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Hands up, who hates zooms?

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by BigWill, Jan 15, 2001.

  1. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Zoom lenses, where would we be without them!. The fact is that almost every new camera nowadays comes fitted with one of the orrible things as standard!. Whatever happened to the good old fixed focal length jobbies that used to be fitted to our cameras. I for one greatly lament the passing of the 50mm "standard" lens. They were small, light, and above all, had a fast maximum aperture (typically f1.8). Ok, so all you lazy sods out there are going to tell me about "how convenient" a zoom is what with not having to swap lenses all the time. Convenient yes, but what about those slow maximum apertures, what about sharpness; probably less of an issue these days, but I reckon a fixed focal length can still outstrip a zoom in that department! Price is another area. A 50mm f1.8 costs a lot less to produce than a multi element zoom. Flare... less elements mean less likleyhood of the dreaded flare. I could go on forever. Doubtless no-one is listening, just the rantings of an old luddite, but why not humour me and at least offer me the choice when I go to purchase my next camera. If you ask for a 50mm lens to go with your new camera body these days you invariably get laughed out of the shop! Old fogies of the world unite and start a campaign to reinstate the 50mm standard lens as the STANDARD!

  2. heath

    heath Member

    In my opinion, zoom lenses are so popular now because people in the 21st century like things to be quicker and easier then ever before. Why mess around changing lenses all the time when you have a zoom that does all the jobs in one, and zooms tend to be lighter then carrying 3/4, or more prime lenses. It's like not carrying your mobile phone on you, and have to mess about trying to look for a payphone when you need to make a call. I use both zooms and primes, and to be honest, if i'm going out for the day and wanting to travel light, then i just take a 50mm lens, as this is suitable for everyday subjects. It also makes me think about my shots that little bit more. So as you can probably tell, i think zooms do a job, but so do prime lenses, it's just down to the individual.
  3. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Hmmmm, so a 50mm makes you think more about your shots. Now there's another reason for using one! Interesting point that. Could it be that modern cameras with their auto-everything are turning us into a nation of trigger happy snappers who fire away aimlessly without giving a thought to composure, exposure, lighting etc. because the camera "does it all" for us. Is modern "convenience" a retrograde step? Shoulden't we all develop our biceps and lug round a bag full of prime lenses? Well mabye not, but at least it would be nice to have the choice. What about bringing back the 135mm short tele lens. Now there was a cracker if ever there was one. Good for portraits, sharp as a pin with a fast aperture and cheap too boot. Ah those were the days (sigh). Sorry , got to go now. Someones come to cart me off to the old folks home for senile photographers!



    The use of zoom lenses has been foisted upon the camera using public, but prime lenes, 50mm etc. are always available. I think that a good zoom will match a fixed focal length one. I expect BigWill is looking at the subject from the point of view of someone who is used to printing his own from B&W and possibly colour. The zooming can be done in the darkroom, and that is all that you are doing with selective enlargements. People like to fill the frame, especially with slide film, so the zoom justifies its use. I do like to be able to compose exactly using variable focal lengths rather my feet. The strange thing is that for my wedding photography I only use 80mm and 50mm on the Hassleblad, so I am forced to use "manual zoom" - my feet.
  5. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I'm certainly not a zoom-hater - far from it, in general terms I'm hooked. I've definately got shots with a zoom I simply couldn't have got with prime lenses - I couldn't afford the same range of focal lengths, nor could I always carry them. And using your feet isn't always possible (if you're up a mountain, there's nowhere else to go, likewise with motorsport). That said, I do prefer using prime lenses - somehow, they give me more confidence. You do have to think more and slow down, which (probably) leads to better pictures. And I certainly agree that a 50mm f1.8 or so should be part of every SLR photographer's equipment. Wouldn't want to go back to it being my only lens, though.
  6. Ron

    Ron Well-Known Member

    I use a couple of zooms with my EOS, but when I bought my G2 I had to think long and hard about what I wanted to use it for - I had plenty of time on my hands while I was saving up for it - and consequently what focal length lens to go for, as I certainly couldn't afford to buy a zoom for it! Eventually I decided that a 35mm lens would probably be the most useful.

