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

Started Dec 17, 2012 | Discussions thread
rgolub Senior Member • Posts: 2,061
Re: Ken Rockwell: Don't buy a midrange zoom. Carry a fixed 50mm instead, like a pro.

You're still not answering the right question.  What do YOU plan on doing with the lens?  Leave aside the angst you get by mentioning He Who Should Not Be Discussed.   Even a blind pig gets an acorn now and then, but I digress - use the concept of a fixed lens and a zoom as a discussion point.  You don't really care what 'the pros' use because 1) you aren't a pro and 2) real pros use all sorts of lenses - they figure out what lens they need for a particular job and use it.

The fixed fast 50 is inexpensive, unobtrusive, lightweight and has excellent image quality.  The high end Nikon mid range tele (either the older 28-70 f2.8 or the newer 24-70 f2.8 is expensive, large, heavy and has excellent image quality.

Is size and weight an issue for you?  Will you shoot much where you can't move around?  Do you want to spend $2000 on lens?  How much can you crop?  Do you understand the change in perspective when you crop? And a number of other questions that various posters will elaborate on.

So don't listen to KR, listen to yourself.  Most 'pros' have both lenses and a bunch others besides.  Personally, I tend to use the 28-70 since I shoot nature / wildlife and don't necessarily have the option of backing up off the cliff or whatnot.  I will bring out the 50 1.8 on a whim to practice with fixed focal length lens - that's a useful skill to hone and it really makes you think about your shot.

Thom Hogan (another blogger whose opinion carries a bit more respect around here) doesn't like mid teles like the 24-70 - it doesn't fit his style.  I love my 28-70, but I use if often in crowded forest scenes when I'm trying to isolate something relatively close.  The nice thing about art is that you can do what you want.

All that said, I'm not sure I would buy the 24-70 as my first lens.   Given the price, I might get the 50 mm and a couple of others depending on what you want to do.  Hogan does have a nice article on rational lens selections - you might look at it and see what it does for you.

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