PhotoBanter.com

PhotoBanter.com (http://www.photobanter.com/index.php)
-   Digital SLR Cameras (http://www.photobanter.com/forumdisplay.php?f=21)
-   -   Are primes brighter and sharper than wide open zooms (http://www.photobanter.com/showthread.php?t=49519)

Nostrobino September 30th 05 05:44 PM


"Chris Brown" wrote in message
...
In article ,
Nostrobino wrote:

Well, not necessarily, though of course the more people who misuse the
term,
the harder it will be to correct it.

Most people do not want to use wrong terminology since it makes them look
ignorant. In the case of "prime" being used to mean FFL, this has only
spread because readers who have not seen the term before, and then see it
used by people they assume are knowledgeable, naturally adopt it
themselves.


I know this may give you apoplexy, but my nice shiny EOS 5D which I bought
yesterday includes, in the box, an accessories catalogue from Canon, which
amongst other things features a complete list of their current EF lens
range. They split it up into the following categories (from memory):

Zoom
Macro
Tilt and Shift
and, yes, Prime, which lists all of their fixed-focal length lenses (apart
from the Macros and T&S).

So at least one manufacturer is using the term to mean fixed-focal length.


That is *NOT* how Canon categorizes them on their web site:

http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/con...categoryid=111

There, as you can see, they separate EOS lenses into these categories:

Ultra-Wide Zoom
Standard Zoom
Telephoto Zoom
Wide-Angle
Standard & Medium Telephoto
Telephoto
Super Telephoto
Macro
Tilt-Shift

And no mention of "prime" in any way, shape, manner or form.

But there is no question that the misuse has crept into what *should* be
responsible and even authoritative areas. In the past couple of years I have
seen "prime" misused (maybe two or three times) by caption writers in Pop
Photo, though the mistake was not repeated in the actual editorial content.
There have been a few other examples too.

The cases so far have been few and relatively isolated. There's no reason
the disease cannot be eradicated. We stamped out smallpox, didn't we?

N.





Nostrobino September 30th 05 05:51 PM


"Eric Miller" wrote in message
. ..

"Nostrobino" wrote in message
...
Zoom lenses ARE prime lenses, notwithstanding the now-popular misusage of
"prime."

A prime lens is the camera lens as distinct from some other lens or
lenticular device (close-up lens, tele converter, etc.) used with it. It
has meant that since long before zoom lenses became commonplace, and
therefore no need to use another term to mean "non-zoom."

"Prime" is properly used in the sense of primary, main, chief or
original--all dictionary definitions for "prime."

There is NO dictionary definition for "prime" which means fixed focal
length or single focal length, or fixed or single anything else.

It would be nice if this nonsensical misusage, which obviously is based
on someone's misunderstanding of the term some years ago (and then spread
like cancer through the power of the Internet) could be stamped out.
Surely "FFL" is at least as easy to type as "prime" anyway, and there
never was any reason other than shortness to replace "fixed focal length"
with the incorrect term.

N.


Many now accepted meanings of words have been created through misusage.


Yes. The unfortunate thing is that some people think this is evolution, when
in fact it is deterioration. "Accepted meanings of words" now are sometimes
even the reverse of the actual meanings. For example, many people think "hoi
polloi" means the wealthy upper class.


Perhaps you would prefer a dead language to English?


No, English is great. If I didn't care for it so much I wouldn't be trying
to defend it.

N.



Nostrobino September 30th 05 06:14 PM


"Eugene" wrote in message
...
Just some links you may want to check out...

http://photonotes.org/cgi-bin/entry.pl?id=Primelens
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_lens
http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/enc...prime_lens.htm


Your sources are in error. Anyone can set up a web page which says anything,
and in this case you have pages repeating misinformation the authors
presumably obtained from other sources on the Internet, such as the
newsgroups where this misusage occurs. Doubtless there are web pages about
kidnappings by flying saucer which are about as reliable as the ones you
list.



