And if you want to capture tighter shots, go for an 85mm f/1.8. Instead, you can pack away a single lens mounted on your main camera, then take it around on all your travels without much hassle. Primes VS Zooms. Primes vs Zooms Sep 23, 2008 Rightly or wrongly I learnt years back that Zooms had so many compromises over primes that primes were the only way to go. Just so you understand, I’m not advocating zoom only photography, especially for street photography. Prime lenses have a single, fixed focal length. :frown: Zooms also have smaller maximum apertures than primes. For an experienced photographer who understands that a zoom lens isn’t merely a cropping tool, the XF18-55 is basically 5 lenses in one (XF18, XF23 ,XF27, XF35, XF55). When it comes to available light event photography, the photographer is often pulled between constraints – the two biggest of which are limited access and limited lighting. To zoom or not to zoom, that is the question. Why? Primes are often sharper, but high-quality zooms are now good enough that it often makes very little or no practical difference. In general prime lenses are sharper and perform better generally than zoom lenses at comparable focal lengths. These are made pretty exclusively for bird and wildlife photographers. But you can sometimes save money on zooms, because a single zoom can rival (and replace) three or four primes in your camera bag. Any comments about the benefits/disadvantages of a few zooms versus some primes for travel. I have been a canon user, but have gone back and forth between which FF system to move into as my expensive lenses are mostly crop and will get sold, making it not much more expensive to change systems. Who wants to switch lenses all the time? Choosing between these two options can be a challenge, especially for a beginner photographer. Speaking entirely generically about zoom vs prime lenses, prime lenses tend to offer faster aperture (wider apertures) and better image quality, where zoom lenses offer more convenience. Primes have a faster aperture over their zoom counterparts but for landscapes this advantage is on the whole nullified due to the fact I tend to shoot at f8 to f16. Turn around, and you’ll find the best imagery may be behind you. In the early days of zoom technology a trained eye could easily spot the difference in quality but not today. a lens with a fixed focal length (also commonly referred to as a “fixed lens” Now here’s the difference between primes and zooms when it comes to maximum aperture: Primes have very wide apertures for cheap. It’s what we’re used to (from our compact point-and-shoot cameras), and it makes the most sense. Plus, the 50mm focal length is good for just about everything. That is, you can get a super-sharp prime for $250, but to get an equally sharp zoom, you’ll likely have to spend double or triple that, unless you find a high-end, pre-owned lens to save money. But you can get strong optical quality and a good build for an impressively cheap price. I’ll show you why you might want a zoom, why you might want a prime, and which lens is best for different photography genres. One has to think: this is the lens I have ar this moment to work with. At the same time, for a street photographer who must anticipate a shot before it happens, the ability to ‘swap lenses’ on the fly in a busy crowded city is invaluable. Sign up for our newsletter to get 52 free photography tips. Panasonic and Olympus have both done a great job with their kit zooms which all generally deliver very respectable quality for their prices; indeed I’d say for most Panasonic and Olympus owners, I’d recommend complementing the kit zoom rather than replacing it. It’s a matter of getting the shot or not getting it. If you’ve decided that you’re looking for a zoom, then you’ll have to decide between two basic options: A general zoom, one that covers every focal length you’re interested in shooting at. Perfect for the travel and street photographers out there, commonly offering the best image quality at surprisingly affordable prices. You should buy a zoom lens if you’re willing to pay significantly more for the convenience of having a range of focal lengths in your camera bag–so that you only have to carry one lens when you go out shooting, rather than three or four. Fujinon XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 OIS. Professional photographers use prime lenses and amateur photographers use zoom lenses - right? To grab a zoom at a wide maximum aperture, you’ll pay a premium (for example, check out the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L). Prime lenses offer great optics for an excellent price, and are especially useful for photographers who know the focal lengths they’ll need in advance. We’re done with zooms. It also means that you can avoid