Telephoto madness?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Rudeofus, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    I have a 35mm and an MF camera and use the MF rig mostly for landscape type shots. Right now I only have the standard 110mm lens so obviously I should be looking at some wide angle lens. But whenever I start looking for used wide angle lenses I find myself drifting off into the longer focal lengths section :sad: For some reason I keep looking at 210mm and 250 and 350mm lenses when I personally have absolutely no application for long focal lengths on MF (my kids who should eventually become part of my landscape shots are way too fast).

    Since I also see this happening to other folks (people buying long glass, then not using it and eventually selling it at a loss) I wonder what drives me (and others) towards telephoto lenses. Is there something unconsciously messing with my/our thoughts?
     
  2. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    Since I spend most of my time with a 50mm, telephotos are very nice. I only have one, a 70-150/4 in OM mount. It's pretty small and light, so I'm happy with it.
    Personally I don't like walking around with a long lens on because I don't want to stand out, and I don't want to look like one of the many obvious photographers with their characteristic massive zooms & dSLRs.

    Also bright telephoto lenses are expensive over here :sad:
     
  3. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    I think many of us expect to use the gear, but then we don't have as much time to spend on it as we hoped and the gear sits unused. If we all shot as much as we had planned to, we would wear out some of this gear, instead it sits in mint shape.

    I have a 300mm lens for my Pentax 645, it's a great lens, I love using it, but I hardly use it.

    -Rob
     
  4. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I usually go from wide angle to short telephoto. I have a 400mm for my Canon FD bodies but I hardly use it.

    Jeff
     
  5. eddym

    eddym Member

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    Very simple: a big long lens is sexy. It's a phallic symbol. I can remember drooling over them, too. The last one I had was a 300mm Nikon, and after making maybe a dozen shots with it over several years, I finally came to my senses and donated it to a young photography student. She loves it.
     
  6. RobertV

    RobertV Member

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    Maybe I have to sell my 400mm EOS lens........ :D
     
  7. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    Personally, in terms of "landscape" shooting, I've evolved over the last 30 years from mostly wide angle to now mostly telephoto shooting.
    I find tighter framing and selective focus helps create more compelling photos.
    Also, the longer glass helps in many situations where the terrain restricts your ability to move about.
    I shoot a 50mm and a 180mm on my RB now and I'm watching for an affordable 250 before my summer travel season starts.
     
  8. mhcfires

    mhcfires Subscriber

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    Long fast lenses are great for shooting birds and other wildlife. I would love to have a 600mm VR lens, but the >$10k price tag brings me back to my senses. I can have just as much fun with a 50mm/1.1 Nokton on my Leica as with a big lens on my Nikon, maybe more. I don't expect to be getting out anytime soon to go bird shooting, but I will have a blast at the local weekly classic car shows with the Leica. If I really want to turn heads, I will take my 2x3 Graflex SLR or my 4x5 Speed. "Wow! They still make film for those old things?":tongue:
     
  9. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Ninety percent to 95% of my work is with "normal" focal lengths. I tend to photograph what I see, so a lens that approximates that is what I tend to use. Just a personal vision sort of thing. I have borrowed a 24" lens for the 8x10, but have only used it a couple times. A convertable lens I have will give me 28", but at infinity it maxes out my rails -- took one image so far with that. On the wide side I have a 159mm and a 210mm -- the 210 sees more use. It is nice having the range "just in case", but if I had only the 300mm, I could still find enough worthwhile images for the rest of my life.

    Several years ago I bought a 600mm (Apo-Rodenstock CL) lens that has a too large of a diameter for my lens board -- I need to sell the thing to someone with a bigger format than my 8x10. Why did I buy it -- wish I knew...don't think I will get my $400 back out of it. Pretty to look at, though.
     
  10. John NYC

    John NYC Member

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    I don't shoot surfing, African animals in the landscape, tight Hollywood headshots, etc., so I have no need for anything longer than what would be an 85mm equivalent in 35mm format. I also never really go shorter than 24mm equivalent. I'm a simple man with simple needs... and thankfully, since I really don't want to have to shell out $12K Nikon for super telephoto ever in my life.
     
  11. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I range from 20mm to 300mm in 135.
    I range from 38mm to 500mm in MF [6x6]

    Steve
     
  12. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    I have a tendency to use short teles for landscape work on all my cameras, so the 210 for your (Mamiya RB?) sounds like a very useful lens to have. Great for portraits too! I use 85 and 100mm in 35mm quite a bit, and a 150mm on the Hasselblad very often.
     
