Primes or Zooms

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by tacomadm18, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. <p>The age old quest
     
  2. Purists are idiotic...I use either or, or both depending on the situation at hand.
     
  3. To add to that, excellent examples of each are rather expensive as well. :(
     
  4. I spent six hours shooting some very big, expensive products today. I used high-end fast zooms, a nice ultra-wide zoom, and three different primes. It didn't even occur to me, until I saw this post, to be thinking of it as either-or. And, I've already stopped thinking about it.

    The only "age old quest" is to get the photograph you want, which means using the right tool(s) for the job. Primes and zooms are each the right tools for different jobs and situations and budgets.
     
  5. Primes!!!....
     
  6. Primes and zooms - it really isn't a matter of either...or.
     
  7. I have both. Right tool for the right situation.
    I use a zoom when the situation is dynamic and space/weight are not an issue (like at one of my kids school functions). I use some specific primes when things are a bit slower, and weight/size are an issue (like when backpacking).

    I also have both AF and MF primes - sometimes AF is needed, other times not.

    John
     
  8. There is just one zoom I prefer over every prime in it's range - the 14-24/2.8.
    But I also enjoy shooting with old 20/3.5s or my 24/2Ai.
    For sports I love good fast primes with a speedy AF but for almost every other situation I prefer rather vintage MF-primes (old 28/2s, very old 50/1.4s, the lovely 105/2.5 and so on).
    I tend to shoot a lot wide-open and the „oldies” mounted on a D700 create a special look that is simply not achievable with modern lenses (esp. zooms) on the typical crop-sensor-DSLR.
    Cheers, georg!
     
  9. whatever works.
     
  10. SCL

    SCL

    AND not or. Whatever works.
     
  11. A pity "whatever works" is already said, since I wanted to say that too :-D . Well, can't beat my 16-85VR for versatility. Can't beat my primes for size and large apertures. Wouldn't want to be without either one of them.
    To the OP: if you are looking for a new lens, maybe it's more useful to indicate what you want it to do, what your budget is, on which camera you'll use it and which features are especially important to you. I'm sure we will agree a lot less when responding to that question!
     
  12. The classic case where the tool has become more important than the outcome...
    Next time you see a great photograph, try and see if you can tell if it was shot with primes or zooms...
     
  13. I try to be "Delibarate" when i am shooting , so i also delibaratly choose a lens, either prime or Zoom that i think works best to get the result as close to what i want a picture to look like.
    So i guess it does not realy matter as long as I make sure to know my "Tools" as well as possible to enable me to get the result I want. This means also that cheap and expensive lenses , primes, Zooms, enlarger lenses ( macro ...),and "toy lenses" all have their place, even lenses whith builtin obvious "faults" can be helpfull that way....
     
  14. Both for whatever works.
     
  15. For years I was in the Prime camp. However, the advance of technology and particularly the software processing advances, I'm now happy in the zoom camp. I can do more with even a mid market zoom and high end processing software than I ever could with a high end prime, just a year or two ago.
    I have sold all of my super fast high end primes.
     
  16. Bob said:
    ..excellent examples of each are rather expensive as well​
    Two exceptions to that are Samyang's 35mm and 85mm f/1.4 offerings. I'd go so far as to say that both are equal to the best available comparable lenses from any manufacturer, at any price. How long that will stay the case is anyone's guess.
    I think the ease of pixel-peeping these days has revealed a lot of very minor flaws in lens designs that would have stayed hidden with film. This is such that even revered lenses like the 105mm f/2.5 Nikkor can be faulted and found slightly wanting. However a much more troublesome issue that hasn't yet been mentioned is that of poor assembly, inspection and quality control.
    The greater complexity and number of moving parts in zooms inevitably leads to a higher rate of decentring and misalignment error. Couple that with being more prone to wear-related degradation, and you have a recipe for statistically lower image quality and far greater variation in image quality. So all-in-all, I personally feel much more confident buying a prime lens - new or used - than I do when buying a zoom. I'd certainly check any zoom out thoroughly at all settings before trusting its quality, and have had one or two real "lemons" through my hands, even from reputable high-end camera brands. Conversely, I've never seen a prime so bad (except for obvious mechanical damage) that it warranted returning. Also, if you need an aperture greater than f/2.8 then you've no choice but to turn to primes.
     
