Prime? Zoom?

Prime? Zoom?

What are you shooting with?

I am going to assume that what ever lenses you are using they are of high quality and capable of delivering very high quality results with todays excellent sensors that range from 16mp and higher.  What does one thing have to do with the other?  Everything.

But there have been so many articles on sensor sizes, number of mega pixels that by now the majority of the photographic community no longer pays attention.  Lenses  are another story.

I personally like high speed prime lenses and I have on hand for my Fuji x mount cameras a 14mm 2.8, 23mm 1.4, 35mm 1.4 and a 60mm 2.4 macro lens. This combination of glass gives me everything I personally need, in a small, mirrorless compact package for pretty much everything I like to photograph.  Everyone of these lenses have very high optical quality and over several years have provided me with some  wonderful images.

The need for speed.  When I talk about speed, high speed, I am not talking about how fast my car goes, or whether or not I am going to break all records in the next marathon I might run, which is never.  It means how much light my lens is going to let in and how wide an aperture the lens has to allow that light to get in.  By allowing more light to get in determines how well I can shoot in very low light conditions.  Couple that with many of todays cameras that can shoot at high film speeds (sort of Iso), and I am home free in the darkest alley ways.  But that alone is not a reason to own high speed prime lenses.  Creativity.  Something we all strive for.  Having a lens with a big aperture like 1.4 gives me much greater control over how areas in the picture will appear.  That means sharp from front to back, Sharp in the front but soft in the background.  (((1.4 really let’s me blur either the front, the back, as well as  giving me a higher degree of sharpness through out the image.  It allows you to have greater control of your image making process.  So besides the fact that primes are smaller, lighter, take up less room, they are also a more creative alternative.

Zooms.  Like everything in life, for many have some very excellent reasons for being in our bags or on our belts. Especially when it comes to high quality zooms.  There are high speed zooms as well as slower than high speed zooms and there are manufacturers that have accomplished some wonderful technical magic in making zooms that are pretty close to prime lens quality.  Examples of this are Nikon 2.8 zoom lenses and the zoom lenses made by Fuji.  There are others, but not in MY closest. Now you will pay a premium price for these zooms but they will provide you what you would expect the wonderful sensors in your cameras require to give you back beautiful results.  They are also very creative by giving you variable focal length capability which can aid you in getting just the right composition from one locked down position without having to move.  What you give up is size and weight.  Good zooms are inherently big and heavy.  Now lately there have been some excellent zooms from major manufactures that are coming in at about a constant f4 and they are smaller and lighter and they are just fine. They are doing a great job and for less money than the big and heavy 2.8 zooms.  With the quality of higher iso settings today the slower speed zooms can provide excellent photography but less control over depth of field. That said you are always better of shooting at base iso when you can.  Most cameras have a 200 iso rating as their lowest quality iso.  No matter what you do, when shooting at high isos you will find noise riding along with the image.  But there are programs like Macphun’s noiseless, and Nik’;s define for getting rid of noise without disrupting the sharpness of the image.

Do I have zoom lenses?  Yes I do for those days when interchanging is not practical because of heavy rain, too much pollen, blowing-windy days at the beach.  These are all reasons I will put a zoom on a camera.  I have the wonderful Fuji kit zoom – 18-55 and their 55-200.  That covers me for a day out if I really don’t want to be changing lenses.

I find that with my primesby simply moving my legs and feet with my upper body following I can get the same versatility in composition that a zoom gives me.  But that is just me.  And that is not the case all the time.

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