Lens Recommendation-landscape and fast

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by linda carlson, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. I have a Eos5DMK11 - I want to purchase a fast lens in the wide angle zoom range. I'll be shooting out West and I want to travel with a maximum of 2 lenses. I'm curious to hear recommendations both low budget and higher priced based on user experiences. Thanks so much for your thoughts.
    Linda
     
  2. The EF 16-35/2.8 L II is the lens for you, Linda. It's the fastest wide angle zoom Canon makes.
    The alternative is the equally good but slower 17-40/4 L. For shooting landscapes from a tripod, the slower zoom is perhaps even a little better, and it's much cheaper.
     
  3. Sorry, double post.
     
  4. does it really have to be fast? Most landscapes are shot at f/8-16 from a tripod, will f/2.8 really give you an advantage over f/4? You can decide that for yourself and here are your choices, EF 16-35mm f/2.8L or 17-40mm f/4L, the f/4 is about half the price. Also, 70-200mm f/4L IS or non. The f/4 versions of this lens are much lighter that the 2.8's and easier to carry around all day. Also, f/4 is fine for outdoors in most situations. I know you said 2 lenses, but since primes hardly take up any space, I'd get a 50mm prime to bridge the gap. The 24-70 or 24-105mm are great, but I'd want a superwide like the first two I mentioned to get those dramatic sweeping landscapes out west, and I'd also want a telephoto, so sorry 24-XX, but you'd get bumped out of my bag.
     
  5. Mark snuck in while I was typing. But there you have it, 2 different responses with the same theory.
     
  6. The EF 16-35mm f/2.8 is your fast, expensive option for the 5D.
    There are cheaper options, but not exactly 'cheap' and not at f/2.8. These days with a Mark II, you should be able to get tolerable low light shots at high ISOs if you're willing to use them, even with f/4 lenses.
    Thus the 17-40mm is an option too.
    Although it's really another sort of fish (but NOT fisheye), the Sigma 12-24mm is another possibility for a 35mm sensor (review on Nikon APS-C at link).
    The no-longer-produced Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 is a capable, but not perfect, solution and is still sold widely on eBay (review at link). I paid about $300 for mine, which is as cheap as it gets, I think.
     
  7. Why a fast lens for landscapes? Doesn't really compute.
     
  8. I've got to ask a dumb question. When you say a fast lens what do you think that means?
     
  9. Sigma 10-20mm great lens
     
  10. Linda a great affordable two lens solution for travel with the 5d2 is a 17-40 and a 70-200 f4 non-is. About $1400 for both, great IQ, small, light, good focal range. (Add another $300 for top notch UV, polarizer, ND Grad)
     
  11. Thanks to all of you for responding! I love photo.net's ability to share and reach out. I suppose it really doesn't have to be a fast lens for landscape; I'm looking for maximum flexibility and ability whenever I buy a lens that's why thought about fast. Fast doesn't always equate to "best" in a given situation though.
    I'm thinking that the 17-40, lighter & less expensive lens, might fit the bill for me. I want to travel as light as possible.
    Linda
     
  12. Think about bringing a single reasonably fast prime along for when you need faster than the f/4.0 lenses. I'm a fan of the (amazingly tiny) manual focus Voightlander 40/2.0. Mine is marginally sharper in the center at f/2.0 than my Canon 35/2.0. The 50/1.4 is funky wide open, but reasonably sharp at f/2.0.
     
  13. I frequently go out with 17-40 F4 and the 70-200 F4. Great combination. If you want you can then add a light prime for the gap between the two.
     
  14. At the low end, the 17-40 & 70-200/4 +tripod
    High end, 14/2.8 and 24-105 +tripod
    If hiking is involved: 24-105, carbon tripod, or leave tripod behind.
     
