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Thread: Fun with fixed focal lens

  1. #1
    Senior Member jamsus's Avatar
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    Fun with fixed focal lens

    Hi everyone.

    This summer my brother broke the kit lens just 1 day before our planned trip to Scotland.

    No panic, gone to the nearest open shop and... got the 40mm f2.8 pancake! Ok, i lost all the wide-angle focal range (18-39) from the starting lens but... one day before leaving you need to be positive!

    Note: i got an aps-c, so the 40mm was a 64mm
    And the long trip went on, and it was sooo incredibly fun to shoot only with 40mm and 70-300 for the long captures. I got a lot of nice shots, and instead of horizontal landscapes i got a lot more vertical pictures, and i loved em.

    Now i also got a wide angle lens (10-18) so i hope, for the future, to be covered in any case. But I shared this experience just to talk with you and ask, did you tried any of this feeling using a fixed focal lens instead of a zoom one? Moving around looking for the corner, losing some shots but staying still ok?

    Discuss!
    Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!

    Jamsus

  2. #2
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    I can leave the house on a family trip or around a around town with the 35 mm F1.4 on FF and be very happy with the creative aspect of this lens and satisfied with the quality of the images.
    I can take the 24-70 II and be very satisfied with the memories I documented and the quality this lens produces.

    For me I often prefer maximum creativity over versatility.
    Sometimes I prefer versatility.

    That is how I view it.

    A few years ago my answer would have been I prefer the superior IQ of the primes over zooms, period. The new zooms have changed my opinion.

  3. #3
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    My 24-105 is the workhorse in my bag. I can't express adequately how impressed I am with the IQ that lens produces. If I could only have one lens, that would be it.
    Mark - Flickr
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    Yes many zoom lenses give you just as good quality as primes, but what I love about the prime lenses is their ability to go wider than f/2.8. The creative opportunities at f/1.4 are wonderful... just take a look at Sam's recent portrait photos in the 'Current Shots' thread for proof.

  5. #5
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    My wife and I both love our 50mm f/1.8 and 85 f/1.8 primes. I'm trying to decide if my next purchase should be a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART, or a 7D2.

    The 7D2 looks like I should expect an extra stop of usable ISO, which will be great on overcast days shooting agility, or indoors shooting Bran (the black puppy)... but a 35mm f/1.4, that's sharp at 1.4 looks like it would be more interesting.
    On Flickr - Namethatnobodyelsetook on Flickr | On the web - http://www.GrassStainedPhoto.com
    1DsII | 7D | 7DII | 10-18mm STM | 18-135mm STM | 24-70mm f/4L | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 | 50mm f/1.8 | 85mm f/1.8 | 70-300mm f/4-5.6L

  6. #6
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    The right tool for the job.

    I have a couple of primes that I use a lot (24mm f/1.4L & 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro), and one that I don't use at all (50mm f/1.8). Both of the primes that I use a lot were bought for specific jobs that I wanted to invest time and money into. My 24mm was for low light (night) photography and for wide landscapes - it is pretty wide on a FF. I got my 100mm for macro work and is used pretty exlusively for that reason, but I really should use it for other types of shots as well.

    I also have good coverage with zooms. Other than night and macro work, I can usually pull out a zoom for a particular shoot, and never have to take it off the camera. I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want to do, and how to accomplish it prior to starting. So I can mount a zoom and get the framing I need with some flexibility. I have a 24-105mm f/4L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, and the 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS. At this point, the 100-400 is almost always at 400mm and I may be better with a prime, but the IS on this keeps me from doing that.

    There are a few primes I would like to get (35mm, 17 TSE, 24 TSE, & 600mm to name a few), and I would like an ultra wide zoom as well. However, a combination of zooms and primes seems to suit my needs best. There is no one answer that fits all situations, but primes tend to be more for specialty/creative uses for me, and zooms allows for better flexibilty to get the composition right.

    When I can get the time for a photo trip, I will lean heavily on my 24mm, 24-105, and 70-200.

    Pat
    5DS R, 1D X, 7D, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 24mm f/1.4L II, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.8, 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 580EX-II
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  7. #7
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    I've often read about photographers that enjoy being "creatively constrained" by walking around with a fixed focal length. To a very large extent, it isn't about the potentially superior IQ of a prime, but rather having to see every shot from a single perspective. I sometimes enjoy walking around with my 50 mm. Documenting everything from the normal perspective. I tried that with the 35 mm, but I just didn't take to that. But, I need another pure photography day soon. So many of the photos I have posted were taken while doing something else. Actually, I believe having more days set aside for photography was my New Years resolution. Oops

    BTW, this reminded me of an earlier thread.

  8. #8
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    I usually shoots with my 17-50, but when I recently went with only my 85mm, I found myself spending more time to frame the pictures and of composition, than to use the zoom to try to fit in everything. So for me, the constraint of the fixed lens allows me to use more time to think about composition, and not trying to adjust the zoom to get the perfect framing. Taken into consideration that most people use the extremes of the zoom most (for me, 17 and 50), I think many would have been better off with two fixed lenses instead. But then there is the versatility of the zoom. I am about to invest i a new lens since my tamron has taken too many beatings, and I really do not know what to do. A fixed 35mm, or a zoom. Still contemplating.

    Lars

  9. #9
    Having got shut of my 50 f1.4 to part fund another lens, prime wise I'm left with my 22mm EF-M, 135L and my lensbaby - which gives me both a 12mm fisheye and a 50mm playful lens on my full frame camera... The fisheye has had lots of use recently, it's surprisingly easy getting a striking image from it. Having seen that there is a 50mm "sweet" optic out now, my debit card is looking at me in a disapproving way - primes are fun, my zooms seem to get used at the extremes too... Many of my shots are at 16, 24, 70 & 300mm ;-)

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    After using a prime lens for a while you start to see the world through that focal length and anticipate the shot / know how it will frame. Primes also prevent "lazy photography" to an extent. It's easy to stand in one place with a zoom and just zoom to get a framing, not necessarily the best framing.

    Dave

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