Suffering for your art: 50/1.4 only, and how long you persisted ?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by wm, May 19, 2010.

  1. WM


    Hi folks,
    I am one of those 17-35, 24-70, 70-200, two flashes two SLR person who up to 9 months ago, sold everything and got myself a D700 and 50/ photos have now evolved to have a different look, I am running around harder and is shooting in 'stranger' positions, just to get the shot. In short, I am suffering for my art.....but while I am not able to get certain kinds of shots, some of the shots I get are well worth the effort.
    I want to know if there are any of you out there who only has a 50mm in your kit and a body, and have shot with that for quite a while.
    What are your experiences ?
    How long did you persist before you bought another lens ? Or are you considering getting another one now and why ?
    Did your photos get better ?
    Cheers, WM
  2. Whenever I buy a new lens (which is probably a little bit too often) I spend a month with it, exclusively (except for paying jobs, when I'll choose the right tool for the job).
  3. One wide or one tele would give you access to another quantum level.
  4. This is sorta like asking "How do you make leavened bread without yeast or baking powder?" Answer: You don't. You make flat bread and crackers. And learn to make the best darned flat breads and crackers you can.
  5. Some love the 50, others don't. It is not my only lens(50 1.4 AF-D) but I use it 95% of the time. I can focus pretty close, use it in low light, and it is small. I can't shoot things far away and expect them to fill up my frame but everything has some kind of limitations.
    Keep using it for awhile to make certain you know what it can do and if you are unhappy with the shooting style just change to something else. Have fun.
  6. I'm not a believer of suffering for ones art so I just use whatever tool it takes to get the shot.
    Composition is everything from an audience's perspective (or at least mostly), which makes gear less relevant.
  7. I started with the 50mm f'1.4 and kept with it for about 2 years, then got the 105mm and
    a year later the 35mm. Now have 8 lenses from 24mm to 500mm and know how to
    use them all. Nothing wrong with that 50mm you have. Get your next lens when you need it.
    Best regards,
  8. I wouldn't call what you did suffering. You just unloaded a bunch of unnecessary stuff and consolidated it with one lens. From there, you can concentrate on what really counts, and that is composition. The great Henri Cartier-Bresson used just one lens; a 5cm.
  9. OK, you've inspired me. Tomorrow I shoot just with my 50 F1.8, but on a D300. I know I'm going to regret this, but if I get anything I will post it to next Wednesday's Nikon POTW.
  10. When I first started out, I had a N65 with the 28-80 and 70-300 kit lenses. Then I got buffaloed into thinking that if I bought some primes, somehow my pictures would magically get better. Bought the 50mm 1.8 D and used that exclusively for about 6 months. Then I bought a 24mm 2.8 D and used them both. Not surprisingly, my pictures still basically sucked. Now I have several more primes and 3 zooms (including the kit lenses) and I use them all depending on my mood and how lazy I'm feeling. I find that, now that I've gone digital, I don't use the 50 nearly as much as I used to because of the crop factor of my camera. 75mm (equivalent) is just not a good focal length for what I find myself shooting these days, although I do still use it sometimes.
  11. bmm


    I think my images got better when I switched to just a couple of primes.
    Funny thing is that most arguments here are about whether this is because the primes are of better technical quality. To me that is almost irrelevent. What it is, in my humble opinion, is that the 'suffering' to which you refer is just a forced consciousness of the decisions you have to make for each shot based on the restriction to one focal length.
    Also, if this makes sense, you get used to what works best for a focal length. I use mainly a 35 and 85 (on DX) and have done so for over 2 years now, so in a strange way my eyes have trained themselves to know how a scene would work at those focal lengths. As a little anecdote my wife recently got a Canon S90 P&S and one option for the control ring at the front is to switch between 'traditional' FLs (from memory 24,35,50,85,135) rather than continuous zoom. I think if I used that little beauty of a camera I would enjoy that feature for the reason I have just described.
  12. I would say that I shoot differently when I use prime lenses, but I wouldn't restrict myself to a 50 mm (to begin with, I like the look of 45mm and 55mm better).
