Velocity Reviews - Computer Hardware Reviews

Velocity Reviews > Newsgroups > Computing > Digital Photography > Zoom vs. Fixed-Focal-Length

Reply
Thread Tools

Zoom vs. Fixed-Focal-Length

 
 
EHHackney
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-18-2004
I may be wrong, but it seems that single focal length lenses are faster, in
general, than zooms. I remember a number of single F.L. lenses that went to
F/1.4 or even F/1.2. Most of the zooms I'm familiar with don't go any faster
than F/2.8 or so.

So, some of the single focal length lenses allow you to blur out the background
with a narrow depth of field better than the zooms. RIght?

Hack
--//--
 
Reply With Quote
 
 
 
 
Gene Palmiter
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-18-2004
Without doing any real research....just from memory I would say that is
true. I cannot recall a case where a zoom was faster than a prime. Maybe if
you compare a cheap prime with an expensive zoom...

A bigger aperture give you less DOF...so that is true...you can blur the
background better.

You got it!


"EHHackney" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> I may be wrong, but it seems that single focal length lenses are faster,

in
> general, than zooms. I remember a number of single F.L. lenses that went

to
> F/1.4 or even F/1.2. Most of the zooms I'm familiar with don't go any

faster
> than F/2.8 or so.
>
> So, some of the single focal length lenses allow you to blur out the

background
> with a narrow depth of field better than the zooms. RIght?
>
> Hack
> --//--



 
Reply With Quote
 
 
 
 
Tetractys
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-18-2004
Nostrobino wrote:

> A zoom lens is just as much a prime lens
> as a fixed-focal-length lens is.


http://photonotes.org/cgi-bin/entry.pl?id=Primelens

> The OP's terminology is correct.


His is, yes. Yours is not.

> His choice is between zoom and fixed focal
> length (FFL). Both are prime lenses, though
> there is no reason to use the term "prime lens"
> except to distinguish that lens from some
> supplementary lens or other optical device
> used with it.


Where did you say you went to school?
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/C...rime-Lens.aspx

> Use a tele extender with a zoom and the
> zoom is the prime lens.


Deeper and deeper.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_lens

> No offense, but this silly misusage of "prime"
> should be stamped out.


Okay, I get it. You're a wacko crusader

> Zooms are primes.


Knock yourself out, trollmeister. Then you can
start on the rule of thirds, the metric system,
and perhaps the two-party system in American
politics. Go for it! Rage against the ocean!




 
Reply With Quote
 
Kevin McMurtrie
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-18-2004
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
"BWL" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Just wondering which way I should go on this. I'll be getting a Canon 20D,
> probably between new year's and spring. I have a G1 now, but this will be my
> first DSLR. I've been reading up on lenses, and it seems apparent that
> fixed-focal-length lenses have much better optics and photo quality. I was
> initially thinking of getting a 28mm (or thereabouts), and a nice long 300 or
> 400mm for wildlife photography.
>
> My question is: is the quality of fixed-focal-length lenses great enough to
> offset the convenience of zoom lenses? I mean, if the difference in photo
> quality is negligible, a zoom would be much preferable.
>
> Also, I've read that DSLR's are very sensitive to dust that can get on the
> sensor when the lens is off, even for a short time. Does having
> fixed-focal-length lenses, and having to swap them fairly frequently, invite
> problems with dust & debris inside the camera?
>
> Thanks for any insights,
>
> BW


Zooms can be very good as long as you stay away from lenses with very
wide ranges, like 28-300. The real disadvantage of zoom lenses is
weight, cost, and reduced light.

My Canon 300D hasn't gotten any dust on the sensor yet but the
viewfinder lens is a dust magnet. Dust has fouled up the autofocus a
couple of times too.
 
Reply With Quote
 
Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-18-2004
Tetractys wrote:

>>Also note some zooms by their zooming
>>action may actually push and pull air into
>>the camera and therefore dust onto the
>>sensor. I just tested the 100-400 L IS
>>and it is amazing how much air it pumps.

>
>
> Never heard of that. How did you test?


I picked up my 100-400 and took the cover caps off,
put it up to my cheek and zoomed.
I was quite surprised how much air it was moving!
I learned about this in this newsgroup.
Roger

 
Reply With Quote
 
BWL
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-18-2004
Thanks for all the input, everyone. This NG is a great source of info & experience!

"BWL" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:(E-Mail Removed)...
Just wondering which way I should go on this. I'll be getting a Canon 20D, probably between new year's and spring. I have a G1 now, but this will be my first DSLR. I've been reading up on lenses, and it seems apparent that fixed-focal-length lenses have much better optics and photo quality. I was initially thinking of getting a 28mm (or thereabouts), and a nice long 300 or 400mm for wildlife photography.

My question is: is the quality of fixed-focal-length lenses great enough to offset the convenience of zoom lenses? I mean, if the difference in photo quality is negligible, a zoom would be much preferable.

Also, I've read that DSLR's are very sensitive to dust that can get on the sensor when the lens is off, even for a short time. Does having fixed-focal-length lenses, and having to swap them fairly frequently, invite problems with dust & debris inside the camera?

Thanks for any insights,

BW
 
Reply With Quote
 
gsum
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-18-2004

"Tetractys" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> Roger N. Clark wrote:
>
> > But in the longer telephotos,
> > the zooms are not as sharp as
> > the primes.... (>200mm)

>
> I agree with the premise. At longer
> lenghts, you're probably better off
> with a prime. But -- for me -- the
> break point would be higher, about
> 400mm plus.