  17. Ok, if I was doing something commercially, I would of course use whatever tool I need to do any given job, but when it comes to personal photography, I'm an idiotic purist in every way. I prefer the kinds of pictures I end up doing with just the one prime lens on my camera, and I like it faster than what any zoom offers. It doesn't matter whether it's a DSLR or a film SLR.
    It's not a matter of cost, of sharpness, or of anything having to do with "image quality", but it has everything to do with "quality of image". With my prime lens, I seem to have a better sense of what I'm going to get from where I am, or of where I should be. It's just more instinctive. And besides, I'm not interested in telephoto zoom shots. I like the engagement I get from having to get in there, or else I don't want the picture. Maybe that is idiotic, but that's what works for me. Too many unnecessary variables just get in my way.
     
  18. it

    it

    Both, obviously.
     
  19. I use both zooms and primes. I noticed, as for quality (pro) prime and zoom lenses, picture quality is practically the same, unless I require a fast lens that delivers the background blur I crave. In this case, only a fast prime can deliver that effect. I noticed primes are lightweight, compact, non-intimidating, and more comfortable, which is critical in candid/street photos, where you (the photographer) want to keep a low profile by not pointing a "cannon" toward someone's face. My impression is that prime lenses have a clear advantage in expressive, fine "art" photography. Zooms are ideal for action, snapshot, and "production" work.
     
  20. Primes, obviously.
     
  21. rjf

    rjf

    If you are new to photography I would sugget a prime and learn to use the "foot" zoom. But either one works just as well as the other. I prefer primes.
     
  22. I like primes when travelling; they are not as threatening as a big ole zoom and that works for me.
     
  23. I looked at this post today and noticed that some of my original post was cut off - (don't know why) anyway I've been on both sides of the house (used only primes and used only zooms) the thing is when I use zooms I feel like I just want to use primes - I'm not sure why that is - I'm not a pro and just shoot shots because I like to shoot - (anything and everything) I don't like to do alot of post prodcution just a couple simple tweaks - It also seems that when I have used zooms most of the time I end up shooting at either end of the lens - I just thought I'd see what other people had to say - I don't think there is a right or wrong answer - but I do think my heart tell me to use Primes - that's just me -
     
  24. I like to work with primes (because they're usually smaller, can have larger apertures, tilt/shift functions, macro capability, and they usually produce cleaner images) but sometimes I find it necessary to use a zoom or zooms to get more thorough coverage of a time-sensitive event.
     
  25. Hi glen,
    Nowadays it's mainly a matter of personal preferences and choice or the kind of photography you are doing, as the old quality "disavantages" of zooms when compared to primes just disappeared and some zooms can even do better than some primes at the same focal distance because quality wise not all the lenses are equal (and this is true for both primes and zooms).
    I use both but I can understand when you say what your heart tells you and why not to follow it's voice? At the end, you can always take another option.
    A fixed 35 mm is my preferred lens for street with my FF DSLR and I can go out for a day just with that lens, and last summer I went for an 11 days holiday with the new Fuji X100, that has a 35 mm equivalent fixed lens, and besides one or two times a zoom or a tele could have been very convenient I could "survive" with no regrets about my decision. I was able to get the images I wanted, much lighter and with nobody paying attention to my camera.
     
  26. Twenty years ago: primes. Now: who cares? The big three put much more money into R&D of zooms than (most) primes. This is evidenced by the exceptional increase in zoom quality over the last few decades. Personally, I don't think there is much that can't be done with a set of 2.8 zooms 16-35, 24-70, and 70-200. Throw in a 300 prime with a couple TCs and a nice macro lens, and you now the only thing stopping you from taking is exceptional photographs is yourself.
     
  27. Danny,
    There must be a reason why some people buy the 17 mm TS-E or the 800 mm L, the last one in the 5 figures price range, but as a matter of fact your choice of lenses is very far from being a modest one and it is no surprise you say you can do all you want to do with them. Most common human beings don't even dream about buying such a set.
    But when it comes to yourself as the limiting factor I would risk to say that this happens all the time no matter the hardware you own, providing you have the one you need for what you intend to do, and you may need a lot of equipment or take those exceptional photographs with just one lens. Look at the way Henry Cartier-Bresson got admission to Photography History Books with his Leica and a 50 mm lens.
     
