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Thread: Why no non-standard zooms?

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Why no non-standard zooms?

    Maybe I'm simply an ignorant fool, but I have to ask this question anyway:
    At events, I mostly carry two camera bodies (plus a backup in the car) with different lenses for different needs. Since light isn't always abundant and since I sometimes need to take portraits with a blurred background, those lenses tend to be f/2.8. My need mostly vary between wide for groups and long for portraits, to simplify it. So I should have two zoom lenses, one for wide and one for longer shots, but I haven't and there ain't none

    The typical standard zoom is 24-70mm. That's sometimes too short for a close portrait and sometimes too long for a large group or even smaller groups if space is very limited. So, I would have to carry a telezoom, in my case the Nikon 80-200 AF-S, which is a beast, and a wide zoom, which I solve with the GH3 and 7-14mm. Then I need another body to cover the mid-range. This starts to get heavy.

    So why don't camera/lens manufacturers make something like a full frame 18-50mm and 50-120mm f/2.8? With shorter zoom range, I'm sure they could even make them something like f/2.2? f/2.0? Am I the only person in the world who would buy lenses like that?

    Yes, I know, I know... 24-120mm f/4 etc. But f/4 is still f/4 and not f/2.8. In the old days, Tamron actually made a 28-105mm f/2.8, but I've heard that it isn't stellar on digital full frame cameras. Or maybe I should try it?
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    Senior Member Tim's Avatar
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    Re: Why no non-standard zooms?

    This is possibly why some of us remain "prime guys" with our prime sets. Often groups of three.

    A sample grouping like
    24mm f2.8 / 50mm f1.4 / 85mm f2

    I used to favour on my OM4 system
    21mm f3.5 / 40mm f2 / 100mm f2.8
    for a while I had the 21mm f2.

    The Pentax system has its three amigos.

    Back to your question, I think it an excellent idea to have a matched pair , be nice if they offered them as a together with a discount in the pricing.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Why no non-standard zooms?

    There are workarounds of course, like using a 28-75mm f/2.8 on a camera with a crop sensor, but that doesn't really work better than a 24-120mm f/4 on full frame.

    Primes? Yes, I'm looking into that. With the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8 announced, there's new hope at the wide end. 20/35/85 would be an interesting combo.

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    Senior Member Tim's Avatar
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    Re: Why no non-standard zooms?

    After having a bit of a look about, I can see what you mean, this pair is a good example..

    Pentax 16-50mm f2.8
    PENTAX - smc PENTAX DA Star 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM

    Pentax 50-135mm f2.8
    PENTAX - smc PENTAX DA Star 50-135mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM

    So we have 24mm - 207mm in the 35mm format all f2.8.
    But these are of course crop sensor lenses, they are a bit smaller and lighter.

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    Re: Why no non-standard zooms?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim View Post
    After having a bit of a look about, I can see what you mean, this pair is a good example..

    Pentax 16-50mm f2.8
    PENTAX - smc PENTAX DA Star 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM

    Pentax 50-135mm f2.8
    PENTAX - smc PENTAX DA Star 50-135mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM

    So we have 24mm - 207mm in the 35mm format all f2.8.
    But these are of course crop sensor lenses, they are a bit smaller and lighter.
    but this is only a duplicate of the standard 24-70 and 70-200 f2.8 that Jorgensen is complaining about. (equivalent of course)

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Why no non-standard zooms?

    Correct, Jono, but I think Tim understood that. Carrying 3 bodies/lenses is obviously easier with Pentax, since bodies as well as lenses are relatively lightweight.

    I see now that Nikon has had a combo like this in the past, the 28-50mm f/3.5 and the 50-135mm f/3.5, both Ai or AiS lenses. Ancient technology probably didn't allow for anything wider than 28mm, but with current technology...

    Edit: There was even a Nikkor 25-50mm f/4 during the 80's. These lenses must have been rather popular then, or?

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    Senior Member JoelM's Avatar
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    Re: Why no non-standard zooms?

    Actually, the Nikkor 25-50 was not a big hit. I have one and use it on the A7r and it is fantastic. I can live with f4, but many cannot.

