Do we need zoom lenses in our bags?

Started Nov 24, 2008 | Discussions thread
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Johan Forssblad
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Do we need zoom lenses in our bags?
Nov 24, 2008

With 21 megapixels in our camera bodies: Do we need zoom lenses in our camera bags? Or is it better to select a few very good fixed lenses?

To get the best quality out of the zoom lenses we need to limit the zoom factor to about 1:3. I'm thinking about the 24-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8, 16-35/2.8 ...

They are all heavy, expensive, big in the bag, have more lens compromises than fixed lenses, have smaller apertures, more distorsion, less sharpness, more chromatic aberration etc.

The increase in the number of pixels tends to be useless if we don't use the very best lenses. Most of the time we don't need so much resolution either.

For instance, making an A4 size print (200x300 mm) will only need 6 MP (2000x3000) because the size of the pixels are 0,1x0,1 mm in many printers.

If we intend to show our pictures with HD projectors instead of slide projectors we only have about 1080x1920 = 2,1 MP.

This means we only use 10 % of the 21 MP. Then we can crop the picture to less than 1/3 in each direction and still have enough pixels for a 1:1 mapping.

Voila, we don't need the expensive and limited zoom lenses!

Put the very best 14 mm (2.8), 50 mm (1.2), 135 (2.0) and 300 mm (2.8 or 4) in the lens bag and you will cover every focal length from 14 to 1000 mm by cropping without loosing any quality! (?) We are also free to use the new Zeiss lenses or cheap and old used Hasselblad (Zeiss) lenses with adapters. What do you think?

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