  28. Many years ago, I only shot with primes because I was not satisfied with the quality of the images I was able to obtain from zoom lenses.
    Most of the prime lenses that I used with my 35mm film cameras were manual focus. When I started using a digital SLR, I was unable to use my primes because I found it very difficult to accurately manually focus.
    Instead of replacing them with auto focus primes, I instead purchased auto focus zooms instead. Thank goodness zooms had improved over those early zooms I tried.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11336821@N00/5259209196/
    00ZYAj-411863584.JPG
     
  29. it

    it

    The whole "I only use primes" thing is such a joke. I love my primes, and use them everyday to make my living, but there are tons of situations where I would have to be a complete idiot to use them.
    Define yourself by your images, not your tools.
     
  30. The whole "I only use primes" thing is such a joke.​
    Maybe, but it's a joke followed by so many of the world's greatest photographers. So: using primes and zooms is a joke. Using just zooms is such a joke. Follow whichever joke appeals to you.
     
  31. Glen Grulke, follow your heart and do it your own way. When I started in photography 20 years ago, I used nothing but prime manual Nikkor lenses, creating the majority of my work. Having recently used a few MF and AF zooms, I still believe fixed lenses are "fundamental" photographic tools that define who you are as an image maker.
     
  32. it

    it

    Right.
    I know lots of shooters for Reuters, AP etc. They take the photos you see everyday in Newsweek, Time and the big newspapers. One day they are shooting riots on the Gaza Strip, the next week they are shooting water sports at the Olympics.
    Most of them don't even carry primes, they go with 16-35, 24-70, 70-200. Why? Because they have to get the shot, they could care less about this ridiculous posturing.
    The "primes only" crowd always come back with the "zoom with your feet" thing. Well that's fine if you are on a wide prime this can sometimes work. But if you are on a long prime and have to move 30 feet to get the shot in a fast moving situation, what happens? You miss the shot, and if you are shooting for a living that is a massive problem.
     
  33. Quit it guys. go take pictures.
     
  34. I still believe fixed lenses are "fundamental" photographic tools that define who you are as an image maker.​
    How sad would it be to be defined by a prime (or a zoom) as an image maker. BTW, who are you exactly talking about anyway?
     
  35. they could care less about this ridiculous posturing​
    Zooms are pretty much standard issue for the Reuters, AP etc. stringers. No one is saying they don't have a use.
    I've been lucky to know some really top level photojournalists (and non-photojournalist photographers), some of the world's best - household or near-household names at least in the photography world, and as it happens they've pretty much all used primes, at least they have whenever I've met up with them. Many use a single lens most of the time eg. a 35mm. Which doesn't mean that using zooms is wrong at all, but being told that preferring primes, and having good reasons to prefer them, is "ridiculous" just makes me laugh.
    You're welcome to explain why you think zooms are a better idea, and I can respect the point of view. I may not agree with it, but I think finding others' points of view ridiculous is rather silly or immature. For photographers I respect who came to a different conclusion to mine, that's fantastic, they're entitled to their opinion, which I respect as I respect their pictures, and I would never consider their views a joke. I just delight in the great pictures they take with their zooms.
    Whether or not you settle on zooms, I think everyone has to use zooms at some point in their lives. Apart from anything else, it is a variable to play with, to experiment with, part of the learning experience, and fun to play around with. If you didn't, you'd wonder what you were missing. Ultimately, I honestly think the best advice for most of us is to play around with it and go back to primes, but in fact most people probably stick with zooms. Others will think that the best advice is to stick with zooms, and that's fine as a point of view. I don't think it's the best point of view, but I respect it.
    Among the photographers I know that I really respect most, I can think of just one who as far as I know habitually use zooms. But even he is being tempted back to primes, and we went out for a photo shoot last time, he took a couple of primes only. And he's been telling me that he's been sorely tempted to move back to a simpler workflow using mainly primes. But yesterday he had a zoom back on...
    There are many people that I think zooms would certainly suit best, photographers stuck in a press pen or at the side of a pitch are certainly some of those. An awful lot depends on the kind of photography that you plan to do.
     