  13. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I used to be a wide angle person, but I've gotten to where I like to be very selective in my framing. Hence, a 150 is my favorite lens for my 6x6, and a 210 is what I mostly use in 4x5, including landscapes.
     
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  15. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I know that for myself I gravitate to wanting to buy longer lenses when my subject matter demands it. A recent rodeo shoot showed the shortcomings of my 90mm and whenever I'm out in AZ my lens could just about never be long enough. Living in suburbia tho and shooting locally at events or downtown demands the wider focal lengths. I think in some way we may want longer lenses because we want more open spaces to shoot in. Just a thought.
     
  16. clayne

    clayne Member

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    I specifically avoid telephotos of any sort. Whenever I'm looking for a lens for a specific format I'm almost always trying to base it on what lens would fall within a 15-40mm 35mm equivalent focal length. However, these days I don't really buy lenses on an often basis.

    I find telephoto compression to be advantageous, scene-wise, in maybe 1% of actual photos. The other 99% ends up resulting in over-compressed flat lifeless scrap. Can barely stand 'em.
     
  17. kossi008

    kossi008 Member

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    I don't know, telephoto is not for me.

    I range from 21 to 100 mm in 35 mm terms, with 35 mm being my central focal length. The thing I enjoy most about my FD 100/2.8 is that it looks just like a normal lens, not like a tele. My 200/4 hardly gets any use...
     
  18. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I go from 20mm to 135mm shooting 35mm format, and that's about it.
    But mostly, whether it's people or landscape, 50mm and 35mm do so well that I really feel I don't need other lenses.
     
  19. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    It's part of the human condition. Your rational mind always battles with your emotions of what you want, but not necessarily what you need. If a longer lens is not that expensive and you could afford it, get it. I remember when I started to build my MF and 35mm camera kits and I wanted to cover wide angle shots through telephoto shot. I use mostly my wide angle and normal perspective lenses. The telephoto lenses are for the most part, white elephants. I don't see in the telephoto perspective for the most part. The long lenses are occasionally useful for me. If you have a buddy that has a lens, try borrowing it or if there's a rental outlet, rent it as you need it of money is tight.
     
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I use short telephotos regularly.

    85mm for 135 film, and 135mm on my Mamiya TLRs.

    The moderate telephoto compression appeals to me.

    The longest lens I have is a 70 - 200mm zoom in OM mount, that I almost never use. The 70 - 150 zoom gets more use.

    My 210mm for 645 is underused, but it isn't the lens' fault :smile:.
     
  21. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I once bought a 300mm lens, nice to look through, but it didn't get used much and it was heavy. All the girls I knew back then would make these phallic compensation jokes; so I sold it and got into fisheyes: "look, my new lens is only 16mm long"!
     
  22. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I wish I was that lucky!:D

    Jeff
     
  23. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    For 35mm I keep a 35mm f/1.8 lens on the camera most of the time and sometimes use a 135mm. The only time I use a 300mm is at the local air shows at Gillespie Field and Miramar. MF & LF work is done with standard lenses 95% of the time. The longer lenses are indeed sexy but get limited use.
     
  24. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    A group portrait of the former Texas Church Project crew. That's me in the back with a 250mm on a Kowa 6 and a 400mm (on a forgotten SLR) sticking out of Scooter Magruder's head. :surprised:

    I don't have the Kowa anymore. Replaced it with an RB67 for which I own a 500mm!!!! :tongue:
     

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  25. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    God doesn't put great photos where lazy people can find them!

    Don't just stand there and point your long lens at something, hoping you can get close enough to shoot it. If you want to take a great photo, get of your ass, climb that hill, get close to the thing you're trying to photograph and work for it!

    :wink: :wink: :wink:

    As much as I'm joking around, there's truth there. One reason I'm shooting photos again is to get my ass off the sofa and go out for a walk. Taking the camera with me is a good way to stay motivated to do it every day.
     
  26. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    My experience with teles indicates that it takes a lot of work to find a decent shot suitable for a tele lens.

    There are a few things I noticed:
    • Apart from the fact that they tend to be a lot heavier to haul around, it involves a lot more running or climbing for just a small change in framing.
    • People aim for the sharpest tele lenses (APO teles for RZ67 achieve significantly higher prices than non-APO lenses), yet the further a subject is away, the more blurry it automatically gets. So most folks yearning for the super sharp super telephoto lens essentially chase a fata morgana.
    • Since our eyes have very different resolution off the main axis, we tend to see like a super tele. So whenever we see something in the distance (like a bird flying or some wild life), we think, with a good tele we could fill the frame. Wrong, a 300mm is nothing compared to the center spot of our eyes.