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      03-08-2013, 01:46 PM   #27
Second Lieutenant

Drives: 2020 M8
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: NYC

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Originally Posted by dcstep View Post
Great discussion Hreed. I appreciate that you've got reasons for your prime preference and it's not just because old farts like me used to use Ektachrome and use only primes, but mainly because that's all we had.

Your point about being more active with primes is interesting. I get plenty of exercise lugging my 500mm around most of the time, but I think that you meant more about positioning your camera with your feet to get your feet right. I had decades of experience with only a couple of focal lengths in my bag, so I know how to do that, but those that grew up in the hay day of zooms might try, as an exercise, working with primes for specific periods of time.

When using a zoom, for the best shots, you need to use both your feet and your zoom. When I get the right light, at the correct angle, I still will mess with the zoom a little, including, excluding, moving the horizon up, down, etc. I also will often look beyond the original file and consider whether I'll need to have room to straighten tilting buildings that might use up some of the frame.

My main travel lens is my 24-105mm on a FF body. When I look at my focal length actually used, it's seldom 24mm or 105mm. It'll be more like 28mm, 42mm, 85mm, etc. with under 20% at full 24mm and usually at f/8 or f/11. I'm not real big into effects, so I usually strive for everything in focus. Yesterday I looked through over 1800 shots, trying to find some examples of bokeh with the 24-105mm and found only a couple of handfuls. People were complaining about that lens' bokeh, but I found it nice and effective.

Here's one shot at 102mm and f/4 to get some bokeh:

Ornament by dcstep, on Flickr

If I think about when I was taking this shot, if I'd really wanted to assure the very best bokeh from my lenses, I would have chosen my 70-200mm f/4L IS, which throws really nice bokeh. I'd just taken a shot or two of the grand daughters opening presents with focal length in the 35 to 50mm range. I might have changed lenses, but I doubt that the thought crossed my mind. Instead, I thought, "Open up, zoom out, move in close" and still got a very good shot, IMO. That's the beauty of zooms for me and with DLO software, I don't feel like I'm sacrificing quality, even when shooting a scenic on a tripod, with mirror lock up and remote shutter release.

Well depending on the look you're going for and the desired effects. Shooting fast primes allows you to control your Depth of Field much better than something that is f/4 wide open.

For car photos or landscapes you'll generally stop down, and stopped down most lenses (Save for a few truly bad ones) are tack sharp anyway, so for those purposes you're right.

It's also nice to see that these primes are at peak sharpness by f/2.8 where most heavy duty zooms wide open are f/2.8 at best.

And then theres low light performance. With a 5D3 body it's less of an issue, but on a lesser camera body, the difference between f/2.8 and f/4 means twice the shutter speed, huge for any kind of event shooting.

I used to always go for my 24-70, but after going with primes it made my shooting better (usually shoot with 2 bodies anyway so a 35/85 makes a good combo). Different strokes I guess though.

Been using a fuji x100 a lot lately and it's been my go to for when i don't want to carry a lot of kit with me.