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Old April 20th, 2011, 10:50 PM   #1
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Favorite prime lens?

For those of you that use primes for video/photography, which one would you say you use the most?

18mm
21mm
28mm
35mm
50mm
85mm
100mm
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Old April 21st, 2011, 12:48 AM   #2
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Re: Favorite prime lens?

I have a Sigma 20mm f/1.8 that I absolutely love. I bet I'm the only one in your poll who says that. :-)

I have considered getting an 85mm f/1.8, and I suspect it'd be good for a lot of interviews. Between the 24-70 and the 70-200, I do have a couple of primes in there but I almost always use the zooms unless I *really* need the extra stop.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 02:07 AM   #3
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Re: Favorite prime lens?

For me, it's the 35mm, hands down. It's like a 50mm normal lens, but with more attitude. If I can only shoot with one lens, give me the 35mm. I have the ZE 35/2 and love it.

The ZE 35/1.4 would be even sweeter, but probably isn't worth the extra cost. (The focus ring has no more throw than the 35/2.) However, if budget is an issue, I'd consider a fast 50mm lens. For less money than the ZE 35/2, you can get a ZE 50/1.4, though the optics aren't necessarily as nice as the 35. The focus throw is long on the 50 though, and it wins the budget battle.

For my second lens, give me a ZE 100/2 Makro. I really love the ZE 85/1.4, but it has limited close focus. The 100/2 gives me a portrait lens as well as close focus and matches the speed of the 35/2.

With those two lenses, I can cover the normal and wides with the 35 and do two shots, closeups, and show clues and details with the 100.

Lens #3 is a wide. If I'm doing an action film, give me a 28mm. You can move it around, tilt, and pan without screaming WIDE. If I'm doing a more artistic film, give me the 21 or 18 so I can push it up close at odd angles to exploit perspectives. I've got the ZE 21/2.8, which is a brilliant landscape lens. For video it's trickier than a 28, but not a clear ultrawide like a 16mm or fisheye, so you really have to choose your shots well. (Dolly or move; don't tilt or pan. Shoot up close at odd angles; don't put it on a tripod and shoot head on.) By adding that third lens, you can now do wider establishing shots, and capture the action (28) or push the angles and perspectives (18 or 21).

But just one lens? The 35mm for sure.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 10:49 AM   #4
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Re: Favorite prime lens?

hmm.. thats a real toss-up..

I guess if my favorite would be the 50 1.2. If I were only allowed to take 1 prime lens on a shoot and didn't know what I was going to face until I got there.... it'd be the 50 1.2.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 03:28 PM   #5
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Re: Favorite prime lens?

I've only just started using a 35mm and I'm finding that's getting chosen more than my 500mm recently. So I guess that's the one I'd pick.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 11:53 PM   #6
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Re: Favorite prime lens?

Quote:
I've only just started using a 35mm and I'm finding that's getting chosen more than my 500mm recently
Wow, big range. I hope you have something to fill the gap inbetween!
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Old April 25th, 2011, 03:10 AM   #7
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Re: Favorite prime lens?

I don't have favorites--every job has a different look and feel, and every shot has it's "right" lens for the desired composition. I've got a set of six ZE's (from the 21 up) and if I'm shooting predominantly on those instead of zooms (would always be preferable, but speed is often a factor), I'll likely run the gauntlet or close to it over the course of a day or two.

The oddball thing is that the fields of view presented by the various size sensors will deliver very different results--obviously a 35mm is not the same animal on a 7D as it is on a 5D, which is a substantial factor in lens selection.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 06:23 AM   #8
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Re: Favorite prime lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
Wow, big range. I hope you have something to fill the gap inbetween!
Sometimes you don't need a gap filler. Maybe you record action with the 35mm and use the 500 for birdwatching. On my current trip, I brought a 21mm, 35mm - and a 200mm with a 2x extender. I did my sports shoot last night, and don't expect to use the 200 again until after I get home. It all depends on the shooting goals.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 10:21 AM   #9
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Re: Favorite prime lens?

I like the 35mm 1.4L as far as sharpness and wide primes. On the 7d or 60d it our lens of choice.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 05:54 AM   #10
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Re: Favorite prime lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
Wow, big range. I hope you have something to fill the gap inbetween!
Oops

I meant 50mm of course.

DOH
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Old April 27th, 2011, 05:57 AM   #11
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Re: Favorite prime lens?

I'm going to the States in June to shoot a documentary and only taking primes with my 5D2 and 7D.

20, 35, 50, 85 and 135.

Mainly because of the weight of my 24-70 ad 70-200 lenses, but also because things will be quite controlled and we will have plenty of time for set ups.

None of my primes are L series, but they do take nice shots.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 05:35 AM   #12
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Re: Favorite prime lens?

Nikkor 24/2.0 - feels wider than 24, great at night
Pentax 55/1.2 - absolutely gorgeous, super sharp
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Old April 30th, 2011, 11:57 AM   #13
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Re: Favorite prime lens?

I have pre-AI Nikkors including 24, 25, 105 and 55 micro. When I had a 7D the 35 was my most used lens. For the 5D I probably use my Zeiss ZE 50 more. I also have a Canon 70-200 which is a great interview lens--wide enough for a medium shot, long enough to quikly jump in close for the eyeballs-to-chin shot when needed.

Lately for some documentary work I've been doing lots of run-'n-gun type shooting. I used the 24mm Nikkor and 50mm Zeiss for most things, but I'm thinking about getting the 24-105 for that purpose. Changing lenses is quick, but switching ND filters from one lens to the other is always time consuming.

One thing I discovered on a recent shoot is that the old Nikkors, while they look great, do not intercut so well with the Zeiss under some lighting conditions. In a controlled situation I was able to cut between the Zeiss and the 105 Nikkor with minimal color correction. But in bright sun outdoors, cutting between the 24mm Nikkor and the Zeiss was more difficult and required a lot more color work. I'd like to get the Zeiss 35 as my next prime and retire the Nikkors, except for the 24mm which is great on the Steadicam.
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 03:39 AM   #14
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Re: Favorite prime lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
I have a Sigma 20mm f/1.8 that I absolutely love. I bet I'm the only one in your poll who says that. :-)
Actually, also I got a Sigma 20/1.8 -- and it's now my favorite low-light wide lens. But since I use all my (active) lenses with follow-focus, I wish it had a longer focus-pull, (but fortunately it has hard-stop focus, compared to the Canon L lenses "continuous-focus" ring).

I also used to have a Sigma 15/2.8 for stills -- a very nice lens, (although not as fast as the 20mm).

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