Over the years are you still a large zoom user?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by RaymondC, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. Just curious about this. For myself, over time I have started using more primes and also looking at the good quality kit lens esp with travel and my own hobby photography walkabout style. A no. of my friends have stayed with large zooms dSLR or if they went the mirrorless route after getting sick of the bulk they still went for the large aperture zoom lenses mainly. I of course like other hobbyist I knew at the start we all very liked the F2.8 zoom lenses all 3 of them, fortunately I only got 2 of them - a older 35-70mm 2.8 and a 80-200 2.8 but sold for a 70-200mm f4.

    How have you guys been on this regard ....
  2. Yes, I am still a large zoom user mainly because through experimentation I've learned to use it in a way that allows me to view reality and make it look WAY more interesting when photographed. IOW I don't use zooms just to get close ups of wildlife or candids of people in the street or at the park.

    I have a Sigma 70-300mm and Sigma 28-80mm both with macro switches which I turn on quite often. These zooms are far more fun to use than my 18-55mm kit lens.
  3. I would like to have the confidence to use only my Fuji XE1 with the 27mm lens (41mm equiv). Small, light, unobtrusive and a cool looking combo.
  4. Well, I'm as large as ever. Never been fond of zooms, though the 18-70 Nikkor kit lens is surprisingly good. A 55 f/2.8 Micro Nikkor is on my DX body about 80% of the time because I do a lot of macro, and it works well over the whole range when I need it to. I have several longer lenses, but suspect I've never made a really decent photo with anything longer than 105.
  5. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    12-24, 18-135 and a 70-300...that is all I use.
  6. Zoom lenses let you use your limited MP to best advantage by cropping in the camera. There are times when you need to reach out to a subject from a fixed position, but for me composition and perspective are the rule. Good zoom lenses are expensive, and good, fast zooms are really expensive. As a Sony A7Rii user, my mainstay is a 24-70/2.8 GM - big, heavy and expensive. I settle for less in other ranges. My kit includes a Zeiss ZE 16-335/4 and a Sony 70-200/4 G.

    I like using prime lenses too, for walking about (25/2), closeups (90/2.8), and starry landscapes (18/2.8), for example. I have other primes too, depending on the subject and circumstances, both AF and manual. A nice feature of the Sony is image stabilization is built into the body, and works with any lens, native or third-party.

    I don't find prime lenses deliver better image quality in terms of resolution, distortion and color. They may have less tendency to flare, but that is highly restrained in modern zoom lenses too. The 24-70/2.8 GM was worth the money, since it performs as well or better than prime lenses in that range. It also as large and weighs as much as its Nikon counterpart, but with far better performance.
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  7. I do use zooms more than primes. My most used lens is a 50-135/3.5 manual focus lens adapted onto a half-frame digital camera. When you use the centre of the image circle on a good lens, you're doing pretty well.

    Primes make sense only if they're small (or if they have special applications), which is why I think a lot of rangefinder users don't mind the fact that there are almost no zooms for RF systems. An RF camera with three primes is amazingly compact, even if RF camera bodes are not the smallest.
  8. For about 30 some years with 35mm film I only used the 24 2.8, 50 1.4 and 105 2.5 and saw no reason for a zoom. After starting with digital and the kit zoom (Nikkor 18-70 which I still have and it is a very good copy) I now mostly use the 18-70 or other kit 18-105 on my D7100. For special purposes I still get out the old lenses, including a 55 micro Nikkor for macro. All are Ai or AiS so they meter on the D7100. I had my old 105 2.5 Ai'd because it is still an amazing lens.
  9. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    I think photographic practices / habits play a role here. I used zooms in film days as soon as I could get my hands on them. Particular travel favorite was the Nikkor 80-200 f 4.5 I have it still and use it on occasion, mostly on my Ricoh GXR. I even got pretty good shots out of the much reviled 43-86. As Ed said, zooms facilitate composing in camera. In the digital Nikon world, I like my shorter zooms best 18-35, 24-85, 24-120. The 28-300 is useful, particularly from a vehicle. I am still struggling with the old model 80-400. Prime lenses become important in specialist arenas -- the 105 f2.8 Macro, the long prime teles, both make things that should be impossible possible. I do enjoy walking around with a 20 or 24 in daylight or a fast 50 at night - I don't travel without the latter It often comes down to what you can comfortably bring and reasonably access with speed. Three zooms can cover / mostly replace a very large case of primes. You give something to get something!
  10. Back in the film days, I started with primes but quickly switched to zooms; for some time two bodies, one with a 24-50 and one with a 70-210 served me well. Later added an 18-35. Since I almost exclusively shot slide film back then, zooms definitely had the advantage in getting me the framing I wanted. My preference for zooms continued once I switched to digital, currently covering a range from 12mm to 500mm. I do have a few primes lenses too but the bulk of my shooting continues to be with zooms.
  11. Like everything, it depends on what I am trying to accomplish or the circumstances. If I am going to be in a rapidly changing run and gun situation where I may not be able to move closer or further from the subject, a zoom. My longest hand holdable lens is a 70-200 that after a 10 lb 400 mm 2.8 is a breeze. So if I need to get that totally oof bg, I will reach for it. However, with a 135 dc on a d500 I am getting the angle of view of a 200mm plus the incredible bokeh of the lens. Also, if I want the best possible bokeh, I reach for the 85 or 135.
  12. In film days I used no zooms. Now they are pretty well all I use as they are so good these days. I only use primes if I want to travel light and to provide some variety, but sometimes I wonder why I bother. I have divested myself of some of them. I have a 70-200mm f2.8 but only use it because of the kids sporting and event shooting. I will revert to an f4 version when they are out of the house. If you want to save weight then using primes will not necessarily help unless you pick reasonable aperture primes and are content with decreasing the range of focal length coverage.
  13. I've used two Tamron zooms for quite a while: an 18-300 and, more recently, a 15-300. Just several months ago, for landscape work I expect to be doing soon, I also acquired Canon EF70-300.
  14. I went from primes to zooms and pretty much stayed with zooms.

