Zoom or fixed lens?
PhotoCamel: Your friendly photo community, with free discussion forums, digital photography reviews, photo sharing, galleries, downloads, blogs, photography contests, and prizes.
 

Go Back   PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Cameras and Lenses > Other Cameras and Lenses

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-31-2016   #1
Vicuna
 
Location: Montreal
Posts: 68
CamelKarma: 10
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Zoom or fixed lens?

I don't have much experience with fixed lenses and would like to have your opinions, pros & cons etc. Any help would be much appreciated.

Amnon

__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
Amnon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2016   #2
PhotoCamel Supporter DONATED
Vicuna
 
ciarre's Avatar
 
Location: Western Montana
Posts: 196
CamelKarma: 483402
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Zoom or fixed lens?

Lots of people here with more experience and smarts than I, but in general the fixed lenses are less expensive, lighter, often have better low light apertures and they make the photographer "zoom with the feet" and possibly learn more about framing and composition.

Biggest con is the obvious, you only have the one focal length and would have to carry several lenses to accomplish the range of a single zoom.

Primes are awesome and you can't go too far wrong if you buy a quality lens. I like them and own some, but for a grab and go combo, I always tend towards the zoom.

Hope that helps.
ciarre is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2016   #3
Guanaco
 
Dewman's Avatar
 
Location: Idaho, USA
Posts: 465
CamelKarma: 750031
Editing OK?: No
Constructive Critique?: No
Default Re: Zoom or fixed lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnon View Post
I don't have much experience with fixed lenses and would like to have your opinions, pros & cons etc. Any help would be much appreciated.

Amnon
The general consensus many years ago was that the image quality from a zoom lens could never equal a prime lens, but with all the new lens coatings, computer-aided lens design and so forth, that's not necessarily so in today's world.

I have several zoom lenses that are extremely sharp, render colors with exceptional brilliance and produce excellent contrast. A general rule is, "You get what you pay for," and I've found that out the hard way. This isn't to say that there aren't some very good older manual focus lenses that can be had for a very reasonable price.

For the most part, you will always find me with a zoom lens attached to my camera unless I'm shooting a macro subject where I want the absolutely sharpest image I can get. THEN is when I'll reach for a prime lens.

Hope this makes sense and helps.
__________________
Tu ne cede malis
Dewman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2016   #4
Vicuna
 
Location: Montreal
Posts: 68
CamelKarma: 10
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Zoom or fixed lens?

Thanks guys.
I have till end Sept. and will consider your advice when I make my final decision.

Best for now.
Amnon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2016   #5
Guanaco
 
Dewman's Avatar
 
Location: Idaho, USA
Posts: 465
CamelKarma: 750031
Editing OK?: No
Constructive Critique?: No
Default Re: Zoom or fixed lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnon View Post
Thanks guys.
I have till end Sept. and will consider your advice when I make my final decision.

Best for now.
I suppose I should have asked what your main type of photography will be. That will have a definite bearing on what type of lens/lenses you will need. They say that there's not one lens that will do all things, but there are some that come very close.... unless you spend a LOT of time pixel peeping! I have a Pentax 18-250mm lens that is about as close to a "one size fits all" as I could ask for.

Good luck on your decision.... and please post some photos from your new lens!
__________________
Tu ne cede malis
Dewman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2016   #6
Llama
 
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 909
CamelKarma: 36120
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Zoom or fixed lens?

You'll probably get a lot of different answers. I don't think there is a wrong or right way to go. Everyone is different and works differently.

Years ago primes were considered sharper. That is not true any longer. The difference between a good zoom and good prime is practically nothing to start with, and if you slide the sharpness slider a touch, it's basically the same thing.

I'd say it depends on how your mind works, and what you prefer. If you don't want to have to zoom the lens, but want to walk more than a prime might be for you. For me, I've never really used just a prime. I like to crop while zooming. When I do use a prime, I feel limited by just one focal length. I suppose it also depends on the focal length you use too. But for me, with one prime lens, I usually feel like I'm either too close or too far away, but not where I need to be, and the composition suffers for it. I know people say zoom with your feet. Yes that's true, but for me I usually find myself at a cliff where I can't come closer, or to change the perspective I need to walk a mile in, which is not going to happen, or I can't back up enough because of a wall or something. Like I said, it's usually something to complicate it. My mind works better with zooms.

