Do professionals really never use a 24-70 lens?

  • I was reading lens reviews on the Rockwell site — mostly because it came up as first result in Google search — and he was saying professionals don't need and don't use mid-range zoom lenses like 24-70 and they use a tele, an ultra-wide and then also a 50mm for night shots in dark.

    Get over buying a midrange zoom today. This isn't as bad as you think. Few, if any, pros use mid-range zooms. Most use a wide zoom and a tele zoom, and maybe drop a 50mm in their pocket for low light.

    I currently have one lens only and it is a 35mm f1.8, and my interest is city photography at day and night — streets and buildings, mostly. But on occasion if I go to a forest or on a vacation somewhere I would like not to miss the beautiful moments and take a photo.

    So for my needs, what kind of lenses do I even need? and do you agree with his opinion about not needing a 24-70? (I have a full frame camera, D-610 Nikon.)

    There are Professionals who use those Lenses, i know of atleast one ;)

    "Do professionals really never use [insert *anything*]?" No. Sometimes they use it, many times it *may even be a good idea*. That is always the answer to that question.

    Professionals can take a good picture with any camera they get their hands on. It's just _easier_ to take a good picture when you happen to be carrying something better suited to that particular picture at that particular moment. The best tool for a task is the one that best suits the way you approach that task and that you have available to you at the time you need it. Screwdrivers make lousy hammers, hammers make worse screwdrivers, but there are times for both.

    In my opinion, your actual question is what Ken was trying to address. He gives a wrong justification: professionals do in fact use such a lens. But you are then asking if you (an amateur who is not doing event photography) should get one. You should not. I think that's what Rockwell's trying to address: don't assume that what professionals use should be your goal as an amateur. It's a completely different world.

    Those Ive seen almost exclusively use the 24-70 lens...

  • Rockwell presents his opinion as fact even when it is actually a contested opinion. Yes, professionals use 24-70 lenses. They aren't for every situation, but there are plenty where they are great go to lenses.

    The Canon 24-70 f/2.8 II, for example, is one of the most popular zoom lenses ever. I do wedding photography and during the reception, the 24-70 lives on my camera 85% of the time. Nikon's f/2.8 in that segment is no slouch either if I'm remembering correctly, but double check that as I don't shoot Nikon and so my knowledge of their lens systems is not nearly as good as that of Canon.

    What Ken (Rockwell) was likely trying to get at is the fact that prime lenses are far cheaper for the quality level and so he is advocating use of prime lenses rather than a standard zoom, since you can move with your feet relatively easily in most cases to adjust for the position when using that near of a focal length. Telephoto zooms are a bit harder to use as primes since you'd have to walk a lot further to adjust your framing.

    In the real world however, sometimes you don't have the time or ability to move those few feet to get the composition you need or you need to rapidly be able to change the perspective of your lens. Event photography is a perfect example of this. In those cases, a professional photographer can and should use the lens that best lets them cover the situation and a fast standard zoom lens fills that niche superbly.

    For your situation of shooting mostly buildings where you can set the shot up, you are probably best served by following his advice though. Your subjects don't move and you need maximum low light capability. The extra stop or two of aperture in addition to the cost savings and/or sharpness advantage of prime lenses will give you the most bang for your buck in shooting static objects since repositioning and swapping lenses isn't an issue.

    You'd do fine with a fast zoom, but you'll be paying more than you need to for capabilities you will use less frequently.

    Could you please elaborate on why extra stop or two are useful for the city photography? I would assume, one shoots those with a closed aperture to get wider depth of field. So extra stops shouldn't matter much as lens wouldn't be usually used with aperture wide open...

    @Nord that's for the night shooting. If they are exclusively looking at light trail stuff it won't necessarily matter much, but if they want what appears to be static images they may have to contend with motion. The faster lens will allow faster exposures.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM