Considering adding the 17-40 to my kit

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by jaydesi, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. I've been thinking about this for a while, and I haven't made up my mind...I'm looking for arguments either way to help me sort things out. I'm not sure that the lens will really fill a need so much as a convenience.
    Here's my dilemma. I have a 7D, and the 24-105 is my main use lens. I typically don't shoot wider than 24 except for landscapes. There are times, however, when I'd like something wider, particularly indoors. I also have the Sigma 10-20 f/3.5. However, with it being 20 at the longest, I'm generally hesitant to switch to it for a shot or two, because not long after, I'll be switching back to the 24-105 again for more reach, and it generally seems impractical to be switching lenses just for a shot or two. It's also somewhat heavy to carry, and I prefer having a my Sigma 30 f/1.4 along with me for a fast lens as needed, and taking both won't fit in my preferred bag when I'm traveling light. In these kinds of settings, it's unlikely that I'll be shooting above 50mm, so 40 would seem to be close enough, practically speaking. My hesitation comes from the fact that I have the range covered already, and is the convenience factor worth the $1000 or so cost for the lens? I'd buy used, so it will likely be less expensive, but that's the ballpark. I realize that no one can tell me if the lens is worth the expense; that's a personal financial decision. But other pros and cons that I may not be considering would be valuable to me in making that determination.
    As far as other lenses that might fit the same need, there's the 17-55 f/2.8, which is only maybe $200 more, new. It would also give me a bit more range, and an extra stop of aperture. My hesitation there is weather sealing. Although I said above that my need is primarily for indoor use, I might use it outdoors on occasion, and prefer sealed L lenses. Plus, it's an EF-S lens, and since I also have an EOS 3, I'd prefer to have the lens I choose be compatible with that, as well. It's not a requirement, so I could be swayed, since realistically, the 24-105 could be used on the EOS 3 to cover the equivalent FOV at 17-40/55 mm. I'm not interested in the 16-35 due to the expense...that's definitely not in my range at this point. There's also the 15-85, which would probably be ideal, except that I don't like the variable aperture.
    Thoughts?
     
  2. The 15-85mm is the APS-C equivalent (roughly) of the 24-105mm on a 35mm-sensor camera. It would give you the range that you want along with the convenience - with a little shorter top end (than the 105mm on the 7D). I have the older ancestor, the 17-85mm lens and even though I have the 24-105mm I hardly ever use it on the smaller sensor bodies. Even with its warts (and the newer 15-85 is supposed to be less warty), I still love the 17-85mm for its sheer convenience - that makes the other compromises less important for me.
    Otherwise, since you have the Sigma ultrawide lens, you can accept the swapping process to have a full walk-about capability.
    If you're used to the convenience of the 24-105, then I can't imagine that the shorter 17-40mm range would ever satisfy me, but if you never want anything longer than a normal lens, I suppose it would work. Personally, it would mean too many swaps for my shooting.
    I confess, I missed the 'ultrawide' of the Sigma 10-20 on my 5D when I got it, so I've ended up with one set from ultrawide to modest telephoto (10-20mm, 17-85mm) for APS-C, and another (the Sigma 15-30mm, 24-105mm) for my 5D.
    Personally, I'd get the 15-85mm for the 7D and do what I already did, buy a nice used 5D for the 24-105. ;) I tend to carry the APS-C body with a telephoto zoom and the 5D with the 24-105mm. Of course, a day of that can make your back hurt. :(
    Otherwise, if I carry only the 5D, I carry both the 15-30mm and a 70 something to 300mm telephoto in the bag, with the 24-105mm on the camera.
     
  3. The 17-40 works pretty good on a 7D. Some will argue for the mentioned EF-s lenses. I'd say try it for yourself. I
    bought mine for my FF but I'm pretty happy with it when I use it on my 50D and my 400D.

    Good luck and remember that shooting beats websurfing...
     
