Walk around lens - Prime vs Zoom?

2 months 3 weeks ago #691412 by Alfonso Camil
I was reading a blog post on another site yesterday that focused on why he thought primes were better as a walk around lens.  Stating that a prime lens would force the photographer to zoom with his feet.  

However, I slept on this notion and just thought - there are tons of situations that you can't zoom in with your feet.  And without a zoom lens, it would be a lost shot.  Example - you are standing on a lock overlooking a harbor.  If you step forward, you are in the water.  With a zoom lens, you can extend magically over the water to the subject you are after.  SO, I think zoom would be the better choice, you can still zoom in with your feet AND you have the ability to get places where the prime can't go. 

I wanted to see if more experienced photographers agreed with me here?  


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2 months 3 weeks ago #691414 by Shadowfixer1
You most likely will find people split on this. Primes are generally faster and sharper which is good for lowlight. The zoom as you determined is a lot more versatile. I tend to lean towards zoom lenses and always have for the versatility. I think that is because I don't shoot any one particular thing. My Instagram is a mess if you go by the guidelines that most say to do with Instagram. They say you need to have a consistent look and theme. Mine is all over the place. Put me down in the zoom category. 

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2 months 3 weeks ago #691415 by Nikon Shooter
Both are walk around lenses, it comes down to your
comfort zone and preference.

As such, a walk around lens for me is a bright zoom
because my eyes explore constantly all horizons, ver-
ticals and all depth… an old image hunter's reflex.

Light is free… capturing it is not!
This person is a posting maniac and deserves a #1 badge!Top Poster
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2 months 3 weeks ago #691726 by fmw
Two different things.  Zooming changes the focal length and angle of view.  Moving closer or further changes the perspective.  Sometimes you need to do both.  Back in my pro days I used to shoot most outdoor fashion with a 300mm f2.8 lens on 35mm.   Why?  Because I could move a good distance from the subject to flatten perspective and still fill as much of the frame as I needed.

Actually I rarely used zoom lenses in my pro days.  The single focal length lenses were faster and sharper.  Since I did commercial photography I could plan and set up for most shoots. 


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2 months 3 weeks ago - 2 months 3 weeks ago #691727 by nomad
most prime lens shooters tend to carry a few lenses with them, just like zoom lens shooters do.  so if they're on the lock and want to extend magically over the water they'd probably just reach into their bags and pull out a longer prime lens and switch lenses.  primes are usually not as big and heavy as zooms.

too many zoom shooters stand in one spot and zoom in, take a photo (or 500 of the exact same thing), zoom out, take another 500 identical photos and then walk away from the scene forever.  as a photographer you should move around the scene, find different angles, get closer or further away, kneel down, get higher and look for interest in your scene.  having a prime lens on your camera forces you do that.  the versatility of having a zoom lens also allows some photographers to get lazy and settle for one angle of the scene.

personally i prefer zoom lenses.


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2 months 3 weeks ago #691732 by Ozzie_Traveller
G'day Alfonso

Having used zoom lenses now for over 50 years - I would regard prime lenses as "for specialists only"

For a beginner, I would suggest a zoom of about 10x zoom - ie: enough to give them a good idea of what 'general every-day photography' is all about. Zooms of over 20x zoom occasionally suffer from optical compromises (when compared with more expensive prime lenses), but those up to 20x zoom can be quite sharp with few optical issues

Hope this helps
Phil from the great land Downunder
www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/


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2 months 3 weeks ago #691752 by Piechura
I think people who talk about going out with a single prime to shoot are usually talking about shooting in a location they know well. It perhaps forces you to be a bit more creative with a location that you are used to shooting. Whereas if you were travelling and shooting and didn't know what to expect, then the zoom will probably get you the better shots.

It's not just about reach, it's about the relative size of the objects in the frame. There are plenty of times where I'll walk further away from the object and zoom in because I want to bring the background closer to something in the foreground. That's especially true when taking photos of people in front of things. Of course you can achieve the same thing by having more than one prime. I used to do that, but then I used to have a micro four-thirds camera so it doesn't break your back.


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2 months 3 weeks ago #691860 by Amy Porter
If I'm out and about and nothing is planned.  I'll usually have a 24-70mm on my camera.  The only prime that I use these days is a 85mm.  But that is just for portraits and honestly speaking, doesn't get used that  often compared to other glass.  


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2 months 2 weeks ago #692140 by Mike McKinnon
24-70mm all the way!  I just love this lens. 


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2 months 2 weeks ago #692145 by butcha61
I love my Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G "prime".  I move around and "zoom" with my feet....

I also love the small zoom "kit" lens that came with my Nikon D3500.  It's the AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, and does everything imaginable.  If I need a real close photo, beautifully blurred bokeh in the background, I will use the 35mm prime.

As seen in the photo below, I also have the big 70-300mm large zoom "kit" that also came bundled with the D3500.  I like it a lot, but can't quite get clear enough 300mm shots.  I mean, I do, but sometimes I don't.  It doesn't have VR or anything, so holding steady under 1/250 shutter is very tricky.




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2 months 2 weeks ago #692215 by garyrhook

butcha61 wrote: As seen in the photo below, I also have the big 70-300mm large zoom "kit" that also came bundled with the D3500.  I like it a lot, but can't quite get clear enough 300mm shots.  I mean, I do, but sometimes I don't.  It doesn't have VR or anything, so holding steady under 1/250 shutter is very tricky.


The generally accepted rule of thumb is that the shortest shutter speed (fastest?) is 1 / focal length. That's going to be using the best technique, which you may not have. (Not you you, just someone in general.) For a 300mm, then you will want a shutter speed of 1/300s or faster (less?). I should think 1/500s would be suitable, or less if you have the light.

So it's not just you. It's a rule. This is why we have VR. Your other option would be to use a tripod.


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