One lens vs. multiple lenses

Started Jul 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP trut_maluglist Regular Member • Posts: 303
Re: one lens is enough

jrtrent wrote:

trut_maluglist wrote:

Since going strictly digital in 2007, I have always used just one lens.

I think that's a great approach. Unlike you, I don't feel a need for a variety of focal lengths--in fact, for the last decade or two with my film SLR's, despite owning a variety of focal lengths, I took about 99% of my pictures using just a 50mm F/1.4. Though I generally prefer a fast, normal prime, I've happily used the inexpensive kit zooms that came with my Samsung and Olympus DSLR's. They may be slow, but compared to the normal prime lenses available, the kit zooms at the same focal lengths had less distortion, less chromatic aberration, and roughly the same resolution, so not a bad trade-off. Also an amateur, I have no one to please but myself, and if light conditions get low and I don't want to bother with flash or tripod, it's pretty easy to just put the camera away. There are plenty things to take pictures of in good light to make the hobby satisfying.

Yes, it is a great approach. While I can understand seasoned pros using a prime lens to get better optics so they can get that one shot perfect, I don't quite understand amateurs who are either at my level or below my level going with multiple lenses. I'm often asked by people who want to move up from a P/S to a DSLR what kind of set up they should get. The first thing I ask is what kind of photos do they plan on taking and in what situations they plan on doing much of their shooting (or I'll look at the type of photos they have been taking). Do they mind the time spent changing lenses? Does it bother them if they miss a good shot because they had the wrong lens on? Do they want to travel light? Do they like both wide angle and zoom? Given the answers I usually get to these questions, the most appropriate setup for them is one with an 18-105, 18-135 or 18-200. Yet they usually go out and get something like two zoom lenses (e.g. one 70-200 & one 70-300) and two other lenses (e.g. a 11-16 and a prime 50). We're not talking advanced pros here. We're talking first time (or seldom) DSLR users. Then when I go out shooting photos with them, they're constantly changing lenses. They're fumbling around with a huge backpack full of lenses - making constant lens changes. Obviously what's going on is they talk to a pro and the pro tells them what he uses rather than advising them what's best for them to start with. There's a reason Nikon packages their D90 kit with a 18-105 lens rather than any combination of 11-16 lens, one prime 50 lens and one 70-200 lens.

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