Primes vs Zooms

Started May 8, 2013 | Discussions
vbuhay
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Primes vs Zooms
May 8, 2013

I know this debate has been discussed here many, many times and its still going on. I was thinking about this yesterday while reading some post here and listening to a baseball game at the same time and it dawned on me:

Primes are for homeruns, Zooms are for base hits. Either way , we all need runs. Enough said!

Vic

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lost_in_utah
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Re: Primes vs Zooms
In reply to vbuhay, May 8, 2013

vbuhay wrote:

I know this debate has been discussed here many, many times and its still going on. I was thinking about this yesterday while reading some post here and listening to a baseball game at the same time and it dawned on me:

Primes are for homeruns, Zooms are for base hits. Either way , we all need runs. Enough said!

Vic

They both have their purposes and advantages/disadvantages. Saying one is always better is a generalization and therefore, flawed.

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gatorowl
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Re: Primes vs Zooms
In reply to vbuhay, May 8, 2013

vbuhay wrote:

I know this debate has been discussed here many, many times and its still going on. I was thinking about this yesterday while reading some post here and listening to a baseball game at the same time and it dawned on me:

Primes are for homeruns, Zooms are for base hits. Either way , we all need runs. Enough said!

Vic

Interesting analogy.  I'm not sure I see it--or agree with it--but it does provoke thought.

Perhaps a golf analogy would be better.  However, I'm not sure whether primes are putters and zooms are drivers.

Hmm, thoughts?

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ofior
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Re: Primes vs Zooms
In reply to vbuhay, May 8, 2013

Define homerun:

1-  If that means the success of an image, then, I think we've all seen many homerun photos, some taken with primes, some with zooms, and some we did not know what was used. So, no iI do not agree. Some taken with equipment older than you and I.

2- If homerun means corner to corner pixel peeping "critical" sharpness, then you might have a point, but even then only some primes achieve this consistently.

I agree sometimes must have both, but the number of pros using zooms as their primary lenses seems to indicate that they can hit "homeruns" with zooms. In the end, it is not the bat, but the batter.

Ozzie

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scokill
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Re: Primes vs Zooms
In reply to lost_in_utah, May 8, 2013

That's like saying the best tool is a hammer.....if using a nail, yes . If using a screw a screwdriver would be better.

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primeshooter
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This one will never end
In reply to vbuhay, May 8, 2013

vbuhay wrote:

I know this debate has been discussed here many, many times and its still going on. I was thinking about this yesterday while reading some post here and listening to a baseball game at the same time and it dawned on me:

Primes are for homeruns, Zooms are for base hits. Either way , we all need runs. Enough said!

Vic

I have no snobbery against zoom lenses. I just don't own any...I prefer the weight of the short primes at least, and the extra 2 stops of light and dof control most of my lenses have.

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primeshooter
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Re: Primes vs Zooms
In reply to scokill, May 8, 2013

scokill wrote:

That's like saying the best tool is a hammer.....if using a nail, yes . If using a screw a screwdriver would be better.

Possibly, or just use your head.

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wasserball
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Re: Primes vs Zooms
In reply to vbuhay, May 8, 2013

Pros use prime telephotos at baseball games.  They move around during the game between first and third base photo boxes or moats.

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scokill
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Re: Primes vs Zooms
In reply to primeshooter, May 8, 2013

scokill wrote:

That's like saying the best tool is a hammer.....if using a nail, yes . If using a screw a screwdriver would be better.

Possibly, or just use your head.

Don't get it...

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paulski66
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Don't listen to these wishy-washy miscreants...
In reply to vbuhay, May 8, 2013

Primes are better.

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ata3001
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Re: Primes vs Zooms
In reply to vbuhay, May 8, 2013

Primes will generally give the best in image quality however many look at zooms as being better because of the "convenience" in getting the image. I don't consider "convenience" an important factor in the final image. Primes are much less convenient to use since it requires constantly changing lenses for that "right" focal length however I find it gives me the ability to use the larger apertures (f/1.8 & f/1.4) that primes offer that aren't available with zoom lenses (f/2.8 at best). The newest primes are extremely good at their widest apertures & I will use these widest apertures when the need arises. Most primes are better at every aperture when compared to zooms. I pixel peep & print large, so even the smallest improvement that a prime lens gives me over a zoom lens is extremely important. More important than the convenience that a zoom has to offer. At the end of the day it's the sharpest, most detailed image that counts. Longer focal length zoom lenses are great for portrait work since ultimate sharpness is not always desired but the longer focal length allows for nicely modeled (out of focus) backgrounds. My opinion only & no one will change it.

