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Author Topic: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses  (Read 2635 times)

tcphoto1

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2020, 02:42:20 pm »

I am a fan of fast prime lenses and have no interest in variable speed zooms. The fact that the sensor in a ML body is closer to the lens mount means that faster lenses are possible. For me, the weight is simply a reality of the F2.8 zooms and the more efficient sensors means better images in darker venues.
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RichDesmond

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2020, 08:05:33 pm »

@John Camp: “Really, this whole conversation is somewhat meaningless”.
Agreed that such conversations become meaningless when they are turned into either/or, black and white (and no grayscale) verbal battles.

Perhaps I should have made it clearer up front that I am seeing some role for smaller but still high quality zoom lenses in addition to all the valuable well-established options, and asked in terms of the degree of interest they are likely to attract. Many responses so far are divided between “yes, I would like more such lenses” and “no, I personally have no use for them and nor do [some categories of] professional photographers, so they are pointless”.

P. S. I am happy carrying a camera with lenses like my 12-60/2.8–4 or 50–200/2.8–3.5 all day on an urban or wildlife outing, but I have no disagreement with those who prefer less weight and have less desire to handle a wide FOV range on such outings, or are more willing to make multiple lens changes in the field.

I see the same thing. I shoot Micro 4/3s these days, and I'm very happy that some zooms like you describe are becoming available.

I would also like to point out, regarding the zooms vs. primes argument, that only zooms allow you to control both perspective and framing simultaneously. I mostly do landscape work, and often I'll want certain elements in the foreground, framed in the right balance with the background. The perspective needed dictates where I stand, and then the framing dictates the focal length.
For how I work, zooms are by far the better option. Others druthers may be different.  :)
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shadowblade

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2020, 04:10:36 am »

I would also like to point out, regarding the zooms vs. primes argument, that only zooms allow you to control both perspective and framing simultaneously. I mostly do landscape work, and often I'll want certain elements in the foreground, framed in the right balance with the background. The perspective needed dictates where I stand, and then the framing dictates the focal length.
For how I work, zooms are by far the better option. Others druthers may be different.  :)

Exactly. 'Foot zooming' isn't a thing when you have more than one important element in a scene, and is sometimes impossible anyway due to topological constraints. This applies to almost all landscape photography, but also to urban scenes, etc. A sharp zoom is critical.

At the same time, when shooting these subjects, you rarely need f/2.8, or even f/4. And, when you want something fast or with shallow DOF, you normally want something faster than f/2.8 anyway. Hence the f/4 zoom setup, with the addition of one or two fast primes, plus a macro. Unfortunately, with f/4 zooms not usually living up to their f/2.8 siblings, we're often stuck carrying the extra dead weight just to get a sharp lens, without ever actually using them wide-open.

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Rob C

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2020, 08:08:07 am »

Poor old St Ansel. How he survived and made a reputation as the world's leading landscape shooter, all without zooms, is one of life's great mysteries.

;-)

shadowblade

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2020, 08:34:47 am »

Poor old St Ansel. How he survived and made a reputation as the world's leading landscape shooter, all without zooms, is one of life's great mysteries.

;-)

He also shot on large format film. You can take a lot of crops out of that.

Cropping is basically large format's equivalent of zooming.
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PeterAit

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2020, 10:18:05 am »

FWIW, I have owned the Nikkor 70-200mm and currently use the Sony equivalent. They are 2 of the best lenses I have used. Of course that is by far my most used focal length range.
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shadowblade

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2020, 10:49:36 am »

FWIW, I have owned the Nikkor 70-200mm and currently use the Sony equivalent. They are 2 of the best lenses I have used. Of course that is by far my most used focal length range.

The Sony 70-200/2.8 seems to have some peculiarities which make it ideal for portraits and events, but less than optimal as an all-purpose lens which also has to shoot landscapes, buildings, etc.

Essentially, it's much sharper at portrait distance, and other nearer distances, than it is at infinity.

This is probably why some tests, shooting at portrait distance, say it's the sharpest 70-200 out there, but others, shooting at infinity, find it to be poorer than its Canon and Nikon counterparts.

The 90/2.8 macro exhibits this behaviour to an even greater extent, but, as a dedicated macro lens and labelled as such, can be excused for it - it's meant to be optimised for close subjects, not shooting at infinity.

The 70-200/2.8 is probably designed that way too, to an extent, to satisfy its event/wedding/portrait photographer base, but this leaves it less than ideal as an all-round short-to-medium telephoto lens. In the focal lengths that it overlaps, the 100-400/4.5-5.6 has no such predilection for shorter focus distances, and, when shooting more distant subjects at the same focal length and aperture, seems sharper.

