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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 11 Feb 2011 (Friday) 16:55
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Using only prime lenses.

 
clamber
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Feb 11, 2011 16:55 |  #1

Hey guys, I'll be getting a 60D soon to get me back into my passion of photography. But recently I've become very interested in HDSLR film-making and with my $3100 photo budget, I'd also like to get some basic gear for basic film-making.

I'm having a hard time deciding on lens(es) though. I'm contemplating just getting a few prime lenses, or maybe even just the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L and using that as my only lens for a while. I'm not sure if that would be a good or bad idea though.

So I'm wondering if any of you guys could give me some input on using only primes. What are some pros/cons for using only primes, and what are some primes that I should consider if I go this route.

Edit: Just for clarification, my questions about the primes are concerning still photography.

Thanks,
Coby




  
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paddler4
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Feb 11, 2011 17:03 |  #2

Pros: lighter, sometimes better optics, faster.
Con: inflexible. If you are in the wrong place and don't have time to change the lens, too bad.

I shot with only primes for decades and now only use them for macro work. High quality zooms are good enough that I prefer their flexibility.

But then again, I only do stills and have never shot video.


Check out my photos at http://dkoretz.smugmug​.com (external link)

  
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tudragan
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Feb 11, 2011 17:07 |  #3

if you are going with one prime, why not go with the sigma 30mm f1.4.


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clamber
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Feb 11, 2011 17:24 |  #4

Would it be unwise to have 5 primes as my only lenses?

Canon 100mm f/2.8
Canon 85mm f/1.8
Canon 50mm f/1.4
Canon 35mm f/2.0
Canon 20mm f/2.8

I'm not sure if I'd do that, but what are your thoughts on that?




  
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hieu1004
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Feb 11, 2011 17:24 |  #5

I pretty much shoot with just primes, but I've been doing it for awhile and know my lenses (how they help me achieve my goals). It all depends on whether they match your vision/style. Obviously the pros is DOF control/wide aperture vs versatility. I would suggest getting a zoom until you get to know the focal length that match your style - not a whole lot of sense to just buy one expensive prime like a 35L unless you know that's the FL for you. Everyone is different in what they prefer and those that typically buy a 35L (or comparable L prime) buy it for a specific reason.


-Hieu
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danny819
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Feb 11, 2011 17:24 |  #6

tudragan wrote in post #11824732 (external link)
if you are going with one prime, why not go with the sigma 30mm f1.4.

Been there, done that! So glad I was forced to get rid of it because of my 5DII. It kinda gave me an excuse to get a 35L. :D


5Dc | 17-40L | 35L | 85 1.8

  
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JeffreyG
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Feb 11, 2011 17:33 |  #7

I use primes and zooms. I think it is needlessly restricting to make yourself into a person who shoots with only one type. My approach is to buy the best lens (or best I can afford) to do the specific things I'm looking to do.

These days I have more zooms than primes which is mostly a growth from the increasingly better performance of camera bodies at very high ISO levels. I've needed primes less and less for light gathering speed and mostly now just for depth of field control. This cut off my need for much faster than f/2.8 at focal lengths longer than 50mm.


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I use a Canon 5DIII and a Sony A7rIII

  
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ediroma
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Feb 11, 2011 18:48 |  #8

clamber wrote in post #11824679 (external link)
Hey guys, I'll be getting a 60D soon to get me back into my passion of photography. But recently I've become very interested in HDSLR film-making and with my $3100 photo budget, I'd also like to get some basic gear for basic film-making.

I'm having a hard time deciding on lens(es) though. I'm contemplating just getting a few prime lenses, or maybe even just the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L and using that as my only lens for a while. I'm not sure if that would be a good or bad idea though.

So I'm wondering if any of you guys could give me some input on using only primes. What are some pros/cons for using only primes, and what are some primes that I should consider if I go this route.

Edit: Just for clarification, my questions about the primes are concerning still photography.

Thanks,
Coby

Canon 60 D, 2.0/35 mm Zeiss,1.4/85 mm Zeiss.


Canon 6D / Canon EOS M
Canon 50 mm 1.2, Canon 40 mm 2.8, Canon 22 mm 2.0

  
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Sp1207
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Feb 11, 2011 18:52 |  #9

In terms of optical quality, HDSLR filmmaking is very forgiving of bad lenses. The primary benefit of primes isn't IQ (for video at least), it's DoF control.

Much more important is a quality mic/steadycam/tripod.


