Ken Rockwell: Don't buy a midrange zoom. Carry a fixed 50mm instead, like a pro.

Started Dec 17, 2012 | Discussions thread
xjassa Senior Member • Posts: 1,197
^ This. For a new photographer, I always recommend a 50mm prime over the mid-range

For a couple of reasons:

1) IQ is superior for the money.  $500 50mm F1.4G or $1,700 F2.8 zoom?

2) You have a lens in your arsenal that can get wider than F2.8 for DOF style shots.

3) As mentioned, learning to compose properly without using a zoom as a crutch will go a long way towards improving photography.  Then when you move to a mid-range zoom, your skills will be honed.

So I agree with user_name, not necessarily KR, as I've seen TONS of pros use the mid-range zoom (especially for wedding where it excels) and I'm usually the only one (as an amateur) with the prime (85mm F1.4D, love that lens, even though I wish I had the G).

user_name wrote:

read between the lines and take his advice with a grain of salt (or two).

As others have said, mid range zooms have their uses and can be invaluable.

That being said, there is a lot of value in a 50mm prime, particularly as a learning aid as it teaches you composure. You can zoom with your feet most of the time.

The 50mm prime will be lighter and easier to carry. It is less obtrusive than a zoom lens, making it a less invasive tool when you want to be less noticed.

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