    "Selling everything" seems a bit extreme, but hey, if it's satisfying your creative urges, best wishes! Where can we see your work? (specifically your 50 mm experiments)
  13. I want to know if there are any of you out there who only has a 50mm in your kit and a body, and have shot with that for quite a while.
    What are your experiences ?
    How long did you persist before you bought another lens ? Or are you considering getting another one now and why ?
    Did your photos get better ?​
    When I got serious about (street) photography. I shot a 35mm on a leica for awhile in the film days (3 or 4 years, I think). Then, I added a 50mm and a 28mm only. Soon after that, I figured out I rarely use 50mm...For another couple years, I use only the 35mm and 28mm. But 3-4 film years equal, I think, 1-2 digital years. That's my experience.
  14. For now, it is the 50mm/F1.4G on my D3, I feel much better than 50mm on DX body. I like it at most time, but for some special case, 50mm is nightmare, such as a small room where no place to stand to get the whole picture, or some sports photography.
    Anyway, 50mm is very similar your vision so it can inspire you in common situation.
  15. In the real life, I use to need up to three focals (note that I prefer to say "focals" instead of "lenses"):
    • Wide: for indoor shots.
    • Normal: for everything outdoors.
    • Long: for portraits.
    As you can see, it is not new. As it was, or as it has always been, "serious" photographers like to cover -at least- this scenarios.
    About lenses, it doesn`t matter; the ones who work for you (and your budget)... if you focus on your subject/motivation/creativity rather than in your gear, any tool will serve you.

    Personally, on FX my most used lens -by far- could be the 50AFS, for portraits a 105VR, and I get the wide angle from either a 24mm prime or any zoom. I must say that I have tons of cameras, lenses and accesories, in all formats and imaginable variations that are mostly beautifully stored inside a closet.
  16. I have managed to use only (as in 99%) the 50 for 6 months. It helps a lot in developing a vision.
    In fact, I do the same with all lenses to put them on and force myself to use them in order to know the lens better.
  17. I've always had other lenses usually I would just grab either a Canonet or an SLR with a 50mm. Now the Canonet is broken and I tend to grab my FM2 with a 35mm. At the moment I like the 35mm view point a bit better but that could be because it is a recent purchase and is maybe closer to the 40mm on the Canonet. I don't like carrying around a lot of gear so I am quite happy to take one body with one lens. With my DSLRs I tend to take my Tamron 28-75. I should try the 35mm 1.8 Nikkor or the Sigma 30mm 1.4 but I have not got round to it yet.
  18. Suffering is when you wait 4 hours in the cold, cold rain waiting for a shot that only gives you a minute or two of shooting possibilities while your extremeties are going painfully numb.... or crawling amongst deer droppings in order to get the shot..... a 50mm on a D700 is nothing new - we've all had that on SLRs for years (X700 + 50/1.4, Dynax 5 + 50/1.7) or Rangefinders (Ql17 40mm/1.7, Contax G1 with 45/2 etc)
    I think shooting with a prime forces you to understand two things
    a) How perspective really works
    b) How to crop using a long/wide lens in-camera
    The only thing I miss from a prime would be the lack of DOF, else if I'm stopped down, the only differences for me between a zoom and a prime would technical issues like bokeh chracteristics - ignoring focal length of course.
  19. I'm that kind of guy, I stopped zooming and took a simple 50mm, this changed the way I see in that way that I'm not calculating different length while out for shooting, just what I simply see...
    You may have less - zoom-paparazzi like shoots, but the 50mm are then the right shots - at least for me.
    Meanwhile 35mm is also in my collection, and it looks like replacing the 50mm.
    But all that probably depends on what you like to shoot. Landscape & wildlife etc pp is for sure a different task.
    Regards Axel
  20. Most of us of a certain age, experienced the days when film cameras came packed with 50mm lenses. So in my case my 1st SLR was my Petri FT at age 15. This and it's 50mm/F1.8 were my only camera and lens until age 17, when I got a Nikkormat with it's 50mm/F2.