Also, like a lot of other Sony lenses, it also seems to have significant copy-to-copy variation. I've seen some that were as sharp as the Nikon, as well as others so soft I thought they were from a cheap telephoto bundled with an entry-level body and a kit lens.
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RichDesmond

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2020, 11:57:11 am »

Poor old St Ansel. How he survived and made a reputation as the world's leading landscape shooter, all without zooms, is one of life's great mysteries.

;-)

Especially given how many high-quality large format zooms he had to choose from.  :)
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Rob C

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2020, 12:04:58 pm »

He also shot on large format film. You can take a lot of crops out of that.

Cropping is basically large format's equivalent of zooming.

Tu!t tut! you are denying the very point of large format, which is exactly the same as with any other smaller one: fill the frame. That's the whole point of the size and inconvenience: to get better quality out of it. Even a politician could figure that one out: the smaller the area you use, then the worse the outcome. It's not as if LF had some magical property spread across its acreage: it does not, and in fact, the smaller the format the more successful the lens designer in concentrating definition on smaller areas.

You can't cut a 24mm x 36mm bit out of an 8" x 10" film and imagine you can use that cutting up and get the same result as from the real 135 format equipment; no way no how.

shadowblade

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2020, 01:41:52 pm »

Tu!t tut! you are denying the very point of large format, which is exactly the same as with any other smaller one: fill the frame. That's the whole point of the size and inconvenience: to get better quality out of it. Even a politician could figure that one out: the smaller the area you use, then the worse the outcome. It's not as if LF had some magical property spread across its acreage: it does not, and in fact, the smaller the format the more successful the lens designer in concentrating definition on smaller areas.

You can't cut a 24mm x 36mm bit out of an 8" x 10" film and imagine you can use that cutting up and get the same result as from the real 135 format equipment; no way no how.

The larger the format, the less precise the lens needs to be.

And the point of cropping with large format isn't to crop 8x10 to 4x5 or any other extreme crops. By the time you needed to crop that much, you'd probably already have another lens that could fill the full frame at the desired angle of view. Rather, it's small crops - cropping 8x10 to 6x9, 7x9 or similar, for example - to change the angle of view of the final image, a bit like cropping a shot from a 24mm lens to achieve a similar angle of view of a 27mm or 28mm lens. But if you needed the angle of view of a 35mm lens, you wouldn't do a huge crop to get there - you'd likely have a different prime for the job.

That's how landscape photography works with primes. You're either cropping or stitching. In Adam's time, there wasn't much stitching, and there still aren't really any zooms for large format, so cropping it is. You take your camera and a boxful of lenses that, together, cover the required zoom range without too much cropping required, shoot with the most appropriate lens, then crop to final composition. With a good selection of lenses (say, six lenses to cover the 16-135mm equivalent focal length range) you won't require a huge amount of cropping. But you don't compromise your final composition and frame the scene at 24mm when you really need 28mm, just because you only have 24mm available. Large formats have plenty of resolution to spare - they can take a small crop. Unless your goal is ultimate resolution rather than a well-composed photo, in which case you should probably just bring a Gigapan and the longest lens you can reasonably fit onto it.
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Rob C

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2020, 02:24:39 pm »

The larger the format, the less precise the lens needs to be.

And the point of cropping with large format isn't to crop 8x10 to 4x5 or any other extreme crops. By the time you needed to crop that much, you'd probably already have another lens that could fill the full frame at the desired angle of view. Rather, it's small crops - cropping 8x10 to 6x9, 7x9 or similar, for example - to change the angle of view of the final image, a bit like cropping a shot from a 24mm lens to achieve a similar angle of view of a 27mm or 28mm lens. But if you needed the angle of view of a 35mm lens, you wouldn't do a huge crop to get there - you'd likely have a different prime for the job.

That's how landscape photography works with primes. You're either cropping or stitching. In Adam's time, there wasn't much stitching, and there still aren't really any zooms for large format, so cropping it is. You take your camera and a boxful of lenses that, together, cover the required zoom range without too much cropping required, shoot with the most appropriate lens, then crop to final composition. With a good selection of lenses (say, six lenses to cover the 16-135mm equivalent focal length range) you won't require a huge amount of cropping. But you don't compromise your final composition and frame the scene at 24mm when you really need 28mm, just because you only have 24mm available. Large formats have plenty of resolution to spare - they can take a small crop. Unless your goal is ultimate resolution rather than a well-composed photo, in which case you should probably just bring a Gigapan and the longest lens you can reasonably fit onto it.


Grandmother, eggs, the sucking of...

:-)

bassman51

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #31 on: March 30, 2020, 07:21:46 pm »

Poor old St Ansel. How he survived and made a reputation as the world's leading landscape shooter, all without zooms, is one of life's great mysteries.

