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Generic Really Retarded Question


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#1 Mark Smith

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 10:57 PM

Is there a real difference between buying one zoom lens say 10-100 and a set of primes 10-25-50-75 whatever. And by difference I mean a quality difference on the final image - assuming that both lenses are new and of the highest quality -

Mark.
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#2 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 11:09 PM

Is there a real difference between buying one zoom lens say 10-100 and a set of primes 10-25-50-75 whatever. And by difference I mean a quality difference on the final image - assuming that both lenses are new and of the highest quality -
Mark.


The zoom will have twice the number of elements. That normaly is is not good for contrast and sharpness. Also the zoom will be bigger and hevier than each individual prime lens.

Modern lenes hae features like Multi-coating that can reduce many of the negative effects of the more complicated lens. Of course they also make the prime lenes even better. (Newer prime better than an older prime) You might find you can get better results from a newer Zoom comparied to an older prime.

My Filmo has a cooke Ivotal 2 inch that looks absolutly opaque compaired to a pentax SMC lens for example. (both 50mm f1.4)

On the plus side, a zoom is lighter than a case full of primes, and can be set to the useful focal length with a twist of the wrist. (that is why they have always been popular with sports and news folks.)
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#3 Mike Rizos

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 11:18 PM

Hi,
The standard answer to this question now, as it always was, and probably always will be, is:
" Untill recently, zoom lenses were not of the same optical quality............."
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#4 Thomas Worth

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 12:54 AM

In my opinion, the main reason to choose primes over zooms is speed, at least with 35mm format lenses. You can typically get 2 more stops out of a "super speed" prime lens. I haven't seen 35mm format zooms faster than T2.8, where prime lenses as fast as T1.3 are common.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 01:00 AM

Actually, since I tend to avoid shooting at wide apertures, the main reason I prefer primes are their size, the clarity of the image in the viewfinder (since you can open them up to a wider f-stop to check focus before stopping down), and resistence to flaring compared to a zoom. I just like the smaller profile of the camera when using primes and a smaller mattebox. I'm not one of those people that like the huge zoom w/ 6x6 mattebox unless unavoidable. I'm speaking mainly about shooting in 35mm of course.

Of course speed is an issue, not so much that zooms aren't fast enough, but that I don't like shooting any lens wide open; I like to stop them down a little. So if you have a zoom that only opens to T/3.1, it probably won't behave its best until stopped down to a T/5.6. Whereas with a T/2.0 prime, I can stop them down to a T/2.8 or more and get the better performance.
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#6 stoop

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 03:58 AM

What's the main reason for a lens not being it's sharpest when wide open??
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 11:56 AM

What's the main reason for a lens not being it's sharpest when wide open??


Partially because it's been designed that way. If your lens goes from T/2.0 to T/16, you probably want to make its optimal performance to be closer to the middle of the lens aperture choices, or about two stops closed from wide-open. Also, a big aperture just makes it harder for the rays of light to come into focus -- the image starts to look mushy. This is one reason why the new Zeiss Master Primes are so impressive, because they are sharp and crisp at T/1.4, wide-open.
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#8 Hans Engstrom

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 08:30 AM

The size makes the primes easier to work with. Even though I own some CP ultra-T lenses myself I really don´t recommend anyone buying a complete set of lenses. In my opinion it´s much better and cheaper to rent them, you will get newly collimated lenses that if anything happens can be replaced instantly.
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#9 stephen lamb

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 01:06 PM

Of course we can't forget the one thing zooms can do that primes can't....an in shot zoom :D i love the feel a zoom can give (though must be used carefully) a la Munich, or the classic (to me at least) Army of Darkness "building a new mechanical hand" scnene :)
Steve

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Edited by Stephen Lamb, 01 February 2006 - 01:07 PM.

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#10 Nick Norton

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 04:28 PM

What actually is collimating?

And how often do you have to have this done?

-nicholas
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