  4. I once shot a cropped sensor body with the 24-105 and the 17-40 for perhaps a year or so. In some ways it was an OK combination for me, but I think there are much better options for use on a cropped sensor body. As you know, the 24mm focal length is not very wide at all, so unless one is willing to forego coverage of wide angles it is going to need to be accompanied by something wider. Sticking to Canon lenses, here are some options:
    EF 17-40 f/4 L - Focal length range seems useful, as 17mm gets into what we might call "normal wide" range and 40mm is longer than "normal" focal lengths, bordering on what might be termed "portrait length" short tele. It overlaps the coverage of the 24-105, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing - for the 24mm-40mm range, with either lens on the camera you probably won't need to make a switch. On the downside... The 17-40 is soft in the corners at f/4 and can be less than stellar at f/5.6. (The real strength of this lens is stopped down shooting from the tripod on full frame cameras.) Because diffraction blur can become a concern beyond about f/8 as you stop down on cropped sensor cameras, you are not left with a lot of useful apertures with this lens on crop. And while 17-40 isn't a bad range, there are other options that might be better. In the end, I felt that the 17-40 wasn't exactly "bad" on crop, but that it wasn't a standout either, and that it had some concrete issues.
    EFS 10-22 variable aperture lens - 10mm gets you into true ultra-wide territory on a cropped sensor body, and the small "gap" between 24mm and 22mm is almost certainly insignificant. You would end up with about as large a range of coverage as possible by combining this with the 24-105. Odds are that you would do most of your "normal" shooting with the 24-15, and switch to the 10-22 for exclusively wide angle work, which is a different scenario than with the 17-40. This could be a great combination for someone shooting stuff along the lines of landscape on a cropped sensor system.
    EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS - In my view, this is perhaps the cropped sensor lens from Canon. It offers performance features in a combination that isn't available to full frame shooters. Compared to the 17-40 it offers a) better image quality overall, b) a larger focal length range, c) a larger maximum aperture (and more usable apertures) at f/2.8, d) better corner performance wide open, and e) image stabilization. If this lens came with a red ring and a letter L on the barrel, almost no cropped sensor shooters would consider the 17-40 or 16-35 L lenses to be viable alternatives. Downsides are few. The cost is higher than some other options. I wonder whether the 24-105 would be the best lens to combine it with - I'd think about 10-22 plus 17-55, or 17-55 plus 70-200, or even all three.
    Dan
     
  5. I think I'd recommend the 17-55/2.8 IS, not only is it going to be one stop faster, but the IS will allow you even more flexibility when shooting in available light. Also, it's sharper @ f4 than the 17-40 is WO, and about the same WO as the 17-40 is WO - That extra stop means more than just a little extra light ;-). Obviously i's not weatherproof, but I would only ever call the 17-40/4 weather'resistant'.
    In fact, there is only one aspect that remains a compelling reason to shoot w/ the 17-40/4 -- your EOS 3. If you shoot w/ it frequently, you will be missing the wide wonderful world of UWA... IDK, tough call.
     
  6. Thanks for all the input so far.
    JDM, a FF body isn't in the picture right now. I've given it a lot of thought, but unless the 5D Mk III has the AF system of the 7D, which was one of the biggest selling points for me, along with sensor cleaning (after nearly 2 years, I've finally seen my first speck of dust at f/22 against a blue sky, with never even having to use a rocket blower), I'm happy sticking with the bodies I have...perhaps even then. The 15-85 does seem reasonable; I think I'll give that some serious thought.
    G Dan, I have the 10-20 range covered, and also the 70-200. Is the 17-40 soft in the corners WO even on APS-C, or just FF? Corner performance isn't critical to me generally, as that tends to be OOF anyway, but it'd be nice to have if necessary. I generally tend to shoot longer, which is why I have the 24-105 in the first place; I had the 24-70 but kept coming to 70 and wishing for more reach. I'll seriously consider the 17-55 as a viable addition. I'm not going to be purchasing anything soon in any case, so I have time to weigh my options.
     
  7. Jay, I bought my 17-40 when I was still shooting with a 10D and had ambitions of buying a 5D. I've since bought the 5D, sold the 10D, and bought a 40D as a cheap(er) APS-C backup camera. I've found that the 17-40 works fine in the crop format. Its deficiencies wide open tend to show up mostly in full frame -- much less so in crop. I still wouldn't shoot with the 17-40 wider than f/8, though. I tend to use this lens in the f/8 - f/16 range (up to f/16 if I really need the DoF and I'm shooting with the 5D). Only rarely do I need a wider aperture when shooting in wide angles.
    If there's any chance you'll buy the 5DIII (and I do suspect the AF features will be just as good as on your 7D -- this stuff only gets better), the 17-40 makes a great little FF UWA landscape lens and would give you the wide-to-normal range you're seeking for crop work. Way back when I first got the lens, I would often use it as a "walk-around" lens on my 10D. It was pretty comfortable that way, both in focal length range, size, weight, and feel.
     
  8. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I have a 7D, and the 24-105 is my main use lens.
    I suggest you first evaluate (not guess) how often you rely upon / construct the shot with IS engaged.
    It is my experience that shooting habits; styles; capacity and expectations of some Photographers change, when consistently using an IS lens, such that they expect IS as part of the system – you might not realize this has happened until you analyse exactly how you think and shoot.

    If IS’s usage is intrinsic to your methods, then the 17 to 55/2.8IS (or the 15 to 85) is the answer.
    On the other hand, if IS is a feature you employ as necessary and you can do without it – then the next step in the evaluation is the faster aperture and how important is that to you.
    But I glean that the difference between F/2.8 and F/4 is not that much of an hassle for you to overcome, so in this case I suggest the 17 to 40/4L.
    I expect that the answer to this thought also will quantify how much you can or cannot manage a Varying Max Aperture Zoom: what I mean is you might "not like" a varying max aperture - but does it refect on how you think and shoot - for me it does, esp. when using Flash: so I "don't have" any varying max aperture zooms: and I don't particularly like them either - but there is a difference.
    (I have the 16 -35, but), Like others have mentioned I find (a 17 to 40) a fantastic lens for an APS-C camera, especially for indoors; and quite yummy as the UWA on the "FF" cameras.
    WW
     
  9. Both the EOS 3 and 7D lack the rubber seal on the mount to mate with weather resistant L lenses, so being weather sealed is a moot point with those cameras. Plus the 17-40 requires a filter to complete the weather seal. The 17-55 is one of the most perfect general use optics for APS: sharp, fast and 2 to 3-stop IS. If you don't need F2.8, the 15-85 is better in some aspects: my copy is slightly sharper than my 17-55, much more flare resistant, slightly smoother zoom mechanism and has better IS (another stop + panning mode). The 15-85 does suffer more barreling at the wide end tho'.
    My reviews:
    http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/frary/canon_efs15-85.htm
    http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/frary/canon_efs17-55.htm
     
