Lens workflows, and getting stuck in a rut

Started Jul 6, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Lens workflows, and getting stuck in a rut
Jul 6, 2014

Fair warning: here follows a whiny first-world-problem type complaint I've been shooting for around 18 months now with more or less the same kit. When we travel, along with my D600 I take my 16-35 and 70-200 f4 lenses as my main ones and they get the most use (especially the 16-35). I usually also have at least my 28 1.8G and possibly 50 1.2 with me (I carry a small photo backpack to haul all these).

Lately however I feel like this arrangement has gotten me stuck in a rut. A lot of the time when traveling it doesn't really seem opportune to be swapping lenses, especially outdoors in the wind/dust. So I tend to just keep on the 16-35 and end up mostly taking wide angle shots. A UWA zoom is a fantastic tool but I find it tends to lead you into the mindset that every photographic subject can be captured by the application of maximal FOV. This is a problem because not every subject lends itself to wide angle so I end up with a certain percentage of boring shots with tiny subjects in the distance, or too much clutter in the frame. When I would change lenses it would usually be to the 70-200 with the end result that I usually get no shots in the 30-70mm range.

When I first got into digital photography, I indulged in the gear lust and pixel peeping fanaticisms and made great efforts to achieve the best possible image quality with the amount of funds I had available. I bought and sold a number of lenses and ended up with this kit that does give excellent image quality in almost all the range from 16-200 but requires many lens changes to cover the commonly used focal lengths.

For these reasons, I felt maybe it's time to switch up my kit a bit to try and force me to explore a broader range of focal lengths. I do own a 24-70 2.8 which has mostly stayed in the hotel room when traveling due to its size and weight. I also didn't like its performance for landscapes at 70mm, and the fact that 70mm was not really telephoto enough to avoid switching to the 70-200. If I took the other two zooms and the 24-70, I'd end up wanting to change lenses even more often.

One of my favorite photography teachers, Ben Long, shoots almost exclusively with a 24-105 L lens when doing 'walking around' type stuff. The inevitable conclusion is that I too must purchase a 24-1xx lens. The new Sigma looks interesting but its immense bulk and weight is off-putting - I almost may as well carry the 24-70 I already own. That pretty much leaves the Nikon 24-120. I've done a lot of research, downloaded a lot of full-resolution samples, and satisfied myself that for the types of uses I intend, and output sizes I use, it will give satisfactory results.

I'd be very interested to hear others' experiences in this range. Once you get a lens like the 24-120 does it mostly render a 70-200 redundant? Perhaps I would be better served to swap out the 70-200 for a 80-400 (although it would be tough to let go of such a superlative lens as the 70-200 f4)? So many possibilities...

 thelenspainter's gear list:thelenspainter's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G +2 more
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