Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
03-28-2007, 07:24 AM   #1
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Elmira, On, Canada
Posts: 445
Dillema: Buy Primes or Zooms? - Long

The last thing that I want to do with this question is to start a prime vs zoom quality battle. For sake of argument, let's say that the quality of either are sufficient for my purposes.

I'm just trying to straighten out my thought process. I've saved up sufficient funds for a new limited lens, but my next step is going set me on a road which could become costly.

Current lens kit:
DA18-55
FA28/2.8
F50/1.7
FA100/2.8 Macro
DA50-200
Sigma AP0400/5.6
(plus a number of other lenses that don't get much use any more)

For much of my photography, I'm bouncing between the FA100/2.8 Macro (for the FL, not so much for Macro functionality), and the FA28/2.8. The F50/1.7 is probably 3rd for low-light, and the 18-55 & 50-200 are used when I'm outside of my prime reach.

Favourite subjects: Landscapes/waterscapes, Cemetaries, Churches, mediocre close-ups, Concerts, Family snapshots, vacations, etc. See Dave Kennedy's Photo Galleries at pbase.com

I really like shooting with the primes, as me it forces me to slow down and think about what I'm doing. Zooms are super convenient when I don't have the time to think (family snaps etc).

Small size is nice, portable. Primes are great for this, but become less convenient when I need to carry more than one, off the body. Not as fast when I need to change FLs.

I've been able to save up enough cash in the past 6 months or so, to buy a DA70 Limited, DA21 Limited, DA14, DA16-45, or 12-24 (or work towards a DA*16-50).

Hence my dillema. From what I've heard, all of these lenses are great. I know, if I go with primes, I'm going to eventually want to work towards
DA21, DA70, DA14. Around $1800 CDN. Nice, compact (except for the DA14 - it would be last on the list). It would keep the LBA alive for a long time.

Zooms are a different story. None of them are small compact solutions.
DA16-45 around $400 CDN. - Probably cover most of what I want.
DA12-24 around $750 CDN - could work well with the primes I have, fillling in the wider end.
DA16-50 well....

Or I could just be happy with what I have, and put the money into RRSPs , PC, or something else less fun.

My brain tells me DA16-45. My heart tells me primes. What would you do?

03-28-2007, 08:38 AM   #2
Veteran Member
Finn's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Phoenix
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,056
Well, since it looks like you have 18-200mm covered pretty well with zoom lenses, I'd go with the DA 21mm. Compact, ~32mm equivalent so a good all-purpose wide angle. But maybe I'm just saying that because I want one...
03-28-2007, 08:41 AM   #3
Senior Member
Trawlerman's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Hull, Yorkshire, UK
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 210
QuoteOriginally posted by davek Quote
My brain tells me DA16-45. My heart tells me primes. What would you do?
Go with the primes. Overall they will produce a better image due to less CA etc. but more importantly, if you settle for the next best in zooms you will doubt your wisdom in buying the zooms and probably end up getting the primes anyway at some point in the future.

Go for the Primes mate.
03-28-2007, 08:49 AM   #4
Pentaxian




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: West Chester, PA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,420
QuoteOriginally posted by davek Quote
The last thing that I want to do with this question is to start a prime vs zoom quality battle.
I'm always up for that conversation! To help with the context of my comments, I own only primes. Yes, thanks to selling my excellent Tamron 28-75/2.8 (to a very good home I'm glad to see) I own zero (0) zooms.

QuoteQuote:
For much of my photography, I'm bouncing between the FA100/2.8 Macro (for the FL, not so much for Macro functionality), and the FA28/2.8. The F50/1.7 is probably 3rd for low-light, and the 18-55 & 50-200 are used when I'm outside of my prime reach.
(snipped)
I've been able to save up enough cash in the past 6 months or so, to buy a DA70 Limited, DA21 Limited, DA14, DA16-45, or 12-24 (or work towards a DA*16-50).
Out of those lenses, the only one that mildly interests me is the DA16-45! The DA70 and 21 I'm not too fond of, and I haven't seen enough from the DA14 to pass judgement.
I really don't like the Tokina pictures from the 16-50 - I need to see the Pentax version prior to committing to this lens! (I still have hope because Ned's pictures from the 50-135 are excellent!)
For the 12-24 I don't really have an opinion.
I know I like the rendering characteristics of the 16-45, so if you don't care about the slow f/4, this would be my pick.

By the way, I really want a DA40/2.8. If I were interested in a uber-small prime, this would be the one.

I'd also bet, based on your liking 100mm FL, that you would like an 85mm prime. Too bad the auto-focus version is nearly impossible to find, and impossible to find cheap.