;-)

Prime lenses for view cameras are all relatively tiny.  The focal length is accommodated by the bellows, and he certainly wasn’t interested in wide apertures.  So he was able to carry a selection of primes in a small space, especially compared to the overall size of his "kit".
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2020, 06:54:22 am »

The Sony 70-200/2.8 seems to have some peculiarities which make it ideal for portraits and events, but less than optimal as an all-purpose lens which also has to shoot landscapes, buildings, etc.

Essentially, it's much sharper at portrait distance, and other nearer distances, than it is at infinity.

This is probably why some tests, shooting at portrait distance, say it's the sharpest 70-200 out there, but others, shooting at infinity, find it to be poorer than its Canon and Nikon counterparts.

The 90/2.8 macro exhibits this behaviour to an even greater extent, but, as a dedicated macro lens and labelled as such, can be excused for it - it's meant to be optimised for close subjects, not shooting at infinity.

The 70-200/2.8 is probably designed that way too, to an extent, to satisfy its event/wedding/portrait photographer base, but this leaves it less than ideal as an all-round short-to-medium telephoto lens. In the focal lengths that it overlaps, the 100-400/4.5-5.6 has no such predilection for shorter focus distances, and, when shooting more distant subjects at the same focal length and aperture, seems sharper.

Also, like a lot of other Sony lenses, it also seems to have significant copy-to-copy variation. I've seen some that were as sharp as the Nikon, as well as others so soft I thought they were from a cheap telephoto bundled with an entry-level body and a kit lens.

I am using the Sony 70-200 f4. Compact and a sturdy construction. Could be just my copy but super sharp. A bread and butter lens for me.
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Simon J.A. Simpson

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2020, 10:29:55 am »

I see the same thing. I shoot Micro 4/3s these days, and I'm very happy that some zooms like you describe are becoming available.

I would also like to point out, regarding the zooms vs. primes argument, that only zooms allow you to control both perspective and framing simultaneously. I mostly do landscape work, and often I'll want certain elements in the foreground, framed in the right balance with the background. The perspective needed dictates where I stand, and then the framing dictates the focal length.
For how I work, zooms are by far the better option. Others druthers may be different.  :)

Just like to point out that perspective is determined by where your feet are; not what focal length you use, zoom or otherwise.   ;D
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2020, 11:28:21 am »

Just like to point out that perspective is determined by where your feet are; not what focal length you use, zoom or otherwise.   ;D

True that. You can no more zoom with your feet than you can change perspective by zooming.
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Peter McLennan

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2020, 12:49:46 pm »

I am using the Sony 70-200 f4. Compact and a sturdy construction. Could be just my copy but super sharp. A bread and butter lens for me.

My Nikkor 70-200 F4 is very sharp, too. Even better, it's just as sharp at F4 as it is at F8.  Close-focusing is another bonus. :)
My earlier, first-gen Nikkor 70-200 F2.8 VR was notably soft at F2.8.  All that weight and cost were for naught.
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Rob C

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2020, 02:47:25 pm »

Just like to point out that perspective is determined by where your feet are; not what focal length you use, zoom or otherwise.   ;D

Quite; so many don't realise that, thinking mistakenly that perspective is governed by focal length. This is sometimes the result of seeing lens distortions and thinking those are perspective effects, such as when trying to shoot a close-up of a face with a wide-angle lens.

An extension of that is the confusion about DOF where wides are understood to give more DOF than longer lenses. Not so: all lenses, regardless of focal length, offer the same DOF at the same aperture and magnification.

RichDesmond

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2020, 07:14:02 pm »

Just like to point out that perspective is determined by where your feet are; not what focal length you use, zoom or otherwise.   ;D
I believe that’s exactly what I said, no?

 “The perspective needed dictates where I stand...”
« Last Edit: March 31, 2020, 07:17:08 pm by RichDesmond »
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JaapD

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2020, 01:31:10 am »

I can’t argue with the perspective versus the positioning of your feet. However, it’s good to stand still (pun intended!) by the fact what it not only means in a 2D plane but in 3D space as well.

Have a look at the attached overview that I grabbed somewhere from the Interweb (don’t know where I got it from, kudos go to the creator of this overview, not to me).


Regards,
Jaap
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EinstStein

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Re: High quality f/4 or f/2.8-4 zoom lenses
« Reply #39 on: April 02, 2020, 10:07:50 pm »

The best lens is the one makes best the camera ready.
Prime is usually more camera ready under challenging (low light) lighting conditions.
Zoom is usually more camera ready under challenging composition conditions.

Choosing one or the other is choosing the opportunity. Can't say which is always better.


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