Discussion in 'Nikon' started by glen_sansone|1, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. Completed revamping my lens setup.
    Sold my 16-35 f/4, and two older D 35mm and 50mm primes, and another zoom.
    Now my setup consists of:
    24mm 1.4G
    35mm 1.4G
    50mm 1.4G
    105mm 2.8G MICRO
    80-200mm 2.8 ED
    Really got sick of lugging big heavy zooms around. Don't really care for them -- they just offered convenience for me..and I became a lazy shooter with them. I'd rather lug around big heavy primes.
    Anyone else not like using zooms? Just feel like I got lazy composing shots using a zoom. Easier to stand in one place and crop the shot rather than to move around and find the best perspective with my feet. I think primes push you to be creative. Not that people who use zoom are not creative, but for me I found myself taking a lot of mediocre shots with the zoom and more better attempts to be creative with the primes. And with 1.4s it means I can use my flash even LESS! That's a plus.
    Next purchase will be the 85mm 1.4G and not sure about keeping the 80-200. May hang onto it for action, when my kids get into sports or something.
  2. Now all you have to do is give up AF too! ;-)
  3. I am in your shoes :) I usually pick my daily kit from this list, according to the particular needs of the day.
    21/2.8 ZF.2 Zeiss
    50/1.2 AI-S
    85/1.4 Sigma
    105/2.5 AI-S
    135/2 DC
    150/2.8 Sigma (macro)
    180/2.8 AF-D
    When shooting just for pleasure I have some other little MF primes like 24/2.8 AI, 35/2 AI-S, 40/2 CV Ultron, 58/1.4 CV Nokton, 85/2 AI-S and 200/4 AI-S. And probably a few more.
    Life is good! Shooting with primes helps my creativity.
  4. Now all you have to do is give up AF too! ;-)​
    And AE... and digital... :)
  5. Congrats to your very nice lens setup!
    I prefer to shoot with primes too - with one exception - the 14-24 is unrivaled in my opinion.
    Somehow I've developed a faible for Ai- or Ai-converted Nikkors. Some of my favorites: the 28/2Ai, the 24/2Ai (spectacular rendering of out-of-focus highlights wide-open and up-close), the lovely 55/3.5AI, an Ai-converted 105/2.5 and as an exotic beast in this list a Summicron-R 90 converted to F-mount.
    Cheers, Georg!
  6. Being creative does not come from your gear, it comes from your head. There are creative things you can do with zooms that you can't do with single focal lenses. I refuse to artificially limit myself.
    Kent in SD
  7. Georg, that is a GREAT shot!
  8. @ David: Thanks! To be honest: this picture could have been done with almost any zoom of about the same focal length.
    I would never say that users of prime-lenses are more creative than zoom-lens-users, but sometimes the limitation to just one focal length will force the photographer to search for another point-of-view, another perspective. That's why I usually recommend a fixed-focal-length for starters into photography.
    It's great that todays photogs have the choice between so many great lenses - zooms and primes.
  9. Glen - nice setup... I agree with you about primes, I do prefer shooting with them though I don't have a really 'GOOD' reason. I do wish the new 1.4 lenses weren't as big as they ended up...
    Georg - I second the great shot, I love that one!
  10. I love my primes too, but there's no way I'm giving up my zooms. They're just too useful.
  11. Kent, the only artificial limitation is to force yourself to not go faster than f2.8 for the convenience of a zoom. See ya creativity in (in)existent light at f1.2.... manual focus BTW.
  12. Nice setup! I prefer primes too and only fall back to zooms when I absolutely have to.
  13. Now all you have to do is give up AF too! ;-)​
    And AE... and digital... :)
    Don't tempt me!!! Again, I am certainly not knocking zooms -- someday I'd like a 24-70 f/2.8 just for that convenience normal zoom. The 2.8 Nikon zooms are amazing.
  14. I myself own a 24mm F/1.4 & 85mm F/1.4G lenses. I do own big 2.8 zooms too, but my primes are my favorite to put on, situation allowing. I do shoot for a living, so there are occasions where versatility outrank personal preference but if I were only a hobbyist I think I would only own primes.