having to switch lenses repeatedly during a photoshoot. My current favourite lens in the Fujifilm X series line-up is the new XF23mm f/2 WR and it was my primary lens while I was in Japan. However, I’m not delusional. Zooms vs Primes for travel: For big trips it's usually the 28-300 and a number of primes for me. Hi Jo - It sounds to me like you are looking for this lens: The black Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens is a prime portrait-length lens featuring a bright f/1.8 maximum aperture and a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 75mm. Today I see that the emphasis is more on zooms than primes. While I touched on this above, it bears repeating: A good zoom lens can cost upwards of $1000 USD. Check out 300mm f/4 options, as well as lenses in the 400mm f/5.6 range. These are great for tighter shots: tighter portraits (e.g., headshots), tight sports photos, and tighter landscapes. Also, prime lenses are always superior in quality to zoom lenses. The rendering is amazing, something that the XF18-55mm lens can not duplicate, even with slick post processing in Photoshop. Zoom lenses: the good stuff. So on an 18mm to 200mm zoom lens, you can shoot wide-angle photos at 18mm, standard photos at 50mm, and telephoto shots at 200mm. Get one email per week for one year (Unsubscribe at any time). Most street photographers shoot with the lens stopped down, so for daytime shooting the maximum aperture doesn’t really matter so much. Whether you’re traveling to far off exotic locales or into the woods behind your home, capturing your travels requires a lightweight lens with enough flexibility to keep you shooting all day without a camera bag to slow you down. [REWIND: SLR Lounge’s Original Article on Primes vs Zooms] Fixed focal length lenses, also known as prime lenses, are some of the best lenses that you can own. Both of these lenses are well-priced and feature reasonably good optics. If you’re willing to pay for serious quality, the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS II is a great option, as is the Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS. Now that you know all about prime vs zoom lenses, you should have a sense of the perfect lens type for your needs. I’m looking at you Sigma 45mm f/2.8 and Sigma 85mm f/1.4. If you understand how field-of-view and perspective works, and you have every lens at your finger tips. Related Post: 50mm vs 35mm – Which Prime Lens to Buy? I am a prime lens photographer. Related Post: The Best Canon Prime Lenses. If you have zooms, invest in one prime. If you are a dedicated street photographer, having a single prime as your standard lens (XF18, XF23, XF27, XF35) and a zoom (XF10-24, XF18-55, XF16-55) is the ideal set-up, especially when travelling. Most zooms are larger and heavier than prime lenses. For instance, a 50mm f/1.8 costs less than $200 for both Canon and Nikon cameras. With fast primes that have maximum apertures like f/1.4 or even f/2.8, you are able to let more light into the camera sensor. Required fields are marked *. Prime lenses tend to offer amazing optical quality for an impressive price. The wider aperture is useful for isolating subjects in the landscape or for close up detail shots but on the whole using a smaller aperture to increase the depth of field levels the playing field between the zooms and primes. Of course, the lenses listed here aren’t the only prime lenses available–just some of the best deals at the most common focal lengths. The XF18-55mm lens is not a large lens, but compared to the XF23mm f/2 WR or XF35mm f/2 WR, it looks huge. This is very true for most street photographers. Don’t be the photographer who says always prime or zoom–you will be just like the guy who uses a hammer to fix everything. Every prime I've ever used has just general increased sharpness, usually more evident in the corners, though I've … As previously mentioned, the main difference between prime and zoom lenses is in their focal length. As for preferred bodies, I love both the X-T2 and the X-Pro2, but on both trips I decided to take the newer body (check out my article concerning my preference for the X-T2 for work). Back then, I had only one prime lens in my bag (an 85mm f/1.4 that I used for portraits), but I started to equip myself with more primes. The “normal” range covered by the standard zoom lens is 24 to 70mm. Tested: Four travel tripods for every budget. Yet they are getting pretty old, and corner softness / field curvature can be a problem. then additional zoom and prime lenses will be necessary. The versatility brings productivity and creativity. Just when I thought LLD was in remission. Better than the XF35mm f/2 or XF23mm f/2? When it comes to prime vs. zoom lenses, prime lenses win in low light. Another common situation where a zoom comes in