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Are primes brighter and sharper than wide open zooms

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Old September 30th 05, 04:06 PM
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"Eugene" wrote in message
You make it sound like it's some kind of disease.

It is. And highly contagious, as we have seen.

In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter?

Yes. Words mean things. The meanings should not change willy-nilly, and
certainly not because some ignorant misusage becomes commonplace.

Languages are dynamic, and the meanings of words are constantly changing.

That argument has been used for as long as I can remember to justify
misusages of language.

The original meaning of "prime" in the photographic sense is just an
invention anyway.

No, it is not. "Prime" is used in the sense of "primary," "main," "chief,"
"original," etc. All are dictionary definitions (though not every dictionary
carries every one of those) and plainly that is the way the word was and is
properly used.

Referring to the dictionary I find no mention of lenses as related to the
meaning of the word "prime".

Look under "blue" and you'll probably find no mention of shirts, either. Do
you take that to mean that "blue shirt" can be taken to mean a red shirt, or
any other meaning unrelated to the usual meaning of "blue"?

What do the terms "primary lens," "chief lens," or "original lens" have for
you? Fixed focal length? I don't think so.

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

Who is therefore to decide which usage is correct? You apparently!

That "decision" was made before I got involved in photography, which was
over 50 years ago. Since zoom lenses then were unheard of for 35mm cameras
(at least I don't recall any then), obviously there was no need for a term
to distinguish non-zooms from zooms.

The first listing that I found at dictionary.com is...

"First in excellence, quality, or value"

I think therefore it's perfectly reasonable to refer to a high quality FFL
lens in this way.

That is one of several meanings for "prime," but it isn't how the term is
being misused. If it were, that would at least reduce the objection to it,
but would still leave a good deal of confusion. Who is to decide (as you put
it) which lenses are "high quality" and which are not? You?

Perhaps you should just "chill out" a little and stop preaching about who
or who isn't ignorant.

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.



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