    As I recall, I didn't own another piece of glass until age 18, when I got a 200mm/F4. So for over 3 years, I shot nothing but a 50mm lens. And since I had never looked through a wider or longer lens. I was perfectly happy.
    In later years, I worked for a few wedding shooters that only owned normal lenses for their medium format cameras. (They used heir feet.)
  21. Although brought up on a diet of 50mm only I eventually went down the route of festooning myself with the most expensive zooms available.
    Then, on a trip to Morocco, owing to a logistical mishap I found myself separated from my zooms and was just left with an F6 and a 50mm to use for a few days. It was a photographic epiphany for me. I had so much fun with that most plain vanilla, basic combination that it was the beginning of the end for my use of zooms and as of about a month ago I no longer own a single zoom lens and I try to use one prime only for almost all my shooting now - a 35mm. So although I haven't become a complete hermit by selling everything and living a bare bones photographic lifestyle I have simplified it a lot.
    Sure it makes you work harder but my photography has improved as a result of this and I firmly believe that if you are not suffering for your art then you are not really trying. Convenience is not a word that should come up in this context because it is too close to laziness. Note that I am not saying that zooms are for the lazy - there are plenty of circumstances where they are the best tool by far (weddings/events/sport) - but for travel photography and landscapes, for example, using a prime makes you get physically closer and that is always good.
  22. I found that after shooting with mostly primes for a while, now i'm using zooms like primes .... ; if you park yourself zooming in and out, you are not physically involved in your pic... (although sometimes you are force to do so). Zooms are great for tele... you point at your subject, zoom in and you get the pic, quickly....
  23. When I first started shooting, I had only a Pentax MX and a 50mm f1.4 (real men bought 1.4 lenses) for about 2 or 3 years if I recall. I think I took better pictures then... I think I added a total of 4 or 5 lenses and one 1.5X teleconverter to the kit over the years.
    Seriously, though, lately, my super zoom stays at home (not today, I'm going to a baseball game) and my 35 stays on the camera.
  24. I do well with one prime fitted. It helps me pre-visualise the photo before I take it (this is especially so with portraits) and I walk with a 'mental viewfinder' way of thinking so I have to be prepared to stop and make the most of the moment. I love really filling the frame with 50mm lenses - you can make some powerful shots with no wasted space. I do find 45mm a little easier for my applications though as it works better for landscapes than 50mm.
    I may start a 50mm thread on 'No Words' if one is not already running.
  25. Many of us of a certain age started out with simple cameras, or maybe a Yashica TLR and had no choice in the matter of lenses. Once I had an SLR I still tended to use the 50mm. Only several years later did I pick up more lenses, but it was a long time after that when I learned to really use different focal lengths to advantage. I still like an SLR/50mm combo.
    Oddly, when I shoot film, which is very rare these days, I use only primes. I've never liked zooms or a lot of features on a film camera and that works well for me. When I shoot digital it's all about taking advantage of the available technology. I have no use for primes at all, well, other than macro, and insist on VR for longer focal lengths and AF for everything. It's a strange dichotomy, as both are means to an image yet they have almost nothing in common for me in practice.
  26. I recently had the choice to get a D700 to couple with my 50mm 1.4G and shoot like you. I ended up getting a D300 with Tamron 17-50 2.8 and don't get much use from my 50 any more. I still wish I had have gone with the D700 and stuck to the prime...
  27. I really like going out and shooting with one lens. I usually take everything along when I am driving around in the car. When I go walking I usually have the 24-70 on my D90. But when I want to feel the like I did years back I put on the nifty 50 and just walk around and have a completely different approach for the day.
    No I can't get that tiny bird up in the tree, but you can force yourself to focus on what's in front of you. It is fun and that is what I shoot strictly for the fun of it. I like that challenge and I will sometimes take and put my Sigma 30 1.4 on and do the same thing.
