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Prime Lens - Worth it?

Discussion in 'Fujifilm Cameras' started by rhibop, Feb 1, 2020.

  1. rhibop

    rhibop New Member

    I have been looking to get a new lens for my Fujifilm XT20. Everywhere I look online I see recommendations for Prime lenses but I wanted to know - are they worth it? I am an incredibly average photographer - I know the basics and mostly just take photos when I travel.

    I currently have the 15-45 mm kit lens that came with the camera. I have been looking at the 23mm F2, 35mm F2, but also the 18-55mm F2.8-4.0. I largely take scenic travel shots, sometimes with one or two people in them. I love bokeh (who doesn't?) and my main frustration previously has been not being able to get enough of a scene into a shot.

    Can anyone shed some light on what they'd recommend? Is it worth getting a prime lens, or would it be better to just invest in a good zoom lens? Or, with a basic level of photography, is the 15-45mm kit lens totally fine?!
     
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  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, I'd say that, if you don't know, that is answer enough unless retail therapy is important to you :)

    I use primes when I specifically want that focal length. Otherwise zooms are good enough for me and the Fuji zooms are very good. In my Canon (FF) system my primes are 24 mm (as a shift lens for architecture), 100 mm for macro and then it is long telephotos. In my Fuji system I just use zooms. I haven't any XC lenses, only XF, but generally I understand the difference is in build quality (XF more likely to bounce when dropped) rather than much optically. If you want to get more in shot then the XF 10-24 is good. I have the 10-24, 18-55 (which was a kit lens) and a 55-200. I'll probably buy the 16-80 when there is an offer on it because I find the 18-55 too limited.
     
  3. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    The 15-45 is quite a useful range. By not being able to get enough of a scene into a shot I take it you mean there are areas outside what the lens covers that you wish to include. If that is the case you need something wider, which means either a wide prime or a wider zoom than you already own. The Fujifilm zooms are very good, I have the 18-55 and rate its highly, I only tend to take the primes out when I think I will need them for some reason. The 10-24 is perhaps what you need.
     
  4. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I've used Hasselblad Zeiss, Leica and Nikon lenses (among many others) and I doubt anyone will be able to tell whether you used a prime or a zoom for a particular shot. The only exception might be ultra wides where some of the older primes like the Tamron 17mm still have a slight edge over most modern zooms that cover the same range.
     
  5. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    Primes I use with X-E3 are cheap and Chinese manual ones. Reasonable for the price.
     
  6. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    You haven't said what you do with your pictures: do you get large prints done for display (40x60 cm or larger, for example), or only ever view your pictures on PC or small device screen? If the former, you may see better image quality on large prints when a prime lens was used, and if the latter just buy what you find most convenient. Whatever you do, don't forget that buying lenses new is the last
    resort for anybody on a tight budget - look at secondhand stuff on the websites of AP's regular advertisers.

    With a decent lens, the 24 megapixel sensor in your camera body should allow you to get decent prints to at least 75x50 cm. I have an older 16 megaixel APS-C DSLR, and have had prints this size that demontrate that my prime lenses produce better prints than zooms when printed this large. Of course, some zooms are better than others - how deep is your pocket?
     
  7. Speedbird

    Speedbird Active Member

    I have deliberately avoided a zoom lens for my XT30 because that is my travel camera, whereas my Nikon 810 is for events and is a bit lumpy in my view for travel. So I wanted to keep the set up light and manageable and got the 23 F2 and 35 F2. The 23 to me is a bit more useful for street and general photography but is a tad soft at F2 if your close in. The 35 performs better at F2 and is more useful if your doing portraits. They both perform superbly once you stop them down and the build quality and weight make them ideal for travel. I would imagine both these lenses would deliver better IQ and bokeh than your current zoom but they do force you to move nearer or step back as required and maybe think a bit more on how your going to achieve the shot. In a way I find these small quality primes quite liberating but probably because they suit my style when travelling.

    So for what you describe it sounds like you need wider than 15 mm so a 23 or 35 might not be for you, the mentioned 10-24 could be the way forward.
     
  8. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    I'd recommend trying the XF 16/2.8 and, perhaps, the XF or XC 35/2 :)

    Cheers,

    Jack
     
  9. SteveGray_

    SteveGray_ Member

    Thought I would share my own experience. When I first got into photography I had a canon 1200d. I bought a cheap 24 mm Pancake lens it quickly became my standard lens for anything urban, street, travel or walking around. It was fun to use as you had to think a little bit and move around more. It took great pictures, it was light and unobtrusive. I moved more into landscapes and used it less as zoom lenses are useful with a tripod. But I recently just bought a Fuji xt-30 and I have my eye on the Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4 for all the same reasons as above.
     
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  10. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    You might want to try, both, the 23/2 and the 23/1.4, Steve, the 23/2 is a bit smaller and, in theory, slightly faster focussing :) Also, I agree with
    you regarding the EF-S 24/2.8, what a great little inexpensive lens :)

    Cheers,
    Jack
     
  11. SteveGray_

    SteveGray_ Member

    thanks i will consider it. Its definitely a lot cheaper.
     
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  12. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Good stuff, Steve and good shooting :)

    Cheers,
    jack
     
  13. Brian

    Brian Venerable Elder

    There is one Fuji lens that stands head and shoulders above all others for general usage . The most versatile of them all. The 18-55mm '''''period.
     
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  14. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    Indeed an excellent lens.
     
  15. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Hi Brian,

    I think, the new 16-80/4 is, in fact, a better lens for general usage :). The built in stabilisation of the lens is incredible. I was showing a customer some shots
    I was doing at 1/5 at f/5.6 at 200 ASA at the 80mm focal length and, even after magnifying them on the LCD screen, the results were still really good ....plus, it's weather proofed and, at least, over here it's only $150 more expensive than the 18-55 :) And, IMHO, the 16-80 is, indeed, $150 better than the 18-55 ;)

    Cheers,

    Jack
     
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  16. Brian

    Brian Venerable Elder

    Hi Jack, you might well be right. I was giving an opinion based on me experience......quite honestly I hadn't even heard of a 16-18mm.

    Anyway nice to see you are still around.
     
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  17. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Hi Brian,

    Had I not had a chance to play with the 16-80/4 lens over the last few months, I would have been in 100% agreement with you :)
    and, whilst the 18-55 is a cracking lens, the 16-80/4, IMVHO, is just that much better :) If you've not had the opportunity to give
    it a try, it's well worth trying it out :)

    Hope all is well with yourself and the missus and glad to see that your still out shooting :)

    Cheers,
    Jack
     
  18. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    AP review wasn’t that keen on the performance at 16 mm, at least that’s how I read the review. It is a more useful focal length range than the 18-55 which, being used to the Canon 24-105 on a 5D, I find frustrating. It will probably my next purchase.
     
  19. Brian

    Brian Venerable Elder

    Yes Jack we are fine, lost our doggie but apart from that nothing has fallen off........I take it you are still in the same shop and doing your street stuff.

    Had a go yesterday with the 16-80mm. Bit heavier and clumsy, also the 18-55mm is sharper overall particularly at the wider end in my very unscientific test.

    Shan't be changing in a hurry.....famous last words. But the truth is I don't like zooms, especially as I have just bought the best Fuji ever camera , the X E3.
     
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  20. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    In the test I read of the 16-80 the performance fell off noticeably towards the longer end, something which does deter me, as it would be my main reason for buying the lens (I already have the 16mm f2.8). The 18-55 is the lens I use the most, a useful focal length range with good performance throughout without a great deal of weight or bulk.
     
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