Prime Dying?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Battou, May 5, 2008.

  1. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Are Prime and telephoto lenses becoming a thing of the past?

    It seems every where I go, people are looking for, talking about or just plain coveting some zoom lens or another. I see little on primes, not including of course the question about comparing a zoom max focal length with it's fixed counterpart. In fact just about all I see on primes is the ever present 50mm 1.8 vs. 50mm 1.4 query.


    Are we just getting that lazy that we can't be bothered to change lenses any more or is the world just getting so fast that we need to go from 85mm to 200 in the blink of an eye at all times?
     
  2. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Well, in the case of Nikons, the prime lenses, for the exception of the telephotos haven't been updated for 20 years. They're old news.

    With that in mind, many zoom lenses are surpassing the primes in quality. For example, the Nikon 24-70N is worlds better than the 24mm f/2.8, in sharpness, contrast, flare, AF performance, pretty much everything except for size.
     
  3. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've always kinda liked primes more. I use them a lot more too.

    Out of 7 lenses that I own, 3 are zooms - but only 1 of those gets any use (70-200 f/4L).
     
  4. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I do understand teles hold some exception, because some ranges are impractical for zooms, but mid and short range teles are disappearing only to be replaced with 70 - 200s or 100 - 300s and what not. What you said there offers further evidence to the concept that prime lenses are becoming a thing of the past, at the manufacturing level, for atleast Nikon. Am I right?
     
  5. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have 3 'short' primes 35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.8 & 85mm f/1.8, as well as 300mm f/4. If I'm doing planned shots, I try to use those when possible, but for walking around and not knowing what shot I might scare up, the zooms are very handy.

    However, if carrying my camera bag, the primes are always with me. Changing out lenses isn't a difficult task and I think the zooms a do have a tendancy to make you (me) lazy to work for composing a shot.
     
  6. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't see primes going away... but I also don't see them being updated too often. The technology on a prime has been pushed and it is difficult to market a new prime to the general public who generally doesn't understand prime versus zoom compromises. In the 80's and 70's, zooms pretty much sucked.. so there was a lot of improvements to be made therefore money to be made from a developing market.

    I personally prefer primes but it is easier to mobile with a zoom.

    Canon obviously still sees a market as they recently released the 85L and 50L. I can forsee a time when all lower-end primes in the Canon line disappear and ALL primes will be consider "L" lenses to focus on professionals who still find primes serves them best.
     
  7. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    It's not a matter of laziness but an ability to get the picture. Just yesterday I absolutely needed a zoom. There was no time to swap lenses and, even if I had primes on separate bodies, I would have had difficulty swapping cameras.

    Like most on the forum, I do prefer primes when I have the luxury of time.
     
  8. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think also there are many more light hobbyists around now than there ever were before. These sort of people tend to have a DSLR (not always though but most) and only want one or two lenses to do everything that they want - so they go for the telezooms based on:

    1) cost and convenience - 1 telezoom or 2 or 3 primes

    2) lack of understanding of the advantages of primes

    3) differnet requirements - these are weekend walkers and casual interest people, so for the most part a prime is not going to cover all the ranges thay they want - true the shots they get are not as good as with a prime (at the set ranges) but they are good enough for them - and they only need one zoom
     
  9. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Well Nikon is expected to release some new lenses within the next 2 months along with the D90 (D80x/s?) and my guess would be that those lenses will most likely be primes. I'm thinking AF-S versions of the 35 f/2, 50mm f/1.4, and 85/1.4. They're 20 year old lenses that need to be updated, maybe a 28mm f/1.4, since those went out of production in 06.

    If Nikon makes another zoom, my guess would be a new 70-200 f/2.8 or a 24-105 f/4 VR, but i doubt it on the 24-105 because of the new 24-70N.


    Pretty much the only thing I know for certain is that the D80 is going to be replaced pronto.
     
  10. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Prime lenses dying? Ok which company out there released a 18-70mm f/1.2?
     
  11. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That's a retorical question right?
     
  12. Zoolfoos

    Zoolfoos TPF Noob!

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    To start, nobody who buys an SLR packaged with a lens is going to get a prime. These companies don't ship primes with their cameras and a lot of casual photographers just go with the cheap lens that's included.

    When I started shooting, I shot with prime lenses 3/4 of the time, but I have to agree with Socrates. There are times when I just need a zoom. I work in PJ now, and there are opportunities to shoot with a prime lens, but if I'm doing sports, for example, that isn't an option. Many sports photographers have so little time to switch lenses that they actually shoot with two cameras.

    A lot of reporters have their own cameras, but they don't invest as much money in them as the dedicated photographers. That means that most of them buy zooms. It gives them the flexibility they need for most situations. Many of them also go with the cheap lens that's included with the camera. I hope that doesn't sound condescending.... all you reporters out there are fine fine folks.

    On that note - it's true that you can't beat the speed, and size of a prime lens. Mobility is also a nice thing to have at a game, and a long lens on a monopod definitely slows you down.
     

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