View Poll Results: Which type of lens gets your creative juices flowing?
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With a WA zoom, you can more or less frame and shoot from a fixed position, or with considerably less moving about. But this does not bother me. With a UWA prime (on MF) I routinely move around anyway. And 17mm is quite a darned tricky view to manage; of the 400 Ilfochrome Classic prints produced from several lenses, only one was printed featuring that 17mm end, and it worked a treat, in the right conditions at the right time. It's a very good size for open landscape photography but it must be balanced with a very strong foreground anchor or lead-in to keep the perspective balanced. I apply that rule anyway with either 45mm or 55mm primes in MF. I think 16mm is too extreme; the happy medium seems to be in the 20mm to 45mm range rather than trying to take in the whole world before in an extreme wide angle view on a relatively very small frame. You could look at zoom vs prime (I maintain that the optical quality is top notch for many, many zooms now, on a par with primes) as coming down to preference based on experience and the end product (large prints where optical refinement will clearly be on display), not assuming that what is suitable for one photographer will be universally suitable, good and proper for another. That said, I'm not going to pan Canon's fine 17-40mm (I also have a 70-200 f4L tele-zoom with equally refined optical pizazz), just that I do not use it (or 35mm) so frequently now.
Last edited by Poisson Du Jour; 11-06-2012 at 08:44 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: incorrect f/length stated
“The photographer must determine how he wants the finished print to look before he exposes the negative.
Before releasing the shutter, he must seek 'the flame of recognition,' a sense that the picture would reveal
the greater mystery of things...more clearly than the eyes see." ~Edward Weston, 1922.
The Tamron SP 20-40 f/2.7-3.5AF is superb.
Without a doubt I get more of my best shots with my 45-85 zoom, which is wide angle on my 645 camera. It's a nice sharp lens. At least 90% of the time I shoot at 45mm but nice to have a normal end to work with when you want it.
I almost never carry spare lenses so that is a factor as well. Whatever lens I have on the camera is what I am shooting with so in that case having a zoom is a bonus.
In some ways (geographic photographers excluded) zoom lenses were one of the worst things that ever happened to photographic technology. Suddenly people thought they could stay in the same position and just zoom in. Thus ignoring the use of perspective control by changing their distance between the camera and subject. See below example of HCB perspective control by positioning using a 50mm lens.
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
I understand that zooms make some people into lazy, bad photographers, but this is not what I'm asking about.
Originally Posted by cliveh
I'm asking if anyone uses a zoom lens that probably has used to use primes extensively in the past, knows different focal lengths intimately (and thus knows how different FL's control perspective), has an artistic goal in mind, and primarily uses a zoom lens to accomplish his ideas.
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I hear you on the "one lens-one camera" preference. Cool photos; is that a bit of barrel distortion I see?
Originally Posted by adelorenzo
In the late 1990s I bought a Vivitar Series 1 19-35mm zoom for my Nikons. For an inexpensive lens I've been pleasantly surprised with the results I've gotten. I used it not long after I got it to take some great pictures while staying on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. I usually use my Nikkor 20mm prime, but having the zoom in those confined quarters made it easier framing a lot of photos. I've since bought the 15-30mm Sigma, and I like it a lot, but find it rather large and heavy, and find using filters (in the rear gel holder) a bit of a pain. So I still go back to the old Vivitar as a favorite. With a red filter on partly cloudy day in the winter, with lots of great trees....one of my favorite times for picture taking.
Here's a second vote for the Sigma 15-30mm EX DG. It is fantastic. I have 3 prints from this lens hanging in my home - two 11x14 and one 16x20. I find that I use this lens at the extremes, either 15mm because I am going as wide as possible, or 30 because I want to switch perspective to a "normal" wide. So long as there is enough light, I don't give up much compared to my primes, so I don't hesitate to leave the lens on the camera and shoot this way.
As for standing still.... I don't know how you could possibly stand still with a lens this wide. I move all over the place and contort myself into all kinds of positions, because positioning subjects, forground, background, and their relationships, are so critical to successful wide angle photos.
My other camera is a Pentax
Thanks! That one is actually taken with my 35mm prime, could possibly be barrel distortion although who knows with that old building. That's been the 'one lens' for the past six weeks or so.
Originally Posted by jakeblues
I just got some rolls of Provia back from the lab most of which was shot on the 45-85, it's all scanned but haven't gotten anything uploaded yet. Really, really happy with the results though. I spent a weekend up on a mountain and packed four lenses around (fisheye, wide zoom, normal prime, tele prime), ended up shooting the zoom almost all of the time and the only other shots worth keeping are a few from my fisheye lens. If I did the same trip again I'd bring the 35 and 45-85 and nothing else.
I have a medium range Canon FD 28-85 f4 medium range zoom which is an excellent "walk around" lens that is particularly useful for shooting slides where precise framing is needed, for wide angle work I use Canon FD 35 mm f 2, 24 mm f 2, and the amazing Tamron S.P 17 mm f3.5 lens