If you're OK with manual focus, your options open up considerably. IMO everyone needs an A50/1.2, and the A24/2.8 is also stellar. I've also grown to love my SMC Takumar 135/2.5 and Super-Tak 85/1.9.


Hope this helps!
--Sean

03-28-2007, 02:13 PM   #5
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Elmira, On, Canada
Posts: 445
Original Poster
Thanks all.

Finn; the 21mm was the target for the first one to buy.

Trawlerman: That's what I fear most. Buying the zoom & then still wanting the primes.

Carpents: Some interesting points. Yup an 85 would be nice. I've also considered a 135/2.8, but those aren't terribly plentiful around here. Interestingly enough, I have no desire for the 40/2.8

Decisions, descisions....
03-28-2007, 07:31 PM   #6
Site Supporter
SpecialK's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: So California
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 14,430
QuoteOriginally posted by davek Quote
(plus a number of other lenses that don't get much use any more)

My heart tells me primes. What would you do?
Go with your heart. However, I'm intersted in which lenses you have that you don't use much...:-)
03-28-2007, 09:22 PM   #7
Veteran Member
roentarre's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 11,794
Go with your heart too!

I love primes - composition skill would improve. A fast prime is so handy in almost all sorts of situations except in a dusty or raining day... Changing lenses is quite a challenge

I used Pentax gear for travelling for the sake of using all these tiny primes. So light and handy to carry preserving the similar photo quality of other big brand heavy chunky primes. What is more is the capability of low light shots.

Speaking of DA* zooms, I am only buying them for the sake of occasional wedding shooting and lending them to my brother or mum for their own day trips.

Currently I am travelling and all 4 primes really sufficed for me:

Da 14

f8 1/60 SR


f4 1/10 SR


f4 1/20 SR





Fa 31

1/45s f/2.8



1/10 f2



Fa 43

f3.5 1/45 SR



Fa 77

f2.4



All these 4 lenses really saved me from using tripod and all fit into a waste lowpro bag.

When I decide to go for a walk or attend an event, I can decide which one of them to take along. It is a great thing to own lenses.
03-28-2007, 09:43 PM   #8
Veteran Member
FotoPete's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,710
Ok now I finally understand why the DA 14mm costs more than all my cameras put together haha. Those are the sharpest wideangle shots I've ever seen haha!

03-28-2007, 11:30 PM   #9
Veteran Member




Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 593
These are wonderful photos, James!

QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
Go with your heart too!

I love primes - composition skill would improve. A fast prime is so handy in almost all sorts of situations except in a dusty or raining day... Changing lenses is quite a challenge

I used Pentax gear for travelling for the sake of using all these tiny primes. So light and handy to carry preserving the similar photo quality of other big brand heavy chunky primes. What is more is the capability of low light shots.

Speaking of DA* zooms, I am only buying them for the sake of occasional wedding shooting and lending them to my brother or mum for their own day trips.

Currently I am travelling and all 4 primes really sufficed for me:

Da 14

f8 1/60 SR


f4 1/10 SR


f4 1/20 SR





Fa 31

1/45s f/2.8



1/10 f2



Fa 43

f3.5 1/45 SR



Fa 77

f2.4



All these 4 lenses really saved me from using tripod and all fit into a waste lowpro bag.

When I decide to go for a walk or attend an event, I can decide which one of them to take along. It is a great thing to own lenses.
03-29-2007, 03:39 AM   #10
Inactive Account




Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 38
My experience

Well, I bought the 14, 21, 40, and 70 mm primes when I picked up my K10D in December and went straight to Tenerife with my wife. I also had the 50-200 from before. I absolutely loved (and still love) the results I achieved with all these (mostly prime) lenses there.

However, constantly chaning lenses became an obstacle since I didn't want to force my wife to wait over and over again while a went over a particular scene fine times with five different lenses to get everything out of the opportunity before moving on.

Obviously, I chose to pass many opportunities by because I happened to have the wrong lens mounted - it was after all a vacation for the two of us, not my own dedicated photo safari.

Therefore, I have sold all my lenses to finance the two new DA*'s. I figure they will be at least as good as the DA 50-200 I sold - probably even better. I'm not saying they are better than primes but that isn't a requirement of mine; I just want something on par with or above what the DA 50-200 can do.

I rarely just go out for my self to take pictures; it's more on vacations with my wife or on business trips. In both cases I have to be able to work fairly fast since I don't want to be poor campany or simply have only limited time. So it's back to zooms for me.

Maybe, if I could afford it I would have kept the primes but I'm not sure it wouldn't have nagged me to own quality primes that almost never got used!

