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07-12-2013, 07:30 AM   #16
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I would buy primes based on focal length and budget. The question really is what focal length works best for you. Unlike some of the others, I don't find that I connect particularly well with the "normal" focal length. My favorite two primes would be the DA *55 and the DA 15 limited. Rendering, focal length, whatever it is, I just connect with those lenses the best.

DA 15 shot:




DA *55 shot:




07-12-2013, 07:49 AM - 1 Like   #17
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I say bollocks to waiting. If you have the cash and the desire, jump into the prime pool. Any modern autofocus prime is good for something. What is important to you can only be decided with experience. I also think looking at what focal length you use in your zoom is a silly way to do it.

In my own case, for example, I never use my zoom at 30mm. However, I use the heck out of my Sigma 30/1.4. It is extremely sharp, very large aperture, and I love its rendering.

My advice is to buy something used. Buy anything at all, as long as it's a decent lens. Use it for a month exclusively. Join the Single In game for the month with it. Ask yourself what you liked, what you didn't. Buy a lens that does something the first one can't do. Keep repeating, selling the ones you don't like, keeping the ones you do.

I have both the Sigma 30 and the 40 Limited. Based on focal length, I don't need both, but they render so differently. If I need sharp across the frame, I go for the 40. Center sharpness only, or very low light, I grab the 30. I also recently bought the 35 macro, because the 30/1.4 can't focus close at all.
07-12-2013, 08:48 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
In my own case, for example, I never use my zoom at 30mm. However, I use the heck out of my Sigma 30/1.4. It is extremely sharp, very large aperture, and I love its rendering.
I believe it is quite typical to see a zoom being used most frequently at its extreme ends.

However, that doesn't mean that the in-between focal lengths aren't as useful or wouldn't cause a respective prime to be used very often. As you wrote, the particular rendering of a prime, its capabilities, or even just being forced to frame with its AOV can make it a joy to use.

In summary, I share your scepticism regarding the utility of creating focal length statistics for zoom lens usages.
07-12-2013, 08:50 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Normal is an opinion.
No, it isn't.

There is a perfectly fine definition for the notion of a "normal" lens.
You may not find the concept useful, but it certainly is not an "opinion".

07-12-2013, 08:54 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
No, it isn't.

There is a perfectly fine definition for the notion of a "normal" lens.
You may not find the concept useful, but it certainly is not an "opinion".
Two issues - normal as a math/visual issue and "normal" as the most used/useable focal length. The former is true, the later an opinion. Wikipedia is a collection of facts and opinions, and many confuse the two regularly.
07-12-2013, 09:01 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Two issues - normal as a math/visual issue and "normal" as the most used/useable focal length. The former is true, the later an opinion.
No one in this thread has used "normal" in the second sense.
07-12-2013, 09:04 AM   #22
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I have the Da 35mm and love it, it is always in my bag anywhere I go
07-12-2013, 09:16 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
No one in this thread has used "normal" in the second sense.
Another opinion confused as fact.

07-12-2013, 10:47 AM   #24
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Thank you all for the great information!!! I plan to review my photos and play with my camera more this weekend... Then after I get a little better idea jump in and pick up one prime lens (normal or ltd) to try out. And from there just pick up additional lenses as I learn more and budget allows...

I will check for new or possibly used lenses... Do people buy/sell lenses on this site? Any other sites besides ebay that you may suggest for used lenses? Or just watch online sales on new lenses?
07-12-2013, 11:19 AM   #25
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You stated this was your first DSLR. You may not be a prime lens person, some are some are not. My recommendation is to buy a good but inexpensive lens like the 35DA and use it extensively but still use your kit lens. Disregard the quality of the images you produce but ask yourself which lens you would usually grab. Find out if you like changing lenses or carrying extra lenses with you.

I use mostly primes, my wife mostly zooms but there are times I find it much easier to borrow her zooms. I do know people who do not like prime lenses at all. You might as well find this out before you get too involved in deciding which of the very best is right for you. The end results may be that you end up with a case full of limiteds or that you decide on a couple of high end zooms. There are reasons that both are made.
07-12-2013, 11:52 AM   #26
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I would recommend first to get the DA 55-300 so you have continuous coverage from 18mm to 300mm.

Then:

Use both lenses extensively to find your favorite focal lengths.
If you often hit both extremes (18mm or 300mm) you will know that you need a wider or longer lens.
Examine your best photos and see what is wrong with them (if any) and what you will like to improve or change.
Re-evaluate your technique (and correct if necessary) and make sure you use your camera and lenses to their fullest potential to address the issues you find.
Get some essential accessories like a good tripod and flash; both can solve most of the problems you will encounter.
Finally when you know what you can or cannot do with your existing equipment, you can start thinking about new lenses, zooms and primes depending on the findings.

If buying a few prime lenses makes you feel good and have the budget for them, then go ahead and buy them. After all photography for most is having fun.

If you expect that buying some prime lenses at random will improve your photography skills and technique, you will be rather disappointed.

Don't get me wrong, prime lenses are wonderful (I have over 30 of them) but tend to be specialized to certain styles, situations and requirements. Unless your needs fit into these categories, zoom lenses are far more flexible, convenient and cost effective.
07-12-2013, 11:58 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by kbshultz Quote
Thank you all for the great information!!! I plan to review my photos and play with my camera more this weekend... Then after I get a little better idea jump in and pick up one prime lens (normal or ltd) to try out. And from there just pick up additional lenses as I learn more and budget allows...

I will check for new or possibly used lenses... Do people buy/sell lenses on this site? Any other sites besides ebay that you may suggest for used lenses? Or just watch online sales on new lenses?
I have purchased many used lenses from the marketplace here and have sold several as well. I think as long as there is a reasonable discount off the price of a new lens, I wouldn't hesitate to go for a used one in good condition. Lenses last a long time and unless you have money burning a hole in your pocket, used is the way to go.
07-12-2013, 12:38 PM   #28
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Thanks Rondec... I like the 2 pics you posted using DA 15 (I would have liked to use this lens in Saint Petersburg, Ru) and 55 lenses... after my most recent trip in April I regretted not having better camera.
I don't think buying expensive lenses will make me a better photographer, but I would want to have the lens (or lenses) to at least take the shot, especially when I am traveling abroad or with family.
07-12-2013, 02:45 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by kbshultz Quote
Would I think of getting 15mm ltd (or 21mm ltd) - 40mm (or 35mm ltd) - 70mm ltd or 77mm ltd?
Start with the 15, 40 and 70 right away if you can. You won´t regret it!
07-12-2013, 04:03 PM   #30
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Buying on the marketplace here is a really great idea. Most everyone around here actually knows what they have, what condition it's really in, and what a fair price really is. Look at the Lens Review section to verify pricing. Once in awhile someone wants too much, but usually pretty much spot on. Look for someone with a little feedback. This is kind of a family, and few here are willing to rip off the others (again, look for someone with at least some marketplace feedback, and better yet, a few posts that show he's not just a spammer).

Since you really don't know what you want, a reasonable place to start is the DA35 f2.4. A very good (not the best, but very good) lens, a useful FOV. Cheap enough if bought used.
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