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  1. #1
    Senior Member

    Midrange zoom or prime?

    I found the following assertion on the Ken Rockwell site. I've gotten the sense that his views can be a bit controversial, and I suspect this one might be to some. I'll quote it then ask my questions:

    "Don't buy a midrange zoom. Carry a fixed 50mm instead, like a pro.
    Pros don't use midrange zooms because they aren't needed, they are too heavy to carry around, they are too expensive. A fixed 50mm lens does the same thing, but better.
    Pros use a wide zoom and a tele zoom, and walk forward or back to cover the middle range if it doesn't fit either lens. Pros only carry a 50mm lens in their pocket for if the light gets too dim.
    Consider a midrange zoom if you only carry one lens, but never carry a midrange zoom if you're also carrying a wide and a tele zoom."

    Who agrees and disagrees with this, and why?
    If you agree, which of the 50 mm primes do you go for?
    If you disagree and go for the 24-70 mm, for example, why would you?

    I'm wanting some direction as to how to fill out the lower end of my focal length range. I'm planning on starting out my Nikon full-frame system with a 70-200 mm VR II but don't know what to do below 70 mm. I basically like shooting anything from super-wide (14-16 mm) on up, but don't know if Rockwell's assertion is the best way to go or if I should just get the 24-70 and something like the 16-35 to round out the wide end. Any suggestions or advice are wanted.

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  2. #2
    RIP :(
    Don Kuykendall's Avatar

    Re: Midrange zoom or prime?

    Never read or listen to anything ken Rockwell says. He is a joke and only writes to put his affiliate links and beg for money on his site. Poor kids.

    So what makes sense to you. There are time that a 50mm just will not work. You can't get any closer or you can't back up enough. Long zoom is to long and short is not long enough. What are you going to do. I really enjoy my mid zooms. I shoot with my 24-120 on my D750 and really like the range. But you need to decide what is best for your style of shooting and go with that. And lose Ken rockwells address.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member
    J-see's Avatar

    Re: Midrange zoom or prime?

    Not that I often agree with Rockwell but for me personally the midrange zoom is the one I can do without. I have an 18-35mm as shortest and a 70-200mm as next but in between I prefer primes. I would not know what to do with a 24-70mm that I can't do when carrying two primes.

    The same can be said of course about a 14-24mm or 70-200mm.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Bill16's Avatar

    Re: Midrange zoom or prime?

    I don't personally follow Ken's recommendations too much,though I admit to liking a 50mm lens!lol
    But all that aside I also must admit I am planning on buying the nikkor 24-70mm, the 14-24mm and the 70-200mm VRll lenses over time! I personally don't think the 50mm would cover it for me, for that middle range. But if you buy that 16-35mm then I think it would work, though I obviously prefer my own selection choice for me!lol
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  5. #5
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    J-see's Avatar

    Re: Midrange zoom or prime?

    A zoom is above all practical. When space -or money- is an issue, a zoom is a very good solution.

    I have no use for a 24-70mm and others might not need a 70-200mm. It depends entirely upon what sort of photography one does.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member

    Re: Midrange zoom or prime?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill16 View Post
    But all that aside I also must admit I am planning on buying the nikkor 24-70mm, the 14-24mm and the 70-200mm VRll lenses over time!
    Exactly what I have in mind Midrange zoom or prime?

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  7. #7
    Senior Member
    singlerosa's Avatar

    Re: Midrange zoom or prime?

    I shoot a lot of events and the 24-70 is my go to lens.
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    Jim Singler - D750 & D7200; 14-24 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 24-120 VRII, 70-200 2.8 VRII, 70-300 VR, 200-500 VR, 50 1.4D, 85 1.8G, Tokina 100 2.8; 3 SB-800s, SB-500

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Horoscope Fish's Avatar

    Re: Midrange zoom or prime?

    I guess Ken's statements have a certain validity to them and by that I only mean to say he makes a plausible, if debatable, argument. That being said, I don't really care what Ken Rockwell thinks nor am I obsessed with what pro's do; I use what works for me and if that's a mid-range zoom then I reach for a mid-range zoom. I do think a 50mm prime is a "must have" lens; I find them a joy to shoot with but that's just my opinion.

    I love my 50mm f/1.4 prime, my 24-70mm f/2,8 and my 70-200mm f/2.8 as well. Those three lenses cover 99% of my shooting.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member
    aroy's Avatar

    Re: Midrange zoom or prime?

    I have a 18-55 and 35mm F1.8 for my D3300, The zoom is extremely flexible and good enough in good light.

    The prime comes on its own in low light. So though you can do with a 50mm on FX (or 35mm on DX), sheer flexibility of zoom makes it useful for fast paced professional shoots, where moving up and down for framing may not be an option.

    If you have all the time in the world and space to move then a prime makes sense, else it is zoom for flexibility.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member

    Re: Midrange zoom or prime?

    You could always just get something like a 50mm and assuming you have a screw drive camera, an inexpensive 24-85 vr or 35-70 f/2.8 (screw drive). Think would get you both the zoom and prime for a reasonable price.

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