  36. Quit it guys. go take pictures.​
    For the WIN!
     
  37. I tried the single focal route, didn't work out for me. I was always missing fast breaking shots because I had the wrong lens on, often I was in a spot where I couldn't back up or move forward, and I was often having to crop the image which loses resolution. I now see single focal lenses as being for niche use only. I still have one, a Sigma 30mm f1.4 for when light levels are extremely low, but otherwise I now only use f2.8 pro zooms. The quality is better and I don't miss shots any more. So, pick what works for you. If I shot a lot of architecture and didn't own a 4x5, I'd buy a single focal 24mm PCE lens. If I shot a lot of macro, I'd buy a single focal macro lens. Otherwise, modern zooms just seem to be a much better match for these smaller handheld cameras like a DSLR. Save the so-called primes for you 8x10 large format shooting.
    Kent in SD
     
  38. There must be a reason why some people buy the 17 mm TS-E or the 800 mm L, the last one in the 5 figures price range, but as a matter of fact your choice of lenses is very far from being a modest one and it is no surprise you say you can do all you want to do with them. Most common human beings don't even dream about buying such a set.​
    My point was not to say that I have this set or that the OP should run out and buy it. My point was that new innovations in zooms and teleconverters has made the "dedicated primes can't be beat" mantra obsolete. Additionally, advances in high-iso noise capability of new cameras means that f<2.8 primes do not have quite the value proposition they used to. There is not much you can't do with a range of f/2.8 zooms that you can do with primes in that same range (other than razor-thin dof).
     
  39. My point was not to say that I have this set or that the OP should run out and buy it.​
    As a matter of fact I didn't suggest that and I even agreed with you when you say you can do almost everything with your excellent set of lenses, besides there are always room for particular needs that are not covered by them (reason why I referred the TS-E and the super tele).
    I also intended to say that every person shall look at his needs and style because personal limitations don't go away buying a lot of lenses or being fundamentalist about a particular type, and if today's technology eliminated the quality argument we shall look at the choice between primes and zooms just as an increased degree of freedom to match our preferences.
     
  40. mmm Is this a NIKON specific topic ???
     
  41. Not sure about zooms. I use only primes. Maybe the High End Zooms are fine.
    I'm Happy with my Nikkor 35 f1.8DX, Nikkor 50 f1.8, Nikkor 85 f1.8 and Sigma 105 f2.8 EX DG Macro.
    I love my Bronica PE Primes.
     
  42. advances in high-iso noise capability of new cameras means that f<2.8 primes do not have quite the value proposition they used to.
    I completely disagree. Firstly, the quality of many f/1.4 lenses has gone up considerably from the previous generation. Secondly, there is now more precise autofocus available, facilitating their effective use. Finally, the high-ISO image quality of the 12 MP FX cameras has opened up completely new avenues in low-light photography. You can now make high-quality images in any light in which you can see the subject. But only really when combined with the fastest lenses. f/2.8 is very slow for many situations in indoor available light work. Yes, flashes can be used, but not in all conditions - sometimes they're too much of a distraction. What's more, when you do use flash, the options to combine flash with various other types of available light e.g. cell phone screens, monitors etc.), and the ability to bounce from huge, far-away reflecting surfaces (thanks to using a combination of high ISO and wide apertures) have increased the lighting options in indoor photography. This translates to better quality lighting with less of a "production" needed.
    Finally the fast lenses offer the option of cleaning out backgrounds and this has again become more viable than it was in the 80s or 90s thanks to better image quality wide open of the recent lenses, and autofocus with SWM.
     
  43. A wildlife photographer may have a 400 and a 600 as staple (go-to) primes. A portrait photographer 85/1.4, 135/2 as favs. A landscape image maker,20mm 24, 50 even 85. Newspaper/sports, 70-200/2.8 and 17-35/2.8. My favorites, 35/1.4, 85/1.4, 200/2(MF) - people and portraits. And, yes, Ilkka, I avoid flash as often as possible, as it's too offensive in candid. Fast primes are the ticket.
     
  44. I would have to go with, both. If you have to do fast shooting with no time to change lenses, i.e. a concert, you have to choose. Or you can carry two cameras, one with a prime, and the other one with a zoom. Those first 3 songs are a battle you can't lose by changing lenses.
     
  45. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I've been lucky to know some really top level photojournalists (and non-photojournalist photographers), some of the world's best - household or near-household names at least in the photography world, and as it happens they've pretty much all used primes,​
    Who cares? The question is not "what do top level photojournalists use?", and it's obviously not being asked by a "top level photojournalist." What's important is that people are comfortable with their own tools, not what some vaguely referenced person uses.
     
  46. I have both, but one way primes are superior is when you point them into the light, because zooms having 13 or more elements gives the light so many air to glass surfaces to bounce off and cause flare and internal reflections, I know zooms are multi-coated these days, but so are primes.
     
