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Prime vs. Zoom - Here\'s a test for all.
Old 03-01-2006, 06:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I set up a test of a couple lenses I have for the D200. I thought you may all be interested in the results. I put the camera on a tripod and shot two images exactly the same with 2 lenses. Both were focused on the same location. One I shot with the prime 50mm 1.8 and the other with the 17-70 ED Zoom lens. The shots below show the image at 100% with no Photoshoping. I was surprised at how much better the Prime lens was. You could get a very good 20x30 but not with the ED zoom. I was also surprised at the color differences. the prime was much smoother and more natural. Interesting Ehh..


Full image



50mm Prime


Nikon 17-70 ED

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Re: Prime vs. Zoom - Here\'s a test for all.
Old 03-01-2006, 07:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Did you photograph both at the same focal length? The 50 mm shot seems to have more magnification than the other. That would change the location and depth of the shadows and light, causing the appearance of more detail and color. Since they were both taken looking at the same focal point, I'm guessing the focal length is different. Try it again, if that is the case, and let's see what you get. tom
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Re: Prime vs. Zoom - Here\'s a test for all.
Old 03-01-2006, 07:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You have posted 17-70...would you be talking about the 18-70 3.5-4.5 ed kit lense? If so, I have something to kinda reinforce what your saying. I bought one this past friday, as a general purpose lense for my D70. Even though I don't own any variable aperature lenses, I heard this one was really sharp and it fit the budget I was looking to spend ($400.00) I shot about 400 or so pictures at Mardi Gra, and was generally disappointed with its performance. I took it back today and replaced it with a Tamron SP 28-75 2.8 XR DI lense for an even swap. There is no comparison in the lenses...The Tamron is better in every regard, except AF noise. This thing is tack sharp, and focuses very fast. Bravo Tamron!!!!
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Yikes
Old 03-01-2006, 08:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Great post. That's quite a difference....Back in my Nikon film days, I used the 50mm 1.8 quite a bit (about 50% of the time) and it gave me superb performance.
Anamarie with a 50mm Canon lens.


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Re: Prime vs. Zoom - Here\'s a test for all.
Old 03-01-2006, 08:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'll put my 28-70mm f/2.8 AFS up against your 50mm [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

(Don't take the bait, I've cheated and ran this test before. The 28-70 @ 50mm will kick butt on the $99 prime. But then again it better since it costs 14x the price).

Pro glass is simply better. Want another test? Try the 180mm f/2.8D ED against the 70-200mm f/2.8G VR. The 180 rocks, but it's a coin toss as far as I'm concerned. The zoom has more contrast, but I love the 180 prime for headshots. I also have the 105mm f/2.0D DC which is one of Nikkor's best. I still say the 70-200 will give it a run for the $ in sharpness and contrast.

I do however love the primes for the size and weight advantage.
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Re: Prime vs. Zoom - Here\'s a test for all.
Old 03-01-2006, 09:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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There is a little difference. I had to kinda go by the numbers on the 18-70, so I was probably off a little.

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Re: Prime vs. Zoom - Here\'s a test for all.
Old 03-01-2006, 09:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yes. It is the 18-70 ED. I thought it was a pretty good lense for a non-pro version, but I just noticed that some of the images I had shot were noticably sharper. That's what made me do the test.

Interesting about the Tamron. I'll have to look into that one.

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Re: Yikes
Old 03-01-2006, 09:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I just made the switch to digital with the D200, so I'm still pretty fond of that cheap little 50. With that performance at $100.00 how can you not have one. Now, I want that 35mm 2.0.

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Re: Prime vs. Zoom - Here\'s a test for all.
Old 03-01-2006, 09:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I like to see a test of that. Is it really that much better? When I saw the 50mm results, I thought you couldn't really get much better than that. I would like to get a really good pro lense but since I just dropped the cash on the camera, it's gonna be a little while. That 70-200 VR would be nice but, cha ching!!!!! A lot of dough.


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Re: Prime vs. Zoom - Here\'s a test for all.
Old 03-01-2006, 09:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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What you'll find is that the inexpensive consumer level zoom lenses (like the 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G) will get outresolved by the 10.2MP sensor on the D200. I shot the D70 for 14 months and slowly switched over from consumer glass to all pro lenses in anticipation of buying a D2X or D200. Now that I have the D200 I'm glad that I stepped up.

There are those in the Nikon camp (e.g. Ken Rockwell) who will swear that the consumer glass is just as good, but resolution charts, empirical data, and real life images will prove different.

If your budget has limits then the 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.8, and 180mm f/2.8 together won't cost as much as either the 28-70mm f/2.8 or the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR. Zoom with the feet and you're in good shape. I go either way (zooms vs. primes, not THAT way... Not that there's anything wrong with that [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img])
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