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I guess I should know this about zoom lenses, but...
I notice on my current Panasonic FZ7 that I get better detail if I get close and use the wide end of the lens vs. using the zoom to the same size..

So here's the question, is this typical of all zooms, or just this camera/lens?.

And if this is typical of zooms, will I have better luck getting the shots I want with a "prime" lens than a zoom? (typically close on architecture, still life or portrait but seldom scenics or moving subjects & up to A3 size prints)..

For example, a Pentax K100D Super with the f2.8 28mm rather than the standard 18-55 zoom?Brian..

Comments (5)

Most zooms resolve less and less detail as you go to the long end. Better zooms loose less detail, but than again good zooms are usually 3x at the most..

You can get an idea about lenses sharpness fromhttp://www.photozone.de go to the reviews section...

Comment #1

It's quite a common characteristic of long-range zooms that the long end is 'soft' with less detail than the mid-range or wide angle end. A decent prime lens will certainly out-perform a cheap zoom (although the Pentax kit lens is pretty good as they go) and you will notice this with big prints, especially in the corners..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #2

At longer focal lengths, the DOF may be smaller depending on aperture, and the telecompression makes the out-of-focus areas look more out of focus in any case..

That may be what you are seeing?.

Greg..

Comment #3

As noted by others, a prime lens generally has better resolution at it's one focal length than a zoom does, particulary toward the tele end..

If you're buying a prime lens for taking photos of architecture, go wide. You'll want an 18mm prime or wider (shorter). A 28mm lens on a camera with a cropped sensor (APS-C size rather that full frame 36 x 24mm) effectively multiplies your lens's focal length by 1.6. So a 28mm prime will have the same field of view as a 44mm lens has on a full frame DSLR or film SLR. That's usually not wide enough for architectural photos.Mike Sandman..

Comment #4

Mike Sandman wrote:.

As noted by others, a prime lens generally has better resolution atits one focal length than a zoom does, particulary toward the teleend..

If you're buying a prime lens for taking photos of architecture, gowide. You'll want an 18mm prime or wider (shorter). A 28mm lens ona camera with a cropped sensor (APS-C size rather that full frame 36x 24mm) effectively multiplies your lens's focal length by 1.6. So a28mm prime will have the same field of view as a 44mm lens has on afull frame DSLR or film SLR. That's usually not wide enough forarchitectural photos.Mike Sandman.

The crop factor of a Canon is 1.6, the Pentax is 1.5. The crop factor determines the angle of view the lens will produce in your photo. The focal length of the lens does not change, it's a physical property of the lens. This sounds like nitpicking but interchanging the two terms will eventually confuse you..

As others have said a fixed focal length lens will outperform a zoom assuming similar quality. If you compare an expensive professional zoom with a consumer fixed focal length lens the zoom might be better. The details matter..

If you've got a Pentax body or are considering one, hop over to the Pentax SLR forum. They make some very nice fixed focal length lenses, both new and used. The details of which lenses are good values and which aren't can be sorted out. Once again the devil is always in the details..

If you haven't decided on a camera yet I advise you to look at the other major brands. Short fixed focal length lenses are however a Pentax strong suit. You can probably also find second hand Nikkor's at a good price if you go with Nikon bodies...

Comment #5

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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