  10. "G Dan, I have the 10-20 range covered, and also the 70-200. Is the 17-40 soft in the corners WO even on APS-C, or just FF? Corner performance isn't critical to me generally, as that tends to be OOF anyway, but it'd be nice to have if necessary."
    I read at least one person above reporting that the 17-40 had better corners on crop than on FF, but that sure wasn't my experience - though it may have to do with how I shoot the lens.
    On crop I used it predominantly for landscape and similar shooting, though I occasionally used it for things like street photography. (One of my approaches to shooting street involves working very close to my subjects with wide angle lenses and shooting without raising the camera to my eye - it is a long story...) What I found was that corners were noticeably soft on crop at f/4. For street and similar, this wasn't an issue.
    For landscape I would stop down. However, with cropped sensor cameras, I avoided stopping down past f/8 much due to the earlier onset of diffraction blur on crop bodies. However, even at f/8 I often found myself having to crop out the margins of the frame in order to remove the soft areas in the corners. In some images, this isn't an issue, but in others I definitely found it to be - and ultimately, on crop, I sort of regarded it as perhaps a 19-20mm at the shortest lens when I shot it at 17mm, since that is roughly what I would get when I cropped.
    Given that the common wisdom says that "lenses are better on smaller formats since they use the 'sweet spot' of the sensor," an idea that made sense to me, how can this lens then be a great performer on full frame? First of all, let me just say that it is a better performer in the corners on full frame when you stop down, whatever theories may or may not explain it. So the point is not the explanation - it is the observed results of shooting the lens on FF. That said, theories...
    • The corners on this lens continue to improve as you stop it down. On full frame you can stop down roughly two more stops without worrying about diffraction blur, so I can regularly shoot the lens at f/16 on full frame. (Save the theoretical accounting of how diffraction blur increases before that - I understand that theory, and I've checked it against the large prints I make, and f/16 works very well.)
    • Some who compare cropped sensor performance resolution data in "sweet spot" center of the image circle to resolution values further out compare lp/mm resolution reports. This works fine when you stick to a single format, but ignores the different context of using the larger FF format. Putting lenses with equal lp/mm resolution on a FF and a cropped sensor camera results in better lp/picture height (or width or diagonal or what have you) on the full frame camera. In other words, equal lens resolution produces higher camera/lens system resolution on a larger format system. At the edge of an APS-C sized center patch on the full frame system, the system resolution expressed as lp/picture height is significantly higher on the ff system. It continues to drop off as we go further to toward the corners, but it may or may not lower the system resolution to the point that it is deficient by comparison to crop.
    So, for what it is worth if your intention is primarily to shoot stopped down from the tripod, the 17-40 offers real advantages in terms of across the frame system resolution. If you plan to shoot wide open, not so much. If you shoot on crop, you have a very limited range of useful apertures between f/4 (the largest) and f/8 (beyond which, you arguably must be concerned about diffraction blur). This is another reason to consider an f/2.8 lens on crop, by the way.
    One last thing. When I moved from crop to full frame something like five years ago, I planned to unload the 17-40 since a) I thought that the 24-105 would give me coverage on FF that was slightly wider than 17mm had given me on crop, and b) I wasn't all that impressed with the 17-40 in the corners. At the last minute, I decided that I might as well hang on to it long enough to at least try it out on the new camera. In other words, it was counter to my expectations to find that it performed better on FF.
    Dan
     
  11. I have the 17-40 and use it with my 20D and 50D. It is generally ok. I'm happy at most focal lengths. One of my best landscapes was done at f/4 ~ 28mm on my 20D. It could be a tad sharper but the light and composition are more important. I have noticed that 40mm is soft. 40mm is ok for street and people but I avoid it for landscapes.
    It is probably my weakest lens but I don't hesitate to use it.
    I sometimes feel it isn't quite wide enough or long enough on the crop, depending on the outing. If I were committed to the crop sensor, I'd look at the 15-85 instead.
    I'll be very happy with it if I find it works better on full frame as Dan said.
     
  12. WW, I'm not hung up on IS. If it's in a lens I want, great! If not, and the lens meets my needs better than others, then that's fine, too. I don't often shoot from a tripod, as most of my subjects are not static, and the tripod doesn't help. I suppose in most cases, my shutter speed is high enough that it doesn't help in those cases, either, but there are enough times that I've taken handheld shots that I never would have managed without it...1/15, 1/8. I particularly value IS on my 70-200, even when I don't need it, because it helps stabilize my shot when composing. Managing f/2.8 vs f/4 isn't a problem, since the 24-105 is already f/4. I tend to shoot at apertures wider than f/8...I close down as needed for DOF for my shot, but in general, wide open or a stop or two down is my default.
    Puppy Face, I realize the rubber seal isn't there at the lens/body connection, but that seems to be the least likely place for rain to hit...it can easily soak into other areas on the body/lens first if they aren't sealed. I tend to use protective filters, so that isn't an issue, either. I don't *need* f/2.8, but since I tend to shoot more open, it's nice to have. That said, the 15-85 seems to be a good, perhaps better, choice. But this is the input I was seeking, to give me more things to consider than I could think of myself.
    G Dan, I'm only likely to use my 7D for street shooting if I am out without the intention to be shooting street. I much prefer MF film for that. the waist-level finder does a good job of helping with those shots where you don't want to raise the camera to your eye. :) FF is really more of a dream. Considering the likely cost of the 5D Mk III, I doubt I'll be picking it up.
    John, with your input and that of everyone else, I think the 17-40 is off the list. I think my decision is between the 17-55, the 15-85, or nothing.
     