    Kent, technically we are all limited, because no matter what lens you pick, there is another lens out there that can something your lens can't. And while I do understand your point, you should remember that everyone is inspired a different way. I personally am much more inspired and it spikes my creativity in all kinds of ways when I'm forced to see through one perspective, i.e. a prime. I realize you are not inspired by such but to suggest that there is a universal law that people cannot be inspired by their gear (even if it is their head reacting to the limitation provided by the gear) is about absurd as suggesting that love at first sight is impossible. Its just not true, people love in different ways, people live in different ways, people are inspired in different ways.
  15. Uhmmm.... Personally I love primes. Maybe coz I learned to shoot with a 50 mm lens. But even though I am not a pro, some times I take friend's wedding pictures or parties and in those occasions you really need a zoom, at least I do....
    I also think primes inspire me, looking for the right framing.... I notice I take better pictures with primes too..... Some times I think even the camera inspire me. I even noticed that when I am taking pictures with a D50 or P&S I don't work as hard as when I am using my D700.
    I think everyone gets affected in a different way.... otherwise there would be just primes or just zooms... :)
  16. Mihai--
    With ISO going ever higher on cameras now, the need for anything fast than f2.8 is becomming rarer and rarer. I mostly shoot at night in winter, and have been using lenses from the 1860s a lot. ISO 25 and f11.
    I understand that people can be motivated by different gear. I've been shooting only b&w with cameras/lenses made before 1900 lately. However, I could duplicate much of what I do with just about any camera/lens and the right software. Once you understand that there are many different ways to accomplish the same thing, you come to think that vision, and hence creativity, are from your mind, not the gear.
    Kent in SD
  17. Very well said, Skyler.
    I think it really comes down to finding whatever it is that inspires you. Your gear is definitely a factor. If you put on a 24mm 1.4 and head out to take some images, or shoot some at an event, for me that lens is what I am talking through, so there is a connection, and inspiration is partly drawn from the lens and trying to speak through it. Everyone wants to be happy with their gear and feel as if it's an extension of one's creativity.
    There are practical reasons for choosing the gear that we do, and wedding shooters really DO need a zoom since the photographer often times wants to keep some distance between the camera and subject, esp. for candids. But as a hobbyist (or the one in the family always expected to be the default photographer for all special events), and a person looking to push their creativity whenever possible, I think I benefit more from choosing primes.
  18. Definitely not a competition just a preference. I don't use zooms at all and all my primes are MF accept a 180 2.8 nikon.
    I use zeiss zf lenses. The argument that photography is not about the gear is only half true for obvious reasons. I enjoy
    making pictures part of that enjoyment comes from the mechanics of making them. As far as auto-focus goes, mostly you
    have to adjust it manualy at some point anyway so it should be called auto-assist heh heh.
  19. I use both primes and zooms, depending on the situation. My personal favorite setup, given the right circumstances to shoot with this setup is 35mm/85mm f/1.4 on an FX DSLR. I also own two of the "Nikon Holy Trinity" of lenses with only the 14-24 not in my kit. (it's a shame that I rarely find myself needing UWA lenses as it is a stellar performer and a lens that I'd like in my arsenal, but until I find myself needing wider than 24mm, I will save my cash)
    Skyler -
    I'm going to pick on you just a bit...your lens does not define the perspective you see...only the angle of view you can capture.
    I can choose an infinite number of perspectives to shoot with a single prime lens...but only one field of view. It's your camera's distance to the subject (and subject to background distance) that determines perspective, not the lens you choose.
    Other than that, I can see that your gear helps you creatively and that's what matters. I choose the right gear for the right situation, but as I said earlier, if I'm shooting for pleasure I shoot with a 35/85 combo. It's versatile yet limiting...something that inspires me creatively.
  20. I shoot news and sports for a living. In the "old days" we all had pretty much the same bag: a 24, a 35, an 85 or 105, a 180, and something long. With the advancement of cad/cam and digital, that big, heavy bag has today been replaced by what usually ends up being a 2-lens solution. It has made my job a thousand percent easier and at the same time improved the quality of my work.
    That doesn't mean I am done with primes. I bought my wife the 35/1.8 AF-S recently and it seems to be an excellent solution for her in low light situations where she doesn't want to carry a lot, like my sister's wedding we shot earlier this month.
    I still have a couple of choice primes I didn't have the heart to sell. I pull them out sometimes when I want to shake up my work a little bit. I have a couple of 50s lying around, an 85/1.8, a fantastic 100/4 Tokina macro, a 180/2.8, a 400/3.5, and my most esoteric lens, a 1980's-era 200/2.0. It weighs enough to anchor a yacht, but at f/2 up close the depth of field and bokeh is quite something...
