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03-02-2007, 07:34 PM   #16
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Although I fall firmly into the prime-obsessed camp, it is mostly because I love the process of selecting the right lens for the situation, thinking through how to best use the aperature and shutter speed to evoke the desired feeling, and finally commiting to an image by pressing the shutter release. And I much prefer the solid feel of an old metal-and-glass manual prime lens to a plastic-housed zoom. One isn't "better" than the other, it's just a matter of what draws you to photography.

And at some point it probably doesn't matter anyway. A lens is only as good as the photographer using it. Many a mediocre image has been captured by $1000 lenses, and priceless ones have been produced using the cheapest drugstore cameras. At the end of the day, it's the photographer who makes an image "pop", not the lens.

03-02-2007, 09:51 PM   #17
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There are primes and then there are primes. Haven't seen many great primes that have the look of the 31 & 77 Limited. The Pentax A50 1.7 is a great lens. Doesn't look like the 31 or 77. Don't have to pixel peep to see it. A friend walked into the store and saw a 20"x30" enlargement. He said "shot that with a Limited didn't you? He was right. Could have been shot with my 50 1.7 or DFA100. He knew it wasn't. This image was shot at F5.6 and it still has that rounded, creamy, 3D look. Only Leica rangefinder lenses have given me similar results (and sort of one Olympus OM 100 F2 ).
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03-02-2007, 11:04 PM   #18
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So like..how much are this lenses? haha.
03-03-2007, 03:16 AM   #19
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I've been lurking around this forum for a little while now and have noticed that there seems to be little reference to the value of the various perspective differences provided by different focal lengths. It's almost as if focal length is being used solely as a framing device rather than as an integral part of the creation of an image.
Perspective within a picture is an important component of its composition, contributing in no small way to the visual and emotional impact. Your choice of focal length/field(angle) of view will always be influenced by the intended use of the image. e.g. web display, magazine illustration (also final size on the page and juxtapositioning with other components), poster displays', publicity hoardings, etc. etc.. So display size and viewing distance are primary considerations in the selection of which lens to to use to achieve the desired perspective within the image.
When it comes to the sharpness/softness of an image, the softening effect of atmospheric dispersion will degrade any image taken with a 'long' lens, whereas a 'shorter' focal length will require a shorter camera-to-subject distance, effectively reducing the atmospheric 'softening'. Of course, the creative use of 'aerial perspective' often benefits from the use of 'longer' focal lengths and the concomitant 'softening'.
Some manufacturers have, in the past, designed 'long' lenses which attempt to minimise the 'blue mountain' effect, but in so doing made them unacceptably 'warm' at nearer subject distances and totally useless in the dry clear air and prevailing 'redness' of desert environments. I've thrown away quite a few.
There's a heap of written material to be found on both compositional and aerial perspective in fine art and photography books and I'd suggest that anyone with a genuine interest in creating pictures (as opposed to merely being an equipment freak) take advantage of both well writtten books and gallery exhibitions of all forms of art.

03-03-2007, 10:28 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by barondla Quote
There are primes and then there are primes. Haven't seen many great primes that have the look of the 31 & 77 Limited.
While the Limiteds are perhaps some of the best examples of this quality, there are others, by every manufacturer, that exhibit this quality well.. and not necessarily ones you have to refinance the house to buy....

In the end, the prime vs zoom debate depends on your shooting style, they both work and both take excellent pictures. There will always be a spot for both in my bag. However, if conditions allow, I will always choose a prime over a zoom. IMO, a high quality prime will almost always out preform a high quality zoom, and if you are in the consumer lens market, even a cheap prime will almost always outperform a consumer level zoom, and in many cases even a high quality zoom, in every aspect of image quality.

For learning photography, I have no doubts that using a collection of primes will help make you a better photographer. You will more easily learn the perspectives and dof/compression effects of the different focal lengths. If you are already experienced, or have that natural creativity that all the truly great photographers, musicians, and other artists poses, a zoom may actually let you be more creative.

Last edited by kbrabble; 03-03-2007 at 10:40 AM.
03-03-2007, 02:15 PM   #21
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lens size

I choose primes because

a) you can get some very nice ones very cheap, whereas cheap zooms are slow and plasticky. My old M and A lenses are really nice and sharp.

b) they are really small on the camera. I hate big lenses which stick out from the camera, they are bulky and obtrusive. Far better to have a couple of small primes in my shoulder bag and a small lens on the camera and it only takes a couple of secs to change lenses.

Of course there are exceptions. When you are at a fixed vantage point a zoom is very useful and I do own a 100-300mm because that was the only 300mm lens I could afford (50 secondhand).

The 100-300mm is cheap plastic but does have its advantages; at least its light to handhold! And at f11 and good light, even this lens can have its 3D days (but at f5.6 its mush)
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