Multi lens users, do you miss a shot because you have too many lenses?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by anuragagnihotri, May 24, 2010.

  1. Changing it a drag?
    Do some lenses inevitably get ignored?
    Do you hate it?
    Being a single lens user, i am really keen to understand what goes on in the head when you have more than one.
    My experience is, that any shot of any genre can be taken with any lens and any focal length with good results, well, with some exceptions probably.
    Soon i will be a proud member of 'multi lens club'. I dread it, but i am curious, and full of hope.
  2. Or the opposite -- I get lazy too often and don't switch to the telephoto. My light hiking kit is just two lenses: 85mm and the 16-35. Good question though. Fixed focal lengths not that good in tight quarters nor all that handy for the way I operate.
  3. It is a drag. Changing large zoom lenses is much harder than changing smaller primes. I hate changing the 24-70mm whereas changing the 24/35/50/85 is much easier as the lenses are much smaller.
  4. Changing it a drag?
    Do some lenses inevitably get ignored?
    Yes. My 50/1.4 and 70-200/4 IS
    Do you hate it?
    Yes. I prefer carrying one body and one lens. But, that is not possible with the current lens technology.
    ...any shot of any genre can be taken with any lens...
    I agree. But, like Ken Papai, it is the 85/1.2 II and the 16-35/2.8 II both on 5D bodies (with vertical grips) for me. If I want more portability, it will be the 85/1.2 II and a Canon PowerShot G11.
    See here:
  5. I don't mind changing lenses.

    I do mind changing the way I'm looking around and changing the way I'm composing.

    So I tend to choose one lens to focus on when I go out.

    This is when shooting for "art & fun".

    When shooting events I tend to choose zooms and change lenses as required.