  15. I'm assuming that you need the ultra wide angle large aperture zoom for things other than landscape? Generally, most folks are going to work from a tripod (thus using slower shutter speeds rather than larger apertures), look for best resolution (thus avoiding the larger apertures when possible), and recognize that narrow DOF isn't easy to achieve from an ultra wide.
    If you just need a lens for landscape in this focal length range, there is virtually no advantage to getting the 16-35mm f/2.8 II L. Not only does it cost more, but it is also larger and heavier. In addition, it uses a larger and non-standard 82mm filter thread - many of the other L zooms that you might complement it with use a 77mm filter diameter. At the smaller apertures it will not perform any better than the 17-40.
    On the other hand, if you need large aperture for other purposes (perhaps doing hand held low light interior photography?) then the 16-35 is a fine lens and can be worth the extra cost, etc. for its abilities in that non-landscape mode.
    As to another lens, there are a lot of options - but selecting among them requires you to think a bit about how you shoot and your own preferences. For my part, when I shoot landscape with a full frame body and only two lenses (for example, when I backpack) I often pair the 17-40 with the 24-105mm f/4 L IS. If you really don't need longer focal lengths at all, and especially if you will work from the tripod (as is typical for landscape) you could consider the 24-70mm f/2.8 L. I won't get into the reasons for choosing one over the other, except to say that the major decision factor is not image quality.
    If you want longer focal lengths, and they can be tremendously useful for certain types of landscape shooting, one of the 70-200mm lenses can be very useful. I get a lot of use out of my non-IS f/4 70-200mm L, which is an excellent lens optically and is a bit smaller, lighter, and less expensive than the f/2.8 variants. If you go this route and are concerned about the gap between 40mm (or 35mm) and 70mm, one option is to fill it with a 50mm prime.
    Dan
     
  16. Have a read at The Digital Picture.
     
  17. another vote for the 17-40 and 70-200. And tripod. Maybe you mis-read Linda, it's the f64 group, not the f6.4 :) If west and places like ocean, mountains, grand canyon, think pan stitching (tripod)
     
  18. A stray thought: When you're doing landscape work, you're probably doing a lot of hiking. Of course that's great exercise, and your exercise effort can only be improved by lugging around a heavier lens. That's something that would make your physician happy. However, I'm old, my knees are bad, and I realize I would rarely, if ever, shoot a landscape at f/2.8. Therefore I carry around an f/4 zoom.
    The 17-40/4 is a lot of bang for the buck.
     
  19. Thanks again to everyone who responded. I'm going to mull over all the responses before I decide. For now, I'm thinking lighter zooms are my best bet! Happy shooting everyone.
    Linda
     
  20. okay, so people are asking "why a fast lens for landscape?", so I'll ask, "why a zoom lens for landscape?". The only advantage of zoom lenses is that you don't have to change lenses in fast past dynamic situations. Otherwise, they are inferior optically, they are riduculously big, the are ridiculously heavy, they are slow (2.8 is the fastest), they are usually auto focus (certainly not required for landscape) so they aren't built as well as a manual focus lens, and the fastest of the zooms are very expensive, and they promote bad technique (standing and zooming in and out as opposed to thinking about your composition and dof and all that goes with changing the focal length in relation to you and the subject).
     
  21. Sarah, you said it with more humor than I managed to muster, but I'm with you on choosing the f/4 zooms over the f/2.8 zooms for my own landscape work. I'm all too often (or not often enough, depending on how you look at it) carrying the lenses and camera(s) and tripod on my person, and unless there is a clear benefit to carrying something heavier I'm not going to do it.
    My basic kit for landscape-on-foot starts with a 5D2 and the 24-105. I often add, even when backpacking, one additional lens - it is most often the 17-40 f/4. If I carry three lenses, the f/4 70-200 typically joins the other two. I virtually never carry more than that on backpack trips.
    On day-hiking shoots I'll carry more stuff, but still only rarely the full kit. (The "full kit" includes two full frame bodies, four zooms, four primes, a very large tripod, various filters and other stuff. It weighs, almost literally or so it seems, a ton.)
    Regarding the f/2.8 zooms... They are fine lenses, without a doubt, and they have their place. If you are shooting subjects other than landscape and similar (or if you shoot landscape in an unusual matter) then they can be more versatile. If you are really young and strong and take pain without complaining, they can even be OK on back-country walks. If you work from a car all the time, then why not carry that f/2.8 zoom and those honkin' big tele primes?
    Dan
     
  22. Ty,
    zooms are good for landscapes for many reasons. Yes, with landscapes you have more time to change lenses and get better quality, but more primes costs more than one zoom. 20mm +28mm +35mm = more than the 17-40mm in price. This also brings me to my next point; the widest affordable prime is 20mm, the 14mm is not affordable for most people, so to get wider than 20mm a zoom is mandatory.
     
