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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anybody here shoot mostly or exclusively with prime lenses that wants to help convince me to do so as well?

I shoot mostly snowboarding, and the occasional concert, as well as lifestyle or however you classify documenting everyday stuff , on a crop sensor canon.

I'm thinking a 10mm fisheye, 28mm, 50mm and 70-200 will suffice. Will I really miss the zoom? Any opinions or advices?

I own the fisheye and 50mm, already, but do use a zoom for anything in between, hoping the 28 would take the place of that. Am I wrong?
 

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eminence grease
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When I first started with DSLR I did exactly the opposite thing that I did when I first started with film SLR - I bought a bunch of zooms to cover the range.

Now, I've gone back to the old ways - pretty much prime only. I'm using a 24, 35 and 135 most of the time. I have a 50 but it's not all that exciting to me.

Still using a 70-200 but perhaps not for long.

I think the photos are far, far better.
 

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You shooting full frame?

If so all those lenses are way too long.

BTW 28mm does nothing for me shooting full frame. Need at least a 24mm for real wide angle stuff and I prefer even wider.

To me a fisheye is a really limited use lens. You may like it at first but there only so many fresh looks you can get with the thing before you put it away for good.....

YMMV
 

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Canon Fodder
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Primes are great if you have the ability to move and position yourself to compose the shot and think of how much time you have to accomplish this. High end zooms give you the ability to get a lot of shots that you would miss with a prime because you may not be able to position yourself quickly enough.

I use both and would be reluctant to give up one or the other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Crop sensor, so they're even longer.

I try to not use the fisheye inside too much, but it is kind of necessary when taking a picture of someone jumping over you while keeping the jump in the frame. I'm looking at the 28 to be a kind of normal lens for walking around with. As for landscape stuff I usually have a ricoh with a 24-70 that I take on trips, and that's usually when I'm shooting landscapes.
 

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still shedding season
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Fisheyes are great for special effects (like one shot in a group), but not an everyday thing. Personally, anyhoo. Interesting about the primes - with a DSLR I'd think that zooms would be a better choice due (less lens changes = less chance of crapola on the sensor).
 

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Spicy Dumpling
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Look at the exif data and see where you shoot most of your shots. For me I've got a 40 and a 50 so far. My next will be a 15mm prime, then possibly a 30mm. But I'm sure I'll still use my zooms for the majority of shots.
 

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the benefits of zooms far outway the benefits of primes, based on your subject matter.

Perhaps if you really need to keep things compact, then adding a prime might be beneficial.

Are you using "modern" Canon zoom lenses?

Possibly consider a full frame chip as your next upgrade instead.
 

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Spicy Dumpling
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Matador-IV said:
the benefits of zooms far outway the benefits of primes, based on your subject matter.

Possibly consider a full frame chip as your next upgrade instead.
I tend to disagree. A top of the line prime is usually sharper than a top of the line zoom. And don't forget the speed factor as well. I've got some very good zooms, my cheap manual focus prime beats them in sharpness and contrast.

A full frame with a poor lens is still depending on the lens for the picture. Get better glass before worrying about going with a better body or full frame.

I don't remember where I heard this.

An amateur worries about cameras, a pro worries about lenses, a photographer worries about light...

I'm just the moreon behind the viewfinder, YMMV.
 

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tofurkey hunting
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we just got a nikon dslr to replace our older, broken one. we weren't quite ready to splurge for full frame....

but we got a good deal on a 35 mm prime that i think is an F1.8. we also have a zoom that is pretty decent for a kit lens. i wish i could tell you what the zoom is, but honestly, the 35 hasn't been off the camera. it's a great little lens. with the crop factor, it is at about what a 50 mm lens would be full frame (i think).

we use a lot of old film rangefinders, so we are used to the no zoom...but i really like having a prime lens and really getting to know it....my $.02
 

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You Phillip mah census
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VaughnA said:
I don't remember where I heard this.