    My old Nikon kit was F2 + 24 + 43-86 + 80-200/f4.5 + 105. This was fine when I was in college and after. But today, it is too heavy a load for me. To that end, my current film kit is a 24 + 35-105 with the 35-105 as my standard lens.
    As I got older, the 70-200/f2.8 that I wanted, is now too heavy for me, for extended shooting sessions. So with heavy heart, I have scratched that lens off my list.

    For my dlsr, I have a D7200 + 18-140. So far the 18-140 has worked out great as a general purpose lens. This kit avoids me having to carry the multiple lenses I used to carry. But it is still a bit heavy on a long shoot. I may swap my old (and lighter) 18-70, for some shoots.
    So, I have been re-evaluating my dslr setup, and will likely get the lighter D3400 + 18-55, to use as a "tweener" camera. So I don't have to take out the heavier D7200 for casual things like family parties and similar. And NO, I am not happy with my P&S cameras, which is why I am looking at a light dslr.
  15. Over time. dSLRs the 6MP was SLR form factor and that was what was available. I wasn't involved with photography in the film days, I got into film after getting my 6MP. After reading about, to me it's a bit like for my own walk and about stuff and I don't do action, sports or stage performances (where SLRs would be better or the likes of big group get togethers). For my own stuff and wandering around at home in weekends or travel, if it was in the past the film Ricoh GR, Contax G1 may had been attractive. These days it would be the digital equivalent.
  16. 14mm, 24-105mm, 70-200mm, 100-400mm and 500mm, with 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters. Given today's great high-ISO performance, there's little need for fast primes, except for special effect, like bokeh for portraits with a fast 80mm. I love the bokeh with all my long lenses, so feel no need for an otherwise limiting lens, like a fast 80mm. If I really focused on portrait as a primary interest, then I'd likely get one.
  17. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    Like several others here, back in the 70s my Canon FT/QL kit was all primes. 50, 85, 135, and 200mm all in Canon FL flavor. And a Spirotone 2x teleconverter (yeah, I know... :p). My first zoom was an 80-200mm Soligar, followed by something by Vivitar, finally into a couple Tokina zooms when I went to the AE-1P. Finally went all Canon FD with the A-1's. Part of how I still behave and position myself in situations is an unconcious habit bred with primes--made even more so when I did weddings and portraits.

    Everything now in my D7100 kit is zoom. Two Sigma's, and two Nikkor's. What I have learned about zooms over the years is that regardless of the 'quality' or cost, there are things about the extreme bottom and top ranges that leave many things to be desired. My kit necessarily has significant overlap between all of them. This way, I can get the best performance out of each (by using the center two-thirds or so range) without resorting to pushing the end limits. What I am seeing though is a continuing and significant improvement in zooms across time--where especially on the lower limit performance is very good. I am astonished at my new Nikkor 18-140mm, and the 80-200mm is pretty spiffy too!

    Now the thing with many zooms is that one often does not get the great bokeh of a big fast prime fairly wide open. What happens is often softer and more rounded. Here is where PhotoShop is my friend... :cool:

    I will eventually add a 'prime' to the kit. My eyes are on a Micro-Nikkor 60mm for negative 'scanning', copystand, and other sorts of macro work. I have a Sigma
    17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro (OS) HSM | C that does a handy job of this (and some exceptional stuff with a set of Xit extender rings), but the 60mm is really nice!
  18. Two quality prime lenses pretty much cover most of my needs. Plus one macro lens. I do 70% of stuff with a 24 to 70mm equivalent. There was a time when a zoom for a Bronica SQA was inordinately costly so there were, practically none out and around, and just dream stuff for the average guy or gal, Aspherics and computer design has made zooms just great, and the good ones are almost affordable. And the fixed FL is a blessing for any user of flash indoors.
  19. I've gone back and forth. Started with primes back when I was shooting Kodachrome and the fastest zoom available (on Olympus OM) was an f/4. Although I'm an amateur, but have done some event and PJ work, and the practicality of f/2.8 zooms (17-55mm and 80-200mm in DX, 24-70 and 70-200mm in FX) became apparent. More, tendinitis in my hands has made me prefer the lower weight of primes, although I put up with the physical pain of heavy zooms when necessary. I shoot with an 80-400mm (primarily for birds) and use a monopod when a tripod isn't practical.
  20. In my early days, I used primes exclusively. I now tend to use zooms for small format digital, but at the same time I always want at least one fast prime at hand. With DX, that prime is either a 50mm 1.4 or more recently the wonderful little Nikon 35mm 1.8. With FX, it's a 50mm 1.4. For macro work, a dedicated 100mm Macro lens is a must regardless of the format or system. When I made the switch to Nikon earlier this year, getting one was a high priority for me.

    I still tend to use primes with 35mm film, and of course I don't have a bank account big enough to even buy into the systems that HAVE zooms in medium format. The one "zoom" I latched onto when I was mostly using 70s/80s equipment was the Vivitar Series 1 Varifocal 35-85 2.8, and I liked it enough that I have been keeping my eyes open for one in Nikon mount. I'm pretty sure that it's the only non-manufacturer lens that has ever spent significant time in my bag.

Share This Page