When your gear preferences change

Dec 31, 2013
Louisville, Ky
I've been a (D)SLR/prime shooter nearly all of my my life. A few exceptions came when I started shooting digital. I had the Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4 and Sigma 100-300 f4 for a short time. And I had a Sigma 10-20 in a kit with a Sigma 30mm 1.3 and Canon 85mm 1.8 for years. Until I moved to full frame. Then primes only till Fuji. Which I had the 18-55/55-200 for a short stretch. But those Fuji primes are so magical.

At some point when I was doing heavy comic con coverage, a good friend suggested I move to zooms because it would make my work a lot easier. So out went my beloved primes for the Fuji 16-55 2.8/50-140 2.8 pair. I discovered A, that Fuji made a pair of zooms equal in all ways except aperture to their primes. And B, my friend was right about them being much easier for the work.

At some point in this time frame, I decided to go from the mighty X-T1 to the also mighty, X-Pro2. Shortly after I thought that, while I had two of the best zooms ever made, I was not getting along with them as my photos did not look as good as they should have. So I ran back into the arms of my beloved primes. Only to find out soon after, that the problem was not me. What had happened was that Capture One, for some unknown reason, just did not work well with the X-Pro2 files. Yielding less than stellar results.

So, back to the zooms I went. And shot very happily with them. Until I hit a point where I did not want to do any working shoots. Just photos of the family, and whatever interested me. So I grabbed the Fujicrons, which are great lenses. In the last few weeks, I have hit a point where I am ready to do working shoots. So I used my one superpower, being an elite gear whore, to sell the Fujicrons for more than enough to get a mint condition 16-55 2.8. I don't know that I will need anything longer for the types of shoots I will be doing. Which is good since the wallet isn't ready for that level of commitment.

So, I've been shooting with the 16-55 for a little over a week. And this funny thing happened. On the level of an epiphany. I realized that the 16-55 has, somewhere along the way in my subconscious, become my favorite lens. A zoom! I will be excommunicated from the church of primes! Over the last couple of years my entire way of working, thinking about shots, and seeing shots has completely changed. But as usual, my conscious brain is playing catch up.


Has this ever happened to any of you? Even if you were smart enough to realize it as it happened. And not the hard way like myself.
 

marlof

Trying to focus
Dec 25, 2010
The Netherlands
Marlof
When I’m on my own, I’m a slow shooter. Primes suit me best then. But when I’m with others or at an event, I like the convenience of fast zooms. So I have two sets: one small bag with a Pen-F and some small primes, and one larger pack with an OMD, two 2.8 zooms and a 1.2 prime. To be honest: I could live with either set and be happy. But I’m even happier that I can afford the luxury to have both.
 

theoldsmithy

Hall of Famer
Jan 7, 2013
Cheshire, England
Martin Connolly
I have tried to shoot with prime lenses, honest I have...but I always go back to zooms. Funnily though, I am quite enjoying using fixed lens film cameras, generally in the 35-45mm range. I can’t explain that. If I shoot digital I somehow always hanker for the flexibility that zooms offer.
 
May 31, 2017
Central Florida
Timothy Williams
Well I have a bag of primes except the 18-55 and 50-230. I shot with the 50-230 on the XT20 and was ready to get rid of it, but yesterday I mounted it on my XT1 and boom, everything fell into place with this lens. The files were super clean and sharp. Same SS aperture ect, just looked cleaner and sharper. So now I have two bags with my 18-55 and 50-230 in one with the XT1. The other has the XT20 16, 35, and 90 in it. On my way out this morning I grabbed the XT1 bag. Don't know what happened but that lens is a lot more fun than it once was. The 18-55 has always been a super lens IMHO.
 
Last edited:
May 31, 2017
Central Florida
Timothy Williams
The fact that the XT1 is gripped may have some to do with it as I'm more comfortable with it's body style but the XT20 is gripped also and I try to use good form on both. Just more satisfied with the output of the XT1 at the time. I need some time to knock off the rust from a long layoff and to not make stupid mistakes like shooting at 25,600 ISO and wondering where all the noise came from like I did on the shots from yesterday lol :doh:. I'll get there. The point is, I'm liking my zooms more than I did, by a long shot.
 