    Actually I think that the art part of it gets better.
    phil b
    benton, ky
  28. There is absolutely no way I'd limit myself to just one fixed lens. Makes no sense to me at all. What's the point of that? I'd rather have a D3000 with 18-55mm VR and 55-200mm VR kit lenses than a D700 with just 50mm. I don't like artificial limitations that keep me from making the kind of shots I want to take. It's not challenge, it's frustration.
    Kent in SD
  29. I took a trip to Russia in 1994. I carried around a Bronica ETRSi with a single 75mm 2.8 lens(equal to 50mm full frame digital lens) by myself, rode the train, and took a lot of pictures. I still have some of those pictures done originally on Velvia hanging in my home. The color is gorgeous. I also did a couple of weddings with that combination only using 35 mm for dancing and toasting. It made me think more about each picture. Usually, however, I did the formal parts of my weddings with also a 50 mm 2.8 for groups rather than backup with the 75mm. Those PE lenses were exceptional. Also, with film, I did not fire off near as many pictures to try and get a per centage of good ones.
  30. @kent: I'll buy you anytime you want a d3000 with 18-55mm VR and 55-200mm VR kit lenses if you buy me a d700 "body only".....
  31. Kent,
    In my opinion the beauty of using one lens is that it imposes a consistency of style on your photography. If you went to an exhibition by a photographer that only uses one prime you would immediately identify all the photos as being his/hers. If that same photographer uses a jumble of all focal lengths the pictures would be equally good but nevertheless be less obviously taken by one person. Jumping around on focal lengths usually obliterates cohesion (even though the individual photos are fine of course).
    It really depends on how single-minded you are prepared to be in what you photograph. Being ready for anything means coming away with photos of landscapes, bazaars, birds and insects. Knowing what you want means coming away with just landscapes. Neither is wrong - just the intent that differs. I used to be ready to photograph anything but now I know what I want and will let those other, once irresistible, opportunities pass me by.
    That's how I see it anyway! :)
  32. I've owned the 50 1.8 II on my Canon system for about 3 months less than I've been taking pictures as a whole.
    I've got a 100mm, 200mm, and I've owned the 17-40 for wide angles... but the 50 just feels right. It's great for portraits, low light, and the optics are about as great as they come.
    Here, have some film. ; ) Shot with a Canon 1N and the 50 1.8 II.
    I'm seriously considering just dropping for the 1.4 USM.
  33. Wee-Ming, I used a 50mm/1.4 on Minolta, then Nikon, camera for over 10 years and loved it! I liked the discipline of using
    one lens, of learning what it can do. It's still the only lens I have for my 35mm, which I seldom use since I purchased a
    Hasselblad. <br><br>I used the Hasselblad's 80mm "standard" lens for a couple of years, then 110mm ("portrait" lens) for a
    couple of years, and just purchased a wide-angle which I plan to use only as needed but am having fun playing with it.
  34. I used a 28mm prime on my crop body exclusively for a while and it was great. My best compositions came during that time. I'm sure it's different for everybody, but my favorite shots I've taken through the years have all been in the "normal" focal length range. My biggest gripe with primes is lack of VR. I like to shoot at low ISO handheld as much as possible. A fast aperture is great but shooting nature out on the trail I like to stop down to get some depth of field.
  35. I think James has nailed it: it's "horses for courses".
    If I want to be ready for anything, then I take all my lenses with me (I only have 5 and they are all fairly compact). If I anticipate I won't need the macro or whatever, I will leave that lens at home. I don't earn any money from photography, so if I do miss a shot, it's not the end of the world.
    Sometimes, I just go out with the 50mm on the front and nothing else, to see what I can do with it. Experience suggests that these are often (but not always) the most rewarding sessions. The D700 and 50mm f1.4 G is an awesome combination, without a doubt, and one which I find myself using rather a lot (but not exclusively). I still have my F80 film body, mainly for chromes, and a C*n*n A-1, with nFD 50mm f1.8 (manual focus) which I usually use with b&w film in aperture priority or full manual mode. That really narrows down the options and focuses the mind.