Please stop spreading misinformation. The first usage of a term is not
necessarily the correct one. If you start referring to zooms as "prime"
you're just going to make yourself sound stupid. Whatever you think it
meant originally, is not what it means now.


You might want to explain that to lens manufacturers such as Schneider and
Zeiss, both of whom along with Arri and some others have catalogued variable
primes (i.e., prime lenses of variable focal length). They've been making
world-famous lenses for a hundred years or so, but perhaps aren't as
knowledgeable about proper terminology as you are.

Here's a current ad from Schneider Kreuznach,
http://www.schneideroptics.com/info/...res/pdf/vp.pdf

There are lots of others, but I recommend this one to you because it has
VARIABLE PRIME in nice, great big letters right at the top of the page.

N.



Zoom lenses ARE prime lenses, notwithstanding the now-popular misusage of
"prime."

A prime lens is the camera lens as distinct from some other lens or
lenticular device (close-up lens, tele converter, etc.) used with it. It
has meant that since long before zoom lenses became commonplace, and
therefore no need to use another term to mean "non-zoom."

"Prime" is properly used in the sense of primary, main, chief or
original--all dictionary definitions for "prime."

There is NO dictionary definition for "prime" which means fixed focal
length or single focal length, or fixed or single anything else.

It would be nice if this nonsensical misusage, which obviously is based
on someone's misunderstanding of the term some years ago (and then spread
like cancer through the power of the Internet) could be stamped out.
Surely "FFL" is at least as easy to type as "prime" anyway, and there
never was any reason other than shortness to replace "fixed focal length"
with the incorrect term.

N.




Nostrobino September 30th 05 06:59 PM


"Eugene" wrote in message
...


The use of "prime lens" for "fixed focal length lens" appears
to originate in cinema where the need for a handy term
for a non-zoom lens was felt long before such a term was
needed in still photography. As a handy bit of slang, it
has much to recommend it: it is easy to say and quickly
understood. As a technical term, it has two major difficulties:
the word "prime" has little connection to what is meant,
and there was a prior use of the term in which the word
"prime" actually made sense.


OK, fair enough. You make a valid point, but in the case of "prime lens",
given the definition of the word, I don't think it's nescessarily
incorrect or ambiguous. Shortening complex expressions is just how
language works.


Sure, but where's the "shortening complex expressions" in this misusage? No
amount of shortening (or even Crisco) will make "prime" out of "fixed focal
length."


Just a few other slang photographic terms I could think of would be
"film", or "sensor", or "flash", or even "lens". Everyone knows what these
terms mean, although none of them is strictly correct or complete.



If you start referring to zooms as "prime" you're just going
to make yourself sound stupid.



No, because you would always also be using an additional term
such as "supplementary lens" or "teleconverter" which would
supply the context which would make the meaning clear.


Perhaps my comments were a bit harsh. I just took offense to the
suggestion that it was ignorant to use the widely accepted and understood
term "prime lens".


It *is* ignorant to misuse a term which has a proper technical meaning. The
fact that the misusage is "widely accepted and understood" does not make it
less ignorant.

Examples abound. The news media commonly use "bullets" when they mean
cartridges. It's not an error that any literate shooter would make; you will
not see cartridges called "bullets" in any respectable shooting publication;
when such a publication says "bullets" it means bullets.

Likewise, "prime lens" has a specific meaning, i.e. the camera lens as
opposed to some other lens or lenticular device used with it. One does not
necessarily expect accuracy in terminology from the news media, which get a
lot of things wrong anyway. But shouldn't photographers who've been at it
for a while be reasonably literate when they talk about equipment?


It seemed clear that the Nostrobino was just being undully pedantic and
argumentative, and his comments added nothing to the thread.


Correcting a technical misusage is, I think, a useful thing to add to a
thread having to do with any sort of technology.





Whatever you think it meant originally, is not what it means now.



You know, sometimes words have two meanings.