handy is when travel photographers prefer not to lug around an entire camera bag full of equipment. If you are trying to keep in the background, then using a full-frame SLR with a 24-70mm f2.8 lens is not the way to do it. Nikon shooters should check out the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G lens, while Canon snappers should take a look at the Canon 35mm f/2 IS USM. This isn’t going to be a rehash of the old prime vs zoom debate, that battle is over. 1. Real street photographers only use primes, right? This isn’t going to be a rehash of the old prime vs zoom debate, that battle is over. While there are some fantastic options out there, especially for portrait photography, prime lenses lack the versatility and range of a zoom lens. Which is why this article breaks it all down for you. And the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 has a maximum aperture of f/4. And zoom lenses are deeply versatile pieces of equipment, good for extended travel. Discussion in 'General X Camera Forum' started by beakhammer, Jan 26, 2016. And when you’ve finished, you’ll know exactly which lens to get. Read more about us or contact us. This won’t stabilize your subject, but it’s still there if you don’t have a tripod and need to stabilize yourself. And note that a prime lens kit generally includes multiple lenses, rather than a single piece of glass. You frequently find prime lenses at f/2.8, f/1.8, and even f/1.4–and they don’t come close to breaking the bank. I don’t care, as long as I get the shot. accessory review Jul … My favourite lenses across all my camera systems (DSLR, mirrorless, film SLR, film rangefinder) are all primes. 7. For myself, I would carry the XF14mm f/2.8 (for landscape and architecture), XF23mm f/2 WR (primary street lens), and the venerable XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS as my ideal travel kit. Selecting A Beginner’s Kit. Note that you don’t want to get a lens with any focal lengths you don’t plan on using. They’re a great way to get started with high-quality optics. The quality of the prime lens is often vastly superior to that of a zoom as it doesn’t have as many moving parts. Fantasia13 OIAF Ad F.indd 1. When you need versatility (travel) zooms are the best. You frequently find prime lenses at f/2.8, f/1.8, and even f/1.4–and they don’t come close to breaking the bank. ... And when you have several zoom lenses, the combined extra weight could make it difficult to shoot and travel … – Ami Vitale, Nikon Ambassador. Or a specialist zoom, which features a narrower focal length range, and will probably need supplementing with another zoom down the line to round out your kit. Travelling - Prime vs Zoom? Primes are significantly smaller in size when compared to zoom lenses, thus more suitable for traveling and packing. The XF50mm F/1.0 R WR: Is This the “ONE” for You? With that said, my favorite wildlife/landscape photographer, John Shaw, has reversed his position on primes vs. zooms and now uses zooms almost exclusively. However, with prime lenses, you can get started with any of the the f/1.8 primes for a fraction of the price. In other words, you can only shoot at a single distance: 50mm, or 35mm, or 90mm, etc. As with all things it … If weight isn't an issue I travel with a 16-35mm zoom and a 70-200mm zoom. 12-08-23 4:23 PM. The thought of an even smaller package for when I want to travel light is definitely appealing. PhotoWorkout is an online magazine reviewing and comparing the best photography gear, software, and photo prints. My favorite 3 Nikon f/1.8 primes are the 28, 50 and 85 1.8G lenses. Weight and size is likely a concern for all traveling photographers, too, so take into account the difference in packing those 24, 35, 50, and 85mm primes versus the single 24-70mm zoom. Prime vs. Zoom: A Quick Comparison Let's see some of the advantages … The caveat here is that primes still offer better sharpness and image quality than zooms within the same price point. For myself, I would carry the XF14mm f/2.8 (for landscape and … The XF18-55mm is a very underrated zoom lens, but it saved me plenty of times while in Hong Kong. That means there are lesser chances of abnormalities to occur. I own the popular XF primes (35 f1.4, 35 f2, 23, 56 and 90) and the 10-24, 18-55, 16-55, 55-200 and 50-140 zooms. Sometimes we get so obsessed with what’s in front of us, we get tunnel vision. Having a zoom lens enables you to mix things up with your composition. Many of us commit to a preferred focal length for life, either the 35mm (XF23mm), 50mm (XF35mm) or the less popular 28mm (XF18mm). Capture every adventure. Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 2200, ƒ/5.6, 1/500 Primes vs zooms. Canon and Nikon both will have similar focal lengths and fairly similar price points. There’s one main benefit to zoom lenses, and it’s often enough to sway beginners (and more serious photographers) to the zoom lens camp: Because they offer such a large focal length range, you can carry a single zoom lens and use it in nearly every situation. 3. Now, as I explained above, zoom lenses do cost more for the same optical quality when compared to primes. It’s tough to get landscape shots like this without a light lens because of the amount of travel involved: One drawback when it comes to lighter lenses is build quality. :frown: Join 32,000+ FujiLovers. Note the blurry background that comes from shooting at a wide aperture: Note that zoom lenses also have a variable aperture, which means that the maximum aperture changes across the focal length range. ... Primes and Zooms. I won’t pretend that I prefer zooms over primes. I am weighing up 2 options, on one hand I want to buy an 85mm prime and take my whole set of lenses however this will be a bit of hassle due to the bulk and the constant lens changing. The maximum aperture refers to the widest aperture that a lens allows. Portability (another perspective) – when prime lens proponents pull out the ‘weight/portability’ argument zoom lens lovers often argue that a point in favor of the zoom is that you only need to carry one lens instead of a range of lenses to have the same focal length range. Primes are not suitable replacements for zooms any more than zooms can replace primes. Prime lenses also come with a second benefit: While zoom lenses tend to be fairly hefty (they span a broad set of focal lengths, after all! Tony & Chelsea Northrup put this to the test, comparing primes vs zooms for sharpness, functionality, technical image quality, compression, bokeh, background blur, size, weight, and MORE. When shooting a prime lens, you can only work at a single focal length. Prime lenses offer superior sharpness, vignetting, and chromatic aberration compared to zoom lenses–which means that you can get professional-quality optics at a much lower cost. So if you’re not into photography at 200mm (e.g., headshots, distant shots of people, tight landscapes), go for a different lens instead. Zooms are handy for good alround sharp images but I prefer primes used wide open for getting the subject to stand out. The 85mm focal length is also a great choice for product and food photography (though you’ll want to make sure the lens focuses close enough). I was able to use the XF14mm, XF23mm f/2, XF35mm f/2, XF18-55mm and the XF10-24mm. Your email address will not be published. Generally speaking, I use primes, but when I'm shooting video (and not stills) I do often use zoom lenses. I N T E R NAT IO NA L FI L M FE ST I VA L July 2013 Montreal For example, at standard portrait lengths, my 70-200 is a superb lens. 2. Best Photo Management Software for Windows, 18 Best Lenses for Nikon Full Frame Cameras, The Best Low Light Lenses You Can Buy for Canon Cameras, The Best Micro Four-Thirds Lenses On The Market in 2020. This lens is a tiny wonder of technology, and coupled with my Sony a6500 it makes up for the lightest and smallest (while still providing awesome quality) landscape photography kit I've ever owned. This course is the only course on photography gear you need. So if you’re not sure which focal length is the right one, you can grab the 50mm f/1.8, then purchase a wider 35mm or a longer 85mm sometime down the line. Primes vs Zooms. For low light, primes can't be beat. Currently reviewing for Fujifilm, Leica, Canon and Ricoh-Pentax. > So if you were into travel photography, you would carry some general > purpose zooms with you + some primes for some specific purposes, but not > just the primes, right? While a high-quality prime lens can be had for $300, $200, or even $100. If you opt to go the prime route, invest in one zoom when you can. Zoom lenses There are some common claims about prime lenses, and “prime shooters” usually […] I currently own a Nikon D700, a 35mm f2 and a 50mm f1.4 and will be travelling for 4 months. Well, people want to save money. This can be frustrating, especially if you’re shooting in low light and suddenly find your lens at a far narrower aperture than you want to use. When discussing the price of zooms vs primes, Roman Naryškin had this to say: “Many modern [lower-end] prime lenses are significantly cheaper than their zoom counterparts. However, on my vacation travels I take the 35 f2, 10-24 and 18-55 for my X-T1 (now X-Pro2) and my X100T. The smaller and lighter the lens, the easier it is to pack and carry for day trips, walkaround photography, and more involved travel photography. A zoom lens is a lens that offers a range of focal lengths. A good zoom lens can enormously simplify your camera bag. I understand that each equivalent prime will have better image quality than the standard kit