For landscape photography, you need primes at the wide angle end
to minimise flare when shooting into the sun, and to minimise distortion.

>
> > Also note some zooms by their zooming
> > action may actually push and pull air into
> > the camera and therefore dust onto the
> > sensor. I just tested the 100-400 L IS
> > and it is amazing how much air it pumps.

>
> Never heard of that. How did you test?
>
>


You're not just pumping dust. Zooms (and primes to a lesser
extent) pump lens lubricant. This is much worse than dust as it smears
when you clean the sensor.




 
Reply With Quote
 
Ken Tough
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-18-2004
BWL <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>Just wondering which way I should go on this. I'll be getting a Canon 20D,
>probably between new year's and spring. I have a G1 now, but this will be my
>first DSLR. I've been reading up on lenses, and it seems apparent that fixed-
>focal-length lenses have much better optics and photo quality. I was initially
>thinking of getting a 28mm (or thereabouts), and a nice long 300 or 400mm for
>wildlife photography.
>
>My question is: is the quality of fixed-focal-length lenses great enough to
>offset the convenience of zoom lenses? I mean, if the difference in photo
>quality is negligible, a zoom would be much preferable.


I'm in about the same boat, thinking the same. [Not sure if Nikon
or Canon yet]. Have you considered the "1.6x crop" of the dSRL
(making a 28mm actually give the field of view of a '45 mm' on a
35mm film cam).

Seems to me that a shorter Fixed Focal Length lens (say up to 50 mm)
is more useful than a long FFL telephoto, since you can 'zoom with
your feet' more easily on the wide end. With a telephoto you may
need to walk a long way to zoom out if necessary. (I can imagine
shooting wildlife, then have something show up 5m away and only be
able to catch its eyebrows). So I'd personally plan on a zoom tele
and a fast 50mm for people & 'walking around'. Due to the dirt-on-
the-sensor issue and wanting to travel light, I'm also thinking the
17-85mm IS lens is nice because it has a decent zoom range, and the
IS effectively opens its aperature a couple of stops at the tele end.
(The Nikon 18-70 feels a little short for my liking, and its relatively
smaller aperature isn't countered by any IS).

--
Ken Tough
 
Reply With Quote
 
Tony Lewis
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-18-2004
On Mon, 18 Oct 2004 02:51:26 GMT, "Nostrobino" <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
>
>------=_NextPart_000_0076_01C4B49B.D8BD1F20
>Content-Type: text/plain;
> charset="iso-8859-1"
>Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
>


I would like to read what you are saying but it is very difficult
unless you post pure text and not html.

Thanks.

--
TonyL
 
Reply With Quote
 
Joseph Meehan
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-18-2004
BWL wrote:
> Just wondering which way I should go on this. I'll be getting a Canon
> 20D,
> probably between new year's and spring. I have a G1 now, but this will be
> my first DSLR.


My 20D just came in a few days ago. I am very pleased with it. Good
choice.

> I've been reading up on lenses, and it seems apparent that
> fixed-focal-length lenses have much better optics and photo quality.


I would not say "much better"

There is a wide range of "quality" in both types and a large number of
lenses are in the overlap area where some zooms are better than some primes.
For the most part. I would tend to say that quality of design and
construction is far more important in determining the quality of the final
image than the zoom-prime type difference.

If you are looking at the most critical best lenses from a optical
standpoint, you are likely to find almost all are prime. If you look at the
real life very good to outstanding results, I think you will find a good mix
of both types.

> I was
> initially thinking of getting a 28mm (or thereabouts), and a nice long 300
> or 400mm for wildlife photography.


28 is a good general use range for the 20D and a 300-400 will get you
into the edge of wildlife photography, but if you want to get serious, you
are going to need much deeper pockets.


>
> My question is: is the quality of fixed-focal-length lenses great enough
> to offset the convenience of zoom lenses? I mean, if the difference in
> photo quality is negligible, a zoom would be much preferable.


Each of us are different in the way we use and judge images. I find
that 90% of my work now is with zoom lenses. I don't find any decrease in
the quality of the final image due to the fact that I am using a zoom lens.
Some else may see things different. That's life. I do have a couple of
primes and for special images I may choose one in part do to the improved
possible quality.

I suggest this as a standard. If you don't use a tripod for 80% of your
work, you will never miss any loss of quality due to the difference between
a good zoom lens and a good prime lens.

>
> Also, I've read that DSLR's are very sensitive to dust that can get on the
> sensor when the lens is off, even for a short time. Does having
> fixed-focal-length lenses, and having to swap them fairly frequently,
> invite problems with dust & debris inside the camera?


Well it could, but that would not be a prime worry of mine.

>
> Thanks for any insights,
>
> BW


--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math



 
Reply With Quote
 
 
 
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
zoom In/zoom Out an Image dwurity@gmail.com Java 1 02-15-2005 01:55 PM
zoom In/zoom Out an Image dwurity@gmail.com Java 1 02-14-2005 03:16 PM
zoom In/zoom Out an Image dwurity@gmail.com Java 0 02-14-2005 11:43 AM
Re: Difference between C-40 zoom [D-40 zoom] and c-4000 zoom Stefan Patric Digital Photography 0 08-23-2003 06:58 PM
Re: Difference between C-40 zoom [D-40 zoom] and c-4000 zoom Ronny Svensson Digital Photography 0 08-23-2003 06:22 PM



Advertisments