  23. okay, so people are asking "why a fast lens for landscape?", so I'll ask, "why a zoom lens for landscape?".​
    I'll go you one better, Ty. Why would anyone shoot landscapes without movements? If I had to climb El Capitan I might be content with a 17-40 f/4 as a weight-saving alternative. But given that Canon has amazing, flexible, superbly well-built lenses available like the 17 mm TS-E and the 24 mm TS-E II - hopefully, they'll update the 45 to a II version soon - there's a very real advantage to eschewing the AF/zoom culture, at least at the wide end.
    Galen Rowell wrote that he did some of his best work with with a 70-200, so it's not that you CAN'T take good landscape photos with zoom lenses (plenty of people do). Rather, movements offer an exciting creative alternative.
    That said, for the OP, I think that the 17-40 f/4 is the right solution. She is VERY wisely thinking about trimming weight and bulk from her camera bag - most people pack too much and live to regret it. The objective to travel lightly should trump most arguments about the philosophy of lens construction.
     
  24. I'm fully with GDM on this one. 5D2 + 17-40L + 24-105L is my "standard" kit. I often throw in my nifty fifty (50 f/1.8) which likely weighs less than my flash :)
     
  25. okay, so people are asking "why a fast lens for landscape?", so I'll ask, "why a zoom lens for landscape?". The only advantage of zoom lenses is that you don't have to change lenses in fast past dynamic situations.​
    ONLY advantage?
    OK, let's say you're hiking along a mountain trail, and there's something off in the distance you want to photograph. Your 28mm lens is too wide, and your 50 is too long. You're kicking yourself that you didn't bring something inbetween, but your bag of a half dozen lenses is already pretty heavy. However, it's no problem. You just take off your jacket so you can spread your wings, and you take flight. Unfortunately I don't have wings, so I have to use a zoom.
    Or let's say you see a bear on your hike. Wildlife photography sometimes goes hand-in-hand with landscape photography. So to frame up the bear, you do "sneaker zooming." Unfortunately this is a bit more conspicuous than zooming with a zoom lens. The bear feels threatened and eats you for an early evening appetizer, murmering with a smile, "Golden hour, indeed!" As he wipes your blood from his lips with your microfiber cloth, he contemplates the perfection of his meal being delivered with napkins included. He spends the next day burning ants with all of your fast primes, thinking "What great Happy Meal toys!"
    Otherwise, they are inferior optically, they are riduculously big, the are ridiculously heavy, they are slow (2.8 is the fastest), they are usually auto focus (certainly not required for landscape) so they aren't built as well as a manual focus lens, and the fastest of the zooms are very expensive, and they promote bad technique (standing and zooming in and out as opposed to thinking about your composition and dof and all that goes with changing the focal length in relation to you and the subject).​
    Big, heavy, expensive, and slow? Yes. I'll grant you that. Gee, you might wonder why so many people buy them. It must be a laziness thing -- perhaps inability to sneaker-zoom due to morbid obesity. I wonder whether zooms are more commonly used in parts of the world where obesity is more commonplace.
    Inferior build? Why would you say that? You're not talking about the optics here. You're talking about all the mechanicals. So do the folks from Canon and Nikon factories say, "Better loosen up on the machining tolerances of that mounting ring, Yoshiko! Remember, it's a zoom, not a prime! You wouldn't want those fat American zoomers to get all uppity about the build of their lenses, now, would you?"
    And finally, you say they're bad for composition?! Really?! All this time I thought that was the biggest benefit of a zoom over a prime! I mean, when trying to frame up an image to have a very specific relationship between foreground and background size. Maybe 50 is too short and 85 is too long. Let's say you need a 67mm focal length to bring that background into the precise compositional relationship you desire. Do you have a 67mm lens? I do.
    And is it all just laziness, either mentally or physically? No. When I'm doing my zoomyzoom stuff, there's a lot of sneaker involvement too. It's a geometric thing. There's sneaker zooming to the right vantage, lens zooming to frame, fine tuning of sneaker zooming, fine tuning of lens zooming, etc. With a prime, I'd simply sneaker-zoom to the best location to frame up the subject and learn to be content with the background however it is. You can claim that's a higher intellectual sort of thing, but I think you've simply sacrificed a couple of variables for added sharpness that you won't even see if you're not using a tripod (and probably not even then).
    Only a narrow or uninformed photographer would say that a zoom is always better than a prime or a prime better than a zoom. They both have their places, and the better photographers usually own and use both.
     