    Joel

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    Re: Why no non-standard zooms?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    I see now that Nikon has had a combo like this in the past, the 28-50mm f/3.5 and the 50-135mm f/3.5, both Ai or AiS lenses. Ancient technology probably didn't allow for anything wider than 28mm, but with current technology...
    I had one of the 28-50mm f/3.5 lenses for a while years ago. Great all-round lens. Very compact. It was AIS, and not made for very long, so not too many of these are around. It was a push-pull zoom as well which some don't like.

    If they ever make a digital FM camera this would be the first lens I would buy.

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    Re: Why no non-standard zooms?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Maybe I'm simply an ignorant fool, but I have to ask this question anyway:
    At events, I mostly carry two camera bodies (plus a backup in the car) with different lenses for different needs. Since light isn't always abundant and since I sometimes need to take portraits with a blurred background, those lenses tend to be f/2.8. My need mostly vary between wide for groups and long for portraits, to simplify it. So I should have two zoom lenses, one for wide and one for longer shots, but I haven't and there ain't none

    The typical standard zoom is 24-70mm. That's sometimes too short for a close portrait and sometimes too long for a large group or even smaller groups if space is very limited. So, I would have to carry a telezoom, in my case the Nikon 80-200 AF-S, which is a beast, and a wide zoom, which I solve with the GH3 and 7-14mm. Then I need another body to cover the mid-range. This starts to get heavy.

    So why don't camera/lens manufacturers make something like a full frame 18-50mm and 50-120mm f/2.8? With shorter zoom range, I'm sure they could even make them something like f/2.2? f/2.0? Am I the only person in the world who would buy lenses like that?

    Yes, I know, I know... 24-120mm f/4 etc. But f/4 is still f/4 and not f/2.8. In the old days, Tamron actually made a 28-105mm f/2.8, but I've heard that it isn't stellar on digital full frame cameras. Or maybe I should try it?
    Lately (within the last year or so) I've been of the opinion that a 16-35 and a 70-200 are the ideal walk about combo for my walk around and travel lenses. If you have half decent light then f/4 isn't usually too bad for the tele zoom because generally most stop down to about f/4 or f/5.6 for portraits in decent light anyway. Same can be said for landscapes on the wide end where you'll usually stop down to f/5.6-f/11 depending on the lens.

    Your idea for a faster wide and telephoto (say a 18-50/2 or a 75-135/2) isn't a bad idea. I'm buy off on them if they performed close enough to primes. I personally prefer my normal 35-50-ish lenses to be fast primes though.
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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Why no non-standard zooms?

    I agree that the 16-35mm plus "something longer" could be an alternative, but I rarely need more than around 120mm for the kind of work I have in mind.

    Another solution would be to use a 24-120mm, or something similar, mostly, but have a WA lens available on another camera body. There are also some off-beat solutions available, like the new Sony 28-135mm f/4 on an A7s. While this lens is designed for video, many of the solutions chosen for this lens are perfect for photography as well, particularly no breathing while focusing and no focus shifts during zoom. I also asume that it's perfectly sharp throughout the zoom range. It looks huge on the A7s, but the total weight of the combo is "only" 1.7 kg. The camera would need the vertical grip to make this comfortable, but it's a great all-in-one photo/video solution, also in low light.



    Should I need more reach, I could simply carry an A6000 in my pocket as a 1.5x TC. Then there's a Zeiss 16-35mm f/4...

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    Re: Why no non-standard zooms?

    I know exactly what you mean Jorgen.

    The closest I ever came to a perfect zoom range for event work was the C/Y mount Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 35-135/3.3-4.5 which also had a macro setting for 1:4 reproduction.

    I tended to use this with the C/Y Distagon 21/2.8 or 28/2 "Hollywood" and a Planar 100/2 or 85/1.2 "Anniversary" for available light work with nice OOF areas.

    However, that 35-135 was BIG even with a 3.3/4.5 aperture, so I can't imagine the size were it f/2.8.

    I'm fine with a ZA16-35 and ZA24-70/2.8 on theses higher meg FF cameras because a slight crop doesn't hurt all that much and I tend to use zooms stopped down a bit with lighting anyway, and even faster primes for available light but would much prefer something like a 18-50/2.8 and 28-120/3.2

    I've never had much use or any preference for a 70-200/2.8 except for the occasional "stuck in the back of a church" situation which I now just use the ZA135/1.8 and crop.

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