Lens with "wow" effect !! :-))

Started Dec 4, 2012 | Discussions thread
gdanmitchell
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,730
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Re: Lens with "wow" effect !! :-))
In reply to Press Correspondent, Dec 12, 2012

Press Correspondent wrote:

You Sir misunderstood the question and went great length to defend a position irrelevant to this thread. You just need to update the limited definition of "wow" in your aging dictionary with more flexible meanings. The question essentially was, "What are your favorite lenses?" Perhaps you like some more than others. Let's hear which.

I just re-read the original post after reading your claim that I "misunderstood the question." Actually, I understood it exactly and I responded to the "wow" lens question that was asked.

An excerpt, since the whole thing is readily available and quite long:

"Philippe R wrote:

... have read a post on someone looking for a lens that produces a "wow" factor.....

So let's have it, what do you consider a lens with a definite "wow" effect

Please specify the lens, the body it's used on, and of course your use..."

The question was not "essentially...'What are your favorite lenses?'" So, "you, sir, misunderstood the question," not me.

The whole notion of "wow" lenses, whether you know it or not, continues to induce eye-rolling and laughter among folks who do serious photography. (Yes, with a few exceptions.) I won't repeat my long previous post - which I hope you read and tried to understand - but the short story is that there are lenses of various quality levels, lenses are tools, there are no "wow" or "magic" lenses, photographers looking to produce "wow" and "magic" in their work by choosing the right lenses are barking up the wrong tree - sort of like a person interested in running marathons focusing obsessively on what brand of shoes to buy rather than on training.

If the question had been "what are your favorite lenses," I could easily have provided an answer. In fact, I have, at the web site that is listed in my signature file, where I often write about equipment and other subjects.

A funny story on the "wow" lens topic. Yesterday I was shooting with a couple of fellow photographers, doing wildlife and a bit of landscape-style work in California's Central Valley. One of my friends - I'll call him "Dave" - and I have an ongoing joke about "wow" lenses. He will write to me about his latest "wow" lens and give it full credit for some photographic success of his - a success that is obviously due to compositional skill, patience and perseverance, and a good eye - and I'll write back and tell him that I, for example, made a pretty good photograph and really wish that I'd had a wow lens handy in order for it to fulfill its full potential. Our other friend - I'll call him "Michael" - sort of rolls his eyes and smiles. ("Michael" is a fairly well-known photographer. If you have visited Yosemite Valley you have probably seen his work and/or read one of his books, and you might have taken a workshop from him.)

It turns out that all three of us will have photographs in a small annual show in Yosemite Valley this February, the Yosemite Renaissance show that opens in a gallery in The Valley in late February. "Dave" knows the photograph of mine that will be in the show, and he had written one of his jokey notes, wondering whether or not I had used a "wow" lens to produce it. I actually couldn't remember what lens I had used, so at his suggestion I decided to check the EXIF file to remind myself. The first place I looked was an online version of the photograph that provides a minimal subset of EXIF data and I was momentarily horrified to find that it was shot with a "50mm" lens - my God, maybe the success was due to using a prime! (Though it would have been a distinctly non-wow-inducing 50mm f/1.4 Canon lens - a wonderful tool.) Distressed that I might have to admit that my photographic success was actually due to using a 50mm prime and not my vision or anything else, I found the original file where the full EXIF is available and was greatly relieved to find that this photograph, which seems to enjoy some degree of success, was actually created with the 24-105mm f/4 zoom. Now that is a fine, functional, and effective lens - but anyone who chases after the "wow lens" chimera knows full well how often it is dissed in forumtography discussions.

Relieved to find that the lens choice had essentially nothing to do with the success of this photograph - since it could have been made with several lenses I own - I wrote back to my friend to lament the terrible disappointment of knowing that the photograph that was selected for inclusion in the show could have been so much better if only I had used a "wow lens" with "3D effect" and "powerfully rendering" capability.

We all had a great laugh over this subject.

Dan

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