  13. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Jay, I like the way you progress your thinking. I am absolutely sure you will make a very informed choice.

    WW
     
  14. Jay, I find f/4 lenses to be too slow indoors and, even in some cases, outdoors.
    I had a 17-40, and found that I was using my faster primes so much more that I sold the zoom. Not only is the IQ of the primes much better, but so too is their low light capability. If I did a lot of landscape shooting from a tripod, I probably would have kept the 17-40 (since it's such a good performer between f/8 and f/11). But since I do very little of this type of shooting, I found the zoom to have little use for me. But of course, YMMV.
    If I were you, and were intent on getting a wide angle zoom, it would be an EF-S 17-55, or one of the Tamron or Sigma 17-50's. Although I primarily shoot with full frame bodies, I recently acquired a crop body, and have contemplated getting one of the aforementioned f/2.8 zooms myself.
     
  15. I should also have said that I like to use wide angle lenses for shallow depth-of-field work as well, and that f/4 wide angle zooms are virtually useless for this, given the inherently large depths-of-field of wide angle lenses.
     
  16. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I should also have said that I like to use wide angle lenses for shallow depth-of-field work as well . . .
    I find that for this particular passion of Shallow DoF and W I D E, I often require every leverage possible; so that means using a "FF" camera and also Fast Prime (i.e, faster than F/2.8) such as a 24mm or 35mm, though I do use also the 16 - 35 opened to F/2.8, but I prefer a Prime.
    Apropos Shallow DoF, the difference between F/4 and F/2.8 (or F/2~F/1.8) becomes quite apparent (and useful) when shooting close, at around a Three Quarter Shot or Half Shot Portrait.
    WW
     
  17. I used a 17-40 on crop-bodies for quite a while, from my 10D through my 7D. I also used the 24-105 for about a year on my 7D, and still do on occasion, but I have found the 15-85 to be an outstanding performer with an excellent focal range, 24-136mm in 35mm equivalent. I find that I like it much more than the 17-40 because it's wider but also at 15mm it's an f/3.5 vs. the 17-40's f/4 at 17mm. Also it's stabilized which, combined with the 7D's high-ISO performance, makes a great combo in low light settings. I think it's an excellent lens and it has pretty much replaced the 24-105 on my 7D. That lens now usually sits on my 1vHS. I think you should strongly consider the 15-85.
     
  18. I find that for this particular passion of Shallow DoF and W I D E, I often require every leverage possible; so that means using a "FF" camera and also Fast Prime (i.e, faster than F/2.8) such as a 24mm or 35mm...​
    That's precsiely what I mean, William. And that's why I use my 24/1.4 or 35/1.4 on my 5DII or 1V for this kind of work.
     
  19. Puppy Face, I realize the rubber seal isn't there at the lens/body connection, but that seems to be the least likely place for rain to hit...it can easily soak into other areas on the body/lens first if they aren't sealed.​
    I've been caught in a lot of tropical downpours and raindrops are an equal opportunity deal: they hit equally on all skyward facing surfaces. Worse yet, they tend to congregate at the lens-body border before flowing downward with gravity. Not a big deal if your exposure is brief and you dry it off. I'd be more worried about the main input wheel and QCD getting soaked than most lenses. In the past, those were the places that caused my cameras to fail in the rain.
     
  20. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I reckoned those were exactly the lenses that you would use, too.
     
