Moving to primes, should I sell the 16-35 or the 24-70?

Started Nov 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
OP Moogles Regular Member • Posts: 159
Re: Moving to primes, should I sell the 16-35 or the 24-70?

gdanmitchell wrote:

Moogles wrote:

I've seen some incredible shots done on a 50L f/1.2 (think it was from dpreview, not sure) but when I tried it, I just can't frame very well with a 50mm. I was disappointed to find out that it's not for me because I've thought of the 24mm and 50mm prime path. When I ran through my collection of photos, I came to realize that I'm a 35mm kind of guy.

I am using a 5D2 together with a 16-35 f/2.8 L II and a 24-70 f/2.8 L. I am considering selling one of these lenses to get a prime or maybe even two (2) if there's enough funds. I am looking at the new 35mm f/2 IS USM and the 85mm f/1.8. Doesn't have to be an L.

The 16-35 f/2.8L II is used mainly for landscape and group shots, both of which dont happen often. The 24-70 f/2.8L is my walk around lens. I shoot anything and everything with it.

I am feeling the weight of the body + lens, so badly that I am considering changing to a different system like the Sony NEX mirrorless but someone suggested that I should try primes.

What would you do if you were in my shoes? Will you give up your ultra wide angle and keep your walk about lens? Or will you sell your walk about lens and use the prime from here forth at 35mm? If it helps, I also have a 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II.

What would I do if I were in your shoes?

First, I'd go slow here. Sounds like you are on the right track by looking at the fine but inexpensive 35mm f/2 and 85mm f/1.8. I have both (and some more exotic stuff) and can report that these are fine performers.

Since you have this notion that using primes will make your photographs "incredible," you are basing your prospective "move" more on what you hope for than on what you know. In the vast majority of cases I see, the impressive quality of shots done with some lens has little or nothing to do with that specific lens choice and a whole lot to do with the photographer's vision and technique. It is a bit of a myth that "moving to primes" will improve one's photography.

My point? Two perhaps. First, before you make any big decisions and start shuffling gear around... try it out. The 35mm f/2 might be the best place to start. See how using a prime really affects (or not) your work, and learn about the trade-offs - there may be advantages but there are also compensatory disadvantages. Shoot that 35mm lens a lot, and perhaps for six months of more - time to let the novelty wear off - before you move forward.

And, second, don't see those zooms to get the primes. In most cases, the answer to the "zooms or primes?" question is "yes!" - and not "primes" or "zooms" exclusively. For most people, a combination of some well-chosen zooms and well-chosen primes will be a better solutions.

Actually I can live without the 85. I don't think primes will make my photographs incredible but least it will give me 1 or 2 more stops during low light making hand held possible without any unintentional blur rendering the photos unusable. My thoughts are rather simple because of my own limited capabilities, it's hard for me to produce anything incredible. Nevertheless I do hope to learn and try.

Thanks for your advise on zoom and prime. Will make careful consideration before spending this time. Poor mistake I made when I started DSLR.

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