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Lens: prime vs zoom

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brightncheerful
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Lens: prime vs zoom

#87851

Postby brightncheerful » October 13th, 2017, 9:50 am

One reason I got a Nikon D800E was for sharper pictures. However, I only have zoom lens (16-35mm and 28-300m). Mostly I use wide-angle. If I were to get a prime lens, say 24mm, then would that result in even sharper pictures (all other factors remaining constant)?

And is there a limit to how sharp a picture can be (before post-processing)?

tia, Bnc

tea42
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Re: Lens: prime vs zoom

#87852

Postby tea42 » October 13th, 2017, 10:03 am

A 24mm prime lens will give you the ability to take very nice sharp portraits and people photographs. An essential piece of kit.

brightncheerful
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Re: Lens: prime vs zoom

#87863

Postby brightncheerful » October 13th, 2017, 10:21 am

Thanks. I probably should've mentioned I rarely take photos of anything that moves, such as people.

Mostly I take pics of buildings and fixed subjects. Would your comment be the same?

redsturgeon
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Re: Lens: prime vs zoom

#87867

Postby redsturgeon » October 13th, 2017, 10:27 am

tea42 wrote:A 24mm prime lens will give you the ability to take very nice sharp portraits and people photographs. An essential piece of kit.


I agree that a prime would be sharper than a zoom. But 24mm although very suitable for BnCs photography would not be a good choice for portraits.

If we are talking about full frame sensors (which the D800e is) then 70mm to 105mm would be a sensible range for portrait lenses.

Of course there might be specific reasons you would want to occasionally go wider but not as standard.

Regarding the OP's other questions, yes there are limits to sharpness, based on such factors as the accuracy of focus, camera steadyness/shutter speed, lens acuity, circles of confusion, anti aliasing filters (the D800e does not have one) and numbers of pixels. It is a very complex and in many ways subjective area and really at its limits only of use to "pixel peepers".

John

brightncheerful
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Re: Lens: prime vs zoom

#87879

Postby brightncheerful » October 13th, 2017, 10:50 am

Thank you. Very helpful.

I have just bought a Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED AF-S so am looking forward to the experience of using a prime lens.

staffordian
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Re: Lens: prime vs zoom

#87943

Postby staffordian » October 13th, 2017, 1:23 pm

One key advantage of a prime lens over a zoom, as you probably already know, is that in general they can be opened up further, which not only allows a fast shutter speed to freeze movement, it also gives more low light options.

And even if it doesnt allow significantly wider apertures, the quality of shots taken at lower f numbers will almost certainly be sharper than an equivalent aperture on a zoom, not least because there tend to be fewer elements to the lens and hence less likelihood of distortion.

tea42
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Re: Lens: prime vs zoom

#87980

Postby tea42 » October 13th, 2017, 2:25 pm

Sorry, got confused. I am thinking of a nifty fifty prime for portraits. Great lens, very little distortion.

redsturgeon
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Re: Lens: prime vs zoom

#87994

Postby redsturgeon » October 13th, 2017, 2:52 pm

tea42 wrote:Sorry, got confused. I am thinking of a nifty fifty prime for portraits. Great lens, very little distortion.


Yes indeed the nifty fifty f1.8 for both Canon and Nikon are the best value for money for a great quality lens.

John

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Re: Lens: prime vs zoom

#88225

Postby CaledoniaMan » October 14th, 2017, 2:43 pm

The other thing about zooms is that the less expensive ones tend to have a variable maximum aperture so at shorter focal lengths you get a wider maximum aperture and at longer focal lengths the maximum aperture reduces. This takes its toll on sharpness, exposure and general image quality. The more expensive zooms have a fairly wide fixed aperture typically f/2.8. which give you good sharpness as well as bokeh should you need it. My Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 is definitely my favourite lens and easily outperforms my other lenses fixed and zoom for image quality.

Cal


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