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Hambone Lewinski 3:05pm, 20 December 2007
I was interested to see at the meeting that almost no one had a prime lens on their camera. In the days where all my gear comes from, if you wanted a tack-sharp image, you shot a prime and if you wanted versatility, you shot a zoom. Have zooms come so far that the difference is negligible?

Jason
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Oh yes. I have a prime... I think most of us do.
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Randall Cottrell 11 years ago
i love my 50mm 1.4 and use it quite a bit. sometimes i wish i had a wider prime because on my d80 that 50mm is now equivilent to a 75-ish mm on a 35mm.

i've been looking for something wider since the widest i have at the moment is a 28-70mm that i don't even like. i sold my 18-55mm w/ my d40x to a friend.

last night the wise hbr advised me to buy a very wide angle lens with little to no zooming ability, as the more zoom the worse the quality will get at the wide end.

in a dream world, i'd have a 10.5mm 2.8 fisheye, 18mm 2.8, 30mm 1.4, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8 and w/e telephoto zoom, i currently own the 55-200mm vr. but i just don't have that kind of money, so that's why i'm currently looking at something wide, but w/ a little bit of versatility in a zoom.
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Akatzmarkphotography 11 years ago
Thats all i use right now... I lvoe handing my camera to someone who thinks they know what they are doing and watch them squirm it it on, lol..
admin
I have a prime lens coming with my new camera tomorrow. Looking forward to using it.
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Karl W. 11 years ago
I have a prime 50mm F1.8 canon but that can be fairly limited though a lot of the time.
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manley.josh 11 years ago
Matt ( trailprints) was just testing that last night. He thought his Canon EF 50mm F/1.4 was the sharpest lens he owned, until he did some direct comparisions with his Canon EF-S 17-55mm F/2.8 and my Canon EF 17-40mm F/4L. He seems to think that his 17-55 is sharper than my 17-40 but i won't give him that victory just yet. Surprisingly though both were sharper than his 50mm prime at similar apertures.
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Hambone Lewinski 11 years ago
Josh,

Do you know which aperture the prime is the sharpest at? My 50mm Tak is sharpest around f/5.6 or f/8, whereas (according to the internets) the f/2 SMC that HBR sold me last night is sharpest in the f/8 to f/11 range.

I imagine that with zooms you have an added dimension; likely they will be sharpest at a single focal length. So an 18-55mm zoom may be sharper at some focal length than an 18mm prime, but it probably isn't sharper at 18mm.

A cursory google suggests that this is actually a hot topic right now. What that tells me is that, except for a few exceptions (i.e. way down on the wide angle end, those 10.5s that people covet) there is probably little difference.

It looks, however, like you can still only get fast and ultrafast (f/1.0, anyone?) in primes.

Jason
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Randall Cottrell 11 years ago
ya i've noticed that my 50mm f/1.4 can be a bit soft when wide open, but w/ the f/1.4 you can also get shots where you wouldn't be able to w/ a f/4
admin
I have read the pros and cons and they say that with the premium zooms these days, you won't find much of a difference. Jason seemed to prove that last night. I am sure with a prime, the distortion is allot less though.
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Hambone Lewinski 11 years ago
Randeezee,

Have you considered using screw mount lenses with a Nikon adapter? You would have to use them fully manually in stop-down mode, but they are cheap, cheap, cheap. It would give you something to play with without blowing all your beer money.

Jason
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manley.josh Posted 11 years ago. Edited by manley.josh (admin) 11 years ago
Jason: I don't know which aperture is the sharpest. The lens is Matts and i haven't had too much time playing with it.

Randeezee isn't old enough to drink yet...so we'll call it (Root) Beer money.
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Hambone Lewinski 11 years ago
"Randeezee isn't old enough to drink yet...so we'll call it (Root) Beer money."

Right... That's what I meant. Ahem.

Jason
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duluthiscool 11 years ago
Which stop is the sharpest? I have read that in general, until proven otherwise... stop down to the lowest value, and then come up two settings. You are now at the sharpest F value for your lense.

Do I have a prime? Yep. 50mm f/1.8 Mark I for my canon. I love it for it's incredible sharpness. I purchased it for sharpness and for speed. I like to shoot in low light... and find that my budget limits my zoom lense choose significantly...

What do I not like about the 50mm? I give up the 1.6 aspect ratio on my camera... and must spend several thousand to get a camera with a 1:1 aspect ratio... What will I do until then? I have been looking to pick up a super wide angle prime... I was going to get one from Edge... but Katz needed it more...

...rtn
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Akatzmarkphotography 11 years ago
"I was going to get one from Edge... but Katz needed it more..."

Ah thanks:) I was really in a super pinch..
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HBRstudios 11 years ago
Primes:

10.5
24 f2,8
50 f1.4
300 f4
600 f4

Also, I have done a test of most of my lenses using an 11x14 video test pattern at all f-stops for each lens -- the results are sometimes surprizing, but that is a topic for a later time and another thread if people are interested.
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maxcaven 11 years ago
10.5 fish ftw!
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Akatzmarkphotography 11 years ago
"Also, I have done a test of most of my lenses using an 11x14 video test pattern at all f-stops for each lens -- the results are sometimes surprizing, but that is a topic for a later time and another thread if people are interested."

Ohh i am in for that topic!
NorthernMinnesotaPhoto Posted 11 years ago. Edited by NorthernMinnesotaPhoto (member) 11 years ago
Prime Lens' when I have time to "play" I use my Nikkor 60 2.8 micro. Though most the time I shoot with a 18-70 Nikon zoom. For christmas, I have ordered a Ziess 25mm for the best glass around. Yesterday I was playing in the snow, and shot some digital IR's with the 60.
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