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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:53 pm 
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Hello everyone,
I have bought a Canon 60D Body, and I am now looking for suitable lens for my camera.
I've read some articles where people say that, a prime len is a better len for a beginner because It will make the photographer move around more to find the best angle for the focal length, and the photographer will learn a lot from this. Is that true ?
I like landscape photography and street photography, and now I am choosing between a Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 and a Combo of Canon EF 35 f/2.0 and Tokina 12-24mm f/4.0
For a starter like me, what do you think I should choose ?
Your advice would be highly appreciated
Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:14 pm 
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Prime lens +10000000000000000000000000 times over.

Maybe it's the way my brain works, but any time I get a zoom lens on my camera, my creativity gets lazy and instead of changing MY position to create a solid composition, I change the LENS' position and create a weak one instead. When I have constraints like a single focal length, it allows me to be my most creative, and it makes me work for the photos. I also have high standards, and want to actually make compelling photos... not snapshots.

I learned with a 50/1.8; a 35/2 would be amazing as well! 35mm is my favourite full-frame focal length so you I don't think you'll go wrong :)

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:27 pm 
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Canned_Tuna wrote:
I've read some articles where people say that, a prime len is a better len for a beginner because It will make the photographer move around more to find the best angle for the focal length, and the photographer will learn a lot from this. Is that true ?

A prime definitely helps you compose your shot as you do have to think about it more in terms of moving closer or further from the subject. However, to say a prime lens is always better is quite naive as there's an assumption that it's always possible to be as close to or as far from the subject to frame it properly or capture a certain amount of detail. Obviously that's not always the case so there are practical benefits to having a zoom lens.

I have no idea what the writer meant by saying a prime will make the photographer find the best angle for the focal length. Are you sure they didn't mean the distance from the subject in relation to the focal length?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:12 pm 
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Rorschach wrote:
I have no idea what the writer meant by saying a prime will make the photographer find the best angle for the focal length. Are you sure they didn't mean the distance from the subject in relation to the focal length?


I think that was what they wanted to say, the distance from the subject in relation to the focal length. By the way, you said that there are practical benefits to having a zoom lens, so do you think I should take a zoom len, then train my self by trying not to chance the focal length ( I mean use it like a prime len ), and only chance focal length in some special cases ?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:24 am 
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Canned_Tuna wrote:
By the way, you said that there are practical benefits to having a zoom lens, so do you think I should take a zoom len, then train my self by trying not to chance the focal length ( I mean use it like a prime len ), and only chance focal length in some special cases ?

I hate to say it but it really does depend. While I said there are practical benefits in having a zoom lens, it's not all one-sided as primes have their own benefits as well in the sense that on a "dollar per quality" or "dollar per quantity" basis, they generally offer better contrast, sharpness and speed (aperture) than a similarly priced zoom.

I won't advise whether to go for prime or zoom as I don't know how practical/impractical it is for you to get closer to or from your subjects. I personally use zooms because it's often the case that I can't get closer to my subjects and I'm happy to trade off some IQ for the flexibility but I'm not suggesting you follow or ignore my example.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:47 am 
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Welcome Canned_Tuna to the Camera Labs forum!

When I first got a DSLR camera, I had a zoom lens with it, a Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5. The next two lenses I bought were zoom lenses as well, of the highest quality for my system at the time (a Zeiss 24-70 f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 G from Sony). They were both awesome lenses to work with, but having also gotten a much much cheaper 50mm f/1.4 for low light, I suddenly found myself leaving the zoom lenses at home and going out just with the 50mm. I then got a 28mm f/2.8 , and later a 35mm f/1.4 G, and ended up using the zoom lenses so little that I sold them. Now, using my Leica, I don't have a choice as there are no zoom lenses for it, but I would certainly choose primes over zooms anyway. Why? As a street photographer, weight and size is very important to me. I walk around all day with the camera in hand and want it to be as light as possible. If you want high quality optics and at the same time keep your gear lightweight, prime lenses are the better choice. At the same time, a small lens like a prime is much less obtrusive than a zoom lens delivering similar quality, which is more important in street and documentary photography than in any other genre.
Over the years I have grown used to shooting with prime lenses. I know I don't need a lens longer than 50mm (and neither would you if you focus on street and landscape), so a setup of 28, 35, and 50 will suffice (I'll add I only have a 50mm at the moment since Leica glass is somewhat pricy).
Zoom lenses certainly have their advantages: zooming in is convenient if you cannot get closer to your subject, and you only have to carry one lens if you're not using long focal lengths. To me, the pros of primes are much more valuable though: they're fast (ito aperture), lightweight, small, typically high quality (so cropping is often an alternative to zooming, to a limited extent), and they're much cheaper too (compared to zoom lenses that deliver similar quality). I cannot tell you whether you should start with primes, as I started with zoom lenses and liked that at the time. Having shot with primes lenses for several years though, I see no going back, and would recommend everyone to use them.

- Bjorn

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:41 pm 
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Bjorn van Sinttruije wrote:
As a street photographer, weight and size is very important to me. I walk around all day with the camera in hand and want it to be as light as possible. If you want high quality optics and at the same time keep your gear lightweight, prime lenses are the better choice. At the same time, a small lens like a prime is much less obtrusive than a zoom lens delivering similar quality, which is more important in street and documentary photography than in any other genre.


Thank you very much for your detailed reply, Mr. Bjorn van Sinttruije. Especially those words in the quote, they are really important. I alomost forgot about the importance of weight and size. I think I will take a Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 at first, the len doesn't cost too much, the angle of view is not too wide, not too narrow. May be it's good for a starter like me.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:52 am 
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You're welcome! The 35mm on a cropped sensor should be a great start indeed.

- Bjorn

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