24mm and 50mm, or just 35mm?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
LordKOTL
LordKOTL Senior Member • Posts: 1,644
Re: Photo Audit

JohnnyLuddite wrote:

What focal lengths do you actually use with the 24-120mm you have? Can you do a little audit? For example, while I span the range of the 24-120mm, I'd certainly miss the 24mm field of view.

What does the 50mm or a 35mm or 24mm prime give you that your zooms do not? Is it IQ or brightness or size?

Beat me to it with the "Audit" part.
OP:  if you want to move from a zoom to a set of primes it helps if you know where you tend to gravitate to for your shots, and how you feel when you take those shots?  For example:  if you're out at 120mm, do you wish you had more telephoto and are constrained by the angle of view at 120mm on your camera?  When you are at 24mm, do you wish you could go wider?

That will give you the answer of what primes you'll want to look into.  If, for instance, you have very few or no photos taken at 35mm why get a prime of that length?

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There's no shame in using auto or semiauto modes--no matter what the salesdroids at Best Buy tell you.

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NotASpeckOfCereal Senior Member • Posts: 2,020
Re: Photo Audit

LordKOTL wrote:

Beat me to it with the "Audit" part.[...]
That will give you the answer of what primes you'll want to look into. If, for instance, you have very few or no photos taken at 35mm why get a prime of that length?

I'm going to push back on this.

A zoom is often for convenience and flexibility. Often, that means being able to shoot from where you are. There are probably a lot of FLs you will get in that audit list that don't exist as a prime.

If you decide that you want the superior performances of high end primes, then you might go out and get a trio of them that fits close, but not necessarily perfectly to such an audit.

And if that trio consists of a 35mm, even though that actual FL didn't peak on any charts, that doesn't mean that you won't work it. You may even find (as I did) that "wow, I'm really diggin' this 35mm FL", even if you didn't often dial it in with the zoom.

Zooms are great and they make them better today, but zooms can also make you lazy.

Primes make you work harder and there's nothing wrong with that. Primes also force me to think harder about perspective, something that often took a back seat when I could just dial it in with the zoom from wherever you happen to be.

Chris

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romfordbluenose Veteran Member • Posts: 5,282
Re: Photo Audit
1

LordKOTL wrote:

That will give you the answer of what primes you'll want to look into. If, for instance, you have very few or no photos taken at 35mm why get a prime of that length?

This is a common suggestion helping to decide on primes, and I've used it in the past. However, using primes and using zooms can be a completely different experience, the reason being is that you have to use your feet to help compose the shot.

However, if the majority of your photos are almost always wide angle then the choice is easy buy something even wider. which would suggest a 20mm lens as its difficult to step back over a cliff or through a brick wall.

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Please don't quote long posts, it just fills up the forum with repetitive information. Just replying to the poster or selectively quoting will make it all easier to read.

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pipnat51
OP pipnat51 Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: 24mm and 50mm, or just 35mm?
1

I'm not sure if that is the case as the 35mm Sigma is 665g whilst the Nikon18-35mm weighs in at 385g according to WEX.  Of course the Sigma gives me f1.4 whereas the Nikon is f4.5 at 35mm. Gaining weight but gaining light too.

 pipnat51's gear list:pipnat51's gear list
Panasonic FZ2500 Nikon D780 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.4G +2 more
pipnat51
OP pipnat51 Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: 24mm and 50mm, or just 35mm?
1

I'm very happy with the IQ from the 18-35 but thinking that a 24 or 35 prime would give me f1.4 or f1.8.

 pipnat51's gear list:pipnat51's gear list
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pipnat51
OP pipnat51 Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: What do you shoot with the 24-120mm?

Quick audit shows 66% taken at 35mm. @6% at 18mm and the rest somewhere in-between. However, this is for the last 500 or so shots only. Pre Covid I did quite a lot of church shots, mainly interior ones mostly using  20 - 28mm settings. So still not sure which focal length will suit me best. Of course the primes will gather more light for me.

 pipnat51's gear list:pipnat51's gear list
Panasonic FZ2500 Nikon D780 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.4G +2 more
pipnat51
OP pipnat51 Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: 24mm and 50mm, or just 35mm?
1

Exactly why I posted. See what other opinions are but ultimately it's down to me.

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pipnat51
OP pipnat51 Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: Photo Audit
1

Oh yes I have to say that zoom lens have definitely made me a lazier photographer who rarely moves around a scene anymore. Shame on me and my younger self would be appalled.

 pipnat51's gear list:pipnat51's gear list
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starbase218 Contributing Member • Posts: 857
Re: 24mm and 50mm, or just 35mm?

