Going from 1D Mk II to D800 but frustrated with lenses

Started May 12, 2012 | Discussions thread
mrwilkins
Forum MemberPosts: 70
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Re: Seems everyone is going top 3 if possible
In reply to Biological_Viewfinder, May 13, 2012

Biological_Viewfinder wrote:

The inability to zoom just ruined the enjoyment of photography for me. People of course would say things like, well just step closer or farther away. Well that just doesn't work in most situations.

Of course, once in a while, when you're standing off some distance from your subject and can't get any closer, you have to use a long focal length to fill the frame. However, what the people who say that are trying to communicate is that field of view is a choice, and choosing a focal length and where to stand are both essential to composition.

You get a meaningfully different picture by moving closer keeping your focal length (and thus field of view) fixed than you do by zooming in and staying put. Knowing this difference and making the right choice can be the difference between a strong and a weak composition, even though your subject may be the same size in the frame.

The common advice to start out with prime lenses is motivated by two things: cost and that doing so forces you to learn how zooming vs. using a wider lens and approaching your subject differ. A photographer who has a good command of these ideas often uses a zoom lens by picking a focal length that's suitable for the shot and dialing it in before they ever look through the camera.

Of course, again, if you are not able to approach your subject, focal length is what you have to work with, and zooming or using a different lens are your only choices.

I intend on using these lenses well into the diffraction realm, because I enjoy landscapes and having EVERYTHING IN FOCUS, as opposed to a small area. Generally, I hate bokeh; and I think it just means people were lazy and relied on it so that they didn't need to consider the background at all. Of course there are valid reasons to blur the background, such as when it is impossible to change the background; but generally I think it's vastly overused. So for me, I like f/11 to f/16.

Blurring the background doesn't make it disappear -- if you take something crappy and blur it, it usually just looks crappy and blurry.

Furthermore, shallow depth of field takes work, so your laziness comment is out of line. To make such a picture look good, a skilled photographer has to think about how deep the field of acceptable focus is and choose an aperture that will provide that, then carefully focus in the right place to achieve a good result. Your practice of just cranking the aperture shut and taking the picture is less involved than the preparation that goes into a well-thought-out shallow DOF shot.

The reason photographers use a shallow depth of field is to focus the viewer's attention on their subject and reduce detail that may draw attention away.

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