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09-08-2009, 08:36 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Indeed, but other things have texture too, and in any case, there is more to performance than sharpness.
I find it easy to say that sharpness is NOT the most important quality of a photo. It's not even second or third. But of all the qualities of lenses, sharpness seems to me to be the most important.


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That is indeed my point. The advantage of a prime isn't necessarily that it can do the things a zoom can do but do them better; it's that it can do things the zoom cannot do.
And vice versa. :-)


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I'd put it this way: zooms are great if you're mostly shooting in good light and thus don't need f/2.8 or better, if you've got room in your bag to cover the focal length you want to cover, and don't mind the fact that one of these zooms may double the weight of the camera.
The only zoom I've got whose size is at all problematic for me is the Pentax DA* 50-135 f/2.8.


QuoteQuote:
But if you also value low light shooting, being able to travel with a smaller bag, and working with a lighter camera, those are some important advantages to primes right there, totally independent of how good a picture they take of a brick wall.
Marc, I view this quite differently from you. To me, the zoom lens SAVES weight and takes up LESS space, because - at least at the moment - if I'm off to an event and thinking I'm going to shoot it with primes, I'm going to need to take everything I've got, where I might be able to get by with a single zoom lens. Not trying to be contentious here, just saying that I can go both ways on this very easily.

Will

09-08-2009, 11:25 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
of all the qualities of lenses, sharpness seems to me to be the most important.
I'm inclined to agree; I'd just observe that looking t sharpness *exclusively* is one of the things that can cause you to miss what might make a prime excel.

QuoteQuote:
The only zoom I've got whose size is at all problematic for me is the Pentax DA* 50-135 f/2.8.
Taken one at a time, I might feel similarly. On the other hand, I've got a bag that can easily fit four primes, but has a hard time fitting in my 18-55 and 50-200 (I have to remove the hoods), which are two of the smallest zooms around. Or, as another example, say I've got everything from 28 on up covered (either with primes or zooms), but decide I want to take another lens with me to give me wide angle capabilities. The DA21 would easily fit in the bag. A zoom probably wouldn't - I'd need a bigger bag.

QuoteQuote:
Marc, I view this quite differently from you. To me, the zoom lens SAVES weight and takes up LESS space, because - at least at the moment - if I'm off to an event and thinking I'm going to shoot it with primes, I'm going to need to take everything I've got, where I might be able to get by with a single zoom lens.
Again, you seem to not be considering the possibility of shooting in low light. Is this not something you do often? I'd say more around half my photos are at f/2.8. and there is no one single zoom lens that covers all focal lengths I use. You'd need two f/2.8 zooms - 16-50 and 50-135, say - to cover the sort of shots I take every day. And those two lenses combined are twice the weight of my basic prime kit (28, 40, 70, 135).

So it all depends on the situations you need to cover. If you only shoot in scenarios where one zoom can cover your needs, great - but you need to realize that there other scenarios out there - scenarios in which primes can provide a significant size/weight savings.

The point being, sure, there are *some* respects in which zooms provide more flexibility. But there are other respects in which primes provide more. That's why I own both, and carry the ones with me that will better suit the needs of the situation. If I expect to be in good light all day, I'll often take the 18-55 and 50-200, knwoing that the advantage of the primes will be meaningless, and the advantages of the zooms will win out. On the other hand, if I expect to be in low light much, I take the primes, for the converse reason. If I had two f/2.8 zooms, that would work too, but would make for a *much* larger and heavier kit.
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