    So most of the time it's the other way around for me. It's not that I miss shots because I have the wrong lens mounted, I
    tend to see shots because my mind gets in a specific flow for the lens I do have mounted.
  6. Here's my kit :
    16-35 f2.8L USM
    24-105 f4.0L IS USM
    70-200 f2.8L IS USM
    Notice that the lenses have a decent amount of overlap. My "walk around" lens is the 24-105.
    Typically I know what kind of situation I'm going into and will pre-choose the lens that is appropriate to the situation. There are times when I'll switch back and forth - an example of that would be when I want to shoot a large area with the 16-35mm, then do a panorama by taking tighter pics with the 24-105.
    If I'm hiking trails, to lighten the load - I will only carry the 16-35 and 24-105
  7. Sorta, right now I actually feel I have to many lenses ( for some reason that annoys me ) I guess I hate to waste so I try to use all of them as they all seem to fit a specific purpose even though many overlap but I would not say I hate changing lenses, in all honesty that is probably what I like most about a DSLR over a point and shoot. I usually only carry 1 -3 lenses at most and its fun because you can photography completely different each time. What probably annoys me most is the size and weight of all my gear.
    I was planning to get an advanced point and shoot but now I am really interested in these small interchangeable lens bodies coming out like the sony nex or the four thirds systems.
  8. I don't mind changing lenses. I know that by having more specialized lenses, I will get better quality shots. If you have an SLR with only one lens, you're defeating the whole purpose. You'd be better off to get a powerful point and shoot. Or you could get a body for each lens, then you never have to change lenses and you won't miss a shot.
  9. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Multi lens users, do you miss a shot because you have too many lenses?"
    Sometimes, not often. I usually carry two cameras, even for Social Photography.
  10. I very much prefer to go out for the day with a single lens - sometimes 70-200/4, sometimes 50/1.8 or 17-55/2.8 or (rarely 10-22). For me it is usually more fun to have just that point of view. And another lens on another day.
    But of course some opportunities are lost. And if I am sightseeing and without the option of returning again then I do change lenses - but now that I think of it I try to minimize the number of lens switches then repeating the above pattern in minature...
  11. Interesting question Anurag,
    But I am going to take exception to you current philosophy "My experience is, that any shot of any genre can be taken with any lens and any focal length with good results, well, with some exceptions probably." There are countless images that are focal length specific, indeed that is what I have different focal lengths for, I could easily shoot a wedding well with just a 24-70, I could not do that with any single prime lens in that range.
    I will go out with just one lens, but that will be with a mind to shoot a particular style of image. That is probably the difference we have, you might see a situation and think, how can I take that with the lens I have (and we all do that sometimes), where as I might think, today I want to take this kind or style of image, what lens/focal length do I need to accomplish that.
  12. Several years ago, I carried a 20D with its EF-S 17-85mm IS on it, and carried an XTi with the old EF 75-300mm IS. On a trip last year following Sherman's army to the sea from Atlanta (in the War of the Rebellion), I carried my 5D with its EF 24-105mm IS L for normal shooting and ironically ended up carrying my 20D with a Sigma 10-20mm on it for wider shots (I have since got a Sigma 15-30mm lens for the 35mm sensor camera). I did put a longer zoom on for a few shots on the coast, but otherwise rarely changed a lens.
    This also makes up for missing my gym workouts when I am traveling, as the net weight around the neck can be a little daunting on a long set of stairs.... I may miss my step, but rarely missed a shot this way.
    Just think of Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now loaded down with multiple Nikon F cameras....
  13. Hi Anurag,
    Perhaps it might help to understand what scenarios these questions are trying to address? For me, lens are tools not an either or.
  14. When I was just getting started(with only a couple of lenses) I think I missed more sots because I didn't have the correct lens I needed to make the short. Now that seldom happens biw. I don't find it a drag. Yes you can get to a point were some lenses don't get used as much as others. In my case its a 50mm. I purchased if for low light and narrow depth of field reasons. In other words it's a specialty lens for me and I never expected to use as much as my zooms. But that siad I am happy I have it.
    My experience is, that any shot of any genre can be taken with any lens and any focal length with good results, well, with some exceptions probably.​
    For me getting the filed of view I want is what is important. For me that typically means zooms. yes I can zoom with my feet iwth any lens but that doesn't work when you are in s lot canyon or on a trail cut into the side of a cliff. in short zooming with your feet with one lens is not always possible and you might miss the shot as a reasult.
  15. Sorry double post.
  16. I use zooms. I have a 17-55 2.8 IS on my 7D and the 70-200 2.8 on my full frame. I also carry (in my roll bag) 3 or 4 primes and my 100 Macro. I'm happy with my zooms, to a point that I will be selling most of my non L primes. Soon. v/r Buffdr
  17. I see the pictures before I look through the camera. Sometimes I see a view that I want too work for a while. I may try several lenses. If I know I want to shoot stuff that's fast moving and will require quick response (seldom) then I'll stick to one lens. Figure if I'm in too much of a hurry to change lenses then might as well pack up and go home.
