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one vs multiple lenses
Old 12-21-2009, 01:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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in your thoughts,

whats a better idea


buying one lenses at 18mm - 200mm

or two or three, at 18mm - 55mm, 85mm- 120mm, and a 135mm - 220mm
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Re: one vs multiple lenses
Old 12-21-2009, 12:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you have the cash, buy two or three good lenses, rather than one that covers such a wide range. If all you shoot are events, that 18-200 might be a convenient all purpose lens, but if you shoot portraits, glamour or commercial, you'll have better luck with high quality lenses.

BTW - I own only three lenses -- a Nikon 28-70mm f2.8, a Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 and an old Nikon 50mm f1.8 ... but I frequently rent wide angle and macro lenses for specific shoots. Renting lets you try before you buy, and you can rent a specific lens a project that you might only do once in your career. But ... renting also has a downside! I rented a Nikon 85mm f1.4 last Saturday for a glamour shoot ... and fell in love with that lens! Now I want to buy it! LOL
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Re: one vs multiple lenses
Old 12-21-2009, 12:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Personally I feel that the lenses that cover such a wide range of focal lengths are useful for snapshots, but not much else. They compromise so many design criteria simply for convenience. I shoot two different camera systems; Nikon & Hasselblad. On the Nikon FX (24x36mm sensor) system, I own a 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8, and a 300mm f/2.8. On the Hasselblad I use only prime lenses; 80mm, 150mm, & 210mm. The zooms on the Nikon platform offer me some convenience, but very little compromise at their fixed aperture. If I need faster lenses, then I would consider primes also. So far, that hasn't come to pass.

Having to Nike zoom (move my feet) on the Hasselblad isn't really that much of an issue for me and the type of photography I practice (portraiture). For some others, that may be a HUGE issue. You need to decide what focal lengths and lens speeds you require, then invest wisely.

From a pure performance point of view, a set of prime lenses will generally smoke their zoom counterparts. Cost might change that equation if it's an issue for you.

As always, YMMV...
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Re: one vs multiple lenses
Old 12-21-2009, 04:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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thank you
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Re: one vs multiple lenses
Old 01-08-2010, 08:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I would never buy a zoom covering 18-200mm because there are too many compromises and you can be certain that the general quality would be pretty awful. A couple of good but expensive zooms covering that range might be acceptable or you have to go for several primes, but you will lose in convenience and the cost will really stack up. The real question is do you actually need lenses covering 18-200mm? certainly not for glamour photography in my opinion.
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Re: one vs multiple lenses
Old 01-08-2010, 06:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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well you never know when you see something odd, at a far distance, but note taken
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Re: one vs multiple lenses
Old 02-16-2010, 12:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I agree the majority. Going the all in one route means you're going to have undesireable effects such as pin-cushioning, barreling, and soft edges in your photos. Lens designers go to great lengths to minimize these things but physics is physics. My personal lens arsenal includes the Canon 24-70mm f2.8L, the 70-200 f2.8L, & the 100-400f4-5.6L IS. I also keep a straight 400mm f5.6L for those subjects that I will never be able to get close to, such as coastal birds. Now I do keep one general purpose zoom around, but it is strictly a walking around/snap shot lens that I use when I don't want to risk damage to my others lenses and that is a 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 USM II. The point is, no one makes a "do-all" lens that will deliver optimal image quality throughout the focal range. You need to match the lens to the subject and setting. You are correct in your statement "you never know when you see something odd at a far distance." However, that is why you own a DSLR...so you can adapt to your changing requirements by changing lenses.
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Re: one vs multiple lenses
Old 02-17-2010, 12:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Go for the prime lenses. I love my canon 50mm f1.4 and 100mm f2.8.
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Re: one vs multiple lenses
Old 02-18-2010, 04:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well, I do own a Nikkor 18-200 lens, and it is very convent, but like several others said, it's not quite as sharp as either shorter zooms and especially prime lenses. The question for you I believe is are you willing to sacrifice that quality (I've made good enlargements off of that lens up to 16x20 - but could be better) for the connivence or do you need the quality.
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Re: one vs multiple lenses
Old 02-20-2010, 03:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm being generous when I say an 18-200 lens looks like crap. It's great for snapshots, soccer moms love them. If you take your photo seriously, you'll hate it. The problems range from geometry distortions, to weird bokeh, to softness, to CA -- and it changes from mm to mm.

I've more or less given up on "normal zoom" range lenses, too -- the 24-80 type range. They just never look as good as a fixed 24, 50 and 85. 70/80-200 has great zooms from Nikon, Canon and even Sigma EX. The 12-24 range from Tokina is good, too. The reason to own those is that they're great lenses, too -- not really because they zoom.

Some zooms work, some don't. 18-200 is a "don't".

If I have to limit my travel bag, I take a 80-200 in a small bag, and a grip-free D200 with a 50mm (or 12-24) in another small bag.

People like to own the full range of mm from 10-400+ it seems, but you don't really use the whole range or even half of it. When's the last time you used a 80-200 at 115mm, for example? Anybody? (No lying.)
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