Zooms or primes?

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by andy_collins|1, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. When selecting lenses for your MFCs do you tend towards zooms or primes? I've noticed that I tend to prefer primes a lot more when using older manual cameras but much prefer my zooms when using cameras such as my 1v. Perhaps this is because zooms are better quality now than they used to be (although I've got some really nice manual zooms; the Pentax 35-135/3.5-4.5 comes readily to mind...) and I tend to like a wide focal range in one lens when I'm just walking around. I shoot such a wide variety of subjects that I like to have lenses that can do a wide variety of things, so zooms suit me better. With my manual cameras I tend to focus on more specifics of subjects and find primes to be the perfect tools. Which do you prefer?
  2. I have a couple of zooms (18-70 & 70-300) for the dSLR, but for the 35mms I use primes almost exclusively (24,28,35,50,85,105 - very occasionally 180 or 200). I'd prefer to carry glass in the bag (usually three - wide, std, short tele) rather than have the weight of a zoom hanging off the front of the camera, and the wide aperture of most of the primes maximizes the VF brightness. The weight issue is particularly relevant to the OMs, although I'm not sure that I would really notice with the F4S. The one MF zoom I have is a Zuiko 35-70/3.6 - not particularly light or fast, but such a beautiful solid beast that I can't part with it.
  3. I hardly use the DSLR these days and what lenses I have for it are older primes. I shoot mainly MF film now in older cameras that come with fixed lenses. So zooming becomes all about using one's feet.
  4. Primes, simply because I can't think in more than one focal length at a time.
  5. I mostly shoot primes because I prefer their smaller size, lesser weight, and (in most cases) faster apertures and superior IQ.
  6. Zooms. I have finally come to terms with this. I recently gifted my daughter with my Pentax MX, 28mm f2.8 Pentax-M,
    135 f3.5 Pentax-M and 50mm F1.7 Pentax-F lenses for her birthday. She can use the Pentax-F with her K200d dSLR
    as well.
  7. SCL


    I prefer older primes, but am not beyond using a couple of exceptional zooms I've picked up pretty cheaply. It all depends on my subject matter.
  8. Depending what school your from will decide what your going to carry around with you when shooting with MF cameras Now with Digital I love my zooms and would kill to kept the ones I like But the older camera that are Manual focus the primes are the best way to go > Look at Olympus system their lens are small and light , same with the Pentax system there were other Mfg's that fell in to that category . your M42 mm camera's where the same you had a multitude of lens from any Mfg's to use on your MF camera.
    To complicate this farther the zoom of yesteryear where no that great some Mfg's did make a few good zooms back then but on the average the primes win out:
  9. Primes mainly on my EOS 3, but come to think of it, I should use my 70-200 f/4L on it a lot more than I do.
  10. 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.
  11. Primes (or at least the better zooms) for my manual focus MFC's. For my AF models (various Maxxums, a Pentax ZX-5, and EOS Rebel KII fewer primes, but more zooms because their are not as many primes that fit my budget.
    FWIW- I found the Sigma 28-80 f3.5-5.6 HF (that I use on my ZX-5) a surprisingly good performer for the money. I use a Tamron 24-70 f3.5-5.6 and Sigma 28-105 f3.8-5.6 with my Maxxums.
  12. I use primes exclusively indoors, and a little less than half the time when walking about outdoors. In fact, the only zooms that I ever use these days are my FD 80-200/4 L and my EF 70-200/4 L IS. I find that the superior IQ and better low light and shallow DOF capabilities of primes makes them more useful than zooms for my applications.
  13. I.M.O. the difference in image quality generally even since the advent of multi coating can be be seen between prime and zoom lenses when you point them into the light.
  14. I shoot only MF, and primes are the norm. Zooms in MF are expensive, heavy, and have very limited zoom range relative to 35mm class lenses. I mostly just use the normal, f2.8 lens for either 645 or 6x7, and zoom with my feet. I do have various wide/narrow lenses for indoor, tabletop, etc. but almost never go with a zoom. I consider zooms to be more marketing ploy than photographic necessity.

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