An amateur worries about cameras, a pro worries about lenses, a photographer worries about light...

I'm just the moreon behind the viewfinder, YMMV.
Wise words. The prime versus zoom debate has been around forever and is pretty much a red herring as far as I'm concerned. If you are happy with your pictures they are good enough, irrespective of your set-up. I try to use the lens that will do most justice to the subject at hand.
 

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More carbon fiber please!
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I use the kit 18-55 and got a VR 55-200 for my D40X. Does most of what I want at a reasonable price. Had quite a bit of glass for my old 35mm Pentax and it's just sitting there now.
 

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Canon Fodder
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VaughnA said:
I tend to disagree. A top of the line prime is usually sharper than a top of the line zoom. And don't forget the speed factor as well. I've got some very good zooms, my cheap manual focus prime beats them in sharpness and contrast.

A full frame with a poor lens is still depending on the lens for the picture. Get better glass before worrying about going with a better body or full frame.

I don't remember where I heard this.

An amateur worries about cameras, a pro worries about lenses, a photographer worries about light...

I'm just the moreon behind the viewfinder, YMMV.
There is a lot of emphasis on the speed of a lens but when you start to factor in the loss of depth of field, really fast apertures become a liability also. Shots where a thin field of view is a plus tend to be limited as in portraits. Anything faster than 2.8 takes a lot of skill to make a shot special by getting the focus point right.

Primes do tend to be sharper than zooms but there is more to it than that, good bokeh is what separates less costly primes from expensive primes.

I think some of the arguments you hear people make for using primes only is overblown and somewhat egotistical. I'll bet most people could not tell if a photo was taken with a zoom or a prime, but can tell a photo that taken with cheap glass.

I don't advocate either zoom or prime as they both have a place in my line up.

I believe that folks that say they only use primes, enjoy the cachet of claiming it more than the results. I will probably get flamed for saying it yet it's more than likely true.

A good photographer will use the best tool to get the shot rather than limiting himself to certain equipment and missing the shot.
 

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Spicy Dumpling
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WI B16 said:
I believe that folks that say they only use primes, enjoy the cachet of claiming it more than the results. I will probably get flamed for saying it yet it's more than likely true.

A good photographer will use the best tool to get the shot rather than limiting himself to certain equipment and missing the shot.
I agree for the most part, and you have a lot more experience in this stuff. Most of my primes are cheap manual focus lenses from the 70's that are still sharp, they are better than my 4-500 dollar zooms at equivalent focal lengths. I can't afford a 1000 prime or a 1000 zoom. But I can get a very sharp 1.7 50mm prime for < 80 bucks that will kill a 500.00 zoom from what I've seen. I won't be buying any 1000 primes or zooms any time soon.
 

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still shedding season
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WI B16 said:
I believe that folks that say they only use primes, enjoy the cachet of claiming it more than the results. I will probably get flamed for saying it...
Not by me. My thought is that camera gear is one thing, photography is something else. :)

Vaughn, agreed about the cost of this stuff. "Upgrading" to Nikon's latest of a few different things would cost a fortune. I have an 80-200 f2.8 and would like the VR version. Just looked at it the other day and it's now about $2200. I just have no interest in spending that on glass... Actually that makes me want to finally just sell my DSLR stuff - the LX3 compact is probably more my style anyway.
 

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Canon Fodder
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VaughnA said:
I agree for the most part, and you have a lot more experience in this stuff. Most of my primes are cheap manual focus lenses from the 70's that are still sharp, they are better than my 4-500 dollar zooms at equivalent focal lengths. I can't afford a 1000 prime or a 1000 zoom. But I can get a very sharp 1.7 50mm prime for < 80 bucks that will kill a 500.00 zoom from what I've seen. I won't be buying any 1000 primes or zooms any time soon.
Your certainly right about being able to get great glass cheap, especially old manual primes.

