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Thread: Nikon Kit Lens (at wide focal lengths) vs Wide Primes

  1. #1

    Default Nikon Kit Lens (at wide focal lengths) vs Wide Primes

    Hi, would like to ask about the differences between a Kit Lens and a wide prime at the same focal length

    how would a 18-55VR(at 24mm F4) compare to a 24mm F2.8?
    or even 18-55VR (20mm at F3.5) compared to a 20mm F2.8?

    is the image quality very different? and does the extra few stops of light make a world of difference?

    Kit lens - roughly 100-200ish
    Prime lens - 400-600ish

    I tried googling for answers on this but i got very little answers on this and very differing views on the topic.

    Im not a pixel peeper but i would like to know if there is a very visible difference in IQ etc.
    Last edited by niteblade; 10th November 2011 at 11:12 PM.

  2. #2

    Default

    Not much diff, maybe a bit on e dof.. dun waste money on 2.8 prime lens
    D700 - 24-70mm F2.8 ED - 105mm VR2 Micro - Samyang 14mm - 50mm 1.8D - Mb 10 - SB900 - SB400

  3. #3
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nikon Kit Lens (at wide focal lengths) vs Wide Primes

    Quote Originally Posted by niteblade View Post
    Hi, would like to ask about the differences between a Kit Lens and a wide prime at the same focal length

    how would a 18-55VR(at 24mm F4) compare to a 24mm F2.8?
    or even 18-55VR (20mm at F3.5) compared to a 20mm F2.8?

    is the image quality very different? and does the extra few stops of light make a world of difference?

    Kit lens - roughly 100-200ish
    Prime lens - 400-600ish

    I tried googling for answers on this but i got very little answers on this and very differing views on the topic.

    Im not a pixel peeper but i would like to know if there is a very visible difference in IQ etc.
    Should not really be noticeable.
    Both the primes are FX lenses. Is that critical for you?
    Exploring! :)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Nikon Kit Lens (at wide focal lengths) vs Wide Primes

    The only diff is, what camera are you using ur 18-55mm on. If it's a DX camera body. Almost no diff, if it's FX body, then you "almost" can't use your kit DX lens. However, you might want to ask the similar question again. Is there a diff for using zoom lenses such at 14-24mm @ 20mm or 24mm versus 20mm prime and 24mm prime?
    Equipment: D800|D700|11-16|28-75|105 Micro VR|50 F1.4G|85 F1.8G
    Through the Lens of Cowseye

  5. #5

    Default Re: Nikon Kit Lens (at wide focal lengths) vs Wide Primes

    Hi niteblade,

    I was in a similar dilemma when I started. I sold the kit lens and went for a Sigma 20mm F1.8. (I was quite a fan of big aperture lenses, still am).

    If you compare most good primes to your kit at F4, there is certainly an improvement. But I believe the biggest factor to be considered is the cost of it, and the framing of things.

    I found 20 or 24mm primes rather limiting in field-of-view (FOV), but that could be a preference thing.

    Aperture may significantly affect your light intake, that is a point worth considering. That said, there are many good general zooms for cropped bodies that cover that range.


    IN MY PERSONAL OPINION - highlighted just so you know its nothing objective. Before everyone criticizes it as false information as well.
    Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 (non-VC) is a very good choice if you can get a good copy of it. I find my Tamron sharper than most wide angle primes wide open. You're on a Nikon system so I don't have a fair comparison.

    I say this only for cropped bodies by the way. Two reasons being:
    1) 17-50 F2.8 or 17-55mm F2.8 can't be used on full-frame effectively.
    2) Full frame General zooms usually cannot match Wide Primes on full frame.
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  6. #6

    Default Re: Nikon Kit Lens (at wide focal lengths) vs Wide Primes

    Quote Originally Posted by niteblade View Post
    Hi, would like to ask about the differences between a Kit Lens and a wide prime at the same focal length

    how would a 18-55VR(at 24mm F4) compare to a 24mm F2.8?
    or even 18-55VR (20mm at F3.5) compared to a 20mm F2.8?

    is the image quality very different? and does the extra few stops of light make a world of difference?


    Kit lens - roughly 100-200ish
    Prime lens - 400-600ish

    I tried googling for answers on this but i got very little answers on this and very differing views on the topic.

    Im not a pixel peeper but i would like to know if there is a very visible difference in IQ etc.

    Sharpness at normal viewing sizes won't be noticeable.
    Apparent sharpness due to the f2.8 lens having less DOF and giving more OOF blur will be noticeable.

    Usually, the faster lens is also sharper at larger picture samples stopped down a bit.
    Eg. 24/2.8 at f4 will be sharper than 18-55 at 24mm f4 (wide open).
    There may also be less distortion and vignetting on the prime, but I'm not a Nikon user, so I can't comment on the exact lens you are referring to.

    Usually primes are small too.
    There is of course the difference in light gathering ability (1 stop between f2.8 and f4; which means shooting at 1/60 instead of 1/30 all else being equal).



    As suggested above. Tamron 17-50/2.8 is quite a good compromise.
    Last edited by pinholecam; 11th November 2011 at 02:48 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nikkornos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nikon Kit Lens (at wide focal lengths) vs Wide Primes

    I use the old Tokina ATX-AF 17mm F3.5 to replace the 17mm end. Note that the Tokina is a fixed prime for Full frame (film).
    The advantage is less distortion. But for DSLR, may not really see the advantage?

    Another great lens is the old Sigma AF 24mm F2.8. It translate into a 36mm lens. Cheap and very good. Superb sharpness.





    Tokina 17.5mm ATX-AF F3.5


    Sigma 24mm F2.8 AF
    Last edited by Nikkornos; 11th November 2011 at 03:32 PM.
    MF Film user. Nikon D800 works too.

  8. #8

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    You pay for what you get, nothing is free. So is that few hundred dollar prime (24/2.8) satisfying your expectation ? Ask your self what you need, sharpness, distortion less image, fast focusing, bokeh (24/1.4) ?

    You should know your answer if you think through ..

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