Over the years are you still a large zoom user?

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

  1. You have to remember that back in the film days, zooms weren't always that good. They left a bad taste in my mouth that carries over to this day. Modern zooms, however, are very good, so good that many times I can't see any quality improvement with primes. Sometimes the primes are worse! That said, I've also tested a popular wide range zoom, an 18-200 I think, and thought it was horrible. Fine for snapshots and the web, but totally unsuited for anything serious. You almost always pay a price to have a wide range.
  2. All mixed.
    Back in film days I became primes heavier after my 1st pair of zooms fell apart.
    I like my Leica M kit and can't afford Tri-Elmars. OTOH: I don't shoot badly performing heritage glass for shooting primes' sake. Replacing a Sigma 14 /3.5, Soligor 20/2.8 and Exakta 24/2.8 with a Pentax 12-24 /4, made for crop bodies, is something I don't regret. I am quite content with just a pair of consumer zooms on elderly Fujis and bought a Canon with 70-200/2.8.
    In systems offering OIS only in the lenses I want to have it (for the allrounders) and OIS primes seem comparably rare.
    Shooting primes isn't what it used to be. Looking at modern decent glass: Where did the bulk advantage go? How to afford enough bodies to be competitive with a bunch of primes?
    All rants aside: You probably won't see me using zooms in a studio environment, when I have a chance to avoid that.
    How do you count lens usage? - Pictures taken or hours of camera carrying?
  3. Like I said, I think it's telling that for the Canon FD mount, the only zoom I used when I was still using that system was a Vivitar Series 1. With that said, I've since acquired a 24-35 f/4 L and it's quite a good lens, although the 24mm f/2 is better.

    Zooms did start to get good in the 90s as both computer design and improved manufacturing contributed to them. Things like aspherical elements use to be exotic, and now they are common(albeit usually molded rather than hand-ground) in consumer lenses. Nikon also use to make a big deal out of things like ED and UD glass, but now you also see that in consumer zooms.

    Still, there are things that hold true. One is that usually increasing the zoom range usually results in reduced performance. Still, some of the staple pro zooms like the various 70/80-200/210 2.8s only continue to get better, although with a 2.5x-3x zoom range they aren't pushing the boundaries of some other lenses.

    I have the first version of the Nikon 18-200, and although the lens has its problems it still gives acceptable results over most of the range. You are GOING to see compromises in an 11x zoom, and those mostly manifest in the form of complicated distortion and poor sharpness at small apertures. Still, being able to cover THAT MUCH range by only toting a single body and lens(i.e. no bag) is a tradeoff I'm SOMETIMES willing to make.
  4. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    back in the day, the only “zoom” i would countenance was the tri-elmar 28/35/50. absolutely spot on as long as you were ok with f4.

    nowadays, i’m strictly p&s zoom.
  5. Both my Sigma 28-80mm & 70-300mm have an unconventional macro switch that has a pretty long maximum focus distance (for macro) that kinda' acts as a fixed prime where the focus ring forces me to get closer or farther, but it can produce some really creamy bokeh even at f/8. Don't understand how this happens but it's what makes my zooms so fun to work with.
  6. From what I've been able to tell, the Varifocal 35-85/2.8 is a non-AI lens, so it is somewhat limited on what camera it can be mounted to.
    But that would be a lens that I would have loved when I was shooting my F2, with it's meter prong coupling.

    I have the slightly longer, variable aperture 35-105 on my F2. It replaced the shorter range 43-86 that I used for decades. Makes for less lens changing.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
  7. How about a 500 mirror? It qualifies as a prime lens.
    I recently got one, because I always wanted a mirror lens.
    And I used it this past week to shoot a tennis match. I had to shoot out over 5 courts to #6, and that was beyond the practical reach of my 75-300. The crop on the 300 was ugly, so I needed the longer lens.
  8. A quick look on Ebay shows both non-AI and AI lenses, although the non-AI version seems more common.

    The AI versions look to be "real" AI lenses, of course with the double row of aperture numbers and also a dramatically different design for the ring.

    I think Vivitar made this lens up into the 80s, so it would make sense for them to have switched over to AI.
  9. Dang Ben, you just added another lens to my shopping list ;)
  10. Today's best primes are so spectacular that, sometimes, I am willing to carry a second or third. So, yes, I prefer the superiority of primes! I zoom with my feet or crop.

    However, the cost of multiple really long primes vs. my Sigma 150-600 keeps me in a zoom. While this Sigma Sport zoom is extremely good in the short focal lengths, it is a bit(!) cumbersome for walkabouts and candids!
  11. hmmm, that Sigma 150-600 looks tempting for a LONG lens.
  12. yes, the big sig is amazing. today, i used it for micro because it was the one lens I left the house with. not as good as the sigma 105, but very multi purpose:
    [​IMG]_171001_135735_RAL8857 by BG Day, on Flickr
  13. please define, "a large zoom user?"
    user of a 6 pound long telephoto zoom (like me)
    - or -
    largely using zooms versus primes (not like me)
    - or -
    a 300 pound zoom user (LOL)
    PapaTango likes this.
  14. I resisted zooms in my film years because I could not stand the Distortion factor - typically barrel at the wide end,pincushion at the long. Now,at least for FX, my screw-focus AF Nikkor 28-105 D makes me very happy.
  15. Getting too old to tote around my 5D III and 5D II and all of those heavy lenses so after careful research, I rented a Fuji X-e2 and X-Pro2 for a week each along with two prime lenses, the 23mm and 56mm. Before the week was out, I order the new Fuji X-e3 and should have it this week. I ordered it with the 18-55 as it was quite a deal, then ordered the 27mm pancake. If it works out as well as I expect, I'm going to order another with a prime lens.
    So the answer is NO, I'm not much of a zoom user anymore. I'm putting all of my Canon equipment, much as I love it, up for sale.
  16. Yes I still love my Canon 35-350mm L. I wish it had IS but I'll settle for what it is.
  17. Zooms always have a look of distance.

    A outsider looking in.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
  18. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry Allen, Very pat, but not very credible, and a bit "one size fits all." A little like saying that when I got my first Nikon 24mm, it was a "do all" lens because I shot everything with it for months, landscapes to nudes. Influences of Sieff.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
    beegeedee and Jochen like this.
  19. There are wide ones too, so I don't understand your statement, unless you figured out that a wide zoom alienates you significantly from your subjects, compared to a prime shot from the same point.

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