Zoom VS Prime


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Mar 6, 2007
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#1
I was wondering something. Why do many prefer fixed focal length lens rather than zoom lens? Isn't that gives more flexibility to takers?

If taking potrait, taker have to adjust themselves to get a better shot rather than adjusting the barrel. If taking range shots, I guess it's not really possible.

Thanks for advice in advance.
 

yyD70S

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Dec 25, 2005
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#2
(1) Speed, weight and cost; but not necessary in that order.

(2) Primes force the photographer to slow down and think.

(3) Eons ago, their optical quality are better than their counterparts.
 

Benosaurous

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May 21, 2008
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#3
excellent, amazing, fantastic optics with dreamy bokeh, stands out your subject beautifully from the background and proudly tell the PnS that they can never do this.

not to mention they are very light and works in the very low light conditions ;)
 

giantcanopy

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Feb 11, 2007
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#5
Zoom vs prime has been well discussed before. Optics between new zooms and primes are closing.

but if you need to shoot at thin DOF you have primes with f1/f1.2/1.4. But you got no such zooms. (at the moment)

Ryan
 

Snoweagle

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Jan 26, 2005
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#6
I was wondering something. Why do many prefer fixed focal length lens rather than zoom lens? Isn't that gives more flexibility to takers?

If taking potrait, taker have to adjust themselves to get a better shot rather than adjusting the barrel. If taking range shots, I guess it's not really possible.

Thanks for advice in advance.
Portraits, definitely primes due to sharpness and speed (with the exception of a few). Else, zooms are fine.
 

zerartul

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Jun 24, 2007
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#7
Zoom and prime interms of optics quality is very close this days. The biggest differerence is the aperture where on prime you can obtain those 1.8/1.4/1.2 type aperture that so far most zooms dont even come near. Olympus is the only company that has F2 zooms though
 

synapseman

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#8
Generally, primes can have a much larger max aperture, and that alone gives a lot of benefits in terms of useability in low light and depth-of-field effects.

It would be prohibitively expensive and massive to have a 50-500mm f/1.0. (That would be so cool, though)
 

mckenzy

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Feb 14, 2005
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#9
I was wondering something. Why do many prefer fixed focal length lens rather than zoom lens? Isn't that gives more flexibility to takers?

quality of bokeh? quality of glass comparable if not better than L zooms?
 

Randius

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Mar 9, 2006
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#10
I did own a couple of primes before and while they were sharp lenses and very compact/light to bring around. The continual need to move around for perspectives to better capture the moment was rewarding but irritating. I appreciate what the primes had taught me in composition and I had moved on to zoom lenses for the convenience.
 

night86mare

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#13
I was wondering something. Why do many prefer fixed focal length lens rather than zoom lens? Isn't that gives more flexibility to takers?

If taking potrait, taker have to adjust themselves to get a better shot rather than adjusting the barrel. If taking range shots, I guess it's not really possible.

Thanks for advice in advance.
there are many reasons.

some will tell you it is price, and they will not be wrong. a fast prime is way cheaper than a fast zoom lens, and it will be faster than the fast zoom lens, most of the time.

some will tell you it's quality, that depends on the lens you are comparing.

some will also tell you that they feel superior with using prime lens.. if you agree with them, why not? if you disagree.. then try to understand their perspective. admittedly a prime lens is more restrictive than a zoom lens; though a zoom lens can be equally restrictive compared to a prime lens.

as to which to choose - it's up to you. photography isn't about what equipment you use, but rather about whether you get the shot that you want and visualise. cheers.
 

giantcanopy

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Feb 11, 2007
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#16
Zoom for convenience but primes are loads of fun for me. Moving around to get the correct composition is fun for me...
But many a time the subject may not wait for you to move around.

Anyway the quality of the zooms nowadays are amazing, and optics aside, if the perspective is paramount and you have to move to take the composition, can walk around with the zoom lens fixed to a particular focal length as well. :dunno:

Ryan
 

yyD70S

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Dec 25, 2005
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#17
For the 35mm format, unless you are talking about the Zeiss &/or the Voigtlanders, the modern zooms have more or less reach (some even surpass) the optical quality of their equivalent primes.

I usually bring along a wide angle zoom plus a medium telephoto for travels; be it a family or a photography trip. Been doing that since the early 80s. Sort of compromise.

There's no question about the GREAT flexibility of zooms. All that saying about ... zooming with your feet, a step forward or a step back...
Well, imagine you are standing at the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon and you want to take a certain perpective of the view ahead... take a step forward ??? GOD BLESS YOU! I'm not imagining; I was there.

You are at Mt. Huangshan. Many a times, you are at knife's edge. Try taking a step back.

Primes make you "think" more about your photography. That we all agree. But if I were to choose only ONE, it has to be a zoom.

But many a time the subject may not wait for you to move around.

Anyway the quality of the zooms nowadays are amazing, and optics aside, if the perspective is paramount and you have to move to take the composition, can walk around with the zoom lens fixed to a particular focal length as well. :dunno:

Ryan
 

MarkTan89

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Jun 30, 2007
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#19
If you shoot a lot in low-light, no zoom can match a prime as all zooms are limited to f/2.8. Primes are great because one they work in all lighting conditions and deliver pin-sharp pictures most of the time.
 

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