  26. G Dan, I've come to love the 24-105 as the best general purpose hiking lens for my 5D. I sometimes pack that up in an extra-long holster bag with my tiny Zenitar fisheye in the bottom. I've come not to like the sweeping margins of an ultrawide rectilinear lens for most of my work, although I realize that's a matter of personal taste. I've found that a fisheye can look much less distorted than a rectilinear lens under the right conditions: horizon through the middle, and no trees. If I'm going into a pine forest, I'll often pack the 17-40 with my 24-105, but if I'm out in the desert, it's generally the little fisheye that gets packed. If I'm expecting longer views, I carry my 70-200/4IS with my 24-105 and leave the fisheye and 17-40 behind. Even then I feel overburdened. I carry a light, carbon-fiber tripod only if I'm expecting huge dynamic range, as it allows me to take perfectly overlayable bracketed exposures. Otherwise I leave the tripod behind and rely upon the IS. I've found that the IS delivers single-frame results almost as good as (and sometimes even better than) the average light-weight tripod. I might get even better results with my Leitz Tiltall, but I'm not carrying that thing up a mountain!
     
  27. @ Ty the platitudes are way overboard
    The only advantage of zoom lenses is that you don't have to change lenses in fast past dynamic situations.​
    They allow you to achieve different framings. You can't walk in every case to get a different framing, and you may want a certain object in foreground, and the difference between 17 and 40 is huge. They also allow you to employ different perspectives, flattening the subject or not
    Otherwise, they are inferior optically​
    The Canon 17-40 is much better than the Canon 20mm 2.8 for example - link
    , they are ridiculously big, the are ridiculously heavy​
    A lens like the 17-40 is heavy? It barely weighs anything. Big, heavy? Try shooting landscapes with a Fuji 6x9 and a 50mm prime. Now that's big and heavy.
    They are slow (2.8 is the fastest)​
    2.8 is slow? I know plenty of photographer who would be thrilled to be burdened with "slow" 2.8 lenses.
    and they promote bad technique​
    If you don't know what you're doing maybe. Plenty of top notch professionals and plenty of very skilled amateurs use zoom lenses for landscapes. As someone else pointed out Galen Rowell loved his 70-200, and with good reason as it's a stellar landscape lens. I'll sacrifice 5-10% of sharpness vs. a prime any day for the flexibility and possibilities that a lens like 70-200 opens up for landscapes. Of course it's stupid to use poor quality zooms for anything.
     
  28. I'll go you one better, Ty. Why would anyone shoot landscapes without movements? ...
    Galen Rowell wrote that he did some of his best work with with a 70-200, so it's not that you CAN'T take good landscape photos with zoom lenses (plenty of people do). Rather, movements offer an exciting creative alternative.
    I won't comment on the use of reverse inductive logic, but I will respond your question about using tilt/shift lenses.
    1. A friend is a well-known and successful landscape photographer, and has been since he worked with some fellow named Adams back in the early 1980s or thereabouts. If you have been to the AA Gallery in Yosemite (and a number of other locations in the Valley) you have seen his work. He worked with LF film for many years. Recently he switched to MF digital. I asked him whether he missed the tilts/shifts/swings of the LF gear. He gave me a puzzled look and said, "no."
    2. That said, while TS lenses do have their uses - working slowly and methodically, photographing tilted flat-plane desert and water landscapes, doing the classic "wildflower in foreground with distant mountain" beyond shot, and so forth - they are unnecessary for much landscape photography.
    3. Being best adapted to certain types of subjects and to working in a very slow and methodical manner - I'm sure you understand the complexity of focusing such lenses - they are ill-suited to much landscape photography in which flexibility and versatility are more important. When that 60 seconds of golden light strikes the trees along the top of the foreground ridge and is fading fast, you'll be better served by having a good zoom on the camera now than by fumbling with the TS.
    Again, I have nothing against TS lenses, and I agree that in some specialized situations they will let you do things that you cannot do (at least not in a single exposure) with other lenses. But the implication that "real landscape photographers use TS" is one that I strongly disagree with. (Along with other presumptions along the lines of "real photographers shoot primes," "real photographers pre-visualize every photograph," "real photographers get it right in the camera and don't do much in post," and all the rest of it.)
    Regarding advantages that zooms can provide for landscape photography:
    1. With zooms you can frequently "crop in camera" rather than having to crop your image in post. With this in mind, resolution advantages of primes are frequently negated or even reversed.
    2. Zooms allow the greatest flexibility when it comes to using focal length effectively as a compositional device.
    3. Not all landscape photography is done a a leisurely pace - in fact, quite a bit of it is done rather quickly as the photographer reacts to transient effects of light and atmosphere. It is more likely that one can react to such things quickly when a lens change isn't required.
    4. A great deal of landscape photography is done by people traveling on foot. Minimizing the amount of equipment - especially regarding weight and bulk - can be a critical issue.
    5. Much landscape photography is done at small apertures. While it is common for primes to provide better IQ at their larger apertures, this is less true - and sometimes not true at all - when shooting at smaller apertures.
    6. While the very best resolution will come from an excellent prime used to make a photograph that requires no cropping, the fact of the matter is that zooms can produce excellent image quality suitable for printing at very large sizes.
    7. While one zoom is larger than one prime in most cases, one zoom is often not larger than, say, three or four primes.
    Dan
    (Who tends to rely entirely on zooms for back-county photography, but who also carries an equal number of primes when shooting landscape from a vehicle, and who is not dogmatic about either primes or zooms, thinking that both have their places and that both can be used to produce fine photographs.)
     
