, and actually find this length very comfortable for portraits, but somehow most are still shot with same Tamron zoom lens.

For me, a good quality, sharp copy zoom is much more convinient than changing lenses all the time as I did with primes, and less dust introduction. Just my $0.2
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D
02-10-2008, 03:11 PM   #4
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I use both depending on my mood and what I am after.. I do like to just throw on a prime and that is the focal length I am shooting for the day. Recently I bought the Sigma 17-70 as sometimes I just want to shoot something in particular, rather than finding something to shoot with a particular lens....


Last edited by joele; 02-10-2008 at 05:53 PM.
02-10-2008, 03:25 PM   #5
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I'm definitely a "both". There are times, Like joele, that I enjoy putting on a prime and going out shooting. And obviously for macro work a prime is almost required. However, if I'm just going out for a casual shoot, I'll use mostly zooms. I agree with Albert that perspective changes with the feet and framing with the lens. I own more primes than zooms, but I probably use both almost equally, time wise.

NaCl(there are times that a prime is best and there are times a zoom is best, why limit oneself?)H2O
02-10-2008, 04:52 PM   #6
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Both here, as well. I had been leaning towards primes for a time, but I like the versatility of zooms, especially when travelling, as I don't want to be changing lenses all the time. I've already got 2/3 of my ideal travel kit--the 43 Ltd. and the F70-210. Once I save up the money and it comes out, I'd like to add the Tamron 17-50/2.8 to complete the kit. While it may not accompany me very much on trips, I'd still like to get a dedicated macro, as well--somewhere in the 100mm range. It could also be used as a prime in my travel kit if I didn't think I'd need the length of the 70-210.

I just picked up an 18-55 this afternoon to tide me over until I can afford to buy the 17-50. When I first got my DS off of eBay last fall, it did come with an 18-55, which I stupidly got rid of because of my plans to get the 18-250, which I have since sold. Even when i do get the 17-50, I'm planning on hanging on to the 18-55 as a backup to the 17-50 for those times where I don't want to risk messing up the 17-50. Believe me, I'll cry a lot less if anything bad happens to the 18-55 than the 17-50 (if it was the 17-50, the cry would probably turn into a loud wail). Really, for the price, the 18-55 is a pretty decent little lens--some of the pics in PPG have been taken with the 18-55.

As for the gap between 55 & 70, that's what feet are made for.

Knowing my LBA self, I'll probably add some primes here and there (that Zenitar 16mm looks pretty interesting), but I'm pretty definite on what I want for travel, as I don't want to have to cart too much gear around.

Heather
02-10-2008, 05:29 PM   #7
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Both for me too, the Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 is on most of the time, and the 10-20mm is used a lot, I have been recently been using 135mm F2.8 M42 Prime and 200mm F4 M42 Prime. Its great fun having to use primes, as it realy makes you concentrate on the composition, especially as they are manual..
02-10-2008, 05:35 PM   #8
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Prime shooter here. I like to work with limitations...my style of photography lends itself to primes. If I don't get "the shot" I'm not going to cry about it, and I'm not going to lose my income.

I like the brightness, size, weight, image quality and build of my SMC Takumar prime lineup....

02-10-2008, 06:58 PM   #9
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90% primes & 10% zooms; not quite sure which answer to tick

Primes for their small size/weight and supposedly higher iq.
Zooms when I'm not sure what's going to unfold (in terms of focal length needs).

Last edited by Kguru; 02-10-2008 at 07:47 PM.
02-10-2008, 07:27 PM   #10
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I was 100% primes until I got the new DA* zooms, now I still use primes the most put I find myself using zooms more & more. A lot depends on what I am shooting & how much gear I want to pack. I do think the primes have the edge over the zooms in image quality.
02-10-2008, 07:33 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by d.bradley Quote
Prime shooter here. I like to work with limitations...my style of photography lends itself to primes. If I don't get "the shot" I'm not going to cry about it, and I'm not going to lose my income.
Me too.


I do have a 19-35mm Tokina zoom which I'm using until I can afford some good wide primes, but mostly I prefer fixed-focal length lenses. I feel like a zoom makes me more likely to miss the shot that's there.
02-10-2008, 07:49 PM   #12
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When I had more primes, I just usually threw one on my body and put one or two along with some filters in my pockets. I rarely ever changed lenses; many times, I didn't think I needed to. It's good to work on your feet. I also like fixed-focal length lenses because it seems that they require more creativity to get the right perspective and framing for a scene. To me shooting with primes, isn't inconveninet at all. I very much enjoy it. Of course, I want to get back into this, which is why I'm workingo n rebuilding my collection.
02-10-2008, 08:38 PM   #13
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Both, but it should be noted that some of these new short zooms ''IMO'' are every bit as good as primes...At least the two primes that I have...the 50F/1.4 and 77ltd...OK, Shoot me now.. lol
02-10-2008, 08:47 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jgredline Quote
Both, but it should be noted that some of these new short zooms ''IMO'' are every bit as good as primes...At least the two primes that I have...the 50F/1.4 and 77ltd...OK, Shoot me now.. lol
I could try, but I'm not going to. I respect your opinion. However, I've found most primes to be sharper than zooms at the same focal length and aperture. It's just an observation.
02-10-2008, 10:11 PM   #15
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I've come to be very fond of zooms on thet wide end and primes on the long end.
When I used a SuperProgram my favorite lens of all time was a 24-50 zoom

When I got autofocus the favorite was a sigma 18-35 zoom.

Alas the sigma moved over the *istd, and now I use a K10 with DA* 16-50 as my default choice though as you can see from by sig line I have lots of choices. I'll onlyl use a long zoom if I am traveling light.

I've tried varaious 'wide to long' zooms and don't care for them although I suppose the 16-50 could be classed as such.
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