  47. "Who cares?"

    The point isn't that you have to do the same as them. The point is that it is more than a little dumb to reject an approach
    taken by many of the world's best photographers as being a 'joke' or 'ridiculous'. It can be useful to work out why they do it (and why others who do something else do what they do), then work out what works for you.

    If you don't care, that's OK too, go ahead and think about something else.
     
  48. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    My teacher for many years was someone who used a camera that didn't even use interchangeable lenses. He did a book for NG with it, so it obviously wasn't a limitation. However, when I need a new camera, I asked him what I should use, not what he used. He recommended something that he thought would work for me, and I happened to use it for a number a years. It really never mattered to me what he, or anyone else, used, unless they thought it was useful for what I was doing. I didn't see anyone here saying they wanted to be a "top level photojournalist," did you?
     
  49. "I didn't see anyone here saying they wanted to be a "top level photojournalist""



    As for photojournalism, I'm not sure why you're labouring the point, but (sorry to repeat myself) I did say I was talking
    about both photojournalists and non-photojournalist photographers. I only mentioned photojournalists because someone
    else mentioned that some folk at Reuters and AP use zooms. However, folk would be fools to ignore lessons from
    photojournalism, whatever their bag is, if they want to make an informed decision.



    "It really never mattered to me what he, or anyone else, used, unless they though it was useful for what I was doing"

    I think that's a shame - if you want to improve it's always a good idea to look at lessons that can be learned from others.
    And rather than relying on what others think you should be doing, why not make up your own mind on the basis of your
    own observations and experience?
     
  50. You might as well have called it Primes versus Zooms just for extra forum tedium.
     
  51. Speaking strictly for myself, and no one else (that means you), I own dozens of primes and zoom lenses. I remember when the Nikon 80-200/4.5 came in, and the top corporate guys (like Jay Maisel) began using them for major top-client ad campaigns. I immediately got one, and was pleased with it (save for its slowness).
    Other quality zoom optics soon followed. The really important thing about zooms *for me* is the ability to separate (within its range) perspective from framing. That is something no prime lens can do, and perspective is of crucial importance to me, and I am keenly aware that it isn't for some.
    The oft-heard "foot-zooming" thing can't break the laws of optics. I happen to value that ability, and acknowledge that for many others zooms have other advantages, and for me, many other disadvantages. In good strong light, zooms do very well optically -- for me. In lower light, primes shine, and in low light, they're the right tool (for me, remember?) for the job.
    Each lens has its own optical signature, and that is relevant to me as well. One of my favorite-ever lenses is a slow, cheap MF Nikkor that is devilishly hard to focus well with my Nikons, making me rely on the confirmation light (agh).
    When working rapidly, I set my zoom to one focal length, and use it as if it was a prime. Compared to most of my bodies, lens weight with short zooms is relatively unimportant. Long zooms are something else, but I rarely use the longer focal lengths any more.
    Curiously, perspective issues aside, I seem to do about the same no matter which type of lens I am using. I could easily live with just a 28 or 35mm lens (in FF or equivalent in Dx), but am glad that I can choose between both types and many focal lengths (though most of my pictures are made within a narrow range of focal lengths) depending on what I'm going to be photographing.
    I have no recommendations for anyone except to use whatever synergizes with your vision. I do.
     
  52. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    why not make up your own mind on the basis of your own observations and experience?​
    Then there isn't much point in answering the question, is there? And it certainly doesn't matter what pjs use then. But you just said:
    folk would be fools to ignore lessons from photojournalism, whatever their bag is, if they want to make an informed decision​
    Well those two statements are direct opposites. However, if I was primarily photographing jewelry (just as an example), how would the choice of a photojournalist matter?
     
  53. Well those two statements are direct opposites.​
    Not at all. You observe what others do (which includes asking on this forum), acquire your own experience, then make up your own mind. I don''t see any contradiction there at all.
    if I was primarily photographing jewelry (just as an example), how would the choice of a photojournalist matter​
    It could matter enormously. With imagination, you can carry lessons from one area to another. Photojournalists learn from fashion and still life photographers, and vice versa. In all sorts of ways. Look at how weddings photographers have learnt from photojournalists. All it requires is imagination.
     
