On Zoom Lenses..

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Ken Tough, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. Ken Tough

    Ken Tough Guest

    As I mention in <> I started on film
    with a MF Nikon, and quite quickly moved to zoom lenses. Though I
    did do some darkroom work early on, I think using strictly zooms
    tended to make me 'focus' on framing the final shot in the viewfinder,
    since doing a crop later wasn't much of an option for a casual shooter.

    Now with digital, cropping is dead easy, but my obsession has moved
    to resolution so I would feel uneasy not maximising the shot in the
    viewfinder, at the expense of pixel resolution in a print. Since I'm
    going to move to a DSLR, I now have the option of getting good fixed
    focal length lenses. Without using them in the past, I feel like I
    have missed out on the good optics those lenses would provide, but
    also missed out on some technique lessons, the way shooting only in
    colour doesn't teach you everything about lighting, contrast, form etc.

    I enjoy shooting people a lot, so would it make sense to get the
    18-70 DX kit lens (D70) [just for easy travelling], and supplement
    that with only a 50mm 1.8 and a good fast telephoto (say 200mm?)

    Or, since I'm no pro, should I just ignore the arcanity of fixed
    length lenses and just go for a couple of (slower) zooms? Comments?

    --
    Ken Tough
     
    Ken Tough, Sep 7, 2004
    #1
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  2. Ken Tough

    Matt Ion Guest

    Ken Tough wrote:

    > I enjoy shooting people a lot, so would it make sense to get the
    > 18-70 DX kit lens (D70) [just for easy travelling], and supplement
    > that with only a 50mm 1.8 and a good fast telephoto (say 200mm?)
    >
    > Or, since I'm no pro, should I just ignore the arcanity of fixed
    > length lenses and just go for a couple of (slower) zooms? Comments?


    I dunno, the biggest argument for zooms, for me, is convenience:
    sometimes even switching between my Rebel's 28-90 stock zoom and the
    75-300 zoom would seem to take an interminably long time, especially if
    I'm trying to capture something that's going to change or get away
    quickly. My friend, who also had a Rebel, picked up Tamron's 28-300 XR
    zoom and loves it - covers all the same range as my two lenses, but in
    1/3 the space and without needed to swap out lenses all the time: for
    99% of shots, it's the only lens he needs (he's leaning towards adding a
    super-wide-angle of some kind).
     
    Matt Ion, Sep 7, 2004
    #2
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  3. "Ken Tough" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Or, since I'm no pro, should I just ignore the arcanity of fixed
    > length lenses and just go for a couple of (slower) zooms? Comments?


    Most people trade quality for convenience (we're on rec.photo.digital,
    aren't we?). Ordinarily, with film I would recommend against zooms, but on
    digital I often make an exception. Not because of any resolution retention,
    but because the less time your lens is off your camera body, the less
    exposed the sensor is to dust, and IMO dust is a big killer for DSLRs.

    --
    Martin Francis http://www.sixbysix.co.uk
    "Go not to Usenet for counsel, for it will say both no, and yes, and
    no, and yes...."
     
    Martin Francis, Sep 7, 2004
    #3
  4. Ken Tough

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Ken Tough <> wrote:

    > Without using them in the past, I feel like I have missed out on the
    > good optics those lenses would provide, but also missed out on some
    > technique lessons, the way shooting only in colour doesn't teach you
    > everything about lighting, contrast, form etc.


    In terms of the learning experience, I've found that zooms make you
    lazy. Sure, you can get the same shot, in theory, but a zoom encourages
    you *not* to think about it; when you're using a fixed-length lens you
    approach it differently, with more thought, and pay more attention to
    the shot, with the result that you end up shooting better pictures.
    (Which improves your technique even when you're later using a zoom.)

    But the better reasons to use them (apart from the learning experience)
    is that they tend to be both higher quality and faster. You can't do
    nighttime street shooting with just about any zoom lens, for example.
    I was doing that kind of shooting over this past weekend in NYC; I shot
    a couple hundred frames with a 50mm f/1.8, and none of the good ones
    needed to be cropped to make them good. (I almost never crop.) And
    I never wished for a zoom, even when shooting candids. Though I prefer
    the "look" you get from getting physically closer rather than using a
    long lens.