  18. I usually try to pick the correct lens for the situation that I am "planning" on shooting.
    I do miss the day's when I had my 100-400 mounted on the EOS3 and the 28-105 mounted on the 7E or vice versa, and simply just pull the one I needed out of the bag!
    Now, I only have the one digital body and have gotten pretty good at changing lenses! "Darn the luck!"
  19. Get a back camera use one for close up shots and the other for wide angel such as 5D
  20. I'm a Nikonian, but I'm a frequent lens changer and can't recall many (if any) instances where I missed a shot because I was changing lenses. I'm sure it happens, but after you get accustomed to changing frequently, you learn to anticipate and adapt.
  21. More is not always better. Give a man too many choices and he'll be less happy than if you just give him a few good ones. If you want to collect lenses just for collecting's sake, that's one thing. If you want to actually use the lenses, I'd try to get the fewest that will fit your particular style. I much prefer primes (can't completely explain why, although aside from quality there are 'intangibles') which you'd normally think would necessitate more lens changes than if I were using zooms.
    However, I've been discovering lately that for what I like to shoot, landscapes, you just don't *need* a huge range of focal lengths.
    Example: Mamiya 7II rangefinder, 50mm wide angle, 80mm standard, 150mm telephoto. That's it. 3 lengths that cover everything I could possibly do with his body.
    Example 2: 5d mk II, 24mm TSE II, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8, 135mm f/2
    If you buy and 'try' to use too many, you will end up feeling guilty and not using all of them often enough. If you have to try to come up with reasons to use a lens length, chances are you don't need it.
    As far as missing a shot, I can't recall missing one because of a lens change.
  22. Most of us here shoot for big game. I mean, a superb shot that has excellent sharpness and quality that is not achievable with one size fits all equipment. But when you have more equipment than you can carry, compromise has to happen. I tend to make a guess as to what end of the focal length spectrum I want to shoot in the day, then carry the gear to make it happen. Of course, that's the time when you may later wish you had a longer lens, or a macro rail, or a different flash modifier. Hopefully you will have time to walk back to the car and get what you want, ha ha.
  23. The situation where I needed a different lens and lost the shot last happened about 4 years ago. I was after this landing stage and a grey heron flew out of the reeds to the right.
    Since then I've always carried two bodies, one with a long lens (300 or 100-400) to catch the action: -
    and a standard (24-105) to capture general scenes: -
    Within reason I agree that any shot can be taken with any lens, but where you are looking for two types of shot at the same time only 2 lenses on two bodies will do the job, at least for me.
  24. Matthijs Claessen,
    "So I tend to choose one lens to focus on when I go out."
    If you carry just one lens and try to see things from that perspective, do you think you miss the shot that you would have taken with a lens that you're not carrying?
  25. Soon i will be a proud member of 'multi lens club'. I dread it, but i am curious, and full of hope.​
    Once you start, it's hard to stop...consider yourself warned. I add lenses based on need (and occasionally based on desire [sigh]). Ask yourself why you want/need another lens.
  26. If you are shooting events, you can miss shots changing lenses, batteries, or memory cards (been there, done that, got the tee shirt). For batteries and memory cards, it generally is a matter of timing and doing the change during breaks in the action.
    For lenses, a common solution is to graduate from a single body to multiple bodies, each with a different lens attached. That way, instead of changing lenses, you just pick up the body that has the focal length you need. Besides the cost of the second body, going with multiple bodies can mean extra weight and learning how to wear multiple bodies so you don't tangle up the cords. It will also make you stand out, and not always in a good way, since the image that many people think of when they see somebody decked out is papparazzi (i.e. scum of the earth), or photo geek (i.e. boring mono-focused luser, and who can only talk about gear). A lot of people get multiple bodies as they upgrade gear, and use the older body for the lens that they don't use as often.
    Another issue is if events truly are fast moving, if the two bodies are different, you might lose time switching you brain to remember where the controls are for the particular body you are shooting with right now. If the bodies take different batteries or memory cards, it means you have to double up, having both types of batteries/cards (and of course if the bodies are from different makers, you will have to double up on the lenses). Even though I have multiple bodies, I find I don't often shoot with them, but for things like whale watches, where you have no idea whether the whales will surface close or far away, or fast moving events, I do break out the multiple bodies and not worry about how others see me. For more street shots, I tend not go with the multiple bodies, at least outside the camera bag.
    Like the old joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall (practice, practice, practice), what you need to do is spend time with each lens so that mentally when you look at a scene, you will compose the shot in your minds eye, and know which focal length you will need to get the shot. In addition to composing the shot, you typically need to watch what is going on, so that when a decisive moment is approaching, you will have the correct lens mounted in time for the shot.
