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Poll: Zooms or Primes

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Amin Sabet, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I was thinking about the DPR blog post Djarum mentioned in another thread, and I'm convinced that we're stuck in an echo chamber.

    Along with DPR, who were actually late to the game on this issue, a host of well known photography enthusiasts seem to be of like mind with regards to what everybody wants in terms of lens selection. Only thing is, the manufacturers don't seem to agree.

    So we're left with two possibilities: Either the outspoken enthusiasts around the web don't know what the market wants, or the manufacturers don't know what the market wants.

    I thought it would be interesting to see what our community wants, starting with a simple poll.
    • Like Like x 3
  2. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Just read that DPR blog post and it almost made me regret ordering the E-P2 with the 17mm 2.8 lens because of all continued the drooling over the Panasonic 20mm, alas... I'd gone back and forth about a zillion times before I finally ordered the camera without the zoom. :rolleyes: 

    As for the poll, I'm I am still voting as an old time film shooter who always wanted the fastest lens possible... I keep wondering if I'll change once I start afresh with the E-P2, but won't really know until I try a zoom lens, I guess. Maybe an old dog can learn new tricks? I'm guessing that if I did try one, I'd probably like it. For now I'm stuck on "small is beautiful".
  3. Vidar

    Vidar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2009
    Bergen, Norway
    I love primes. But offcourse a zoom sometimes is good to have in your bag:smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    It's really not an easy decision! I happen to like my Oly 17/2.8 quite a bit, but the Oly 14-42 and Pana 20/1.7 is a formidable combo.
  5. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    I'm chuckling here. We'll see what I think tomorrow - hopefully the camera will arrive then. Frankly, I didn't want to spend the extra $474 right now on top of the E-P2 itself... So probably will do just fine with the 17mm and eventually find a way to spend more money.

    Thanks Amin, I know there are quite a few who like the 17mm... I believe it was Eamon Hickey over on The Online Photographer who wrote quite glowingly about it on his "happiness minutes" treatise on the E-P1.:wink:
  6. CanonDude

    CanonDude Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 18, 2010
    Ft. Worth Texas
    For the majority of my photo interests, (events) zooms are essential.
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Paul, welcome to mu-43! A few days ago, we were discussing a wild rumor about Canon joining Micro Four Thirds :smile:.
  8. CanonDude

    CanonDude Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 18, 2010
    Ft. Worth Texas
    Thanks for the welcome.
    I saw that Canon rumor!
    I have owned Olympus cameras, among others, but never a Panasonic.
    I went Canon for my first DSLR. And once you get started with lenses.....if you know what I mean....
    I WILL HAVE a Micro 4/3 camera, but right now I am impatiently waiting to see what evolves in the near future before I invest.
    Goal...I want a compact camera that produces much less noise, in reasonable ISO's, (to 1600) than my disappointing in that respect G-10!
  9. chalkdust

    chalkdust Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 29, 2009
    McKinney, Texas
    I prefer shooting with primes not just for possible better optics or possible wider apertures, but it gives me one less adjustment to make. I tend to do my cropping better when I process the image than when I take the shot. It is simply my personal preference. I do not claim it is the best method.
  10. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    i think prime force you to think more , and tend to be faster greatly enhancing their usabilityin lower light ,

    and although kit zooms have excellent quality these days, i thing in general primes have the edge in quality
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Bullfrog

    Bullfrog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    In my DSLR days (seems so long ago!!!) I had a kit consisting of 2 primes and 3 zooms and was basically 'covered' from 10mm-300mm. Probably 80% of what I shot was with a shortish zoom (17-50) or a 50mm prime.

    My kit now consists of 1 prime (20mm) though I have ordered the Pansonic 14-45. However, having only had the prime to work with these past couple of month has really helped me improve my skills. I think more deliberately about composition and, as a result, I'm getting happier with the work I'm producing. So, for me, the prime has been indispensable in helping me learn better technique.

    When the 14-45 arrives (tomorrow) I really do wonder if it'll get a lot of use!
  12. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Bullfrog can you expand on what you mean by "So, for me, the prime has been indispensable in helping me learn better technique"?

    I know what that means to me, at least in the past, what it meant - using the camera to compose.
  13. Bullfrog

    Bullfrog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    BBW, for me it's what you say - using the camera to compose. With one length I find myself trying out all sorts of angles / options that perhaps I wouldn't have in the past with a zoom. I think also that the 'limitation' of a fixed length is very liberating in that it helps me really THINK about what sort of shot I can create. It also means I get to learn the ins/outs/quirks of my lens very quickly.

    Hope that answers your question.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    I've never owned a prime lens, but I have used a zoom as a prime, especially when I need to get as much light into the exposure as I can. I'm coming from previously owning a panasonic superzoom, so I value the flexibilty of the zoom. One thing that zooming does, vs croping, is proper exposure. If a picture is exposed for the entire scene, the cropped area may not be properly exposed, whereas the zoomed version would be properly exposed.

    I think the problem with mFT right now is that the current set of zooms are all slow. There is also the argument that why put a fast and big zoom on a small camera. I still believe a fast zoom for mFT would be smaller, and make the entire package smaller than standard FT cameras, and is a good reason for Panny or Oly to make such a fast zoom. As much as I like the Oly kit zoom, it needs to be faster, IMHO.

    I think a 12-50mm ish 2.8-3.5 zoom would, for me, be used 85 percent of the time. For me, a perfect set of lenses would consist of the above lens, a 14mm f1.7(panny should have made their new up coming 14mm prime f1.7), and a 45-150 or 45-200 f3.5-4.0.

  15. robmontanez

    robmontanez New to Mu-43

    Jan 20, 2010
    New Jersey
    Like keeping the 20mm f/1.7 Lens on my Panasonic GH1 the majority of the time and only pull out the 14-140mm when using video or have a need to zoom in.
  16. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Welcome to mu-43, Rob! I sometimes use the same two lens combination in the same fashion. It's a great two lens kit for stills and video.
  17. robmontanez

    robmontanez New to Mu-43

    Jan 20, 2010
    New Jersey
    Thanks, Amin.

    I've been thoroughly enjoying using the camera since purchasing the kit early this month. I'm glad I found this forum, it seems like a great resource and I look forward to contributing/participating going forward.

    P.S. I found a good resource for those that might be either new to digital photography or more specifically want to find out a little more about their G-1 or GH-1 here by the way:

  18. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    Maybe things have changed somewhat in the 4 years since the last post. I was originally was a prime lens shooter most of the time. The newer zoom offerings from Panasonic and Olympus seriously challenge lens IQ. I still use a prime lens quite a bit (14/2.5, 20/1.7, 25/1.4 and Sigma 60/2.8) but the newer constant aperture zooms are pretty amazing. I purchased the 12-35/2.8 and 35-100/2.8 X Varios and am very satisfied with the results.
  19. vbi

    vbi Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Apr 15, 2014
    Cape Town
    I prefer a zoom - specifically the O12-40 - when travelling as things usually happen very quickly and often you can lose the shot if you are changing lenses. Often you are outside and it is windy and changing lenses introduces the possibility of dust on the sensor which could spoil your pics for the rest of the trip.

    When I have time, I know what I want to shoot in advance, and the situation is controlled I prefer using primes, specifically the O45 and O75 for the extra subject isolation. Similarly, if I want to carry light and unobtrusive I will take the O12 or O25.

    I suppose it really depends on situation.
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