  29. I won't comment in the failure to recognize a healthy dose of sarcasm or the fact that I actually agreed with you as to what
    was best for the OP and why.

    I know who your friend is and respect his work and his opinion. And you're right; I have seen his work. A poster of his hangs in my local Jiffy Lube, and every
    time I stop in for an oil change I pause to admire his work. That said, just because he no longer chooses to use
    movements doesn't mean that movements are any less useful than they were when he was shooting 4x5. Anyone
    of his experience knows that one shouldn't do (or avoid) something just because someone else does. We don't all work
    alike, nor do we all SEE alike. I've seen your work, too. It's very elegant, and I admire what you do with soft light. That doesn't mean that I should run out and emulate your approach. I have a different vision, and I employ a different set of tools.

    I would use movements (at least rise and fall) for 80 percent of all exposures if it were feasible - it's not for various
    reasons - because they enable me to photograph the world as I see it. If someone else sees the world through the
    characteristics of a zoom lens, then they should count themselves lucky to live in an age when zooms are cranked out in
    far greater numbers than primes. Zooms are very flexible. I wouldn't want to shoot an event without them. And when
    they come with IS and AF they give us some amazing capabilities.

    Disparaging TS lenses and by extension movements makes no sense at all unless your objective is to disparage a photographic technology that has
    proven itself useful for over a century and a half and which is used very frequently in the motion picture industry as well. What if someone walked up to you and your friend in Yellowstone one morning and informed the two of you that medium format is completely unnecessary because Art Wolfe gets good pictures with a Canon? Would you not think this unreasonable? As unreasonable perhaps as someone who criticizes TS lenses without actually spending time with them in the field?

    Galen Rowell was my favorite landscape photographer of all time, and he never used movements as far as I know. Nor did he permit a lot of post processing on his images, so I don't think he was straightening verticals in Photoshop. Obviously, it's very possible to make great landscape photos without movements. My other favorite is David Muench who spent decades capturing the world with a 4x5 camera. So obviously it's very possible to make great landscape photos WITH movements. Galen's trees lean. David's trees are straight. And both of them made great images with their respectively chosen technologies, technologies that they themselves selected to match their own visions and demands.
     
  30. Sarah, instead of running up to that hungry bear and sacrificing yourself for the shot, how about just framing a different
    composition with the focal length that you have available? Instead of "Close Up of Bear Mouth" shoot "Bear Framed by
    Douglass Firs". ;-)

    All kidding aside, this apparent negative of working with prime lenses can be turned into an advantage in many cases,
    because it forces the photographer to make a different compositional choice than they would have made if they had had a
    zoom lens on the camera. Oh, and those sneakers work in reverse, too! :~)
     