Most of us can live with slang terminology and standard technical
terminology without getting particularly confused. Slang terminology
can be very handy: I'm not going to stop saying "Hypo" when I know
that fixer is actually thiosulphate. It isn't very likely that someone
will think I mean the actual chemical "sodium hyposulphite" AKA
"sodium hydrosulphite" which is AFAIK not used in photography.
But it is still good to distinguish between slang and proper technical
language. If I ordered "sodium hyposulphite" from a chemical supplier
who served dyers it is just possible I might get the wrong chemical.


As an Australian I certainly have no problem with slang ;-) Mind you when
I'm writing things for an international audience I'm careful to avoid
terms that will confuse people in other parts of the world. If I wrote the
way I would typically talk to other Aussies then a lot of people wouldn't
know what I was talking about. I hardly think though that "prime lens" is
one of those confusing obscure slang expressions. Everyone knows what it
means.


Well, everyone thinks they do, and some of us actually do. :-)

N.



Nostrobino September 30th 05 07:02 PM


"David Littlewood" wrote in message
...
In article , Tony Polson
writes
Eugene wrote:

Perhaps my comments were a bit harsh. I just took offense to the
suggestion that it was ignorant to use the widely accepted and
understood term "prime lens".



But "prime lens" is NOT a "widely accepted and understood term".

Because of the history of its use, it is essentially ambiguous. It
has only been used as a descriptor for all fixed focal length lenses
in recent times, and only by people who are unaware of its prior
usage, which was as a descriptor for a "high quality" subset of fixed
focal length lenses. You might be too young to recall this.

There was no accepted definition of which fixed focal length lenses
were "prime" and which were not. It was merely an attempt by
marketing people to promote some lenses as being "better" than others,
the implication being that one brand was "better" than another because
of the "high quality" of their "prime" lenses.

The terms "high quality", "better" and "prime" are all essentially
meaningless unless backed up with something more objective, repeatable
and reliable. As we all (should) know, comparisons between lenses are
qualitative at best.

The most commonly used "objective" comparator - MTF - was never
intended for making such comparisons. It was intended as an aid to
lens designers and nothing more. As a result it misleads far more
than it ever informs, and those who claim it is of any real value when
comparing photographic lenses are suffering from delusions.


I agree with the first part of the above. The only point in which my
understanding differs is that the traditional use of the term "prime" was
in the sense of "primary" as opposed to secondary or auxiliary optical
components such as tele-converters, wide angle attachments, close up
lenses and the like. Thus prime as in the Latin "primus", first or
primary.

This is the interpretation given in the more rigorous works on photography
I consulted on this issue when the point was debated here (ad nauseam)
several years ago. (Anyone remember Neil Harrington?)


I do!

I see him every time I shave. :-)

N.



David Littlewood September 30th 05 07:34 PM

In article , Nostrobino
writes

"David Littlewood" wrote in message
...

I agree with the first part of the above. The only point in which my
understanding differs is that the traditional use of the term "prime" was
in the sense of "primary" as opposed to secondary or auxiliary optical
components such as tele-converters, wide angle attachments, close up
lenses and the like. Thus prime as in the Latin "primus", first or
primary.

This is the interpretation given in the more rigorous works on photography
I consulted on this issue when the point was debated here (ad nauseam)
several years ago. (Anyone remember Neil Harrington?)


I do!

I see him every time I shave. :-)

N.

Oh, Hi Neil!

David
--
David Littlewood

Nostrobino September 30th 05 07:41 PM


"Randall Ainsworth" wrote in message
...
In article , Brion K. Lienhart
wrote:


As others have already noted, Randall, you're just flat wrong about this.
And your earlier, more absolute statement,
"F/2.8 lets the same amount of light through regardless of the lens
design. F/2.8 is f/2.8"
is even more absolutely wrong.

An uncoated f/2.8 lens for example will not let through as much light as a
coated f/2.8, and a multicoated one will do even a bit better.

