Lens dilemma: Multiple Primes vs Standard zoom

Started May 6, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP Doug_PS Contributing Member • Posts: 801
Re: Lens dilemma: Multiple Primes vs Standard zoom

Jimbo Limbo wrote:


I would recommend all primes.

The combo that I like is:

EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM

EF 40mm f/2.8 STM

EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

EF 135mm F/2 L USM

EF 200mm F/2.8 L USM

or even without the lovely 135mm.

Those lenses are light, compact, fast-focussing, black, and sharp.

I currently own and use on a 5D and a 30D:

EF 24mm f/2.8 (older one)

EF 40mm f/2.8 STM

EF 50mm f/1.8 (considering selling this one.)

EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

EF 200mm f/2.8 L USM

EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM

and a 18-55mm IS lens that my wife likes when she uses the 30D.  This combination works very well for me for family, concert, outdoor sports, wildlife, aviation, and bird photography.  The two different frame options make these lenses almost doubly useful.  The 200 f2.8L is a fantastic lens that really rocks the concert photos as well as wildlife for larger/closer animals.  Think long and hard before you sell that one. The 40mm combines nicely with a 25mm extension tube for almost 1x macro shots.   I also like the way that the focal lengths of my lenses almost double, especially if I sell my 50 1.8 I lens.  I bought all these lenses used except for the 40mm.

I have owned several zooms in the past, such as 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM, 28-135 IS USM, EFS 17-85 IS USM but have sold them as the photos I took with them were not as pleasing as my prime lenses.  I also didn't like the aperture ranges of these zooms.  I do realize that there are zooms with a nicer aperture, but they are very costly in comparison with these primes.

Best wishes with your decisions.


Thanks for the post.   It's interesting when looking at your top list that I currently own every lens on it with the exception of the 24 2.8 IS which I'm strongly considering adding based on my recent testIng with it.   I'll probably end up keeping my old 50D as well as my new 5D MKII (tough to sell the 50D at a decent price), so I'm similar to yourself in that I'm getting a lot of bang for the buck with this set of lenses and 2 crop formats.  I agree about the 200L.  I have several  framed enlargement's around the house taken with this lens.  They are some of my favorite photos.  In actuality, I'd have a tough time letting it go......great to have when needed.....but it does get limited use. A magical lens though.

The two gaps I have are a fast Normal prime and a something at the wide end (for architecture, landscapes and interiors).......the reason I'm considering the Sigma and the 24 2.8 IS. The 24 seems to be an easy call since it fills the wide gap nicely and is small, light, meets my needs and is "relatively" inexpensive ( ie compared to other quality wide end options).  The Sigma is a tougher call.  Its a fantastic lens, but it does I bring with it quite a hefty size and weight disadvantage.  I really am going to consider the trade-offs between keeping the 40 pancake vs swapping it for the Sigma.  I'm interested to do some head to head testing between the two at 2.8 and up While I still have access to the Sigma.  I think the Sigma has it won in the battle between 1.4 and 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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