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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 10 Jan 2018 (Wednesday) 20:54
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Need advice/education on buying a prime lens

135 posts
Joined Jan 2011
Jan 10, 2018 20:54 |  #1

I'm a hobbyist so I lack the knowledge of experienced photographers. I know how to take shots and get the results I'm looking for but that's sort of the extent of my knowledge. My achilles heel is when it comes to technical information.

I currently shoot with a canon 50mm 1.4 and a canon 24-70 2.8 on a 5D mk 2 I acquired about a year ago. The 24-70 is nice but I enjoy shooting with prime lenses more so I'm looking to sell it and buy a wide angle prime lens. I know there are a lot of options out there but for many years I've wanted to own a carl zeiss lens and I think that will be my next purchase. The distagon lenses are fairly affordable on the used market and seeing how I've wanted one for a while I think I'm going to give the manual lens a shot.

So zeiss makes a 25mm 2.0, 25mm 2.8 and a 28mm 2.0, and one of the things I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around is why they would produce the 25mm in both f/2 and f/2.8. Obviously the f/2 is faster, and it can shoot at f/2.8 when stepped down but I imagine there is a reason they make both lenses and not just the f/2. Additionally these three lenses are so close to one another that again I'm confused at to why they dont just make one lens, especially in the day and age of cutting manufacturing costs and manufacturing complexity. Are each of these lenses for different purposes? What am I missing here?

I'll be using the lens for street and nature photography as well as car shows. Given that is there one that stands out more than the others for my needs?

Rebel XT | 24-70mm 2.8 L

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Jan 10, 2018 21:10 |  #2

Street and nature. Go for 25mm f/2.0. I'm always one for fast glass. But honestly if your budget is a bit lower going with either f/2.8s should be fine. If you're doing more street than nature than 28mm if you choose one of the less costly lenses. Otherwise go fast.

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Jan 11, 2018 03:46 |  #3

You can currently by (new) 3 versions of Canon 16-35. F4 IS / F2.8 II / F2.8 III
Also 4 versions of EF 70-200 L: F4, F4 IS , F2.8, F2.8 IS II
So forget "day and age of cutting manufacturing costs and manufacturing complexity"

Regards mentioned Zeiss lenses, Cost and Weight.
Here is a significant difference which may or may not matter to potential customers:

Distagon T* 2,8/25: Image ratio at minimum object distance 1 : 2.3
Distagon T* 2/25: Image ratio at minimum object distance 1 : 5.9

I prefer to think in magnification numbers which are 2.8 lens 0.43X, very high magnification, and F2 lens 0.17X, very low magnification.

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Post edited 6 months ago by cristphoto. (2 edits in all)
Jan 11, 2018 08:02 |  #4

Take a look at the Canon 16-35LIS F4 lens. Its $1000 and the IS function lets you effectively shoot in lower light than the 2.8 models (and for $700 - $1000 less). The 16-35 is a great range for street photography when on crowded city sidewalks you often can't walk out in the street for perfect framing (as compared to 24 or 28 lenses). You can also get good interior shots of cars too. And again with the width of this lens you can get closer to cars at crowded shows without people getting in the way. I have this lens and the performance is excellent as with most Canon L lenses.

Edit: I just noticed you stated you wanted a prime lens.

5D MKIV, 5D MKIII, 1D MKIV, 24L II, 35L, 50L, 85LIS, 100LIS Macro, 135L, 300LIS, 16-35L, 24-70L, 70-200LIS, 100-400LIS

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Post edited 6 months ago by TeamSpeed.
Jan 11, 2018 08:49 |  #5

Look at the Rokinon primes, they are manual focus, but with wide angles, focus needs are minimized by the large DOF they will have. They have several primes under the 20mm range.

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Jan 11, 2018 20:21 |  #6

The wide angle Contax CY mount Zeiss lenses are an older Distagon compared to the updated ZE versions. Same design without the modern manufacturing, modern coatings, or electronic contacts, but still some fine glass. If you are just trying out manual focusing, maybe give them a try. I was sort of in your boat a few years ago, and decided that getting 3 CY lenses (28/2.8, 50/1.4, 135/2.8) for about same price as one ZE lens would give me a better feel and better MF practice. Still haven't upgraded to ZE and still get lots of use from the 50mm and 28mm on my manual focus only 5dc with Ee-s focusing screen.

6dII/80d/1dIII|8mm to 400mm|Pro-10/100

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Need advice/education on buying a prime lens
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