Ripleysbaby

supernatural anesthetist
Sep 9, 2011
Cumbria UK
Garry
Zoom or prime ? I've been trying to make up my mind about that since 1973. Still unsure.
Absolutely loved the Panasonic 12-35 f2.8. But the flare !!!
Loved the apsc for the Ricoh GXR 24-85 equivalent . But the power zoom !!
Hate changing lenses as well. So I'm guessing there is no hope for me.
The XPro2 16 f1.4 combo is fantastic image quality. But it's just too damn heavy.
So I'm back to the Ricoh GR. I'll just have to live without a viewfinder.
 

AndyMcD

Top Veteran
Jul 15, 2017
East Midlands, UK
I started into this Fuji thing coming from Nikon DSLR and a trio of zooms (Sigma 10-20, Tamron 17-50/2.8 and Sigma 70-210/2.8) and started off with a bunch of manual Nikon lenses that I had picked up over the years. I decided that this would be where I settled and then I made the mistake of picking up a cheap 50-230 and thought maybe I should get an AF prime for family trips etc. so picked up a used 35/1.4. Boy, did that bite me - less than a year later and I have added the 16/1.4 and 56/1.2 and I don't bother with the Nikon lenses.

Right now I am very pleased with my Fuji collection and can't think of any other lenses I need (yeah, right - note to self: "do not open the showcase thread for the 90/2").
 
Jan 31, 2011
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
Zoom or prime ? I've been trying to make up my mind about that since 1973.
Thats when I bought my Minolta SRT303b. It came with the 50mm f/1.4 PG-Rokkor lens and it just never occurred to me that zooms even existed. Prior, I had been borrowing my Dad's Ikonta (43mm) and had my own Instamatic 105 which I think might have been a 50mm lens but I cant be sure. Only had one shutter speed too. Those were the days. I guess what I am saying is that back then we worked with what we had available. An art which has become lost to me, really, with the choices I have given myself. Maybe I should get back to basics.
 
Apr 18, 2014
Boston Burbs
David
Before getting into m4/3 I was a view finder required guy. I started with an Oly E-PM1 (no EVF) and quickly moved to the Pan GX1 with an add-on EVF. I then moved to a couple OMD bodies to get a nice EVF. But as time has gone by I find that for a LOT of my casual stuff I really don't need the EVF. In fact I prefer not using it so I can see what I'm shooting and I find it easier to frame shots.

It's one of the reason I don't really mind the "bad" EVF on my GX85 (as some people call it) and really enjoy my X70.
 

MiguelATF

Hall of Famer
Aug 27, 2013
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Miguel Tejada-Flores
Thats when I bought my Minolta SRT303b. It came with the 50mm f/1.4 PG-Rokkor lens and it just never occurred to me that zooms even existed. Prior, I had been borrowing my Dad's Ikonta (43mm) and had my own Instamatic 105 which I think might have been a 50mm lens but I cant be sure. Only had one shutter speed too. Those were the days. I guess what I am saying is that back then we worked with what we had available. An art which has become lost to me, really, with the choices I have given myself. Maybe I should get back to basics.
Have to agree with you, Sue. It might be a good idea to get back to the basics. If one could only remember what they are. Decades ago, when I was shooting with small analog Pentaxes, I often shot with a 35mm lens. It seemed normal to me (as opposed to the standard 50mm lens which, to me, always has seemed more of a portrait lens). I'm halfway trying to go back to a simplicity I've partially lost, shooting with a 15mm lens (the equivalent of a 30mm FOV) on my larger mu-4/3's body (a GX8), and a small 20mm (equivalent to a 40mm lens) on my tiny GM1. Limiting my choices is a good discipline, at least in theory; now, I just have to do it ;)

And you're right: those WERE the days :)
 

mnhoj

gee aahrr
Jan 27, 2012
Los Angeles
John
I love that you have listed gear as your one superpower. I'd reluctantly/proudly say it's mine too.