    If you like doing shots with the background way out of focus, you can
    get there a lot easier with a fast fixed lens, too.

    --
    Jeremy |
     
    Jeremy Nixon, Sep 7, 2004
    #4
  5. Ken Tough

    Mitch Alsup Guest

    With zooms as good as the Canon 24-70 F/2.8 (and similar) the only
    real advantage left to primes are a) faster than F/2.8 speed, and
    b) a sidgeon of resolution.

    Case a) includes the necessity of speed when shooting in dark places
    without a flash, some autoFocus system are more precise with faster
    lenses, and the ability to separate the forground and background with
    better out-of-focus blur.

    Case b) includes the absolute better resolution of primes due to
    less complicated optical prescription, fewer number of optical
    surfaces, and non-moving lens-to-lens relationship.

    Excelent Zooms will image around high 60 lp/mm and low 70 lp/mm
    while the best primes will image high 80 lp/mm and low 90 lp/mm.
    Since digital sensors are in the mid 60 lp/mm (10D, 300D, D70)
    or low 70 lp/mm (20D) you can't access all the resolution of the
    lens on digital media--yet. But even here, primes do outperform
    zooms when tested, but unless you are printing bigger than 8"*12"
    it will be exceeding hard to see the resolution gain.
     
    Mitch Alsup, Sep 7, 2004
    #5
  6. Ken Tough

    Ken Tough Guest

    Jeremy Nixon <> wrote:

    >In terms of the learning experience, I've found that zooms make
    >you lazy. Sure, you can get the same shot, in theory, but a zoom
    >encourages you *not* to think about it; ...


    Thanks, that's along the lines of what I was thinking.

    >...And
    >I never wished for a zoom, even when shooting candids. Though I prefer
    >the "look" you get from getting physically closer rather than using a
    >long lens.


    Yeah, the only problem I have there is the impact the camera makes
    on the situation. My favorite pic is an old man feeding pigeons on
    a step next to me in Italy, and having the zoom meant I could take
    the pic without him noticing and losing the expression on his face.
    [No time to change lenses when the shot arose!]

    >If you like doing shots with the background way out of focus, you can
    >get there a lot easier with a fast fixed lens, too.


    Yeah, that is a big driver. Hmmm, hard decision.

    --
    Ken Tough
     
    Ken Tough, Sep 8, 2004
    #6
  7. Anyone yet got their hands on one of the Panasonics with the 12x stabilised
    optical zoom (Lumix FZ3 and FZ20)? I read the specs and it looks like, at
    last, there may be a successor to my trusty old Oly C2100 (10x stabilised).
    I've not managed to find any reviews yet. Is anyone in a position to
    comment on how good, or otherwise, these cameras are?

    Keith
     
    Keith Sheppard, Sep 8, 2004
    #7
  8. Ken Tough

    Ken Tough Guest

    Martin Francis <> wrote:

    >Most people trade quality for convenience (we're on rec.photo.digital,
    >aren't we?). Ordinarily, with film I would recommend against zooms, but on
    >digital I often make an exception. Not because of any resolution retention,
    >but because the less time your lens is off your camera body, the less
    >exposed the sensor is to dust, and IMO dust is a big killer for DSLRs.


    Good point, I've seen that mentioned in reviews. The thought of
    sending back to Nikon for cleaning doesn't fill me with joy (maybe
    it's just living in continents without 'head offices'). I see there
    is a cleaning kit (mostly compressed CO2) but would worry about
    doing damage. Anyway, you're right it's the convenience that makes
    me head digital, especially instant feedback of whether I got the
    shot. It's the shutter lag that drives me to D-SLR.

