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06-16-2010, 05:15 PM   #1
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What is the advantage of 21/35/40 prime vs a f2.8 zoom lens

Hi,

I have not owned any prime lens (except the DA14) and I would like to get the DA35 Ltd (and possibly the DA21) after my tax return. Like usual, all lens purchase must get the finance minister's approval and this time wifey posed this challenging question to me (now that she is also into photography) and I just could not answer.

She said that i already have a f2.8 zoom lens that cover the range between 21, 35 and 40 and at a fixed aperture of 2.8. I said that prime lenses are sharper and the DA35 has macro. She said that i am just nuts and those lenses i want are unjustified purchases.

I said the prime lenses are great for traveling on short trips. She said that surely a single f2.8 zoom lens is much more convenient that a couple of smaller prime lenses....

What do you guys think...am I just becoming another LBA addict (again?)

06-16-2010, 05:30 PM   #2
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Point out that primes can sometimes be faster than the 2.8 zoom. Case in point: The FA 50 comes in f1.4 and f1.7 flavours. Also, there tends to be more control in distortion with prime lenses.

But she is right about a single 2.8 zoom is more practical, especially when space is an issue.
06-16-2010, 06:02 PM   #3
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Sometimes there are other issues. Looking at jsherman's thread on the 15mm limited, I notice that flare seems practically non-existent, even shots directly into the sun, and the starburst created by bright points of light is just gorgeous.

Looking at the Tamron 17-50, sure it covers a lot more ground than just one lens, and thus is more versatile. But it does have some undesirable flare when you look at similar situations. It takes great pictures, no doubt, but just looking at the construction (16 elements in 13 groups) you can tell it would be more prone to flare than the 15mm. (8 elements, 6 groups).

So don't overlook certain intangibles there regarding image quality when attempting to justify a lens. Or get a second job for a little to pay for your lba, then at least you're not spending mortgage money on lenses. hehe..
06-16-2010, 06:22 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by raider Quote
What do you guys think...am I just becoming another LBA addict (again?)
Depends on what you shoot, how often you want to change lenses, how much pixel peeping you do, limitations of your existing equipment, how much you want to talk about bokeh and rendering - and your wife's OK.

06-16-2010, 07:40 PM   #5
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Well, there's this: The Online Photographer: The Case Against Zooms

But also, the DA Limited series (excepting the 35mm Macro) -- 15mm/21mm/40mm/70mm -- weighs the same in total as the 16-50mm f/2.8, and I'm pretty sure they take up less space in a camera bag, too.
06-16-2010, 08:11 PM   #6
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I use zooms when speed (the ability to quickly frame and take a shot) is critical.

I use primes when discretion (not bringing attention to one's self or intimidating subjects) is critical.

Besides, she must have some hobby or fetish (handbags, shoes, or, so as not to be completely sexist, motorcycles where she sees distinctions in products that most people don't.
06-17-2010, 03:11 AM   #7
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Thanks for your comments. I think i know just the way to "persuade" my wife now
06-17-2010, 05:28 AM   #8
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The bokeh of certain prime lenses can be more pleasing to the eye. And the short focussing distance of the DA 35 limited is also a plus. Just trying to help!

06-17-2010, 08:57 AM   #9
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You have to move around more, so you get some exercise? I think I'm going to try that one myself...
06-17-2010, 09:11 AM   #10
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Don't know anything about your wife but many fine frugal wives (with photography experience) will be prone to:
1) Make side comments when you screw on that expensive new prime
2) Make side comments when you struggle to frame a shot while she simply zooms in
3) Make side comments when you opt for the zoom while at the focal range of the prime
4) Make side comments that the pics don't look any better than those with the zoom

Of course, these sort of women are far and few between and this is merely a cheap caricature.

However, if you
A) Get her hooked on primes
B) Make $$ with your prime pics
C) Take amazing portraits of her with the prime
the expense will be forgotten.
06-17-2010, 12:27 PM   #11
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Easiest way I know to demonstrate the value would be to ask her to hold the camera for an hour or two with the 16-50 mounted, then do the same with a DA35 or DA21 (assuming you have access to one). Difference in IQ will be slight and subjective; differences in speed non-existent with the specific primes you are considering, but differences in size weight are immediate, obvious, and dramatic. With the 35, you could of course demonstrate macro too.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 06-18-2010 at 09:38 AM.
06-17-2010, 03:22 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
Well, there's this:
Hardly. It purports that because a zoom has a wide variety of FOVs, the user can't figure out a good one, or that you must only use the same one, or that somehow one FOV works everywhere. Pure stinkum.
06-17-2010, 03:30 PM   #13
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didnt Canon used to make a 200mm f/1.8?

I would say it was best of both worlds.
06-17-2010, 10:01 PM   #14
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I don't suppose trading in the good lady wife for the primes is an option??
06-17-2010, 10:10 PM   #15
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My question is why do you want to buy a bunch of lenses that you don't know what they're good for?
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