Today a zoom that costs 500.00 bucks is cheap glass and the results will show. The cheapest zoom out there that is pretty sharp is Canon's 70-300 IS USM at about 600.00 bucks. Most good zooms run in the 700.00 to 2000.00 buck range but that's the cost of getting close to best of both worlds.

Even the best primes or zooms will not make you a good photographer unless you understand how to use them. The basics of light, composition and mechanics ( shutter speeds and apertures) are what most folks should spend a good bit a time on till they become second hand like driving a stick shift. You know what you are doing without thinking about it.

You know a good photographer can even get nice sharp images with cheap glass because he knows what he is doing and can find the sweet spot of a lens.
 

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Spicy Dumpling
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WI B16 said:
Your certainly right about being able to get great glass cheap, especially old manual primes.

Today a zoom that costs 500.00 bucks is cheap glass and the results will show. The cheapest zoom out there that is pretty sharp is Canon's 70-300 IS USM at about 600.00 bucks. Most good zooms run in the 700.00 to 2000.00 buck range but that's the cost of getting close to best of both worlds.

Even the best primes or zooms will not make you a good photographer unless you understand how to use them. The basics of light, composition and mechanics ( shutter speeds and apertures) are what most folks should spend a good bit a time on till they become second hand like driving a stick shift. You know what you are doing without thinking about it.

You know a good photographer can even get nice sharp images with cheap glass because he knows what he is doing and can find the sweet spot of a lens.
I'll agree with that, I have what is considered a great mid level zoom and a stop or two from wide open it is extremely sharp and has great contrast, but wide open it's a bit soft. After 2 years of almost daily practice I'm figuring out how to get the best out of what I've got. If you can get out of the kit lens mode and get into the midrange 500ish zooms you can get some great shots with a bit of practice.

I do think that going to manual focus primes has improved my results immensely. By slowing me down and making me use the knowledge of the mechanics of taking a photo. But I rarely get a photo I like because I'm a beginner when it comes to composition.
 

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Canon Fodder
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VaughnA said:
I'll agree with that, I have what is considered a great mid level zoom and a stop or two from wide open it is extremely sharp and has great contrast, but wide open it's a bit soft. After 2 years of almost daily practice I'm figuring out how to get the best out of what I've got. If you can get out of the kit lens mode and get into the midrange 500ish zooms you can get some great shots with a bit of practice.

I do think that going to manual focus primes has improved my results immensely. By slowing me down and making me use the knowledge of the mechanics of taking a photo. But I rarely get a photo I like because I'm a beginner when it comes to composition.
A hint here, When composing, make you frame a bit larger (giving more space around the edges) then in post production by cropping you can tweek the composure to get the right feel to the shot. What I'm talking about is just slightly cropping and using the rule of thirds., more importantly do you know how to use the diagonal rule of thirds?
 

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I couldn't live with a 28 being my widest lens on crop. What system do you have? Canon, Nikon or bad(poke at Vaughn!)

I shoot full frame with a
21, 50, 35-70(manual focus) and a 120-300 2.8 for sports/wildlife and a macro lens.

The prime vs zoom debate is silly. The focal length you use most, is what you should own.

I use 21 & 35-70 for landscapes. The 50 for pretty much everything else.
 

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haole from the mainland
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terry b said:
When I first started with DSLR I did exactly the opposite thing that I did when I first started with film SLR - I bought a bunch of zooms to cover the range.

Now, I've gone back to the old ways - pretty much prime only. I'm using a 24, 35 and 135 most of the time. I have a 50 but it's not all that exciting to me.

Still using a 70-200 but perhaps not for long.

I think the photos are far, far better.
Oh, the 135 f/2L. I call it my magic lens. It was fantastic on my 30D and even better on my 5D.

The 35 f/1.4L is on the top of my covet list. The 300 f/4L (along with a crop body to get an almost 500mm f/4 lens on the cheap) is next.

I have the 24-105 f/4L and sometimes wish I'd gotten the 24-70 f/2.8L instead.
 
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