  21. Richard,
    You are absolutely right Richard, your perspective is the position you are physically located. I misspoke and meant to say one field of view.
    None the less, when I'm using a prime lens, there is a very, very good chance the perspective is going to change as a direct result of the singular field of view. True its not a "requirement" and the lens itself is not offering variable perspective, none the less, it just happens on primes, we zoom with a our feet, for nearly every setup, and we do so because we don't have the option to zoom, thereby a prime lens can indirectly define the perspective.
    Yes it is true, that no matter how I argue I realize that it all comes back to our minds. However I define these things to two categories, one is where we attempt to create something specific. We determine everything goes into the photograph, in these cases it is very true it comes entirely from us. Then there is the 180 degree opposite, sometimes we find something. And sometimes, I find things looking through a specific lens. Would I have found the same thing if I wasn't looking through that specific lens? Maybe, maybe not. Was it my brain that recognized the creativity in the shot? Of course! Would it have recognized it without the specific camera and lens? Maybe, maybe not. The Greeks used to say "The thought occurred to me" because the recognized that not all thoughts originated in their mind, but some thoughts actually "came" to them. I like to think it is this way with creativity, occasionally a creative thought occurs to me, meaning it comes to me, it does not originate with me, and occasionally it comes to me right through the camera and lens (pun intended). Of course I've got to use my brain to recognize it and accept it, but that does not negate the fact that the creative moment was there, and that the creative moment was created by the gear, I simply recognized it.
  22. mtk


    I am shooting both digi and film. My digital setup includes fast zooms. My film setup however I have been shooting exclusively vintage Nikon primes. Has been a blast!
  23. I downsized my lens collection, sticking with a few key primes. I rarely used my zooms at any focal lengths between the two ends. I gave up some size, weight
    and cost of ownership but lost flexibility in quickly changing situations. I don't recommend this strategy if you shoot events where you are inside the circle of
    action and moving your feet may be distracting or difficult.
  24. I chuckled when I read your post, because I have gone through a similar transition with almost identical results. I had a variety of f/2.8 zooms and slower prime lenses, and I have finally arrived at this:
    14-24mm f/2.8G
    24mm f/1.4G
    35mm f/1.4G
    50mm f/1.4D & f/1.8D (no such thing as too many 50's, and the older D's seem to focus faster)
    85mm f/1.4G
    105mm f/2.8G MICRO
    And, I hope to add the 70-200mm f/2.8 in the near future, and if I could in any way possibly justify it (or carry it for that matter) I'd love the 200mm f/2 as well.
    I really view the 14-24mm and the 70-200 as lenses for very specific contexts. (i.e. I tend to use the 14-24mm when I am interested in landscape work on a big sky kind of day, or when I want to do church interiors and get the whole church. Similarly with the 70-200mm, which I would grab for birds, wedding ceremonies, etc.) But on a day-to-day basis, or as a walk around lens, I chose from one of the f/1.4 primes 95% of the time.
    I hope you enjoy your kit. It is a great one, and extremely versatile.
  25. When I worked for a newspaper, I primarily used the following 35mm manual focus Nikon prime lenses because the image quality of the early zooms was not that good:
    18mm f/3.5
    24mm f/2
    28mm f/2.8
    35mm f/1.4
    50mm f/1.4
    85mm f/1.8
    105mm f/2.5
    180mm f/2.8
    When I started shooting with an APS sized digital SLR, I discovered that accurately focusing my primes was very difficult. Instead of replacing my manual focus primes with auto focus primes, I instead bought the following Nikon auto focus zooms:
    18-24mm f/2.8
    20-35mm f/2.8
    35-70mm f/2.8
    80-200mm f/2.8
    Today, I primarily use primes when shooting film and zooms when shooting digital. However, since all my lenses are FX, I am free to choose any lens that I think will get the job done.
  26. You said you want primes then get rid of the zoom. Get the 180mm f/2.8 and if needed the 300mm f/2.8 or f/4. You have the 105mm you wont miss the range between that and 180mm.
  27. Sometimes it's about the artistic vision. There are photos that call for a shallow depth of field, sometimes a deep depth of field....Pic the right tool for the desired image...

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