zoom. In other words, while you can zoom in and out by changing your position, the lens focal length doesn’t actually change. This includes concerts, events and wedding ceremonies in churches where there is no flash allowed. Travelling - Prime vs Zoom? Now here’s the difference between primes and zooms when it comes to maximum aperture: Primes have very wide apertures for cheap. That’s where zooms like the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 VR and the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 VC come into play. Jaymes Dempsey is a professional macro and nature photographer from Ann Arbor, Michigan; his work is published across the web, from Digital Photography School to PetaPixel. So if you need to span a large focal length range down the line, a zoom lens might be the way to go. I currently own a Nikon D700, a 35mm f2 and a 50mm f1.4 and will be travelling for 4 months. It’s especially true when photographing in very dark conditions. It’s beneath us now. On the other hand, if you can get by, a 35mm and 85mm two-lens kit gives you a faster pair of lenses and less overall weight if you can sacrifice the wide and mid zones of the zoom’s reach. Prime and Zoom Lenses: Pros and Cons Focal Length. 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What I found was the XF18-55mm to the best overall lens for travel and street photography. If you’re looking to shoot wildlife and you want to keep the cost down, a zoom in the 100-400mm range is your best bet, such as the Canon 100-400mm IS II or the Nikon 80-400mm VR. If you have to own a full set of zooms and primes there is no money to travel to places with them. So for just a few hundred dollars, you can put together a seriously impressive lens kit–one that features stellar optical quality and can compete with a professional lens kit. Most street photographers don’t want to be seen, so a diminutive lens and body goes a long way to remain unseen and unnoticed. Do you care if the image is slightly less sharp or has more distortion because you used a zoom lens? This lens is a tiny wonder of technology, and coupled with my Sony a6500 it makes up for the lightest and smallest (while still providing awesome quality) landscape photography kit I've ever owned. Many people choose one side and categorize themselves either as “zoom shooters” or as “prime shooters”. Are you trying to decide between a prime vs zoom, but you’re not sure which one is right for you? This makes it harder to shoot in low light and maintain shutter speeds fast enough to freeze movement. Now let’s look at the benefits of prime lenses: One of the key reasons to purchase a prime lens is enhanced optical quality. Zooming out feels like moving away from a subject, showing you a more wide-angle perspective and allowing you to see more of the background.Zooming in feels like moving towards a subject, showing you a more telephoto perspective and hiding more of the background. In my case, the 16-70mm f/4 Sony Carl Zeiss (24-105mm 35mm equivalent) is all I need for 99% of my work. If you’re looking for a prime that’s a bit wider–for more environmental-style or photojournalistic shooting, say–a 35mm lens might be a better option. But before I go into discussing the list, I want to give a quick tip that I’ve learned over the years when I travel: unless your job requires it, leave the prime lenses at home. Primes are significantly smaller in size when compared to zoom lenses, thus more suitable for traveling and packing. A prime lens is a lens with a fixed focal length. And since they are smaller, they tend to weigh less, thus they wear you down less. In my case, the 16-70mm f/4 Sony Carl Zeiss (24-105mm 35mm equivalent) is all I need for 99% of my work. If you do anything specialized (landscape, nature, portraiture, etc.) Your email address will not be published. Prime vs. Zoom: A Quick Comparison. > Having grown up in photography when zooms were either very expensive or very bad (1970's), a zoom lens is not my "go-to" glass. Canon EF-S 17-85mm F4.0-5.6 IS USM. Zoom lenses have mirrors, which can scatter light, and also, many zooms don't open to wider apertures (like f/2.8). Quote; Shaily. Because of this, I decided to stick mostly with primes because M4/3 primes are so small and lightweight (except for the latest Olympus Pro f/1.2 line, big!) OCT. 10 > 21, 2012 These lenses are especially great for photographers on a budget, because they’re an absolute steal–but they don’t compromise on optical quality, offering impressive sharpness and bokeh. And I dream about : XF 50-140mm F2.8 OIS WR. These have since become very popular in the mirrorless videographer community, but also among photographers. Plus, lighter lenses are simply more pleasant to work with; after hours of holding a camera around your neck, heavy lenses