All "f/2.8" says is that the effective aperture is 1/2.8 the focal length.
It doesn't say anything about actual transmission. T-stops do that, but they
have rarely been used on still-camera lenses.

At one time I had Minolta 50mm lenses in f/1.2, f/1.4 and f/1.7. From the
f-numbers you would suppose the f/1.2 wide open was a full stop faster, and
the f/1.4 half a stop faster, than the f/1.7 lens. But that simply wasn't
so. For that matter, I have never seen an f/1.4 lens that was really a full
stop faster wide open than it was at f/2.

Someone else mentioned the disparity between mirror and refractor lenses,
too. I can attest to that! I once had a Minolta 500mm f/8 mirror lens that
seemed to lose about a full stop (maybe more) compared to what an
all-refracting lens would have done.

N.



Floyd Davidson September 30th 05 08:37 PM

"Nostrobino" wrote:

I've been saying the misusage is ignorant. It is. I haven't said that the
people misusing the term are ignorant. On the contrary, I presume that most
of them are folks of at least ordinary intelligence who have innocently
picked the misusage up from Usenet and elsewhere. To be ignorant of some
particular state of affairs before one has the facts is hardly a shameful
thing. To try to DEFEND that ignorance after being apprised of the facts,
however, is stupid. Please note that I am making a careful distinction
between ignorance and stupidity. The former is often only temporary; the
latter tends to be lasting.


Your entire diatribe about language and word usage is then,
according to the above, *stupid*.

Language *is* dynamic. Dictionaries are *not* an authoritative
source of *correct* word usage, and this abjectly silly
suggestion that any jargon not found in a dictionary is
therefore wrong is a demonstration that you are ignorant about
this topic. Dictionaries are a compilation of current usage,
and have very little to do with what is or is not "correct".

Whether it is jargon, which might well be restricted to a small
enough fraction of all speakers and therefore will never show up
in any general dictionary, is unimportant. All that counts is
whether the speaker does in fact convey the desired meaning to
the target audience.

The essence of all that has previously been explained in detail
by others, and continued efforts to "DEFEND that ignorance" is,
in your own words: stupid.

--
FloydL. Davidson http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)

Floyd Davidson September 30th 05 08:40 PM

"Nostrobino" wrote:
I hardly think it can be blamed solely on the internet.


You're right there. I first saw it misused in this way on the old Fidonet,
some time before I had access to the Internet per se. That was back in my
386 days, so probably 1991 or so.


So, along with the correct meaning of words being fixed in time
by when you first understood them, the Internet didn't exist
until *you* discovered it too, eh?

Hmmmm...

--
FloydL. Davidson http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)

Paul J Gans September 30th 05 08:51 PM

In rec.photo.digital.slr-systems Peter wrote:

Paul J Gans wrote:


I dimly recall the term "prime lens" as being the
lens whose focal length was equal (at least roughly)
to the diagonal of the film frame. That made a 50mm
(or 45mm) lens "prime" for 35mm film.


The usual term for this is "normal lens"



A 135mm lens was then a "telephoto" and a 35mm lens
was a "wideangle".


A telephoto lens, properly speaking, is one in which
the lens (when set to infinity focus) is closer to
the film/sensor than the focal length of the lens.


It is quite possible to have a wide angle lens
which is of telephoto constuction. Olympus compacts
have had such lenses for years. On an Olympus XA,
the point 35mm in front of the film is actually
just in front of the front element of the lens.


A lens which is significantly longer than a normal
is called a long-focus lens if it is not of telephoto
design.


Wide angle lenses for SLRs are generally of an
inverted telephoto type in which a point one
focal length in front of the film may be somewhat
behind the rear element of the lens.


Yes. I know you are correct. But I don't think
that was the popular usage back then.

The general public was not very sophisticated
in such matters. Still isn't.

---- Paul J. Gans


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 01:50 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
PhotoBanter.com