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Is it worth buying a Prime?

CarlSN 13 372 1 United Kingdom
18 Dec 2007 9:10PM
Ok this is my first forum question so please be patient.

Finally got round to getting a DSLR - 30D at the beginning of the year, then replaced my old (film) kit lenses with a EF-S10-22 and EF 24-105L just recently.

I am really enjoying the performance of both lenses, but am now thinking whether I should have or need to get a prime lens.

I would like something a little less bulky than the 24-105 and also better low light performance. So where do I go, if at all.

You're normal question now would be what type of photography will it be used for, well I'm still open for that dicsussion ie I'm not tied down and generally will photograph anything that grabs me, whether moving or not.

Having read articals, forum links, etc I'm pulled towards a EF 35mm f2, but then there's the 28mm f1.8. I've looked at the 50mm but thought on a cropped sensor it maybe to tight.

So here's my question, bang for bucks which is the better or should I just forget about it at the mo and wait a couple of years.
Carabosse 18 41.7k 270 England
18 Dec 2007 9:20PM
You have to decide whether you are likely to go full-frame at some point. If you do, your 10-22 will not fit. So you may have to rethink your lens purchases anyway.

In the meantime, a 24mm prime might be a good all-arounder. In the good old days of film, the 35mm lens was considered to be an ideal "holiday" lens - i.e. if you had to take just one lens on holiday with you.

The 24mm lens on a crop cam would give a similar angle of view. If you changed to FF, it would still be usable.
CarlSN 13 372 1 United Kingdom
18 Dec 2007 10:15PM

Thanks for the alternative, more thinking to do, but......

So, I'm going to keep the 30D for a while, is the 24mm still the right route? Also, at f2.8 will I see the benefit over the 35mm f2?

Cheers, Carl
Carabosse 18 41.7k 270 England
18 Dec 2007 10:21PM
The 35mm is equivalent of 56mm on FF digi or film.

Not a terribly useful focal length, really. In particular rarely wide enough for indoor use.
randomrubble 17 3.1k 12 United Kingdom
18 Dec 2007 10:22PM
If you're looking for a wide prime, consider the Sigmas. They have (I think) 20/24/28 all at f1.8 and 30mm f/1.4. I used the 20 1.8 for a short time and i was a nice lens.
CarlSN 13 372 1 United Kingdom
18 Dec 2007 10:54PM
Random,( if you don't mind me shortening your name),

I wasn't thinking of a wide prime, but more of a general lens, better for low light than the f4 and slightly lighter, less obtusive. At the end of the day the 24-105 gives me focal lengths, do I just think myself lucky and carry on using it all the time? As i said, do I need a prime?

Carabosse 18 41.7k 270 England
18 Dec 2007 10:59PM
Your 30D should be capable of good performance at high ISO. If noise is a problem (say at ISO 3200) use something like Noiseware - a freebie - to sort it! Wink

I wouldn't worry too much about getting wide aperture lenses just for the sake of the wide aperture. Their performance is often soft at the widest apertures (unless you go for the pricey L lenses) and the depth of field very shallow.
CarlSN 13 372 1 United Kingdom
18 Dec 2007 11:17PM
OK, so now I've got some more thinking to do and reflect on you prompt and helpful comments.

Might even try the local camera store for a try-out.

Again, thanks,

croberts 17 2.2k 8 Ireland
19 Dec 2007 12:03AM
one of my favorite canon lenses, on crop camera or full frame, is the 28mm f1,8. At weddings, i use a 28 1.8 on one body and an 85 1.8 on the other, and for me its a fantastic pairing. likely not for everyone, though.

on a 1.6 cropper, the 28mm 1.8 is just lovely. focusses really close too.
peterjones 19 5.2k 1 United Kingdom
19 Dec 2007 10:24AM
Warning .... once you get used to the results from primes you may not want to use zooms;this year I have built up a clutch of primes and the results in terms of detail rendition and consistent sharpness have to be seen to be believed.
At weddings I invariably use primes unless I can't move and I need a zoom then to get the picture.
Sadly 99% of clients can't tell the difference.
Carabosse 18 41.7k 270 England
19 Dec 2007 12:01PM

Quote:Sadly 99% of clients can't tell the difference.

That's the point ultimately. To someone who spends all or most of their working life on photography, the smallest differences can be noticeable.

But that same photographer may not be able to tell the differences between two slightly different models of car. Or even between makes of car! Grin Whereas to the car enthusiast, the differences may be noticeable even if the cars are so far away as to be on the limit of visibility....
ripleysalien 14 1.2k 11 United Kingdom
19 Dec 2007 12:04PM
Noticed an ad for a canon 50mm f1 in AP this week, 2800 I think it was, and a very rare lens too.

stevemc 14 49 England
19 Dec 2007 12:21PM
I have both zooms and primes but prefer primes - they simply make me think more
newfocus 15 647 2 United Kingdom
19 Dec 2007 12:31PM
Hi Carl,

Personally speaking I'd not rush it, take a look at where (and if) you're pushing the technical limits of your current kit and invest there if you feel it's worth it.

So if you're looking for faster shutter speeds for low light portraits so you can get shots of the kids in the dark blowing out their birthday candles, look for a fast 50mm+, but if you're looking for better edge to edge sharpness on landscapes, try out one of the wider ones, see if it gives you a tangible advantage and don't worry too much about the max aperture.

I carry a 50mm (usable from about f/2+) in addition to the 24-105 for social-type stuff and the two compliment each other very well... ...but I don't post any of those shots - draw your own conclusions Smile

conrad 17 10.9k 116
19 Dec 2007 3:38PM
I have the 50mm 1.8 and 24mm 2.8 and they're both great lenses. Especially useful in low light conditions, but also great sharpness and colours. And not expensive.

The 50mm 1.0 is a collector's item, not even that practical because it weighs a ton and can't even in compete in sharpness with the 1.2L, so I'm told.

Primes have another interesting advantage over zooms: they bring out more of the photographer's creativity. You tend to think more, move around more, look at things from more different angles than with a zoom. Although that, of course, is a subjective thing and not everyone might experience it like this.

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