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Guidenet
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Re: Primes vs Zooms
In reply to vbuhay, May 8, 2013

vbuhay wrote:

I know this debate has been discussed here many, many times and its still going on. I was thinking about this yesterday while reading some post here and listening to a baseball game at the same time and it dawned on me:

Primes are for homeruns, Zooms are for base hits. Either way , we all need runs. Enough said!

Vic

I've never really understood this particular discussion. Focal length isn't that important except when you need consider it because you can't get to the position you want, or because you need some particular perspective.

Now, how one gets to the focal length they've decided upon seems to me the most useless information in photography. It strikes me as the ultimate in gearheadism "new word   " Seriously, why would anyone care how you chose the focal length unless it severely affected the IQ as in a super ratio zoom?

To me, a zoom is nothing but a variable prime lens. When I'm going on location and I know exaclty my focal length needs, I probably will take primes because they are usually smaller and faster. If I think I'll need several focal lengths and am not so sure what they will be, I'll bring one or more zoom lenses. It's a bag full of various focal lengths.

But that's all this means, this difference between zooms and primes. That's it. There's no other reason to be concerned or to try and make it part of photography. It always amazes me when people say things like, "I'm switching to all primes" or all zooms or anything of the sort. My retort would be, "So What" or "why would you do that?" What does that have to do with making an image?

Take it easy.

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Cheers, Craig
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Mssimo
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Re: Primes vs Zooms
In reply to lost_in_utah, May 9, 2013

lost_in_utah wrote:

vbuhay wrote:

I know this debate has been discussed here many, many times and its still going on. I was thinking about this yesterday while reading some post here and listening to a baseball game at the same time and it dawned on me:

Primes are for homeruns, Zooms are for base hits. Either way , we all need runs. Enough said!

Vic

They both have their purposes and advantages/disadvantages. Saying one is always better is a generalization and therefore, flawed.

Primes...they are much better.

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Mssimo
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Re: Don't listen to these wishy-washy miscreants...
In reply to paulski66, May 9, 2013

paulski66 wrote:

Primes are better.

I would have to say primes are much better.

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Stacey_K
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Re: Don't listen to these wishy-washy miscreants...
In reply to paulski66, May 9, 2013

paulski66 wrote:

Primes are better.

Not all primes are better than any zoom. There are many so so primes that don't have the IQ of a really good zoom.

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Stacey

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Mikhail Bogdanov
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I've lived in the Red Sox City for 20 years
In reply to vbuhay, May 9, 2013

vbuhay wrote:

Primes are for homeruns, Zooms are for base hits. Either way , we all need runs. Enough said!

still don't understand the game... and your insightful point of lenses is...?

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paulski66
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No no...
In reply to Stacey_K, May 9, 2013

Stacey_K wrote:

paulski66 wrote:

Primes are better.

Not all primes are better than any zoom. There are many so so primes that don't have the IQ of a really good zoom.

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Stacey

...primes are better.

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Mssimo
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Re: Don't listen to these wishy-washy miscreants...
In reply to Stacey_K, May 9, 2013

Stacey_K wrote:

paulski66 wrote:

Primes are better.

Not all primes are better than any zoom. There are many so so primes that don't have the IQ of a really good zoom.

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Stacey

Primes are much better. Zooms are slow, big, only shart in the center, have a ton of CA and cost more money.

If you like to compare a $2000 zoom with a 50mm f1.8...well the 50mm prime still wins.

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anotherMike
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Re: Don't listen to these wishy-washy miscreants...
In reply to Mssimo, May 9, 2013

Yup, I guess that's why I sold my 105/2 AFD DC after finding, on a D800E, that my zoom, the 70-200/2.8G VR-II, was sharper at all distances. Shrug....  (or the 14-24 zoom being clearly better than the Nikon, er, Tamron, er, Nikon 14/2.8 prime...)

It depends on the lens. Modern primes generally beat modern zooms, but at times modern zooms beat vintage primes designed in an earlier era...

-m

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Mikhail Bogdanov
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Re: Don't listen to these wishy-washy miscreants...
In reply to Mssimo, May 9, 2013

If you like to compare a $2000 zoom with a 50mm f1.8...well the 50mm prime still wins.

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LOL! I'm cleaning my bag/lenses now, and grabbed this snap. There is nothing my cheap plastic 50/1.8 wouldn't be ale to do compared to 24-70... assuming it's a prime, and you have to use your feet...

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