  36. I've been using a planar 50mm f1.7 coverted for uses with my Canon XSI and 50d for the past year. To be honest I do still have my Canon 17-40 and 70-200 2.8 lens and do use everything interchangably based on judging the shooting conditions.
    For 4 moths I did use the 50mm exclusively (but more for the reason to experiment and try to get a feel for when best to use it). Ulitimately I felt that when I was trying to fill the frame or shoot in low light conditions this is where I used it most. I also took some lessons on how to best use this focal length by review sites like Flickr and 500px and specifically looking for shots taken at 50mm.
    To summarize .... I don't think there is one lens to fit all conditions. You can try and crop a shot but you will always lose photo quality. Maybe having one lens is a good starting lesson to help focus on your craft before it gets all complicated with many pieces of equipment.
  37. "I just use whatever tool it takes to get the shot. Composition is everything from an audience's perspective (or at least mostly), which makes gear less relevant."​
    So carrying a bag full of tools (different focal-length lenses) somehow "makes gear less relevant"?
    For what it's worth, HCB -- one of the all-time kings of composition -- used just one focal length the vast majority of the time.
    "Using one prime lens" and "finding good compositions" are by no means mutually exclusive, and some would say they are quite compatible.
  38. With my first Nikon (an F) I only had the 50 for quite a while, and later when I added a 28 and 135 to the mix, the 50 was still my most used lens. Everything has its purpose, if your main aim is photographing items far away, you will probably use a telephoto more; the same for wider lenses, if you need them, use them. But I imagine most of us could use a 50 more than we do (for full frame). But people usually use what's on the camera.
    Thinking back even further, before the F, I had only used 50mm lens on other cameras as well. I didn't think I was suffering, I just walked back and forth more.
  39. I use a Jupiter 8 just because I don't have any other Contax mount lenses (yet). Got a Jupiter 12 and Helios 103 that's due to come in a few weeks (35 2.8 & 50 1.8 respectively).
    The 35mm will be to try something new; 50mm is very natural for me and fits most of my compositions.
  40. To summarize .... I don't think there is one lens to fit all conditions​
    Absolutely right but what I am trying to say is that attempting to make the conditions fit the lens is what often makes the shot more interesting - it forces you down a less obvious route. It does also mean that you will lose some shots too.
    I am not saying that you should only ever use one prime - although I do it an awful lot. On Saturday I am off to the Dolomites and then Tuscany for 10 days. On my F6 I will have the 35mm most of the time but I will also have a 21mm and a 100mm - but I expect that 80% of what I will take will be on the 35mm.
    Counting the minutes...
  41. I'm in line with James. I always bring only one lens and see the world through that one only. My 50/1.4 is often my first choice in cities. Another choice is the best lens I have got, the 135/2 (both Canon), but the experience is the same of "making the situation fit to the lens". This approach has another important benefit for photographers: it is lighter and does not break your back.
  42. hah! "suffering for one's art" is a running gag that comes up when i'm out shooting with friends. usually it involves tripping over a rock or ordering a burger w/o cheese.
    sure, i'll sometimes go out for a walk with just the camera and one lens. it's fun and gets the creative juices flowing, but i equate it with, say, going out and shooting for one predominant color or one overall composition (horizontal lines, s-curves, etc.).. also fun exercises. it's not something i'm intrested in doing day in and day out.
    to me, hiking out for a few miles, sometimes hot, sometimes cold, steep, muddy, pre-dawn, poison oak, you name it.. with a heavy pack with all your lenses, because there is usually just one right lens for the job (oh boy, here we go!) and your tripod on your shoulder.. that is suffering for ones art.
  43. I shoot a lot with just a 50 1.4 on a 5D2 but for some shots its not ideal. What's wrong with owning a zoom too? I never understand the prime or zoom thing. If you can afford both get both. I find a 24-105 + 50 covers most everything in the Canon world. But when I want to go really light I often use just a 50 or 28.