become, well, heavy. However, if you compare the same brand name / optics, zooms are always more expensive. For traveling I stick with a fixed 24mm prime on my d4 for museums and hardware and an 85mm for people watching. If you’ve decided that a prime lens is the best choice for your needs, then you should consider one of these excellent options: First, you should check out the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G or the Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM. Take in the sights all day without fatigue thanks to compact, lightweight, grab and go design. then additional zoom and prime lenses will be necessary. X-T2 with XF10-24mm f/4 OIS. I’ve owned both Sigma and Tamron’s 150-500 and 150-600mm and they did a super job for me in the field. But nothing like a zoom in a moving scenario when on travel for example. In addition to “analog vs. digital”, there’s another everlasting argument between photographers: zoom vs. prime lenses. If you have zooms, invest in one prime. I have too much time on my hands thinking about an upcoming trip to England. Any comments about the benefits/disadvantages of a few zooms versus some primes for travel. If you’re shooting wide angle architecture all day, consider the smaller (but less flexible) prime option. Take in all the sights with a wide variety of Nikkor lenses that excel at photographing landmarks and scenery. An 85mm f/1.8 doesn’t cost much more. If this is something you’re interested in, check out the Nikon 16-35mm f/4G VR or the Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Prime vs. Zoom. For many photographers, this is the main reason to choose a prime lens over a zoom lens. Similarly, the compact XF14mm f/2.8 (my favourite ultra-wide angle lens) is much smaller and lighter than the powerful but clunky XF10-24mm f/4 OIS lens. Some zooms go beyond the notorious f/2.8 frontier. For now, enjoy taking pictures with both primes and zooms, enjoy traveling, enjoy exploring, enjoy sharing, and happy shooting. Zoom lenses can change their focal length. Costs stay manageable. ... Fuji xt1 or xt2; primes vs zooms" | In response to Reply # 19. mma2 Registered since 23rd Mar 2016 Sun 28-May-17 08:55 PM Lynn, Congratulations! The 70-200 is my go to for sports and I use my monster 400mm f2.8 for reach -safari/Alaska etc, particularly where getting eaten is a possibility. Here’s the bottom line: If you’re on a budget, and you can only afford one or two lenses, I recommend primes. If you want to zoom out, you have to step back. If you think you prefer a more environmental style of photography, a wider 35mm lens might be a good choice. If you know what and how you like […] ), the corresponding prime focal lengths tend to be much smaller and lighter. But if you want to capture even the smallest critters (especially birds), you’ll ideally grab a lens that reaches at least 500mm. However, if getting the shot is important to you, I strongly advocate the one prime and one zoom lens philosophy when travelling. Zooms vs Primes: Are zoom lenses for AMATEURS? 4. Primes vs. Zooms, Problem Solved. The Sigma 24-105mm f/4.0 ART lens is also worth a look (and costs significantly less!). The honest answer is I personally don't know from my own experience. Zoom lenses: the good stuff. Let's see some of the advantages of zoom lenses over prime lenses. I took for the travel in Guatemala 3 primes: the 24, the 85 and the 135. This content is provided ‘as is’ and is subject to change or removal at any time. If you are a dedicated street photographer, having a single prime as your standard lens (XF18, XF23, XF27, XF35) and a zoom (XF10-24, XF18-55, XF16-55) is the ideal set-up, especially when travelling. Really? 3 years ago Off course the second is a prime. However, if you shoot at night, there is no substitute for a fast prime lens. If you want to zoom in, you have to zoom with your feet–by walking closer. However, prime lenses are far less convenient than zooms, because it often takes several primes to create the focal length equivalent of a single zoom. A shot like this required a wide maximum aperture, because the early-morning light was low: Wide maximum apertures also increase background blur quality (bokeh), which is why portrait photographers, in particular, are fans of lenses with at least an f/1.8 maximum aperture. Apr 11, 2010 at 05:19 PM: burningheart And since they are smaller, they tend to weigh less, thus they wear you down less. The focal length of prime lenses can be anywhere between 12mm and 5200mm, and it will always remain the same. There are opinions, sometimes fairly strong at that, in the photography community about the virtues of using zoom versus prime lenses for wedding photography; zoom lenses are variable focal length, prime lenses are fixed focal length.
2020 primes vs zooms for travel