Should I keep my XP1?

Started Jul 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
Ray Sachs
Senior MemberPosts: 9,429Gear list
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Re: Should I keep my XP1?
In reply to lnbolch, Jul 23, 2012

lnbolch wrote:

Why on earth do you think that the most popular lens—generally included with the camera—was the "normal" lens during the century and a half of the film era? You will be the last person on earth left to discover why.

WHY?

Mostly because I think it was the easiest to make, being the closest to a "neutral" field of view. Hence, before lens makers had really perfected their craft, that was the one they could do well. I grew up shooting with that focal length almost exclusively. Its what there was. Anything else was wildly expensive and not that great quality, even in my youth and I'm not all that old!

Now that there are other options, I almost never use it. I mostly prefer wider - usually something in the 24-28mm equivalent field of view. When I want to get closer, I'd usually rather go up to something in the 90-120mm range, a classic portrait lens, like the X-Pro 60 or the roadmap 56mm.

The neutral lenses are still the easiest to make which I'm sure is why they're generally where you find the fastest apertures and narrowest DOF. Which, is the only reason I generally still keep one in my bag. For VERY low light and for VERY narrow depth of field. But the "nifty 50" is generally my least used lens and I sometimes have to wonder why I even carry one.

So, I reject your contention that the 50-55mm lens was the most popular lens down through photographic history because its the "best" focal length. Its just pretty much all there was because its probably all they could competently make for a good long while. And so photographers adapted to it until there were other, equally good, options. Now its "classic" focal length has lived on in the mythology and a lot of people use it because they truly love it and a lot of other people probably use it because they've just heard its the classic focal length. Not because its inherently wonderful!

-Ray
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