  21. If I were in you position I would probably look at the 17-55 F2.8 as all those who have used it say it is a great lens (I have not). The 17-40 is a good lens (I have owned it) but was designed for full frame. I only ever shot my copy on Full Frame and APS-H as I bought the 7D after I had sold the 17-40. It was a little bit soft at the edges on a full frame body but was fine at F8. The MkI 16-35 was no better but the Mk II is (this is what I replaced the 17-40 with) although out of your price range.
    The 17-55 F2.8 is probably the way to go as you have no full frame intentions and even if things change this lens has good resale. The unfortunate fact is that wide angle lenses for SLRs are expensive to design and make due to their retro-focus design. The APS-C sensors just compound this problem - especially if you want a lens that will work on full frame.
    A prime is a good option but you have limited choice - Canon 20 F2.8, Sigma 20 F1.8 and the very good (but slow and MF) Voigtlander 20 F3.5 all leap to mind. Unfortunately the Angle of view will not be a lot more than your 24-105 (about 10 degrees)
     
  22. In the general range that you're targeting, perhaps a crop-specific lens with IS would be a better choice. Sorry, I'm not
    familiar with Canon's crop lenses, so this is more of a general comment. If something like an 18-55 (or longer) with IS
    exists, and if it's generally well regarded, I would probably go in that direction.
     
  23. "G Dan, I'm only likely to use my 7D for street shooting if I am out without the intention to be shooting street. I much prefer MF film for that. the waist-level finder does a good job of helping with those shots where you don't want to raise the camera to your eye. :)..."
    Really interesting comment, and it actually goes straight to that unusual shooting technique I was thinking about when I wrote my post. I have used the 17-40 on a cropped sensor camera to do this, basically keeping the camera at chest-level with a wide FL and shooting "blind" - which isn't really "blind" since I'm looking at my subjects without using the viewfinder.
    Dan
    [​IMG]
     
  24. Jay, it seems to me, with all due respect, that you have gotten yourself into this 'zoom' mentality that only seems to afflict small format SLR shooters. A photographer "generally" only needs three or four focal lengths for his/her chosen style (there are the odd exceptions). You don't need to 'cover a range'. Your camera has an interchangeable lens mount, so use it as required. You say you are hesitant to change lenses for one or two shots, yet some photographers will trek a day for one or two photographs. Photography is an art form, convenience has nothing to do with it.
    Save some money and invest in some workshops.
     
  25. "Photography is an art form, convenience has nothing to do with it."
    With all due respect, and from someone who regards photography as an art, you simply too much I think.
    There sense an implication in your use of the term "convenience" that might be taken to suggest that a person using a zoom is doing so because it is easier than using a few primes. Or there might even be a suggestion that the harder the process is, the better the art will be. I am certain that there is no relationship whatsoever between the choice to use, say, primes or use zooms and the quality of ones photography. I've seen plenty of work done both ways, and I've seen both great and less than great work done using either.
    If you happen to believe that your choice to use primes improves your photography, then that is the right choice at this point for you. However, if you believe that this correlation extends beyond your own preference in your work to become a general principle, there is essentially no evidence at all to support your point of view.
    Dan
     
  26. I'm not likely to trek a day for one or two photographs. Photography is a hobby for me, and I enjoy it as an art form, but I'm just not that dedicated. If that means I'll never be more than a mediocre photographer, so be it...as long as I'm happy with my results, that's all I really need. So for me, convenience definitely has something to do with it; it means that I'm more likely to take and get shots that satisfy me. And when I'm shooting candids of my daughter, when she might be 5 feet away for one shot and 20 feet away a few seconds later, a zoom will certainly make or break the shot...there's just no way to switch lenses back and forth in time as she runs around. For landscapes, sure...it isn't going anywhere and I can afford to take my time switching lenses as needed, but not every subject or scenario is like landscape photography.
    I understand the value of primes. I have a few, and I shoot MF film, with manual focus primes. IMHO, a lens is a tool, and if a zoom can help me achieve the results I want, great. If a fast prime is needed, I'll use that. But I'm not at all hung up on the primes vs zooms debate.
     