  44. I prefer zooms (for the ability to change perspective independently of framing), but over the years used primes extensively. I find the 50mm a little too narrow for me, preferring the 35mm or 28mm on FF/film bodies. On Dx, I prefer a 24mm. With rangefinders, the 35mm, but strangely, the 50mm seems easier for me to live with on an RF than an SLR.
  45. I thought of getting and wearing a hair shirt too for a while, but it got so itchy and full of bugs and went back to hedonistic diversity... But good luck. I mean this. If it opens a door for you, walk through proudly. I do understand your decision even as I do not share the urge. I see I shoot I crop later... I see 'best' with an 85 mm actually.
    Whoever came up with the expression "zooming with your feet' is really a hair shirt type personality, so I have decided. Sorry for that. Honest. Unenlightened I supposed. Lazy for sure.
  46. Well, bringing only one lens, it is just like deer hunting. You go out into the woods with one gun and don't bring an arsenal in view of being able to kill anything that turns up.
  47. The thing with zoom sometimes is you got infinite options and perspectives. With a prime, you focus on finding that one composition, perspective, vantage point. A zoom can takes less work but it can take more work also because of all the lens zooming, plus you can also "zoom with your feet." In another words, a fixed lens limit your options, some prefer it, some despite it. I think you win some and lose some, therefore, I have a few fixed lenses and a few zooms...
  48. I really developed a strong dislike for the 50mm back in my film days shooting a Pentax k1000, then a Nikon F2. This is most likely because I was shooting full frame. For me the 50mm is a dull boring lens to work with people. I view it as weak wide angle. I tend to work with the more extreme in focal lengths. I tend to work mainly with zooms these days because fixed focal lengths tend to be bulky, heavy and cumbersome. I carry a lot less lenses on a shoot now.
  49. The great Henri Cartier-Bresson used just one lens; a 5cm.​
    Which is of course not true. It appeared to strongly prefer the 50, but he used on occasions a 35 and a 85 or 90. He did in fact praise on occasion the "economy of means" of using mostly the same lens, same exposure time, even same distance from the subject, stating that it led to simplicity of expression, which he valued. But it is actually a myth that he used only the 50.
    I'm a prime person myself, and doing mostly street, but I don't share the idea that using only a 50 per se leads to developing a vision or things like that. I think it is more subtle than that.
    In my experience, when shooting with zooms one sees things, decides how he wants to shoot them according to the three broad classes wide / normal / tele, then zooms to cut out what he does not want to be in (or to bring in what he wants to be in).
    When using primes, I tend to think backwards. I know I have my 35 on (or 50, or 85...) and I see the things around me as through a 35. I choose a way of seeing, and THEN I choose subjects and points of view accordingly. Something that cannot be shot through the 35 should be really outstanding for me to "see" it, when I have my 35 on. Same goes if I have a 24 or a 135.
    As a consequence, I need to become very familiar with a lens before I can use it effectively: I need to learn the look it produces. The only way is to use only that lens for a while when I buy it. But this holds for ANY lens, not only for the 50 (which by the way is one of the easiest). Once this necessary step is achieved, to use only ONE lens at all is for me a meaningless limitation.
    I do on occasion go out with only one lens, in most cases a 35 or a 50. This happens when I just want to take a walk and perhaps take a photo or two. So my D700 and the 50 or 35 is light and easy to carry, and I don't care about the limitation because I'm not out for the purpose of taking photos.
  50. I started out with a Minolta SRT 202, or was it a 201, or maybe a 102 and a Rokkor 50mm f1.7 lens Eons ago. That was the only lens I could afford back then, so I made do. These days I still get that itch to go around town with only my Nikon non-AF/non-Digital camera and my non-Zoom 50mm f1.4. I get some great shots ! You might even say the thrill is back.
  51. I take an M6 when I want a camera on the street. I have only the 50, f2 for it. In fact I have an M3 for backup, but only that one lens for both. Once I bought a 28mm, years ago. I carried it on a body for a while, but it was more trouble than it was worth, so I sold it. I do have other cameras, some with many lenses, but I prefer the Leica and one lens for street.
