There is no substitute for a long lens. Getting closer will completely change the perspective, and sometimes I want to compress distances. It's not just about framing or about being too lazy to hike. I actually find that I have to move greater distances when using long lenses to alter the relationships between objects in the frame.
Conversely, short lenses are excellent at emphasizing close objects. Perspective control is critical. The worst way to use a short lens is to place everything in the frame because it will de-emphasize distant objects.
Except long lenses have the huge disadvantage of a lack of shared space. Easily perceptible to the viewer and photographer - not to mention the environmental shift as a result of that lacking.
I never use 'em.
Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.
That's very true Robert either wide angle or telephoto lensed visually change the relationship between the foreground and the the background.
Originally Posted by Robert Budding
aurum why? i'm planning to purchase a 400 or 800mm tele for a pentax 67. we still have rights in this dictatorial police state in the UK.
Long lenses do have their uses, particularly outdoors. It's pretty hard to walk right up to a wild bird and get a good shot with a 50MM. Use a 200 or 300MM though and it's a different story. I can't say I'd use one much indoors, but out, sure. No I don't think it's at all about penis envy, though I joke about it being otherwise. It's about getting rid of limitations.
There are times when you can get the shot with a basic lens, but sometimes you just can't get that close and that's where the long lenses do come in.
I definitely want a full kit with a wide angle, some kind of lens for macro, a basic 50MM lens, a portrait lens, and at least one good long lens. I like to cover all the bases and I do that knowing that I will indeed use that 200MM or 300MM quite often.
I'm an admitted nature freak and in particular I love photographing birds, lizards and bugs. I can't see me NOT having some longer lenses. It's not like I can just walk right up to a wasp's nest and not risk being stung. At least with a long lens I've maybe got time to run if my taking a quick picture makes them angry!
Last edited by magkelly; 07-08-2010 at 12:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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I don't think that each type of lens has to have a specific 'use'. For my Hasselblad camera I use the 80mm and 150mm lens interchangeably to make portraits. I don't prefer one over the other, but the 150 definitely has more reach, but also requires more time and patience to focus.
What I do is I regularly leave the house with just one lens on the camera, and I force myself to use what I have. It has helped me a lot to learn how to adapt to a specific focal length, rather than having a camera bag full of lenses, wondering which one to choose next.
For 35mm I shoot landscape both with a 16mm super wide, as well as 55mm, 100mm, and 135mm lenses. I really don't prefer one over the other. I just use them. One at a time.
It helps not to 'label' the lenses. Try to work around the common concepts of "Wide angle for landscape", "telephoto for portraits", and "around normal for everything else". Force yourself to use a telephoto lens for a while. Think outside the box and see how you like it. After a while you will learn to 'see' with the lens, and develop a sense for what will look good or not.
I once went on a photo trip with friends to Michigan. I had a Mamiya 645 1000 S at the time. After much pondering of what to bring I figured my camera bag was too heavy. So I just brought the 150mm lens, nothing else, (other than a Holga and a pinhole). I came back with some of the most rewarding pictures I've ever produced, probably because I didn't think about what lens to use, but rather just learned to become 'one' with the equipment at hand, and simply figured out how to make things work. The attached picture is one of the pictures from that trip.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh