Prime vs zoom


007

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#1
Prime setup:
20mm
35mm
50mm
85mm
105mm
180mm

Zoom setup:
14-24
24-70
70-200

Hi, All, would like to get opinion on prime and zoom setup. I have searched for the pros and cons for both setup, among the main pros and cons are:

1) For prime, we can get better image quality, relatively lower cost (excluding some really expensive prime e.g.: 24mm f1.4), lighter, bigger aperture

2) For zoom, on the other hand, we save the trouble to change lens that frequent (relatively), higher cost (however, if compare to full prime setup, actually cheaper), heavier biggest aperture normally starts at 2.8 and versatility.


Therefore I would like to get opinions for CSers who have similar experience to this topic: mainly use for travelling/ street photography, portraitures and events.
For me, prime’s main cons are troublesome on keep on changing lens for different focal length have the higher risk to miss some great shots (relatively), more worries about which lens to use and attract more dust (as frequent changing lenses). I foresee the frustration of changing lens under scorching sun light with dusty environment with the risk to drop the lens, touch wood!

Whereby for zoom, main problem are 14-24 weighs close to 1kg, 24-70 close to 1kg and 70-200 around 1.5 kg. Together with FX body, minimum holding around 2kg – 2.5kg (excluding battery pack, if any), is it possible to hold such setup for few hours. Please bear in mind if carrying such setup for hours, even the VR can’t reduce the shake!

Personally, when I owned previous system, I used the mix of medium zoom with primes. For travelling, I have seen quite similar setup but more common setup are either :
16-35 & 70-200 (UWA lover) or
24-70 & 70-200 (medium zoom lover).

So now the question is, which setup, prime or zoom, will you bring for travelling or events given that you can only choose either.

I have anticipated that prime is feasible because 20mm will be used to cover landscape, 35 to 85mm for walkabout lenses and 105/135mm for portrait with 180mm for tele prime. However, for zoom, it has the higher chance to capture great moment without missing it, however the weights are the drawback.
 

tweakmax2

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#2
I prefer 50mm prime if I am in a room setting.. Fast focus and IQ is main priorty
 

tweakmax2

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Pasir Ris
#3
I prefer 50mm prime if I am in a room setting.. Fast focus and IQ is main priorty
 

Jan 28, 2011
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#4
Whereby for zoom, main problem are 14-24 weighs close to 1kg, 24-70 close to 1kg and 70-200 around 1.5 kg. Together with FX body, minimum holding around 2kg – 2.5kg (excluding battery pack, if any), is it possible to hold such setup for few hours. Please bear in mind if carrying such setup for hours, even the VR can’t reduce the shake!
Today i sling my d700+n24-70 entire day from 10pm til 5pm ... feels alright especially when you have the correct neck strap.
 

Sgdevilzz

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May 16, 2010
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#5
This is a good read for your situation. http://www.digital-photography-school.com/prime-vs-zoom-lenses-which-are-best

If you wanna get straight to the point, i've grab one of his comments about it.

"Obviously there is a range of factors to consider and ultimately the decision will come down to a number of factors including the type and style of photography that you do, your budget, the need for portability, how often you’re willing to change lenses, the quality you’re after and the shooting conditions you’ll be shooting in.
My own approach with lenses is to go with both."
 

Jan 28, 2011
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#6
When i travel... I carry only
1) 24-70 f2.8
2) 50 f1.4G
 

s1221ljc

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May 7, 2006
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#7
You've already done your homework, asked all the questions, discussed at length & know the differences both positive & negative between the two. The rest is just up to your own choice, your personal preferences, photography style & budget, notwithstanding the experiences of others. Thought you already "currently deciding between set 1 and set 2"?
 

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edutilos-

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#8
For prime, we can get better image quality, relatively lower cost (excluding some really expensive prime e.g.: 24mm f1.4), lighter, bigger aperture
Not true that you can always get better image quality... It depends on what you're comparing, but it is not necessarily true that a prime yields better IQ all the time to a comparable zoom with prime focal length inside its range.
 

brapodam

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#10
Try a zoom setup and prime setup (rent whatever you want to try). Are you more comfortable with the zoom setup or the prime setup? That will help you decide. Of course, you don't have to rent the whole setup, you can just rent, say, a 24mm f2.8D, 85mm f1.8D, and a 24-70 f2.8, and try them out. No point forcing yourself to a prime setup if your style is better suited to zooms, and vice versa.

Otherwise, get a mix, like a 14-24 f2.8, 50/1.4G, 70-200 VRII. Something like that.

Remember, the best lens setup for you is not the one with the best image quality etc, it is the one that you feel most comfortable using.
 

betta01

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#11
I am a prime lens user, the Nikon AFD series is relative cheap and light weight, image quality is good too.
Personally for me the low f stops and light weight of a prime lens is addictive enough for me to give up zoom lens completely.
 

brapodam

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#12
I am a prime lens user, the Nikon AFD series is relative cheap and light weight, image quality is good too.
Personally for me the low f stops and light weight of a prime lens is addictive enough for me to give up zoom lens completely.
Nikon has some outstanding zoom lenses though, the 14-24, 24-70, 70-200 VR2. IQ of the old prime lenses especially in the 24-70 range (24/2.8D, 50/1.8D, 50/1.4D) are not that far off from these new lenses (and in some cases even poorer than the zooms).

Of course, the light weight and relative prices of the primes make them attractive.
 

kentwong81

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Jun 18, 2010
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#13
The new prime lenses 24/35/85mm f1.4G are super poisonous.
A good picture always comes from good composition and good camera settings first, then follow by the lenses to execute a good photo. But with the wider apertures and low light ability given by these new prime lenses, you can add another dimension to your photos which the kit lenses and zoom lenses(widest at f2.8 only) are unable to do so. These benefits come with a price though. You have to evaluate the price at your own. Everyone is different.
 

baggiolee

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#15
My Qs is how good is the IQ of the top end primes (recently released 24, 35, 85 f1.4) compared to the 14-24, 24-70 n 70-200 f2.8? to justify such a price tag..
 

kentwong81

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#16
My Qs is how good is the IQ of the top end primes (recently released 24, 35, 85 f1.4) compared to the 14-24, 24-70 n 70-200 f2.8? to justify such a price tag..
You may refer to the links below:

85mm f1.4G vs 70-200 mm VRII
24mm f1.4G vs 14-24mm f2.8
24mm f1.4G vs 16-35mm f4 VR

How to justify something worth the money? Everyone has different measurement. Do you think buying a $500k sports car worth the money when you cannot drive more than 120km/hour in Singapore? Do you think it's worth to buy a $900k condo while you spend a lot of time working and not at home? Do you think it's worth to buy a $5k Tag-Heur watch when you don't wear it 24 hours everyday? Do you think it's worth to buy a $20k Chanel bag when you only carry it during the weekends?
 

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Omega23

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#17
My Qs is how good is the IQ of the top end primes (recently released 24, 35, 85 f1.4) compared to the 14-24, 24-70 n 70-200 f2.8? to justify such a price tag..
there are many reviews out there and the new primes excel much better then the zoom in contrast and sharpness. Plus F1.4 vs F2.8 u get extra 2 stop.. and the light weight of primes... this is how you justify... if u can't, then zoom suit u well..
 

007

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#20
You've already done your homework, asked all the questions, discussed at length & know the differences both positive & negative between the two. The rest is just up to your own choice, your personal preferences, photography style & budget, notwithstanding the experiences of others. Thought you already "currently deciding between set 1 and set 2"?
Hi, bro, thanks for the advice. I would like to bring these topics for discussion to avoid being regret in future. It's a pain to sell these items in later time. Nevertheless, we get to understand more via discussion.
 

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