Prime or Zooms?

Nikon_Josh

TPF Noob!
Joined
May 30, 2011
Messages
936
Reaction score
95
Location
Surrey, UK
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Yes I know, it's an age old debate.. but it is still a debate that fascinates me.

I just thought I would pose this question to the photo forum members. I myself use BOTH and think both serve different purposes. Also, IQ from primes and zooms is now pretty damn similar. So sharpness really isn't always the major advantage anymore. It's strange though, for some reason I love my primes more than I love my zooms. Why do I feel more affection to a fix focal lens over a zoom? Very strange and I am still yet to understand why.

I think the main advantage of a prime lens is the sense of discipline it installs in your mind, it makes you move your feet and view life in a specific frame of mind.

I feel I have to work differently when I use a prime, I feel I have to work harder to get the image. When I have a zoom, it can promote me to become lazier. But at the same time, a zoom is fantastic for fast changing situations and I find lens changes all the time a bit of pain to say the least.

So everyone, what are your takes on the prime vs zoom debate?
 

Bossy

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
1,372
Reaction score
252
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
My take is that there is not debate :) They both have a time and place.

(buuut, I prefer primes, because I feel I can get sharp glass for cheaper.)
 

Robin Usagani

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Messages
10,347
Reaction score
2,174
Location
Denver, CO
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
OP
N

Nikon_Josh

TPF Noob!
Joined
May 30, 2011
Messages
936
Reaction score
95
Location
Surrey, UK
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit

jake337

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jun 3, 2010
Messages
4,274
Reaction score
1,245
Location
minnesota
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I'm waiting for my pancake 10-500mm f1.2af-s with no distortions, ghosting, lens flare, etc....
 

Overread

has a hat around here somewhere
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
25,367
Reaction score
4,938
Location
UK - England
Website
www.deviantart.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I think each has their place and that different kinds of photographer are going to gravitate toward different options - furthermore there is also the factor of price to consider. I do agree that when one buys a quality zoom lens then the results from it are normally more than good enough for most peoples presentation requirements; so the primary lure of primes is generally more toward having that wider (typically) max aperture option (far as I know only the Sigma 200-500mm f2.8 is a case where the zoom is wider than the primes aperture wise).

My case I'll use either primes or zooms - however in focal ranges where I'm not using lenses as much as others I'm more likely to lean toward a single zoom to cover the range rather than specific primes. I can certainly see the advantage of lenses like a 50mm f1.4(or 1.2) and 85mm f1.4s etc.. - however since I don't shoot those ranges much they would be overkill - not just in collected costs, but also in space in the bag - so a nice 24-105mm would do for me.

Shift to the longer end and again it varies - a nice 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4 prime would be ideal - however if I were doing hide work I might also want a zoom along for the ride - for those cases when the subject moves closer than expected and is too close to frame a suitable composition with a prime.



In the end both have their place and provided that the photographer can get the shots that they want neither approach is, overall, "the best"
 

Robin Usagani

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Messages
10,347
Reaction score
2,174
Location
Denver, CO
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
But really though, people buy prime mostly for the DOF effect. Especially with today's high ISO capability, lenses faster than 2.8 isnt as important anymore. People shoot with ISO 6400 no problem.
 

jake337

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jun 3, 2010
Messages
4,274
Reaction score
1,245
Location
minnesota
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
But really though, people buy prime mostly for the DOF effect. Especially with today's high ISO capability, lenses faster than 2.8 isnt as important anymore. People shoot with ISO 6400 no problem.

Plus I've noticed the more you shoot the smaller your aperture gets over time, in some cases.

Size and weight might matter. After using the nikkor 300mm f4.5 for a couple weeks I'm having seconds thoughts of upgrading to a 300mm f2.8 ais someday. And that's a prime example, not a zoom.
 
OP
N

Nikon_Josh

TPF Noob!
Joined
May 30, 2011
Messages
936
Reaction score
95
Location
Surrey, UK
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I guess you could be right in some cases.

But you still get the people who use primes to photograph scenes.. etc..

Why might someone prefer a prime as a walkabout lens to the flexibility of a 24-70? That is another question to pose.

Good article here on the subject. Why shooting with just a 35mm lens WILL ... - Steve Huff Photos
 

Bossy

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
1,372
Reaction score
252
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
But really though, people buy prime mostly for the DOF effect. Especially with today's high ISO capability, lenses faster than 2.8 isnt as important anymore. People shoot with ISO 6400 no problem.

I have a silly question... I've read/heard higher aperture lenses are faster. Is that because at a wider ap you can have a faster ss? Or are they built different so they really are faster? *blushes*
 

chuasam

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Feb 9, 2012
Messages
3,588
Reaction score
928
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I use my 50/1.4 when I want to travel light. Just because I can shoot at ISO 6400 doesn't mean that I want to.
I also use my 24-70/2.8 but 2 stops is quite a bit of light to lose.
 

tirediron

Watch the Birdy!
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2005
Messages
45,747
Reaction score
14,802
Location
Victoria, BC
Website
www.johnsphotography.ca
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Lenses with a larger maximum aperture are referred to as "fast" because they admit more light, thus allowing a higher [faster] shutter-speed.

As far as the debate goes... doesn't anyone shoot MF or LF anymore? 2.8 is LIGHTNING fast when you're used to an f8 300mm! ;)
 

Overread

has a hat around here somewhere
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
25,367
Reaction score
4,938
Location
UK - England
Website
www.deviantart.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
But really though, people buy prime mostly for the DOF effect. Especially with today's high ISO capability, lenses faster than 2.8 isnt as important anymore. People shoot with ISO 6400 no problem.

I have a silly question... I've read/heard higher aperture lenses are faster. Is that because at a wider ap you can have a faster ss? Or are they built different so they really are faster? *blushes*

It refers to the aperture. "Faster" lenses are those which have a wider maximum aperture (smaller f number) and generally refers to the fact that a "faster" lens can use a wider aperture than most (eg f1.4 or f2) so that it lets in more light and thus can shoot at faster shutter speeds in dimmer conditions than other lenses.
They are also generally higher class lenses and thus will often have better AF motors, though this is not always the case. However a wider max aperture nearly always results in improved AF performance in dimmer lighting because the lens lets in more light for the AF sensors to work with
 

Bossy

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
1,372
Reaction score
252
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit

DiskoJoe

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
4,540
Reaction score
528
Location
Houston
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I like my primes because you get a wide aperture range then most zooms. Certain situation call for f1.8 over f2.8. So a zoom would not work good enough. But I think both can be useful. Plus with zooms you can cover lots of focal length with as few as 2-3 lenses where you would never be able to do that with primes. I have also seen zooms now a days that have better resolution then even some great prime lens. So I would say just go with what makes you feel comfortable and works with your style. There is not really a wrong way to go.
 

Most reactions

New Topics

Top