Use a 24-XX zoom lens for a while and check which focal length you end up using the most. Then buy those focal lengths in primes.

edit: oops someone else already suggested this.

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sportyaccordy Forum Pro • Posts: 18,644
Re: 24mm and 50mm, or just 35mm?

Personally I'd go 35 + 50, or maybe even 35 + 85. 35 is my main FL so I'd def get that. I have a 50 now and it's mixed. Not quite long enough for my small children, at least outdoors.

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smithim Senior Member • Posts: 1,679
Re: What do you shoot with the 24-120mm?

pipnat51 wrote:

Quick audit shows 66% taken at 35mm. @6% at 18mm and the rest somewhere in-between. However, this is for the last 500 or so shots only. Pre Covid I did quite a lot of church shots, mainly interior ones mostly using 20 - 28mm settings. So still not sure which focal length will suit me best. Of course the primes will gather more light for me.

Sounds like you need an 18-35 lens, to me

JohnnyLuddite Senior Member • Posts: 1,561
Re: Photo Audit

pipnat51 wrote:

Oh yes I have to say that zoom lens have definitely made me a lazier photographer who rarely moves around a scene anymore. Shame on me and my younger self would be appalled.

It's funny - I'm of a vintage where modern zooms weren't and primes were clearly better. And I get the discipline of having to move (a bit like playing squash!) that primes encourage. However - the zooms are so good that now the primes are for specific characteristics plus your preferences for subject/field of view.

I'd recommend leaving a decent interval between the focal lengths of the primes, and there's no convincing choice for that - I'd just choose a lens I really liked for its characteristics and work out from there.

 JohnnyLuddite's gear list:JohnnyLuddite's gear list
Sony RX100 Fujifilm X-E1 Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D +2 more
Satyaa Veteran Member • Posts: 4,310
Re: 24mm and 50mm, or just 35mm?

My  personal preference is for  a 35mm because I started learning photography on a film rangefinder that had fixed 36mm lens. It just looks natural to me. I never got used to 50mm though lot of people love it.

I also struggled with anything wider than 35mm. Even with a 28mm, my subject placement was in weird positions and showed lot of perspective distortions. Over the  years I got used to 28mm FOV because when I use my 18-140 DX or sigma 18-35/1.8 Art on D7200, that is the widest angle.

I now use zooms a lot but always drift to that 24mm on DX and 35mm on FX. So, I would have bought a 35mm. On a hi-res camera with cropping possibility, I could also live with a 28mm. I don't know if that speaks to your preference.

I did similar search for a 35mm and/or 28mm prime that is light and small. I found that Nikon's AF-S f/1.8G version of 35, 28 and 20mm are the best compromise of IQ and weight, slightly over-priced, reasonably light, but not small (depending how small you  want).

I bought neither. I continue to use my zooms!

All  the best.

Satyaa Veteran Member • Posts: 4,310
Re: Photo Audit

JohnnyLuddite wrote:

...

It's funny - I'm of a vintage where modern zooms weren't and primes were clearly better. And I get the discipline of having to move (a bit like playing squash!) that primes encourage. However - the zooms are so good that now the primes are for specific characteristics plus your preferences for subject/field of view.

That's an interesting point I'll need to remember and think about.

There are some zooms like Sigma 18-35/1.8 Art for DX that's better than primes at those focal lengths, then the workhorse f/2.8 zooms give acceptably close results for all practical purposes, and more like that.

The only complaint one can have is that they are heavy, large and expensive.

I'd recommend leaving a decent interval between the focal lengths of the primes, and there's no convincing choice for that - I'd just choose a lens I really liked for its characteristics and work out from there.

J_o_e_l
J_o_e_l Regular Member • Posts: 190
Re: 24mm and 50mm, or just 35mm?
1

For many years I carried just the 24mm 2.8D and the 50mm 1.4D. I found that I pretty much only ever used the 24mm as I hate 50mm focal length honestly.

Then I bought a 35mm 1.4G and it was perfect for everything I needed. Wide enough for travel/scenery but still zoom enough for food, selfies, movies, etc.

I prefer the older D models though, they are so compact and all the caps/filters fit each other... 35mm f2D would be my choice (actually sort of still is).

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NotASpeckOfCereal Senior Member • Posts: 2,020
Re: Photo Audit

Satyaa wrote:

JohnnyLuddite wrote:

...

It's funny - I'm of a vintage where modern zooms weren't and primes were clearly better. And I get the discipline of having to move (a bit like playing squash!) that primes encourage. However - the zooms are so good that now the primes are for specific characteristics plus your preferences for subject/field of view.

That's an interesting point I'll need to remember and think about.

