Ueli Steiger: Zoom Lenses

From American Cinematographer, Monster Mash by David E. Williams (June 1998)

"Other people will disagree with this, but I just love zooms and prefer them to primes at almost every level. That doesn't mean you have to be zooming in and out all the time although I do love to sometimes zoom within a shot but using one allows you to have all the focal lengths in the world on your camera at once. You can create the exact frame you need, show it to the director, and then shoot. The 5:1 and 11:1 Primos are fast enough [T2.3 and T2.8, respectively] I don't like shooting wide open anyway so I used them for most of my night exteriors, and hardly ever used primes.

... Of course, you have to understand the zoom lens to use it properly. For example, you can't become lazy and not move the camera simply because you can zoom in. If you're doing matching reverses with a 24mm lens, you still might have to move a wall because you can't get the camera in behind one of the actors with the 24mm. You can't just creep out on the lens instead, because that's changing the perspective. You have to know what a 24mm focal length will do and how it will compare to the tighter focal length you might use for your close-ups."

- Ueli Steiger

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