Fast primes vs good zooms

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
dgnelson Senior Member • Posts: 1,193
Re: Fast primes vs good zooms

spike29 wrote:

Trying to get insight about why a prime with a fast aperture is "needed" to accomplish a set of zooms for casual photography.

Getting GAS about a PL15 f/1.7 but didn't pull the trigger when got the prime in the cross hairs. hesitated to burn 300 something euro's

Primes are often faster in aperture so f2.8 against a f1.7 is a officious victory for the prime. I don't want a shelf full of lenses to choose from before i leave the house and don't want to over-tech/buy my gear for the use i have. I like my one bag solution of only choice do i bring my tripod or not, rest in a backpack ready to go. There is some room for the prime but what do i get more out a fast prime besides the officious of faster aperture and shallower dof up close.

So why is a PL15mm f/1.7 preferable over a PL12-60?

- 15mm on the pl12-60 is about f/3.1 so around 2 stops slower then f/1.7

field of use i can think of: inside buildings, evening city /landscape/ architecture. (when there is no movement no difference to the zoom and the zoom is more convenient wile walking and i have 12-15mm more FOV.)

So Do i want it because of , well, to much time here on DPR fireing up GAS for no reason other then rub off / inhalation of Techtalk? or is there a good practical upgrade for a casual shooter experience and is a 300-469 euro the proper investment?

please push me of the fence either way because it starting to itch LOL.

There are many reasons why you might want a fast prime, they have their advantages. They are, however, not as versatile as a zoom.

More light: A fast prime will let in more light. This could mean that you use a lower ISO and have less noise. Or you might want a faster shutter speed to avoid motion blur.

Sharpness: A prime less will generally be sharper than a zoom, especially if it's stopped down a bit. Having said that, there are some very sharp MFT zooms to chose from.

Shallow depth of field: There is a portrait style where the eyes are in focus and the rest of the face slips out of focus. This technique can be useful for other photographic subjects as well. That can look pleasing, natural, it's how our eyes work.

Blurred background:  Photos can look better if the background is more blurred, the result of opening the lens wider.

Size: Primes are mostly smaller and lighter than zooms, (there are exceptions). I like to put the Oly 17mm 1.8 on either my EM5.1 or my GM5. That combination is small and light, easy to carry around. If I want even smaller, I put on the Pany 20mm 1.7.  It can also look less intimidating when you're photographing people, so they're more at ease.  When I want more versatility, I put the Pany 12-35mm 2.8 on my GX8.

Challenge: It can be fun to go out and take photos with one prime, to see from a fixed perspective.  I like to try to get good photos with a minimum amount of gear.

A 15 mm prime is a versatile focal length.


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