  27. G Dan, well worded response but I don't think you've really addressed anything that I have spoken about. The OP was the person who mentioned "convenience", and I didn't suggest using primes. Zoom lenses are incorrectly named IMHO; the name suggests that the correct way to use them is to zoom in and out until you've framed correctly. In my post, I was trying to suggest that changing lenses is not a real issue, and that the OP should perhaps start to think of his zoom lenses as covering two or three primary focal lengths ie a user of a 24-70 might use 24-35-50-70...the rest of the range is redundant.
     
  28. G Dan, well worded response but I don't think you've really addressed anything that I have spoken about. The OP was the person who mentioned "convenience", and I didn't suggest using primes. He said that he didn't really need a lens, but it might be convenient.
    I'm not sure that the lens will really fill a need so much as a convenience​
    Zoom lenses are incorrectly named IMHO; the name suggests that the correct way to use them is to zoom in and out until you've framed correctly. In my post, I was trying to suggest that changing lenses is not a real issue, and that the OP should perhaps start to think of his zoom lenses as covering two or three primary focal lengths ie a user of a 24-70 might use 24-35-50-70...the rest of the range is redundant.
     
  29. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I understand your point, but: what, if not "zoom lenses", should these lenses be named?
    WW
     
  30. How about variable focal length lenses? :)
     
  31. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    haha! I was thinking "non-prime lenses" . . .
     
  32. What to you call the Leica WATE (16mm, 18mm 21mm) or Tri-Elmar (28mm, 35mm and 50mm) - perhaps Leica has it right
     
  33. Ty Mickan wrote:
    Zoom lenses are incorrectly named IMHO; the name suggests that the correct way to use them is to zoom in and out until you've framed correctly. In my post, I was trying to suggest that changing lenses is not a real issue, and that the OP should perhaps start to think of his zoom lenses as covering two or three primary focal lengths ie a user of a 24-70 might use 24-35-50-70...the rest of the range is redundant.
    I understand why people prefer to use selected focal lengths (eg 24, 36 etc) in a zoom, because that is what they are used to using with prime lenses. But I cannot see how other focal lengths are redundant. Surely one of the advantages of a zoom lens is the ability to exactly frame an image, irrespective of focal length, particularly in situations where one cannot change the distance to the main subject easily. And this occurs frequently in forest for example. Alan
     
  34. Alan, surely before you take a photo, you visualise in your head the image you want, calculating the realationship between the subject and the foreground and background, the amount of subject isolation, the distortion effects. Then with that plan in your head, you select a focal length on your zoom that is going to give you the properties you require in your image, then compose (small format DSLR users call this "zoom with your feet"), then shoot......or do you just stand in one spot and zoom in and out until the frame is full?
     
  35. Hi Ty. Yes one does indeed try to visualise the photo (and choose an appropriate focal length) but that focal length can be anywhere, with adjustments away from normal prime focal lengths if protruding elements etc are in the photo. This is probably splitting straws but I am not sure the word 'redundant' is strictly correct in this context. It may be for certain Leica zooms but not for main stream zooms.
     
  36. agreed Alan, perhaps 'redundant' is not the best word. Maybe superfluous is more appropriate. What I was trying to say was that, in no situations where I've used a zoom, have I thought "I think I might need a 31.5mm focal length for this shot. The simpler I can make photography, the better off I am, and I'm sure this is true of others. I tend to think with a basic set of focal lengths in mind.
     
  37. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I tend to think with a basic set of focal lengths in mind. . . before you take a photo, you visualise in your head the image you want, calculating the [relationship] between the subject and the foreground and background, the amount of subject isolation, the distortion effects. Then with that plan in your head, you select a focal length on your zoom . . .​
    That comes about, by having had and having used the various FL PRIMES in the first place:
    And this point, IMO, should be the basis of the argument to solicit those who (nowadays) buy and camera, with the kit zoom; show interest; want to expand, learn and develop their skills and horizons . . .
    By enticement to think, plan prepare and “see” the scene/subject variously . . .
    And NOT just to suggest to get a “nifty fifty” . . .
    because it is “good for the low light shots”.
    WW
     

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