Prime or Zoom? - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
View Poll Results: Prime or Zoom lens?
Prime 6 50.00%
Zoom 6 50.00%
Point-and-shoot FTW 0 0%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-11-2012, 04:43 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 161
I'd say it depends on your primary subject matter really. I shoot mostly concerts and Prime's are indispensable. Currently my two main lenses that see 80% of the action are a 50mm f/1.4 and a 24mm f/1.4. My next purchase will likely be a 16-35mm f/2.8 II or a 24-70mm f/2.8 but as it stands I usually just rent those or a 70-200mm f/2.8 as needed for paying gigs.

I just love being able to shoot in available lighting handheld almost anywhere without worrying about carrying a flash or tripod around.

Here are some of my concert photos:
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-11-2012, 05:50 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 15,385
I did some pixel-peeping comparisons between my cheapo 1.8/50 and 18-55 kit lenses. Surprisingly, the kit lens was very sharp starting wide open (f4@50mm). The prime, on the other hand, was very soft at f1.8, got a tad better at f2.8, and caught up to the kit lens @f4.

So, my personal conclusion... the kit lens is a better tool for me, since it is sharp wide open, has a good zoom range, and offers IS. Trying to sell my 1.8 on Craigslist.

Of course, your situation might be different. And if you do not pixel-peep as I do, the 1.8 aperture of the prime might sound really great. As they say, YMMV.

As for the original question... both have their places. Primes have an inherently simpler construction, so theoretically you get a better (sharper, wider aperture, etc) lens for the same money, or get same-as-zoom quality for less money. That's the theory at least.
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-11-2012, 05:52 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Sparks, NV
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I can't say yet since I don't have a prime yet but I am seriously considering a 50 f/1.8 or 50 f/1.4. I have a 100mm f/2.8 macro, a 18-55mm standard zoom and 50-250mm telephoto zoom. I currently use the standard zoom for full tank shots and the telephoto for specific sections but I am still learning the lenses capabilities and will most likely change uses. I have used the macro for pics of small areas also. I am intrigued to see what a fast lens can do.

I still have a P&S that I thought would be more than adequate but have now changed my mind.
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