If it were me, I'd get zooms. In fact I have 3 zooms. 15-30 f2.8, 24-70 f/2.8 and a 70-200 f/2.8. Most of the time I have the 70-200 on. I don't like to change lenses at all. I hate to do it. I know it's not a big deal, call me lazy, but I hate to do it. I also usually feel I need more reach. For the majority of the time I'm over 70mm.

The only benefit for me with a prime is weight. The 70-200 with the camera gets heavy. But it's a trade off from having to carry 3-4 other primes with me, and having to change lenses a lot. Price is almost irrelevant. The cost of one good prime is similar to a few primes, depending on the lenses you get. Sometimes the primes themselves aren't cheap at all. Almost the cost of the zoom. Plus, you only pay once, but you use the lenses all the time. I'll pay more for convenience all the time. I'm not the type to deal with annoyances and frustration.

In the end you have to weigh the pros and cons yourself and only you can decide which way to go.
__________________
Rob

Nikon D800, D5500 IR 590nm, D50
nu2scene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2016   #7
F1 Camel
 
Narsuitus's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,790
CamelKarma: 31066
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Zoom or fixed lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnon View Post
I don't have much experience with fixed lenses and would like to have your opinions, pros & cons etc. Any help would be much appreciated.
I shoot with both prime lenses and zoom lenses. For example, I have Nikon 14mm f/2.8, 18mm f/3.5, and 24mm f/2 prime lenses and I also have a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 zoom lens. I use the zoom when I do not have the time to change prime lenses or when I am shooting in a hostile environment (like a beach where I do not want to expose by sensor to blowing sand). I use the primes when I am shooting with my older Nikon film cameras because the 14-24 is a G lens does not have an aperture ring and therefore does not work well with older bodies that need one for proper exposure control.

At the same focal length, my 14-24mm wide-angle zoom lens has image quality equal to my 14mm prime lens and superior to my older 18mm and 24mm prime lenses.

Please note, I did not use the term "fixed lens" because that usually refers to a lens that is permanently attached to a camera body.


Nikon Wide-Angles by Narsuitus, on Flickr

Narsuitus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2016   #8
F1 Camel
 
Golem's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,791
CamelKarma: 683702
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Zoom or fixed lens?

I use mostly prime lenses cuz I like them.
They are small or small-ish and fast. If I'm
shooting for my own amusement, I choose
one or two fields of view and have at it.

OTOH if I'm shooting for someone else, then
I may well use a zoom lens. It's burdensome
but it's not about self-amusement so having
the efficiency of a zoom to turn out what a
client expects is ... well ... efficient !

I just turned out 130 frames, and discarded
about 4 or 5. The other 125 frames, from a
single zoom, were ready to publish straight
out of the camera, no post, no cropping. It
took under 1/2 hour to do the job, with no
active cooperation by the human subjects.
Thaz efficiency.

I had also packed some fast primes in case
the lighting was ridiculously dim, but they
were not needed. The whole outfit fit into
a bag that would not hold a pair of shoes.

So if you have jobs to do, get optics that do
your jobs. If you shoot for self amusement
get whatever rocks your boat not worrying
about what other people use. You'll enjoy it
no matter what you choose.
Golem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2016   #9
Camel Breath
 
scoundrel1728's Avatar
 
Location: Oakland, CA, USA
Posts: 10,060
CamelKarma: 1469207
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Zoom or fixed lens?

I do much of my shooting in church. Although the church I usually shoot in is brighter than many, it is still dim enough that getting a fast enough shutter speed even an f/2.8 zoom lens can sometimes be a struggle. In my usual kit is a Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8 for normal to telephoto shots when the light is bright enough, a Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8 (!) to handle the wide angle to normal focal lengths, and a Canon 80-200 mm f/2.8L dinosaur made in 1990 that weighs a ton. I also have Canon 50 mm f/1.4 and 85 mm f/1.8 primes for when the light gets too low for an f/2.8 zoom, which is a lot of the time. While taking pictures at a lu'au in Kaua'i this spring, I was constantly switching back and forth among the two primes and the f/1.8 zoom preset to 35 mm, effectively using it as a third prime. The system worked, but I was switching lenses A LOT that evening. A second body can cut down a lot on the lens switches, but I didn't have room for one in my kit.


__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
scoundrel1728 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

« PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Cameras and Lenses > Other Cameras and Lenses »


Share this topic:

Thread Tools
Display Modes