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03-18-2009, 06:57 PM   #1
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Zooms and you

Just curious, how many of you find yourselves using the full range of the zoom, and how many just rack it to either end and shoot?

I was going through shots and realized that out of my two zooms (15-30 and 50-500) the 15 stayed at 15 95% of the time, and the 500 lived at 500.

In other words, my mind was set on "ultrawide" or "really long".

I did keep two bodies on me most of the time, with one being around "normal" and one either "ultrawide" or "long".

Maybe I should just ditch the zooms and get a 14/15 prime and a 400/500 prime?

03-18-2009, 07:15 PM   #2
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I noticed that when I had the 50-135. I was either at 50mm and too lazy to switch lenses, or at 135 and wishing there was more. The 16-50 was better, I used more focal lengths, but did use 16mm a lot. The fisheye zoom I treat as two lenses, extra fishy at 10mm, and a standard wide at 17mm.
Maybe that's the way to buy zooms, find one with min and max focal lengths you want and use it as two lenses in one package.
Ryan
03-18-2009, 07:41 PM   #3
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I can't cite data but I really use my Sigma 70-200mm throughout the range. It's sort of my "default lens"--the one that's on the camera at the beginning and end of the day but if want longer or shorter, I've got the go-to primes and don't hesitate to use 'em. For that matter, I'll use primes within its range as circumstances (or whim) dictates.
03-18-2009, 07:41 PM   #4
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I've often heard that that is what people tend to do a lot with zoom lenses, but I find myself using pretty much the entire range. Because I tend to use the zoom function to frame my photos. I look through the viewfinder, and imagine how I would crop it, then will zoom so that the crop area will fill my frame. At least, that is how I'll shoot with my constant aperture zooms (Simga 18-50mm f2.8, DA 12-24, DA 10-17 fisheye when I still had it).

Even shooting the DA 55-300mm, when, of course, like everybody else, I would on occasions find myself at 300mm and wishing there was more, I actually will shoot a lot around 120mm and 200mm, just before the minimum aperture bumps up to f4.5 and f5.6, respectively. I actually won't use much in the shorter range of the 55-300, because I have plenty of MF 50/58/85mm primes :-)

03-18-2009, 08:12 PM   #5
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I fall into the category of those who always used one end or the other of my zooms. For that reason among others I use primes all the time.

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03-18-2009, 08:34 PM   #6
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I pretty much use my zooms like rawhead, I look at the shot at either end, then zoom in/out to for precise framing... but recently, I've been using my primes a lot for the IQ and added challenge...
03-18-2009, 08:58 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
Just curious, how many of you find yourselves using the full range of the zoom, and how many just rack it to either end and shoot?

I was going through shots and realized that out of my two zooms (15-30 and 50-500) the 15 stayed at 15 95% of the time, and the 500 lived at 500.

In other words, my mind was set on "ultrawide" or "really long".

I did keep two bodies on me most of the time, with one being around "normal" and one either "ultrawide" or "long".

Maybe I should just ditch the zooms and get a 14/15 prime and a 400/500 prime?
Good question - I fall on both sides of the issue depending on the zoom.

The Bigma is seldom at less than 500mm (except that it's now packed in it's box waiting for a buyer - replaced with a 400mm prime ). Honestly it feels impossibly wrong to shoot that thing at 50mm although the results are decent. With the 16-50, I try to use it like a range of primes - envision the shot, pick a field of view and angle and work with it - I do end up at 16mm and 50mm a lot though for the same reasons everybody else does.

QuoteQuote:
In other words, my mind was set on "ultrawide" or "really long".
I'm in the same boat here... I've thought a lot about this and I think it comes down to how we perceive things. If we see a bird a few hundred feet away, our eye can't really resolve the details, but our "minds eye" can fill in those details, so we see that hawk on the tree top in all his detailed glory, but if we shoot him with a 50mm lens we get much less detail than we see in our mind when we look at him... OTOH, when we see a majestic landscape, we often take in the whole scene even though our sharp vision is limited in field of view, we can remember the details for our whole scene, and therefore even just the reminder provided by our peripheral vision, combined with the fact that we can turn our heads and look around, is enough to give us the grand view which we then try to approximate with wide/ultra-wide angle lenses.

QuoteOriginally posted by ryno Quote
...
The fisheye zoom I treat as two lenses, extra fishy at 10mm, and a standard wide at 17mm.
...
Ryan
Hey, I thought I had your FE zoom (I think you mentioned getting another copy though in another conversation)... I take it a step further and seldom leave 10mm on that lens. I should try it's "long end" more.
03-18-2009, 09:10 PM   #8
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I have the Pentax 16-45mm f/4 and I gathered statistics on which focal lengths I commonly used. which was quite interesting because it turns out I use the 35-28mm range the most, with 16mm and 45mm trailing behind.

