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Author Topic: The freedom of shooting primes  (Read 4718 times)
PeterAit
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« on: May 10, 2013, 07:15:25 AM »
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Except for a macro lens here and there, I have used zooms only for many years. Given the glowing reviewing of the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 I could not resist getting one along with my D600. I am finding that having one less thing - zooming - to think about gives me a kind of freedom I am enjoying. And, with the optical quality and all those megapixels, I feel freer to crop during processing if the image needs it. I am enjoying going out and wandering around with just the one lens.
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Peter
"Photographic technique is a means to an end, never the end itself."
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WalterEG
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 07:28:27 AM »
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I am enjoying going out and wandering around with just the one lens.

Welcome to photography.

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k bennett
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2013, 07:49:06 AM »
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You could probably title this "the freedom of shooting with one lens" and I would wholeheartedly agree with you. As soon as I put a second lens in my pocket, all I seem to do is switch lenses rather than shoot photos Smiley
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PeterAit
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2013, 08:05:44 AM »
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Welcome to photography.


Or maybe "welcome back?" Back in the days of film I spent many years doing all my work with primes, mostly on a view camera and Leica M3. Of course there wasn't a choice, really, given the stinky quality of the zooms back then.
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Peter
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Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2013, 09:45:15 AM »
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You could probably title this "the freedom of shooting with one lens" and I would wholeheartedly agree with you. As soon as I put a second lens in my pocket, all I seem to do is switch lenses rather than shoot photos Smiley



Funny you should say that; carrying a polarizer does the same with my head: to use or not to use (pola), that becomes the question.

;-)

Rob C
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WalterEG
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2013, 06:24:53 PM »
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Or maybe "welcome back?"

Point well taken Peter.

Rob also has a point about accessories, such as a Polariser.

For my recreational photography I still use film 4x5 and, now, 6x6.

Although I have a crate full of lenses for the Sinar, I invariably venture forth with a Linhof and just the 150mm Apo-Sinaron SE which will fit in the camera on a flat panel and still allow the front to close.  I really enjoy the effect of a single way of seeing.  Recently I bought another Hasselblad and with it I just have the 80mm attached.  It strips photographing to its basics and frees the mind.

The only consideration in the field is whether to filter or not.  That decision is made easier by holding to a belief in a signature 'look'.  I only shoot black and white so with general views it is the polariser plus a red 25.  The filters almost remain on the camera all the time.

For some specific subjects, of course, the filters are dispensed with, just as a longer focal length is used in the studio to avoid shooting off the seamless or whatever background.

Cheers,

Walter
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PeterAit
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2013, 08:24:49 PM »
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Thanks for the post, I am finding this topic more and more interesting as it goes along. There is - and I am as guilty of this as anyone - a belief that you have to be prepared to capture any photograph, thus you must have all these lenses and filters and whatnot. But, for those of us fortunate enough to do photography for the love of it, that may not be important.
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Peter
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WalterEG
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2013, 10:04:26 PM »
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Peter,

I have always held that there are those who TAKE photos and those who MAKE photos.

Old habits die hard and nearly 50 years of advertising and editorial shooting I find it hard to avoid being one of the latter.  The two-foot lens is my favourite  I put a standard lens on the camera and use the two-feet to get me to where I need to be.

Of course there are special cases where a super wide or a super tele might fit the order and I am equipped for that.  But to just wander around shooting the found and fancied less is more.

Regards,

W
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2013, 03:31:58 AM »
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I sometimes feel the same way. I find it liberating just going out with my Canon 6D and Zeiss 25mm, to shoot landscapes and seascapes. To me, it is wonderful to set hyperfocal distance on the Zeiss, shoot, and inspect the results on the high resolution LCD. I also carry a couple of graduated neutral filters and one polarizer filter. Plus tripod of course.

Of course zomms are very high quality these days, but with the prime lens, I am mentally prepared to explore the subject in terms of trying different compositions in the field, trying different distances from the subject, rather than just setting the tripod and zoom. It fosters a high degree of involvement with the subject, at least to me...
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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2013, 03:46:01 AM »
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It's the difference between (you) taking your wife out for a romantic dinner or, on the other hand, going out to a singles bar.

(Oddly, I can see no other purpose for any bar except for single people. Why would you go there unless you were alone and in need of company - any company?)

Rob C
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opgr
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2013, 04:13:01 AM »
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Why would you go there unless you were alone and in need of company - any company?)

Because you have nothing to say. Not to your better half, nor to potential better halves. Therefore you go to a bar where the music is generally turned up so loud, conversation becomes irrelevant.
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Oscar Rysdyk
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2013, 09:23:04 AM »
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Because you have nothing to say. Not to your better half, nor to potential better halves. Therefore you go to a bar where the music is generally turned up so loud, conversation becomes irrelevant.



I can do all that at home, alone. And more cheaply, and with my own choice of music.