  31. Dan, I'm not the one photographing the bear with the 50mm lens! Remember? My strategy would be to hide behind a rock and mount up my 70-200 with 1.4 TC. (I don't carry anything longer.) Then I'd wait for the next prime lens purist to come down the trail and photograph the interactions between photographer and subject. It would be all the more delicious with a LF rig on a tripod! :)
    I do get your point about being forced to make different compositional choices. However, there's a much better way this can be done, even with a zoom lens: Start out by taking the obvious shot. Then ask, "How else can this ____ be photographed?" One shouldn't require limitations to force one into making alternative compositional decisions. For instance, when I took this shot, I assure you I had a telephoto in my car:
    [​IMG]
    I could have zoomed in on the distant mountains just like everyone else who stopped at that vantage point, but what would be the use? That would be everyone else's shot. So instead, I looked around me to see what was going on. Dark clouds were drifting ominously into the scene. The long shadows were looking pretty cool too. I took the tele off of my camera and mounted up my 17-40 with a polarizer, got down in the dirt, and took this shot after everyone finally got out of my way. (They were looking at me like I was nuts, too.) I like this shot. I forced myself to do something different and didn't have to be forced by lens limitations. I got what I think was a different, if not better shot.
    Why limit yourself?
     
  32. "Disparaging TS lenses and by extension movements makes no sense at all unless your objective is to disparage a photographic technology that has proven itself useful for over a century and a half and which is used very frequently in the motion picture industry as well."
    Perhaps you misread my message. I did not "disparage" TS lenses - in fact, I acknowledged that they are useful and perhaps indispensable in certain situations. What I did disparage was precisely the thing that you suggest - incorrectly - that I did, namely make a blanket statement that equipment X (in this case, a TS lens) was somehow better than other options. Essentially, I was answering the question you posed: "Why would anyone shoot landscapes without movements?"
    I was also responding to a post by an earlier writer suggesting that "the only advantage of zoom lenses is that you don't have to change lenses in fast past dynamic situations." That is, of course, nonsense.
    One concern in forums such as these is that many new photographers read this stuff and make the mistake of accepting bizarre and incorrect claims as representing "the right way" to do photography. Those making these claims may have some good reasons for preferring unusual approaches in their work (eschewing zooms, using TS lenses 80% of the time, cetc.). However, I think it is important to clarify what photographers really do, especially for impressionable "newbies" who may not have the background to understand the difference.
    Fundamentally, my message was not to disparage any type of equipment or to tell anyone what is "best" for them - far from it. Anyone who might have seen my posts on these subjects perhaps recognizes that one of the first responses I provide to those who ask "what gear should I get?" is "what are you planning to do with it?" Gear choices are virtually always decisions that should be made individually and in the context of how one will shoot. There is no "best lens" aside from the lens that is most appropriate for your needs. For some, it could be a TS. But for most it will not be.
    Take care,
    Dan
    (Apologies if I misconstrued parts of your comment that were meant to be humorous. I've done it before, and I'll probably do it again, I'm afraid. It isn't always easy to parse that stuff in a forum post.)
     
  33. Sarah, you and I seem to think a lot alike. I've never understood the bizarre argument that using a prime makes you "see better." (For the record, I do sometimes go out and shoot "street" with just a prime, so I'm not just guessing about this.) If I "see" a shot with 50mm focal length - in terms of framing, foreground/background size and focus relationships, DOF, and the rest - then I'll move the zoom ring so the FL is 50mm.
    However, if I'm interesting in trying different FLs for outcomes other than the one I originally considered... I can try many other compositions with the zoom. Anyone watching me shoot with a zoom would realize that I probably move around a lot more when shooting with zooms than with primes - because I have more variables to work with. I can make the background smaller relative to the main subject by zooming out; I can eliminate distracting foreground elements by zooming in or by moving closer and adjusting the FL, I can increase the magnitude of background blur by stepping back and using a longer FL. And so on...
    Unless one is prepared to adopt the point of view that focal length is unimportant in compositional decisions (and would consequently always shoot with one focal length, and it could be whatever happened to be at hand), it seems obvious that a zoom provides the greatest flexibility and creative potential when it comes to using focal length as a creative tool. (Just to be clear - I can anticipate the response already - there are situations in which I choose to use a prime instead of a zoom. I won't blather on about why...)
    Dan
     
