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Old September 30th 05, 06:14 PM
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"Eugene" wrote in message
Just some links you may want to check out...

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

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,

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.


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

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.