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08-13-2013, 04:01 PM   #16
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I went with primes for the best image quality I can get for the money, knowing that I'm trading off flexibility of a zoom. The size/weight advantage of primes is also great, but not so much when I find myself bringing along 2 or 3. Maybe a very useful zoom that provides high IQ such as the new Sigma 18-35/1.8 will change this.

08-13-2013, 04:17 PM   #17
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An interesting thread. I started with zooms, then started buying primes. They both have their place, but all other things being equal I'll use a prime. I think they really make you think more about composition and will force you to think outside the box. I'll throw a prime on the camera, go for a walk and try to find shots for that lens. Primes for me give better image quality, at least at the lower price points. IŽll get a better image from my FA 50 1.7 than from my DA 18-250 (price in the same neighborhood) but can get similar image quality from the DA 50-135, but at 4 times the price. I paid less for the 50 and the FA 100 macro combined than I did for the 50-135.
08-13-2013, 04:44 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
At certain focal lengths my DA * 50 - 135mm f2.8 is as good as my fa *43 1.9 (except speed, of course)

Good luck with your search

Thanks

Randy
The 43 is only a tiny bit better than these two lenses. Definitely on the steep part of more money for more performance curve. Your $600 prime is about the same IQ as a $1600 zoom which weighs 800g? Lets just say the 50-135 is slightly better than the DA 35/2.4 or 50/1.8 at comparable apertures (they are probably close to the same). I think that's the point. Yes, a modern zoom can be almost as good as a prime, but it will be slower, weigh 5X as much, and cost 3X as much (compared to the over priced 43), or in this case, 8X as much (compared to the 50/1.8 or 35/2.4).

The OP can get as-good-as quality as a $1600 lens for <$200, and not have a broken neck from carrying it all day, and have maybe a stop and a half more aperture (50/1.8), or a wider field of view (for the 35). Seems like getting both of them is the only right answer.

I bought a 50/f2 as my first prime. Not very sharp, but faster than the kit lens, and I was hooked. I keep a nice zoom on hand for family time, but for photography time, it's primes all day (except my Tamron 70-200, that's a winner for me!)

Both of these prime lenses also come with zoom control. It's in your feet!
08-13-2013, 04:44 PM   #19
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I think IQ is unbeatable with a good prime.. if you have the time to compose and shoot. There are many times where I would have to run with a prime in my hands to catch the shot. With a lot of candid shots a zoom is invaluable,.

cheers

randy

08-13-2013, 04:56 PM   #20
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One point that I think has not been mentioned yet in this thread is reliability. Without a zoom motor or, in some cases, a focus motor, there is less that can go wrong with a prime. But I subscribe to all of the other reasons as well.
08-13-2013, 05:06 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
The 43 is only a tiny bit better than these two lenses. Definitely on the steep part of more money for more performance curve. Your $600 prime is about the same IQ as a $1600 zoom which weighs 800g? Lets just say the 50-135 is slightly better than the DA 35/2.4 or 50/1.8 at comparable apertures (they are probably close to the same). I think that's the point. Yes, a modern zoom can be almost as good as a prime, but it will be slower, weigh 5X as much, and cost 3X as much (compared to the over priced 43), or in this case, 8X as much (compared to the 50/1.8 or 35/2.4).

The OP can get as-good-as quality as a $1600 lens for <$200, and not have a broken neck from carrying it all day, and have maybe a stop and a half more aperture (50/1.8), or a wider field of view (for the 35). Seems like getting both of them is the only right answer.

I bought a 50/f2 as my first prime. Not very sharp, but faster than the kit lens, and I was hooked. I keep a nice zoom on hand for family time, but for photography time, it's primes all day (except my Tamron 70-200, that's a winner for me!)

Both of these prime lenses also come with zoom control. It's in your feet!
Great points but if you factor in how many primes you cover with one zoom, then a zoom that is as good as many primes seems like a good bargain

Cheers

Randy
08-13-2013, 06:25 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by jqsk Quote
One point that I think has not been mentioned yet in this thread is reliability. Without a zoom motor or, in some cases, a focus motor, there is less that can go wrong with a prime. But I subscribe to all of the other reasons as well.
I want to make sure this point is highlighted.

Here's the running list:
  • You can go faster for cheaper.
  • You can get great image quality for less money.
  • A consistent frame makes for consistent images.
  • A zoom introduces an extra control that can make shooting just a little more fiddly.
  • A zoom has yet another moving part that can fail.