    If you are just taking happy snaps and not thinking about composition, you should spend a second or two thinking about what elements you want in the shot, and if necessary where you will need to shot the shot from. For advanced usage in addition to planning the composition of the shot, you need to think about what aperture/depth of field and shutter speed to use. This just takes using your lenses enough that their characteristics become second nature to you.
    In terms of using one lens over an other, who cares? Lenses are just tools, they won't sit in a corner and pout if you don't take them out. If you find yourself never using a particular lens, consider selling it. If you haven't bought a lens yet, I always recommend taking stock of what you shoot, and particularly what shots you weren't able to get due to gear, and see if patterns emerge. For example, one hole in my line up is I don't have any ultra-wide angle lenses, and every so often when I get gear lust, I look at my photos and see I'm rarely at the wide end of the lenses I own. There are a few times when I find I'm wanting to use that ultra wide angle, and I need to balance off the cost of such a lens against the number of times I would use it. That being said, with my new small camera, I'm finding myself starting to be drawn towards wide angle, so things change.
  27. I seldom change a lens. If I'm street shooting I either take a rangefinder with a 35 or sometimes a fifty, and if bring a digital along, it will be the 17-35 or 24-70. Unless you are a specific gig where you need coverage. You can go through a lifetime with just a 50 or 35.
  28. In weddings i'm constantly whipping through lenses. I have a Think tank belt system, so they're always close by which is nice. My latest set up was 16-35 2.8, 50 1.4, 200 2.8. You get quick at the changes, and it's really not that bad.
  29. Interesting.
    With a 24-105 alone, I come home with some winners pretty much every time.
    However, if I have specialty lenses with me (whether wide, tele, macro, or fast) and actually use them, I find that shots taken with them comprise a disproportionate share of the "winners."
    I think that's because when I change a lens, I have an idea in mind that is good enough to overcome the inertia of sticking with whatever is already mounted on the camera, and having a good idea before pressing the shutter release really helps. :)
  30. You really do get used to the whole lens swapping concept, but it's worth trying to pick the best and least number of lenses for the task at hand. If I'm out for a day or an evening where a camera is key (often), and seriously fast primes or a backpack full of gear is not part of the plan, I think about what I'm most likely to shoot, and usually pick one of the four lenses highlighted below. If possible, I'll stuff the next likely lens candidate into a pocket as well... That covers lots of territory. Also, when dealing with the wide end of the focal range of lenses, I always go for significant range overlap. To me, it is far more important for freedom of composition without either settling for a less than ideal composition, or constantly swapping lenses all day to have wide to normal zooms overlap. Gaps at the tele ranges are fine. No overlap, or gaps at the wide end is a PITA.
    Primes are fine, and I know many people still prefer them, but that tradition is really rooted in the fact that many early zooms used to suck eggs, by and large. I was around then, and it used to be true. They don't any more though, so if someone prefers a pocket full of prime lenses, that's fine. I still prefer a manual transmission in my cars, but I do like a six speed gearbox. I like high quality modern zooms, too. They perform like a slick six speed manual gearbox for me. I always have the perfect ratio for the road ahead a quick flick of the wrist away..
    For a wedding or event, I wear a black toolbelt with several modified carpenter's hammer hooks to hang two cameras by their hand straps, while one is in my hand. No bouncing, and instant access. A black fishing vest under my sport jacket allows me to carry additional primes, strobes, and accessories in it's roomy pockets.... I keep plenty of choices on tap in those venues...
    These two lenses pair up pretty well for "one on the camera, one in a pocket" lens duty as well. When lens speed isn't a major priority, I love that green ring 70-300 DO lens. It's a super performer in a stealth size when zoomed short for carry.
    When either of the above choices are just too much for the task at hand, this is always in my pocket anyway, and it does a pretty fine job all by itself in a pinch, or in addition to anything else I might have with me...
    No matter what the choice though, one of these is worth finding room for most all of the time...
  31. I cure the problem of not having the right lens by having two bodies. One usually has a wide zoom attached and the other usually has a telephoto zoom (70-200) attached. That way when I can grab what ever body that has the right lens attached for the shot I want to take. I know using two bodies isn't exactly convenient, but I find it a little more convenient than switching lenses back and forth.
    At least that's how I work when I'm taking event photos... But when I'm trying to take my time and be artistic, I have a couple fast primes for that too.
  32. When shooting for art and fun I don't see the shots I miss. So I don't miss 'um. But that's how my mind works, maybe not
    how your mind works...
  33. Used to carry two cameras, got old, normally a zoom for fun, Sigma 100-300 f/4 is my preferred lens for nature, 17mm or 14 mm for city scapes, 17-50 for street.
  34. My experience is, that any shot of any genre can be taken with any lens and any focal length with good results, well, with some exceptions probably​