  52. I like the simplicity of shooting with primes. I own a couple of zooms, but find the primes on the camera more often than not. I like my SMC A 1.7 MF for low light and portraits and I just recently got a 15mm f4 Limited which has been a joy to shoot with. I still use my 18-55 and 55-300 when they are the right tool for the job, but much of my day to day shooting is with a prime.
    I also like single speed bikes and cars with manual transmissions, but also own some geared bikes and an auto car (truck actually). I like the minimalist approach if it fits the job but I'm not opposed to using technology where appropriate. But I get the most pleasure from using simple, well designed things so that is what I try to do as much as possible.
  53. i am annoyed by the notion of "zooming with your feet". you move your shooting location to change perspective. you change perspective to arrange the position and relative size of the elements of the composition. you then choose the focal length that frames that composition with the least cropping in post. a zoom will often allow you to capture that image without any post cropping at all, thus sometimes making up for the difference in quality compared to a prime.
    using a zoom, or something other than a 50, is not lazy. you still need to take the (sometimes considerable) effort to get to the location of the best perspective.
  54. Thats also one of the good things about shooting with just a prime when you move in closer the perspective changes and can make for a more interesting shot. The problem is that many beginners don't think about focal length or camera to subject distance and how it effect the images. As long as their zoom is long enough to zoom in on details and wide enough to get everything in when needed they tend to just stand at the same safe camera to subject distance and just zoom to fill the frame with their chosen subject. With a fixed focal lenght they would be forced to explore and would learn how camera to subject distance affects the images they make they would also learn when to move in close or when to pick a longer focal length.
  55. I also feel that using a limited number of primes makes me a better photographer.
    Get a 35 or an 85 prime – depending on the subjects you like to photograph – and shoot with it for a year. Use your 50 when circumstances tell you that focal length might be best suited for the subject. But don't carry both lenses (unless you want to).
  56. I once had a 28-105mm consumer zoom, but I've since (over the years) replaced it with a 24mm f/2.8, a 50mm f/1.8 and a 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens. I am very happy that I did. Now I have to think about each situation that I walk into. I love my primes. Now, I have to 'make' the photo with what I have on the camera. I become part of the situation. Like others have mentioned above, I have to be aware of how my chose focal length behaves when I use it. A 24mm lens is not the same as a 50mm lens, even if the subject is the same size in the frame. All in all, that's the way I like it. With primes I am more involved with the act of creating a photo. Yes, it takes more work, but it's more rewarding--in my humble opinion.
  57. stp


    I want to start with what my eyes see. I want to be guided by my experience of the landscape. I'll use a tool to try to capture whatever my eyes see and whatever it takes to capture the essence of my experience. If one lens will do that, fine, I'll use the one lens. If it takes more than one lens to capture what I see in the landscape, I'll use more than one lens. It starts with the experience, not with the equipment. I see nothing virtuous about a priori restricting myself to a single lens except that I will get to know that lens better, which is not a trivial accomplishment. Nevertheless, it's starting with the end and the means rather than with the inspiration and the goal.
  58. I also feel that using a limited number of primes makes me a better photographer.​
    That seems to capture the essence of the discussion. The psychology thing. But the learning aspect has its logic too.
    Analogous to lighting with one light...When I took a workshop on studio, the first thing we did was to learn how to do a job with one light. And do it right too. Then add fill. Then maybe a hair light. Sometimes one light is the best choice even now.... It sure simplifies things.
    Today's little adventure. I needed to shoot the guts of a refrigerator compressor assembly with the access panel off. OK. Grabbed my E-1, which happened to be fitted with the f 2.0 50 mm. Oops. I could not get back far enough to capture the compressor and the tubes and the fans without a lot of fiddling and jockeying and, yes, some frustration as I had to see that the flash range was correct as well....
    Jut reinforces what the 'horses for courses' folk argue, is all.
    With one additional thought. Primes take time,do they not? I am not a patient shooter and never will be. Some are and argue that one must learn to go more with the flow and all that.Again psychology and a kind of quasi religion.

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