Of course, most of these problems can be overcome by spending a bit more money on your zoom, but eh. I don't have that kind of dough.
08-13-2013, 07:01 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by ecruz Quote
With the good deals on the DA 35 2.4 & DA 50 1.8, I'm considering buying one (or both) of these to use with my K-30. But other than being slightly faster than my 18-55 WR, what's the benefit of buying one of these lenses? I'm more interested in the 35mm and if it was a 1.8, instead of 2.4 or if it was priced like the 50mm I would jump on it and worry about how to use it later. I'm typically the de facto photographer at any family event, indoors & out. In those situations, a zoom can be useful. So why go prime? Thoughts?
I think you will love the DA 50mm f1.8 for indoor shot (portrait, birthday party, newborn, etc.). At least I do. For only $120, its cheaper than a used A 50mm f1.4 I bought last year, does't take much space in you bag and very light. Try it first, if you don't like it, sell it to Pentaxian outside US for same/more money (used DA 50mm f1.8 sold for around $160 here in Malaysia)

Thanks

08-13-2013, 07:47 PM   #24
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Seems as if the points have been made, but I have gone out shooting with just my 50mm & 35mm intentionally leaving the zooms at home. I wanted to force myself to take different pictures by having to work within the prime lens framing. It makes the camera bag light and sometimes I loose a shot by leaving a zoom at home, but that's part of the adventure.
08-13-2013, 11:44 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by ecruz Quote
With the good deals on the DA 35 2.4 & DA 50 1.8, I'm considering buying one (or both) of these to use with my K-30. But other than being slightly faster than my 18-55 WR, what's the benefit of buying one of these lenses? I'm more interested in the 35mm and if it was a 1.8, instead of 2.4 or if it was priced like the 50mm I would jump on it and worry about how to use it later. I'm typically the de facto photographer at any family event, indoors & out. In those situations, a zoom can be useful. So why go prime? Thoughts?
Primes are much more reliable in terms of edge-to-edge sharpness - various zooms I have (or have had) have suffered from a greater or lesser degree of decentering at various focal lengths.

A useful basic rule is: shoot primes when you are alone; shoot zooms when you are with your wife, partner, or family, and want to be on speaking terms at dinner.
08-14-2013, 05:30 AM   #26
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Wow! Posted this yesterday, then didn't look at it again until this morning. Tons of great info here. Two particularly good bits of advice.

QuoteOriginally posted by on9ye Quote
I think you will love the DA 50mm f1.8 for indoor shot (portrait, birthday party, newborn, etc.). Try it first, if you don't like it, sell it to Pentaxian outside US for same/more money (used DA 50mm f1.8 sold for around $160 here in Malaysia)
QuoteOriginally posted by timo Quote
A useful basic rule is: shoot primes when you are alone; shoot zooms when you are with your wife, partner, or family, and want to be on speaking terms at dinner.
08-14-2013, 08:12 AM   #27
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A related aside, the other day my wife picked up my camera with the DA40 attached to take a picture of the dog. After a couple of minutes of futzing around, she turns to me and asks how to make this one zoom. When I told her "with her feet", she asked me to change the lens.
08-14-2013, 08:43 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by timo Quote
A useful basic rule is: shoot primes when you are alone; shoot zooms when you are with your wife, partner, or family, and want to be on speaking terms at dinner.
Ha. Quite. There are versions of this rule for large format photography as well.

I have to say, I have always used only primes, and they have served me well enough. I suspect that I would be a little less handy with a zoom for lack of practice, however. Oh, and one other reason to prefer primes: they are prettier!
08-14-2013, 11:16 AM   #29
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So, Ive a few primes and a few zooms and it really depends upon the situation. When Im walking around a city, with its tight blocks, I like to carry my M42 Zenitar fisheye and my Chinon 28/ 2.8. For other walk arounds, I like my M42 Chinon 55/ 1.7. Anything over that, I am going to pick up a zoom. Yes, it is heavier but if Im walking around, say in the woods or something, I like the zoom better.

Primes and zooms are great. The zooms weigh a little more but they mean that you will not be switching lenses like you would with primes. 28 and fisheye is a great combo for me but switching is a pain in the butt. I walked to the beach and took some photos of a surf competition. I had the 55/ 1.7 on there which was not that useful due to range. Switched to my 70-210/ 4 and used the added range to get good shots while they were at the start of the wave break and then was able to lessen the zoom as they got closer. Thats something that a prime would not be able to do.



Is there a thread somewhere where people have posted what they like in different situations? Like, hiking, city, etc...? I am interested in something new and am leaning towards a zoom but not too sure.
12-18-2013, 01:46 PM   #30
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My DA* is as good as my primes. But, for speed, there aren't a lot of sub ƒ2 zooms. Although with that Sigma 18-35 ƒ1.8 coming out, that's faster than my 21 ltd, my DA 35, 2.4 and the same was my FA 50 1.7.

Zooms to cover all focal lengths, primes for speed is the usual arrangement. But with the Sigma 18-35, even that's getting turned on it's head.
You might be able to find a prime with some special magic that really suits your style, but that would be a quest of epic proportions, to find it, and there might not be more than one.

You'll find in this argument, some people attribute the qualities of the best primes to all primes, and the worst of zooms to all zooms. I don't listen to either of them. A lens can be a great lens, zoom or prime. There's no shortcuts, you have to evaluate the lens, parsing by zoom or prime doesn't really help.

Last edited by normhead; 12-18-2013 at 01:51 PM.
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