What's more important; wide angle lenses or telephoto lenses?

Started Jan 25, 2013 | Questions thread
hikenhi
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Re: What's more important; wide angle lenses or telephoto lenses?
In reply to rgibbons, Jan 27, 2013

rgibbons wrote:

For me, Wide angle is more important.

When I first started buying lenses for my SLR over 30 years ago, Zoom lenses weren't as good as today, so most stores sold 35mm cameras with a 50mm lens (which I use the most), and offered 28mm wide angle and 135mm telephoto lenses. The telephoto was big and impressive, I thought I would use it most to get closeups (hard to crop in film days), and I desired it the most. (The telephoto also made me look like a pro with the big lens, so I liked to keep it mounted on the camera when I was first bought it). I ended up buying both the 28 and 135mm lenses together, took them on a long vacation. I was very surprised when I came back and looked at my pictures, to find that the wide angle was used twice as much as the telephoto.

I could usually step closer to the subject using my 50mm normal lens, to "zoom in with my feet"; but I could rarely step back far enough to get the entire picture for groups of people indoors (wall behind me gets in the way); or buildings in a crowded city (often couldn't get further back than the opposite side of the street); or for taking landscapes of mountains (getting far enough back could be a days hike away).

I discovered the same thing with my telescope, I most desired to purchase the eyepiece lenses to make distant things bigger, but ended up having the most pleasure with lenses to take in a wider field of view.

Sometimes we find that what we wanted isn't really what we need, and the desire to own and buy something is a stronger feeling than the satisfaction of having and using it. There are some camera items that I spent more time dreaming about owning, than I spent using it after I bought it.

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wish list: more time to take pictures

I think that you're the only one who really hit the nail on the head with the part about you can only back up so far versus take a few steps forward. I run into this scenario much more often than not being able to walk of a cliff to get closer view or hang myself with a "rope" because my brain doesn't allow me to answer a question with a little gray matter involved in coming up with something beyond the obvious.

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