There are some zooms like Sigma 18-35/1.8 Art for DX that's better than primes at those focal lengths, then the workhorse f/2.8 zooms give acceptably close results for all practical purposes, and more like that.

Fine art isn't practical. Acceptably close won't cut it for full-page magazine spreads.

So it really depends what you are doing and who your audience / clients are, but nothing beats or meets the finest primes out there, if that's what you really need for your work to reach its mark.

The only complaint one can have is that they are heavy, large and expensive.

They are, but they are useful for a lot of work. They're expensive and heavy because a lot of engineering has gone into making them better and better over the years. Some kinds of photographers very much need those gold-ring zoom lenses for their work.

But they still don't match the best primes.

Chris

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pipnat51
OP pipnat51 Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: Photo Audit

That is actually pretty sound advice. I like to think that’s the way I’m heading with my choice. Cheers.

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pipnat51
OP pipnat51 Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: 24mm and 50mm, or just 35mm?
3

Well thank you everyone for your thoughts as they have been really well received and helped me further weigh up the pros and cons. 
I have decided on the Nikon 35mm f1.8 G ED AF-S FX as overall it ticks more boxes for me in terms of weight, price, usability, bearing in mind I seem to have a lot of photos taken at that focal length, and my general type of photography.

Thank you all again 🤗

 pipnat51's gear list:pipnat51's gear list
Panasonic FZ2500 Nikon D780 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.4G +2 more
LordKOTL
LordKOTL Senior Member • Posts: 1,644
Re: Photo Audit
2

NotASpeckOfCereal wrote:

LordKOTL wrote:

Beat me to it with the "Audit" part.[...]
That will give you the answer of what primes you'll want to look into. If, for instance, you have very few or no photos taken at 35mm why get a prime of that length?

I'm going to push back on this.

A zoom is often for convenience and flexibility. Often, that means being able to shoot from where you are. There are probably a lot of FLs you will get in that audit list that don't exist as a prime.

If you decide that you want the superior performances of high end primes, then you might go out and get a trio of them that fits close, but not necessarily perfectly to such an audit.

And if that trio consists of a 35mm, even though that actual FL didn't peak on any charts, that doesn't mean that you won't work it. You may even find (as I did) that "wow, I'm really diggin' this 35mm FL", even if you didn't often dial it in with the zoom.

Zooms are great and they make them better today, but zooms can also make you lazy.

Primes make you work harder and there's nothing wrong with that. Primes also force me to think harder about perspective, something that often took a back seat when I could just dial it in with the zoom from wherever you happen to be.

Chris

Your point is valid, but the counterpoint is that the OP (or whoever) buys a prime which they tend not to shoot at...and then they still don't shoot it.  If they are an amateur on a budget, there's an inherent risk of wasting money there.

My opinion, of course, but I think the best starting point if someone wants to make the jump from a zoom to a prime is to start with the focal lengths they use more often than not.  They gravitate towards them for a reason.

However, there's also absolutely nothing wrong with experimentation.  In that case, I'd recommend renting if possible.  That way if they end up not liking the lens, they simply return it rather than it collecting dust or trying to sell it (likely at a loss).

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There's no shame in using auto or semiauto modes--no matter what the salesdroids at Best Buy tell you.

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LordKOTL
LordKOTL Senior Member • Posts: 1,644
Re: Photo Audit

romfordbluenose wrote:

LordKOTL wrote:

That will give you the answer of what primes you'll want to look into. If, for instance, you have very few or no photos taken at 35mm why get a prime of that length?

This is a common suggestion helping to decide on primes, and I've used it in the past. However, using primes and using zooms can be a completely different experience, the reason being is that you have to use your feet to help compose the shot.

However, if the majority of your photos are almost always wide angle then the choice is easy buy something even wider. which would suggest a 20mm lens as its difficult to step back over a cliff or through a brick wall.

That's my experience as well.  Moving from my old film kit zoom to primes made me slow down and consider not only what I was shooting, but also prevented me from trying to shoot *everything* and just focus on what lens I had on or what lens I wanted to switch to.

A good rule of thumb I picked up about "zoom with the feet" is start near the zone of danger, and then only move away from it.  So if I'm at risk of walking backwards into a road, I'd start near the road, put on a lens that is what I need or wider, and then walk towards the subject as needed.  Ditto in reverse:  If there's a risk of walking off of a cliff I'd start near the edge of the cliff, and use a telephoto lens that is what I need or narrower, and then walk back.

-- hide signature --

There's no shame in using auto or semiauto modes--no matter what the salesdroids at Best Buy tell you.

 LordKOTL's gear list:LordKOTL's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm F2.8G IF-ED VR Nikon 85mm F1.8G +3 more
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