    I am afraid that this just isn't true. Obviously sometimes you can't get close enough with a given focal length, or you can't back up far enough. Using almost entirely prime lenses, I'm a big fan of "zooming with your feet" but sometimes your feet can't go to a certain place. Similarly, try taking a macro shot without a macro lens! Try making shallow depth of field with a slow lens, or shooting in near darkness with one. I'm not generally a fan of zoom lenses, but sometimes they are absolutely necessary, such as shooting certain events. Similarly, if you need the extended depth of field that the Scheimpflug principle can provide, you need a tilt lens. Try taking an IR or UV image with a lens that doesn't pass IR or UV!
    Now are there always kludges that can mimic some of these effects with any lens? Sure, you might be able to get extended depth of field with careful focus stacking (i.e. using Helicon Focus). You might be able to get a macro shot with a reversing ring, an extension tube, or a diopter . . . or by hand holding a lens (unmounted) in front of your camera! You might be able to mimic shallow depth of field by front focusing. You can take pictures in low-light with a very high ISO, or on a tripod. You can nearly mimic a wider field of view by stitching images together. You can crop the center of an image to pretend you have a telephoto. You can fix perspective and distortion in Photoshop.
    But there's more to lenses than their focal lengths. Different lenses have different characters --- different ways in which they draw the image. As you acquire more lenses you get to know their individual characters and deploy them for specific uses. I have four different lenses with a focal length between 50mm and 60mm, and will use each of them differently. There is no perfect lens --- every lens has compromises. Sometimes you can make do with using a lens in a less than optimal way, and sometimes you need to change lens. Also, lenses have different physical characteristics --- sometimes a single lens might be too large or too heavy. Other times this is just not a consideration.
    But to answer your very original question . . . yes sometimes I'll miss a shot while changing lenses, but usually this is not a big deal. Changing a lens takes only a moment. Yes, I have had my 800mm lens deployed on a tripod, and a flock of birds came up nearby and there was no time to change to a wider lens. Most photojournalists carry two DSLR bodies, one with a wide zoom and one with a tele zoom and rarely change lenses. When I cover an event, such as a dance show, I'll have two or three bodies, each with a different fast prime lens. But for almost everything else, I won't walk around with more than one body. Sometimes I'll end up with the wrong lens attached for a moment, and have to decide whether it's worth it to change lenses. Sometimes the right lens is at home. But I never find myself wishing for a slow 18-200mm zoom, just so I don't have to change lenses.
  35. Knowing what you want to photograph before going out with the camera is a big help and in the end will help land more keepers. If I'm going to walk the park in hopes of landing a decent bird photo I use my 70-300 IS. I'm not looking for wide scenic shots. Travel? A wide to mid-range zoom will probably cover most everything you need to shoot. Macro? Bolt on the macro lens and forget all else. I suppose an 18-200 all purpose zoom could come in handy but I'd rather have the best lens for the job at hand.
  36. To me, when you get a 2nd lens (assuming it's significantly different from your first lens), you *enable* many more pictures than you will miss by having the wrong lens on.
    When you pick a lens and snap it on, and hear it click, you're doing the hunting... you're on the offense. When a shot opportunity appears that you didn't anticipate, and you have the wrong lens on, you're reacting... you're on the defense. This isn't to say that reacting can't produce great pictures... it often can. But being on the hunt is a lot more fun!
  37. I carry three lenses for two bodies most of the time. If there's a chance that I'll be shooting wildlife, then I put the 500mm on the 7D and the 24-105mm on the 5D2 and carry the 70-200mm in a vest pocket. If no wildlife is anticipated, then I put the 70-200 on the 7D and the 24-105 on the 5D2. Since I started that, I've not found myself wrong-lensed.
  38. The solution to the lens-swapping issue is clear: Buy a camera body for every lens!
  39. I haven't owned one of those 28-300mm type of lenses for a long time so not sure how good they are nowadays but I was not happy with the overally quality of images I was getting and even if the quality is good now, I find most things I shoot I want the big apertures so I'm stuck with those high end fast zooms or good primes. It is a damn hassle changing lenses though and I probably miss the odd shot when I do or miss the odd shot when I have the wrong lens on (particularly if it was a prime lens) but I will live with that. These days I typically have my 85mm f1.8 on my Canon and a Sigma 30mm f1.4 on my Sony and deploy the 2 camera system and it works out well for me with what I typically shoot.
  40. I spend a lot of time in game reserves photographing wildlife and hate changing lenses because of the amount of dust. I get round it by having two bodies, one with the long telephoto and the other with a 100-400. Yes one does lose images even when you have two bodies within easy reach. For general picture taking I don't find changing lenses a problem.
  41. I think all of us who don't shoot for a living go through phases on what we use and what we carry.
    I used to carry four lenses and a 580II every where. Now I take the 24-105 and one other lens with a 270EX for fill. Way better!
  42. Changing it a drag?​
    Well, yes... sometimes, but the alternative are much worse.

    Do some lenses inevitably get ignored?​
    Yes, and when they do so for a long time I simply sell them.

    Do you hate it?​
    Are you kidding? Of course not. It's like asking "Do you hate the fact that your Porches is difficult to handle around town and would you prefer a Mini instead?"

    Happy shooting,

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