Therefore: I'm cutting the crap and getting the 31mm f/1.8 limited, and giving the zoom to one of my in-laws when he gets a DSLR - I MIGHT get the DA15mm f/4

I use my Pentax K 50mm f/1.2 most of the time, and I use the 77mm f/1.8 limited for those times when 75mm doesn't give me the reach I need. My sigma 100-300mm f/4 zoom gets use all over it's spacious range, I tend to use 280mm setting a lot though.


Last edited by Digitalis; 03-18-2009 at 09:23 PM.
03-18-2009, 10:51 PM   #9
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Throughout the range - I frame with zoom often, especially when I cannot move in or away from my subject, so my zooms come in handy.

In this regard, the majority of my lenses are zooms - but I use my primes often, too.
03-18-2009, 11:22 PM   #10
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It's situational for me. If I'm shooting people I use the zoom as a framing tool quite a bit. With the 50-135 shooting portraits I'm usually somewhere in the middle between 70mm and 105mm. Candids around the house with the 17-50 I'm more likely to be locked at one end or the other. At the zoo I can rarely get close enough so whichever zoom is mounted will be pegged at the long end.

I have noticed recently that a side effect of getting into portraits is causing me to consciously think about perspective. As a result I'm zooming with my feet more and then using the lens to fine tune the composition.
03-19-2009, 01:50 AM   #11
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the only zoom I use at the moment is Sigma 10-20 and it's mostly stuck at 10mm rarely going to ~17mm, nearly never to 20mm. The other two zooms I have (18-55, 70-300) are used by my wife, and I believe she uses the full range...
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03-19-2009, 02:20 AM   #12
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I have the Pentax 12-24, 16-45,16-50, 50-135 lenses. In all cases, I use the full range on all of them except the 50-135 which I have never used on a pro shoot. Just too long for most of what I do indoors. If I were to do a full study of all of the focal lengths I have used (and that would take me too long to determine), I would say somewhere between 14-40 mm is where they reside in about 75 percent of the images. When using the Pentax 12-24, I use the full range. The 12-24 is one of my favorite Pentax lenses.

These examples Pentax 12-24 lens. First at 21mm. Second at 14mm. Third shot with DA 16-50 at 29mm.
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Last edited by benjikan; 03-19-2009 at 02:39 AM.
03-19-2009, 02:57 AM   #13
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I know I have this behaviour with the DA10-17 fisheye, but it is not so strange since I would actually prefer to have a fixed fisheye and an extreme wide angle prime, so that is how I use it.

The DA*16-50 is too early to say, I recently got it.

My other frequently used zoom is the DA*50-135, and there I realy try to use the middle range and avoid the extreme ends. In both cases I have good primes that does better at 50mm and 135mm. When I've tested the DA*50-135 against my A/A* primes, it is clear that the DA*50-135 is not that very good at 50 and 135mm (less sharp and perhaps some light fall off, people say it also have some distorsion, but my brick wall is not regular enough for me to be able to see that), but in the middle at 85 and 100mm it compares well against my best primes closed down and OK even at f2.8.

I believe this is the typical behaviour of most zoom lenses. They are optimised and constructed with some compromises that works better in the middle of the zoom range and not so well in the extreme ends, or else they would be impossibly heavy and expensive. Therefore it is actually quite stupid to only use the extreme ends, since you don't get the best out of your lens.

As far as I can recall, from when I was still shooting a lot with the MZ5, the FA28-70 f4 is one lens that behaves quite well over the whole zoom range, but it is probably easier to build a zoom with such short zoom range.
03-19-2009, 02:59 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by benjikan Quote
I have the Pentax 12-24, 16-45,16-50, 50-135 lenses. In all cases, I use the full range on all of them except the 50-135 which I have never used on a pro shoot. Just too long for most of what I do indoors. If I were to do a full study of all of the focal lengths I have used (and that would take me too long to determine), I would say somewhere between 14-40 mm is where they reside in about 75 percent of the images. When using the Pentax 12-24, I use the full range. The 12-24 is one of my favorite Pentax lenses.

These examples Pentax 12-24 lens. First at 21mm. Second at 14mm. Third shot with DA 16-50 at 29mm.
Fantastic shots Ben. You truly paint with light. Definitely a movie atmosphere. Trs bon!
03-19-2009, 03:57 AM   #15
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Checking Lightroom I find that I use both my zooms through their range.
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