I once carried(for a whole summer and everywhere) a gripped D300, 12-24, 17-55 and 70-200 plus a 30mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.4. I wasn't as weak back then. All gear was magical and small and light meant cheap/inferior to me. Little did I know. ( :

Jump to now. I think zoom lenses may be the only thing my weak disposition can resist. But, events and sports are no longer something I shoot.

Not really a preference change but I'm thinking about going from three small primes to two. 14, 23 and 35 down to 14 and 35. I feel like the 23 is right in the middle and comfortable. The 14 and 35 would require me to choose one way or the other. I did carry only a 16 and 56 for awhile which now that I think about it a 16-55 is a pretty good option.

Probably flawed logic - most of mine is.

On a side note: My youngest once called out his mom's superpower, grocery shopping!
That went over well.
 
Dec 31, 2013
Louisville, Ky
@mnhoj I wanted to like, agree, and find funny your reply.

My experience had been very similar to yours. For a few years I carried a Canon 1D3 with Sigma 35mm 1.4, Sigma 85mm 1.4, Canon 135mm f2, and Canon 300mm f4 IS. All in a large think tank retro bag with a 1.4x and 2x TCs.

During my time with Fuji I have done a year plus with the 16/56 pair. And 16/35 for a short time. I’ve also done the 16-55/50-140 pairing.

Now I’m back to the 16-55. To stay. I’ve finally hit a point where I’m wanting to always have a 16-55 zoom. If/when needed, I will add either a 90mm f2 or 50-140mm 2.8. We have a 50-230, but it’s not great for indoors. Or what I want image quality wise for portraits. Not that the 50-230 is bad. Just not what I want.
 

mnhoj

gee aahrr
Jan 27, 2012
Los Angeles
John
@mnhoj I wanted to like, agree, and find funny your reply.

My experience had been very similar to yours. For a few years I carried a Canon 1D3 with Sigma 35mm 1.4, Sigma 85mm 1.4, Canon 135mm f2, and Canon 300mm f4 IS. All in a large think tank retro bag with a 1.4x and 2x TCs.

During my time with Fuji I have done a year plus with the 16/56 pair. And 16/35 for a short time. I’ve also done the 16-55/50-140 pairing.

Now I’m back to the 16-55. To stay. I’ve finally hit a point where I’m wanting to always have a 16-55 zoom. If/when needed, I will add either a 90mm f2 or 50-140mm 2.8. We have a 50-230, but it’s not great for indoors. Or what I want image quality wise for portraits. Not that the 50-230 is bad. Just not what I want.
We must be a chip off of a like block. ( :
I love it when a plan comes together as it has for you.
I recently picked up a $300 minty X-T1. So happy with it's value I did a backflip(in my mind of course). Now with the recent X-T3 release I found a similar deal on an X-T2(double back flip - for real).
The X-T1 suits my needs just fine but the X-T2 makes me feel like I'm a VIP.
Not part of the plan but I'm so glad I did it.
 

tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
Bobby, I've changed gear so often through the years. My wife always asks the same question . . . "Why? Is there something you can't get from your current gear?" I'm afraid my fickleness has been a detriment. I've been in the Fuji camp a couple of times, likewise the MFT camp, the Sony camp . . .

Now I'm working with a Panasonic G80 and PL 12-60 f/2.8-4. I very much like the handling, usability, and IQ. The fit and balance for me are perfect. I did keep my old Olympus 75-300 II for those times I want a longer reach, but the 12-60 is on my camera the vast majority of the time. I am saving to get the PL 50-200. I like photographing flowers and pollinating insects in warmer months, and want the best IQ I can get. I'll sell the 75-300, and that will be that. Unless something happens to my gear, I plan no further swaps or purchases.
 

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