    --
    Ken Tough
    South Africa
     
    Ken Tough, Sep 8, 2004
    #8
  9. "Keith Sheppard" <> writes:

    > Anyone yet got their hands on one of the Panasonics with the 12x stabilised
    > optical zoom (Lumix FZ3 and FZ20)? I read the specs and it looks like, at
    > last, there may be a successor to my trusty old Oly C2100 (10x stabilised).
    > I've not managed to find any reviews yet. Is anyone in a position to
    > comment on how good, or otherwise, these cameras are?


    The panasonic forum on dpreview.com has several people who have gotten FZ20's
    (evidently circuitcity.com gets a few in a time. I believe the owner of
    dpreview.com has said a review was forthcoming.

    I have a few nits with the FZ20 compared to the C-2100UZ:

    The design of the battery and memory slot is extremely inconvenient, with the
    battery door being so close to the tripod socket. I use a quick release
    mechanism on my C2100UZ that would block the battery/memory cover on the
    FZ10/FZ20. It is also nice to be able to change memory cards while the camera
    is on a tripod or in a flash bracket.

    No TTL flash, just auto. Having the EVF follow the f/stop for manual mode
    makes it much harder to use an external auto flash.

    The compression on the FZ10 was a little too severe for my tastes, though I've
    heard they are less aggressive about compression on the 20, but probably still
    not as low as the C-2100UZ did.

    I still prefer the C2100UZ lens design which seems more rugged than the FZ
    design, where the lens extends past the housing, and you have to use an adaptor
    to add filters/other lenses.

    Noise vs. extra pixels is a debate that rages continously.

    --
    Michael Meissner
    email:
    http://www.the-meissners.org
     
    Michael Meissner, Sep 8, 2004
    #9
  10. Ken Tough

    Guest

    Mitch Alsup <> wrote:
    g> With zooms as good as the Canon 24-70 F/2.8 (and similar) the only
    > real advantage left to primes are a) faster than F/2.8 speed, and
    > b) a sidgeon of resolution.


    > Case b) includes the absolute better resolution of primes due to
    > less complicated optical prescription, fewer number of optical
    > surfaces, and non-moving lens-to-lens relationship.


    > Excelent Zooms will image around high 60 lp/mm and low 70 lp/mm
    > while the best primes will image high 80 lp/mm and low 90 lp/mm.
    > Since digital sensors are in the mid 60 lp/mm (10D, 300D, D70)
    > or low 70 lp/mm (20D) you can't access all the resolution of the
    > lens on digital media--yet.


    You have to consider the MTF, though. An example:

    Nikkor AF 50/1,8 Weighted MTF 40 lp/mm: 0,62

    Nikkor AF 35-70/2,8 Weighted MTF 40 lp/mm: 0,48

    (From www.photodo.com)

    > But even here, primes do outperform zooms when tested, but unless
    > you are printing bigger than 8"*12" it will be exceeding hard to see
    > the resolution gain.


    Good point.

    Andrew.
     
    , Sep 8, 2004
    #10
  11. "Ken Tough" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Good point, I've seen that mentioned in reviews. The thought of
    > sending back to Nikon for cleaning doesn't fill me with joy (maybe
    > it's just living in continents without 'head offices'). I see there
    > is a cleaning kit (mostly compressed CO2) but would worry about
    > doing damage.


    Fuji and Canon UK both seem to like their compressed air cans, as both the
    people I know who sent their DSLRs (S2 and 10D respectively) ended up with
    the dust moved to the very edges of the sensor, yet not removed.

    --
    Martin Francis http://www.sixbysix.co.uk
    "Go not to Usenet for counsel, for it will say both no, and yes, and
    no, and yes...."
     
    Martin Francis, Sep 8, 2004
    #11
  12. Ken Tough

    Ken Tough Guest

    Martin Francis <> wrote:

    >Fuji and Canon UK both seem to like their compressed air cans, as both the
    >people I know who sent their DSLRs (S2 and 10D respectively) ended up with
    >the dust moved to the very edges of the sensor, yet not removed.


    That could be especially bad, because AFAIK the 'dark noise' monitoring
    cells are all around the edge of the chip.


    --
    Ken Tough
     
    Ken Tough, Sep 9, 2004
    #12
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