Lens dilemma: Multiple Primes vs Standard zoom

Started May 6, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP Doug_PS Contributing Member • Posts: 763
Re: Lens dilemma: Multiple Primes vs Standard zoom

Collett wrote:

I have the Sigma 35F1.4 Art and Canon 24f2.8IS, and agree these are both really nice! I also have the 24-70LvI.

As I see it the zoom is more flexible and is an all in one solution, but the trade off is that it is big, heavy, and expensive.  The other downside is that many of us don't find F2.8 to be fast enough to give the DOF options we would like in a standard zoom FL range.  Personally, I like shooting at F1.2 to F2 a lot and one needs the primes for that.

Until I got the 24F2.8IS prime, I was using my 24-70F2.8L as a walk around for travel/landscape photography or where I needed that flexibility.  However, I found I was at 24mm much of the time in these situations.  Accordingly now I would rather carry two primes like the 24F2.8 and the 50L, and I find that gives me much of the flexibility I need.  When I am shooting people in unpredictable situations and am not carry the gear long distances, I take the 24-70 zoom.

If you are a shallow DOF nut like myself, you will want the fast primes.  In the case of the 24 prime, the advantage being its low weight and size (along with the IS for low light and tripod alternative). If weight is a big issue, you will also likely want the primes over a fast zoom that is large and heavy.  Otherwise, the new Canon 24-70LF2.8mkII looks like a top notch all in one solution but perhaps not worth the added cost over Tamrons' F2.824-70VC reviewed here.  Not sure what Sigma is offering currently.

If I had to do it all over again, I would still get the primes and a zoom but would not be so concerned with my zoom aperture being F2.8 as much as the weight and IQ.

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Thanks for your input. It's really helpful to get feedback from someone who actually has the two primes I'm considering and also has a 24-70 2.7 zoom.

I believe that I am a shallow DOF nut such as you describe yourself. So the Sigma is really pulling at me. I love the 135L at 2.0 and I find the Sigma 35 at 1.4 really impressive. It gives some very creative options. Pairing the Sigma 35 (which is relatively big and a bit heavy) with the 24 F2.8 IS (which is small and light) seems to me to make a great pairing when traveling. The 24 f/2.8 seems like a lens that you could have with you always (wife's purse, etc..) without adding much weight or bulk.

If I go the all prime route, I'll likely not also get a zoom (ie funding). So, when traveling, there would be a fair amount of lens swapping. That's the downside. I'd have 2 lenses on the large/heavy side (ie Sigma 35 and Canon 135L) and 2 on the small/light side (Canon 24 and 85). It seems to be a pretty decent mix that I could balance out well.

I'd likely sell the 200 f/2.8.

 Doug_PS's gear list:Doug_PS's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS M6 Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM +9 more
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