  34. One concern in forums such as these is that many new photographers read this stuff and make the mistake of accepting bizarre and incorrect claims as representing "the right way" to do photography.​
    It's a valid concern, but I don't think the downside is all that serious. If your only source of information is the web, you'd better develop an accurate BS meter very quickly. If someone follows bad advice and screws up a few hundred photos, they're going to learn quickly to question what they read. This isn't 1992. Old ladies surf the web today. Almost everyone is familiar with the dangers of believing everything that you read, and the ideas posted here are far less outrageous than those posted on some other well-known photography websites.
    What we should review though is which claims made here are "bizarre and inaccurate"? Maybe you should quote the lines that you have determined to be bizarre so we all know what you're talking about. Is it bizarre to suggest that there's more than one way to approach making a photograph? Is it bizarre to talk about the application of movements in landscape photography (something that might be a new concept to many of the newbies whom you want so desperately to protect from corrupting influences) despite the fact that movements have been applied to landscape photograph for over a century?
    Movements weren't invented by some flaky cult in the 1960's; they've been a part of photography for a very long time. When I shoot 4x5, people stop by and ask me why I'm using an "old-fashioned" camera (it's less than 5 years old). I see this as a testament to the longevity of movements. Sadly, the bizarre things is that so many photographers in the auto-everything era don't even know what movements are or how they can benefit a composition.
    Yes, you are correct in that it takes a little longer to focus a TS lens (especially when using tilt or swing), and you could miss opportunities that you would have captured with AF. But would the AF have focused at the right distance? If you focus manually with Live View, that takes just about as long with your zoom lens as with a TS. And would the composition be as strong? Are there trees of cliffs or fence posts or barns that lean over when you could have rendered straight with the application of rise or fall on a leveled camera?
    I can focus a TS lens in just about any situation in under two minutes and sometimes in as little as a few seconds. A 4x5 may take 3 to 6 minutes or longer depending on the amount of light that I have to work with and the number and type of movements that I apply. Time is definitely a factor, and I've missed my share of shots (on the 4x5). But those experiences taught me to look ahead and to predict where light would be falling in the near future. Of course, an obvious solution is to have a second camera handy and set to auto-everything so you can grab a shot of a fleeting moment while you're setting up your more carefully focused images. Carefully constructed shots are good but fleeting magic moments are good, too. Ideally, we should be ready to catch either at any time.
    I've never understood the bizarre argument that using a prime makes you "see better."​
    Hmm, more bizarreness. Did Ty suggest that primes make you see better? Did someone else? I know that I didn't. Differently, yes.
    This prime lens topic wasn't mine in the first place. I rarely use primes on small format unless I need a specialized lens like a Tilt-Shift or a Macro. These days the best zoom lenses are optically just as good, so I don't see the point of using primes. Of course on MF or LF it's a different story. LF is all prime all the time, so that's what I use. I can't remember ever wishing for an intermediate focal length between those that I carry routinely (although a super-long telephoto with a large enough image circle would be amazing!). A prime lens has a distinct identity, and you use it for what it is, not what it could be if you could slide up or down a few millimeters. If you concentrate on getting the most out of the prime focal lengths that you have, you won't miss the ones that you don't.
     
  35. I'm not the one photographing the bear with the 50mm lens! Remember? My strategy would be to hide behind a rock and mount up my 70-200 with 1.4 TC. (I don't carry anything longer.) Then I'd wait for the next prime lens purist to come down the trail and photograph the interactions between photographer and subject. It would be all the more delicious with a LF rig on a tripod! :)
    Yes, Sarah, I understood your position clearly (i.e. behind the rock and far away from the bear). My point was that you don't have to be a daredevil and play chicken with the bear in order to shoot him with a prime lens. You can step BACK and take a wider shot with your 50 mm. Of you can carry a 500 mm (also a prime), attach your 1.4x teleconverter and photograph the dirt on the bear's nose, all from a safe distance! Cool!
     
  36. Dan, you seem more interested in arguing... about anything... than in a discussion of the photographic subjects raised in this discussion. In a good number of instances you invent positions that you ascribe to others so that you can have something to argue with.
    I'll let what I've written on the topic thus far stand as is.
    Dan
     
  37. If I have posted inaccurate information somewhere in this or other discussions, please point it out to me and I'll print a full
    retraction. This IS a public forum, not a blog. We are not here to discuss one viewpoint but to share many, and of those
    many some will differ.
     

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