  54. it

    it

    photo.net has 1000s of these back and forth arguments.
    Canon vs Nikon
    primes vs zooms
    RAW vs jpg
    film vs digital
    Most of the arguments can be summed up like this - "If you aren't doing it like me, you're an idiot."
    If you need to crap on other people's working methods to feel better about your own, well go at it. I am more interested in what my favorite photographers eat for breakfast or what kind of shoes they wear than what lenses they have in their bags.
    I mainly use primes myself, but I could care less what other people use.
     
  55. Actually, you may sneer at it, but RAW vs JPEG, film vs digital, primes vs zooms, small format vs large, and so on is very
    important for a photographer. They are the tools of the trade. I don't buy this attitude about "I am an artist, and speaking
    about mere tools is beneath me". It's disingenuous. You may not want to share thoughts with others, but you can bet your
    bottom dollar that you will be thinking about it intensively for yourself. Workflow, formats, equipment, lighting. And so on.
     
  56. My primes fit better in a coat pocket than the zoom, so I tend to use them more.
     
  57. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    If you need to crap on other people's working methods to feel better about your own, well go at it.​
    Seems to be the plan, doesn't it?

    People should check out Ian's work. If they are into looking for a great photographer to ask about tools and processes, even if they are irrelevant, I can't think of a better place to start.
     
  58. Seems to be the plan, doesn't it?​
    Ironically it was you Ian/ who was doing the sneering:-
    The whole "I only use primes" thing is such a joke.​
    and
    they could care less about this ridiculous posturing.​
    It's a shame that some people try to prevent useful exchange of information and opinions because they have some kind of agenda.
     
  59. @ Simon Croft
    You're missing the point Simon. No one is saying that debating different methods or equipment is not helpful. Its the fact that these 'debates' are always framed in terms of false binary oppositions that makes them so devisive.
    Primes or Zooms, who says 'or'? Film vesus Digital - that old favorite, why not both?Canon vs Nikon...Yawn. Like we have to choose a team or something? It encourages a kind of pointless, infantile bickering so common on internet forums which is very far from 'a useful exchange of information'. At best its just plain boring and at worst decends to a kind of childish playground bullying.
     
  60. Is it missing the point? I was lucky enough to meet people at an early stage who were happy to express an opinion and pass on their experience. By listening to their preferences and why, and then going on to try both, I started to form my own opinions. I'm extremely grateful that it worked out that way. In real life, every photographer has an opinion on the subject. Here apparently, according to Ian, we can only say "both", otherwise our opinions are a "joke".
    "Both" is one point of view - and a valid one. But not, in my opinion, the best one. And it angers me when people like Ian and Jeff try to squash or ridicule other people's opinions.
     
  61. Like we have to choose a team or something?
    Well, people want to save money. If you have to own a full set of zooms and primes there is no money to travel to places with them. So people (non-professionals) entertain the idea of just getting either zooms or primes and that's that. Costs stay manageable.
    they go with 16-35, 24-70, 70-200. Why? Because they have to get the shot, they could care less about this ridiculous posturing.
    You miss the shot, and if you are shooting for a living that is a massive problem.
    Photographers will miss shots whatever lens they use. You could have the wrong focal length range, insufficient aperture, poor background rendition; you could be in the wrong spot at the wrong time, you could be looking the other way while something happens. The majority of things of interest will be missed by photographers. What is important is the quality and memorability of the shots that you do get. Zooms do not solve that problem. They can help you in individual instances to obtain a more complete/fluid coverage - or not. They could be too large and obnoxious so that you cannot move about quickly enough to the right place in time, or they could make the crowd decide to treat you differently than if you were carrying an X100. Certainly many people react to those big f/2.8 zooms in a different way than if you had a small camera - after all the wide angle shots are typically made in close range. Sometimes it matters and other times not - but one cannot be indifferent to the tools as they do have an effect on the final picture that you get.
    While I agree with getting what you're comfortable with, this includes being comfortable with it in every respect including results, handling, and practicality. It is not a trivial question, what to get. It's easy for the pros to say it's unimportant when they have had the chance to try out everything and get what works for them. People are at different levels and with different interests and backgrounds. Some people can benefit from a briefing of the advantages of zooms and primes, and you can get many more opinions online than from a (usually not so experienced) camera store salesman. That's why people ask here. Then, to make a decision they have to think about it all, and obviously no one else can do it for them. It's hardly as trivial as "getting the shot is all that matters".
     