Were it not to eat, I doubt I'd go anywhere much at all anymore. The so-called jazz band that I used to photograph a couple of years ago now plays - when it gets any rare gigs - mostly latin-American which I don't feel anything about. Most of them come from Argentina, one from Cuba and the leader is local, so I guess it figures.

Gloom. Horizons shrink on little islands.

Rob C
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2013, 09:32:25 AM »
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The idea of going out with a single lens is great and I do it quite often.  But the pedantic idea that the lens of choice has to be a single focal length is a bit much to take.  There are plenty of reasons why zooms are good and why the 'zoom with your feet' concept falls down.  Not always but often enough. 
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Rob C
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« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2013, 02:54:28 PM »
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The idea of going out with a single lens is great and I do it quite often.  But the pedantic idea that the lens of choice has to be a single focal length is a bit much to take.  There are plenty of reasons why zooms are good and why the 'zoom with your feet' concept falls down.  Not always but often enough. 


For you. I've owned a single zoom in my life: a Nikkor 2.8/24-70mm G that sucked. Having managed quickly to get rid of it, I'll never buy another zoom.

Pretty much every report I read around here regarding varios zooms eventually comes out with the confession that this part of the range or the other part of it is 'average' but that a tiny given area is pretty cool. That's simply not acceptable. For me.

The last thing I need to be weak is my equipment: I can supply sufficient failure opportunity all by myself.

Rob C
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2013, 04:32:50 PM »
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For a lot of people, Rob.  Including a large number of working professionals.  WRT to 'reports you read around here', they're worth about what you pay for them.
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Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2013, 03:13:18 AM »
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For a lot of people, Rob.  Including a large number of working professionals.  WRT to 'reports you read around here', they're worth about what you pay for them.


Possibly, but when they confirm my own experience, then I allow them some credit.

Regarding the pro bit: for the many decades that I was just that, I never accepted such a lens (zoom) and only in the last three or so years did I break my considered rule - to my instant regret.

And no, I don't live in a place where several changes of each lens are possible before one gets one that works like it says on the box. My single bad lens cost me more money: I had to buy something more expensive to facilitate the return.

In the end, I believe it makes fundamental sense. Were zooms able to be made with the qualities possible for primes, then who'd need primes? Two lenses would cover most people's usual range of work. That's not the situation with any pro I still know, though it does seem to be becoming a popular choice for amateurs. Which is just fine by me - I only concern myself with my own stuff.

Rob C
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2013, 06:39:49 AM »
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Possibly, but when they confirm my own experience, then I allow them some credit.

Regarding the pro bit: for the many decades that I was just that, I never accepted such a lens (zoom) and only in the last three or so years did I break my considered rule - to my instant regret.

And no, I don't live in a place where several changes of each lens are possible before one gets one that works like it says on the box. My single bad lens cost me more money: I had to buy something more expensive to facilitate the return.

In the end, I believe it makes fundamental sense. Were zooms able to be made with the qualities possible for primes, then who'd need primes? Two lenses would cover most people's usual range of work. That's not the situation with any pro I still know, though it does seem to be becoming a popular choice for amateurs. Which is just fine by me - I only concern myself with my own stuff.

Rob C

That's not really the case though, is it? 

Sigma 100-300 f4.  Maybe the best zoom ever made.  Outperformed many primes.  Unfortunately now discontinued.  Do zooms have compromises?  Sure.  But primes can be considered a compromise too in some ways.  It's true that there are a lot of junk zooms out there.  But there are a lot of junk primes too.  The argument that primes are always superior and no professional would ever consider using them is old and tired.  It's as old and tired as the argument that third party lenses are always inferior to OEM lenses (at least when referring to the Japanese makers, and now maybe Korean since Rokinon/Samyang is starting to make some  noise).  Your single experience really isn't sufficient to condemn the entire group.
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RSL
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« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2013, 10:01:41 AM »
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I've owned a single zoom in my life: a Nikkor 2.8/24-70mm G that sucked.

That's really strange, Rob. I've had a copy of that lens for several years and it's been excellent. Still is one of my favorites. But yes, I love primes too. I especially love the Summicron 50 f/1.4 on my E-P1. The Nikkor 85 f/1.8 is another great lens.
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Rob C
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« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2013, 01:12:49 PM »
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That's really strange, Rob. I've had a copy of that lens for several years and it's been excellent. Still is one of my favorites. But yes, I love primes too. I especially love the Summicron 50 f/1.4 on my E-P1. The Nikkor 85 f/1.8 is another great lens.



It's possible that had Nikon not seemingly cloesed down it's final inspection station at the factory, we would both still own the lens.

Bulky as it is, it was going to offer a very useful range to me, both on the D700 as well as the D200. In the event, neither dream came true.

In fact, the apparent abandonment of final QC has led me to buying nothing but used AIS lenses these last few times: I feel they offer more security coming, as I believe they do, from a more careful manufacturing era.

Perhaps this is less of a problem for those living near obliging dealers willing to swap and swap until the customer is happy; I don't share that delighful location!

Rob C
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