Don't know if this help at all but at least it's one out of many perspectives on your concerns. Good luck!
03-29-2007, 09:04 AM   #11
Veteran Member
FotoPete's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,710
QuoteOriginally posted by larugl Quote
Well, I bought the 14, 21, 40, and 70 mm primes when I picked up my K10D .....................I have sold all my lenses to finance the two new DA*'s.
how....dare...you..
03-29-2007, 09:18 AM   #12
Forum Member




Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: TN
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 58
I own both primes and zooms. Conventional wisdom, often repeated, is that primes are sharper - and years ago, that was true. I don't think it's nearly as true today, but the legend never dies ...

One thing to consider when choosing, though, is where and what you'll be shooting. I live in an area with a lot of mountains, so the idea of walking around to get a better composition could put me over a cliff. Trails mean real hiking so weight is an issue, and after making the effort I'm not about to go home empty handed just because I chose the wrong primes. I've never been disappointed in the quality, even though I frequently opt for a lightweight zoom or two.

Bottom line in my book: Base your choice on what your needs are and not just on technical specs. They play a part, but only you know if you're where it's flat, mountainous, remote, in town, near a beach, etc. Ask yourself what you need to be able to shoot that you can't shoot now, and you'll know what to get next.
03-29-2007, 09:51 AM   #13
Veteran Member
FotoPete's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,710
Haha it was semi true then. Now thats there's like 2 stovepipes on this forum haha. but yea I still think that while some zooms may approach prime lenses in sharpness or exceed in some cases, primes will always have better bokeh and contrast by virtue of having less lens elements.

Its kinda funny though. The 50/2 has 5, 50/1.7 has 6 and the 50/1.4 has 7 lens elements.
03-29-2007, 03:36 PM   #14
Senior Member




Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Vancouver BC
Posts: 230
I went for a hike in the snow today after dropping my 4 boys off skiing. At the last minute before going I took my 50 1.4 out of my pack. I had with my my 16-45 which I like and figured that and a couple other zooms I had should cover the range. I even took my wife's point n shoot which I put in movie mode to catch a couple shots of my youngest with his instructor. I found out what I missed most on my outing today - bokeh. Nothing quite like a nice sharp image with the subject nicely focussed surrounded by some good bokeh. That's the downside to a zoom, that and how slow they tend to be.

That said, I think my first LBA priority is still another zoom - the 50-135. I can feel the pain in my pocket book already, but I have a good bullet to bite when the exchange comes to pass.
03-30-2007, 06:28 AM   #15
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Elmira, On, Canada
Posts: 445
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by silvershoes Quote
One thing to consider when choosing, though, is where and what you'll be shooting. I live in an area with a lot of mountains, so the idea of walking around to get a better composition could put me over a cliff. Trails mean real hiking so weight is an issue, and after making the effort I'm not about to go home empty handed just because I chose the wrong primes. I've never been disappointed in the quality, even though I frequently opt for a lightweight zoom or two.
Some great widom here. Probably, means to me that the best solution is going to be a combination of Primes & Zooms. Sometimes I carry just the zoom, when I'm not certain what's ahead, and I need to go light. Other times, I'll through the primes on when I need the speed, or can take my time.

QuoteQuote:
Bottom line in my book: Base your choice on what your needs are and not just on technical specs. They play a part, but only you know if you're where it's flat, mountainous, remote, in town, near a beach, etc. Ask yourself what you need to be able to shoot that you can't shoot now, and you'll know what to get next.
For me, I wish it were that simple. I'm trying to avoid getting a lens, and then outgrowing it, and then having to buy again. I'm quite certain that I'd be extremely happy with either the 16-45 or the limited solution, *for a time*. Question is... will that last?

I guess that's the nature of LBA, always to want something more. Do most forum members plan to keep their new lenses for years? Or is the conventional thought to buy what I can now, and upgrade down the road?

I really appreciate all the comments & input on this. Given me much to think about. Unfortunately there is no perfect solution.

(wonderful shots roentarre!)

Thanks.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
cdn, da14, da16-45, da21, da70, fa28/2.8, k-mount, lens, macro, pentax lens, primes, quality, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Primes, Zooms or both? kshapero Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 25 01-15-2009 08:57 PM
primes vs zooms ? gokenin Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 34 02-12-2008 02:21 PM
Zooms vs. Primes superbass Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 33 11-08-2007 08:34 AM
New zooms VS Old Primes Cloggy Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 7 08-01-2007 02:00 AM
4 zooms+3 Primes + 1 Body = ..... -=JoN=- Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 03-14-2007 06:15 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:27 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top