  62. I see Simon's point. One can learn a lot from others, even those in different disciplines, if one is willing to be the student. Sometimes it might be a small thing, or something oblique, like the kind of shoes to wear.
    Ian is right about so many PN arguments being of the "If you aren't doing it like me, you're an idiot." Add "or think like me".
    Photography is not about saving money. It's a good idea if people stay within their means, but sometimes you don't know if something is going to work out for you -- or not -- until you try it. Figure that 50% of marriages end up in divorce, so one is bound to learn some things the hard and expensive way (Trial and terror) in photography as well. If one isn't sure, it is best to buy a prime/zoom used, and if it doesn't work out, sell it for a small loss, or sell it and buy a newer model.
    There's nothing wrong with wanting to try something different from an irrational viewpoint. Life's energies aren't always logical.
     
  63. Simon, you have been told you had the misfortune of having learned from the practice of those whom you believed had something to teach you, rather than having the great good fortune of being told what to do by an authority.

    You see the humor, I'm sure.
     
  64. Photography is not about saving money.
    No, but it can be extremely expensive as a hobby (all the equipment, travel costs and time spent). By making mistakes in purchases money and time are wasted. It's better to ask and then make fewer mistakes. More money for travel and better pictures ;-) The same obviously goes for professional work except that professionals have access to all sorts of things (tools and information) through e.g. NPS, networking and through school and they get more practice. I can see why an experienced photographer would find these equipment discussions extremely boring but people are simply trying to get information so that they limit the number of mistakes on their way to achieving the results that they want. But you're right that some trial and error is needed in most cases.
    There's nothing wrong with wanting to try something different from an irrational viewpoint.
    I couldn't agree with you more there. Creative efforts can benefit from a frivolous jump into the unknown. ;-)
     
  65. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    "Both" is one point of view - and a valid one. But not, in my opinion, the best one. And it angers me when people like Ian and Jeff try to squash or ridicule other people's opinions.​
    You are the only one denigrating other people here. And you seem to have forgotten your original response, which was:
    Primes, obviously.​
    an absolute statement, which obviously contradicts any interest in this:
    It's a shame that some people try to prevent useful exchange of information and opinions because they have some kind of agenda.​
     
  66. And you seem to have forgotten your original response, which was​
    Jeff, you seem to have misunderstood, again. My "Primes, obviously" was just a jokey echo to Ian's post two above it: "Both, obviously".
    So if you think my echo was somehow others' opinions (I really can't see how, I really think you are hallucinating), how much more so must that be true of Ian's post, which looks like it was made totally seriously.
    Probably best to read the posts a bit more carefully before doing your next impression of a deranged terrier!
     
  67. I have both, I prefer primes. Especially manual primes. Lighter, simpler, more elegant. But I use both.
     
  68. Ilkka, I understand and agree with you on minimizing costs and buying things that don't work -- for amateurs and pros. One problem for most beginners is that they have no way to tell who's giving a good opinion. They come across a thread like this one, and it is like taking an unscientific poll. The least useful opinions are the ones that amount to "Think like me". They carry no information, and it doesn't matter if the author is an excellent photographer or not, his needs, preferences and favorite ergonomics may not match yours in any way. Ask why they have chosen what they use. Caveat Lector.
    One way to explore hardware with minimal costs mistake-wise is to buy used. If it doesn't work out and you have to dump it, the damage is minimal. Same with renting before buying. Try it out, see if it dances in your hands or aids and abets your vision, then decide. That way you're learning first-hand about your own preferences on your subjects and where you live.
    Other things to know are that there are superb, famous photographers that work and earn a living with less gear than most PN duffers own. What most people really need to upgrade is themselves. I know, it's dreary, zero-glam, intangible stuff that you can't just buy, so it doesn't get much attention, but it's the most important thing. Without it, no amount of hardware or exotic locales will make much of a difference.
    A word about this need for travel. Travel's great. I love to travel, and it's fun to take pictures while doing so, but photographers on a tight budget who can't afford it need to know some of the best photographers that ever lived didn't travel very far.
    Disclaimer: Just in case the above isn't clear for some, I am not saying one should not travel, buy tons of gear and seek advice. You really have to assume responsibility for your acquisitions and personal development.
     
  69. primes. hands down.
     
  70. No respectable photographer would shoot with anything but an anamorphic, tilt-shift, fisheye prime with diffraction optics! However, when a zoom is used, it should be a pinhole zoom.
     

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