    I seem to have made the right decision, as I haven't yet started hankering after another lens :)

    I suppose my point is that 50mm is not always the most useful choice. IMHO it really depends on what sort of photography you're into.
  7. muci

    muci Member

    I undergo to this point. I myself have once lost some great shots of chamoises just because I was not fast enough in mounting the tele lens to my camera. I also had to decide on the exposure. That was the moment when I took the final decision to buy a SLR camera with auto (and manual-switchable) exposure and with a zoom lens.
    Many people say that if you have an automated camera you will no longer think (concept) your shots. I think that it is a matter of self-control. I use a Dynax 700si from Minolta, with a 28-210mm permanently mouted on, but I always carry the 1,4/50 with me. I also undergo to the opinion of JMACNALLY that "a good zoom will match a fixed focal length one".
  8. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I have 4 prime lenses for my EOSs - Sigma 18mm, Canon 50mm, Vivitar 100mm macro and a Centon 500mm mirror. In other words, they are mainly for specific subjects when a similar zoom simply couldn't get the same result (or would be too damn expensive). I love using them, even though they are mostly cheap and not made to the highest standards of construction. But the vast majority of my pictures are taken with zooms - I can cover 24-300 in 2 lenses of decent quality. And I can always carry 2 lenses, but not always carry the whole kit. So there's a place for both prime lenses and zooms for me - I'll always prefer using prime lenses, but probably continue to use zooms considerably more.
  9. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Hi Nick, I notice you tactfully referred to your Canon 50mm f1.8 as "optically excellent". Would you agree with me however that the AF on this lens is absolute doo-doo. In fact it is probably the worst focusing lens in the entire Canon range with it's annoying habit of hunting for focus even in reasonably good light. Why can't Canon fit an USM motor to sort this problem out. I know they already make f1.2 and f1.4 USM versions of this lens but they cost an arm and a leg!

  10. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Mine is the mark II lens - I've not really had much of a hunting problem - my remark was really more about the crap build quality (my first one fell apart!), lack of any information at all (focus distance, DOF markings) and the terrible grating noise whilst focusing. My prefferred option would be the f1.4 (the other one's actually a breathtaking f1.0!!!!) but I can't afford it, or justify it to myself, so I'm stuck with the f1.8.
  11. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Me too Nick, Ain't life a bummer!

  12. deanbaker

    deanbaker Member

    I used to be a die hard fixed focal lens advocate until I swapped my bag of 5 lenses for the new 24-105 zoom as fitted on the new Dynax 7. I have not looked back. The results are outstanding from this lens. To say that zooms are constrained by small maximum aparatures is nonsense. You don't really need a lens with a maximum aperature of f/1.7 with todays modern films. The latest 400 asa films have a very fine grain structure and enlarge up to 16" by 9" with no problems at all. 10 years ago you had to use a fine grain 100asa or even 50 asa to get the same results. So the need for f/1.7 is really not required any more for normal use. Don't be boring, sell all your old standard lenses and buy a modern high quality zoom. You won't be dissapointed and your shoulder will feel a lot better for having a lot less weight to carry around in your gadget bag....Dean

    Dean Baker
  13. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Fine for print film Dean - I totally agree. For slide film, it's not so clear. My favoured film is Velvia - 50 ISO. I use quite a bit of Kodak Elitechrome Extracolour - 100 ISO. To use zooms hand-held at this time of year, I have to use Fuji MS 100-1000 at 800 ISO - great film, but not as good as the others. So I certainly won't be getting rid of my Canon 50mm f1.8 - but I will also keep the 28-105 and 24-85 (my wife's, if everyone had their own!) zooms.
    To be fair, I haven't tried Provia 400F yet, but the colour saturation doesn't look as good.....

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