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icekendi
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Feb 12, 2011 01:54 |  #10

I mostly use primes out of preference, it makes get involve more on the subject im taking. The "walk-zoom" will challenge your creativity!

I do love my 70-200 zoom but i only use the 200mm part of it.


"The more it stays the same, the less it changes!" - Spinal Tap

  
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Jam.radonc
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Feb 12, 2011 02:24 |  #11

I love primes with a passion but for traveling purposes you can't beat versatility of a zoom. For HD film-making do look at the Zeiss prime option. The manual focusing is far better than then Canon L counterpart.


Jam
5D3 | 450D | Panasonic DMC-LX3 | 430 EX II | ST-E2
24-70 L II | 50L | 50 1.8 I | 100L | Zeiss 35/2 ZE | Zeiss 85/2.8 | Zeiss 135/3.5
[COLOR="Silver"]Sold: 17-40L | 24L II | 85L II | 135L | Sigma 50/1.4 | 5D2

  
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edge100
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Feb 12, 2011 02:30 |  #12

Pros:

- Real speed. After using f/1.4 primes, you'll find f/2.8 to be quite slow.
- Incredible IQ with good primes - even if you're shooting at f/2.8, you're stopped down by 2 stops, meaning you're in the sharpest range for most lenses.
- Shallow DoF
- Great bokeh (with the best primes), though merely shooting with primes doesn't guarantee good bokeh (50/1.8, I'm looking at you)

Cons

- inflexibility

I have one zoom (17-40 f/4L). The only reason I keep it is because I'm generally shooting with it stopped down anyway (e.g. for landscapes). Otherwise, all of my portrait and lifestyle work is done with primes. On occasion, I will rent a 24-70 for events, where the inflexibility of primes can sometimes be problematic. But other than that, it's primes all the way.


Street and editorial photography in Toronto, Canada (external link)
Mirrorless: Fujifilm X-Pro1
Film: Leica MP | Leica M2 | CV Nokton 35/1.4 | CV Nokton 40 f/1.4 | Leitz Summitar 50 f/2 | Canon 50 f/1.2 LTM | Mamiya 7 | Mamiya 80 f/4.0 | Mamiya 150 f/4.5 | Mamiya 43 f/4.5
How to get good colour from C-41 film scans (external link)

Digitizing film with a digital camera (external link)

  
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Ze.Dong
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Feb 12, 2011 03:10 |  #13

currently listed as my signature
hope to replace 30/1.4 with 24/1.4 soon

really hope canon could produce a standard zoom for apsc that is comparable with 70-200 Mark II


5D3 Gripped, Σ35/f1.4 Art, Σ50/f1.4, 400 5.6 L NON IS, 17-40 4, 70-200 2.8 IS II, 1.4x,580EX II

  
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newworld666
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Feb 12, 2011 03:19 as a reply to  @ Ze.Dong's post |  #14

:rolleyes: I sold all my zooms last year ... I never missed them ..
Actually my 85L is at canon repair service ..... and I have stricly no mind to take any pictures :( ...
Luckily I don't have any significant event on the planning before a few weeks si I am just waiting, (I am not working only for the money :oops: ) so when there is no fun, I just wait.
My 85L became my primary prime, all my other primes are specialized either for action/sport 300L2.8 or landscape/candids (Zuiko 500/8 and 24L1.4II) ..


Marc
5DMKII+1Dx 24L1.4II 85L1.2II 180L3.5 300F2.8nonIS TC2XII ..... Sigma14F2.8AFDG, Zuiko 500F/8 Reflex
http://myc-photos.eu (external link)

  
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manfesto
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Feb 12, 2011 03:35 |  #15

Fast glass matters more for video than it does for stills, if you're planning on low-light shooting.

If you're planning on shooting video in dim light, tripods and IS are not going to get your shutter speed below the requisite 1/50th of a second. Only a big aperture does that.

Primes are generally fast glass, and compared to most zooms, they have shallower DOF (the whole reason people shoot video on DSLRs) and less distortion.

If I had the budget, I'd probably go 28 1.8, 50 1.4, 85 1.8. Keep it all fast (I figure a 2.8 prime won't have a DOF or shutter speed advantage over a 2.8 zoom, so why settle?), and have enough space between the lenses so that each has it's place with no overlapping. Also, this collection of lenses would leave plenty leftover in your $3100 budget :)




  
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Using only prime lenses.
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