One lens vs. multiple lenses

Started Jul 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
(unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 650
Re: Super zooms don't fly coach

trut_maluglist wrote:

MarkJH wrote:

trut_maluglist wrote:

And a smart pro would have each lens mounted to a different camera so he doesn't have to change lenses.

Some, but not all or even most. Depends on the circumstance and moment--it's not a technique you can "generalize" on.

Have you seen the pros who park themselves behind the end zone at football games? They'll have a wide angle on one camera for when the action is close and a large telephoto lens on another camera for when the action is far away.

So let's call end-zone NFL togs the universal definition of the "smart pro"?

Um, no. Find me a studio portrait artist who uses more than one camera body at a time and I'll give you a gold star. Find me a fashion / editorial shooter who does and I'll give you another. The twin-body approach might have been fairly common with wedding or concert / event shooters in the past, but now many of them are shooting with (gasp) primes.

C'mon, man: the more you write in this thread, the narrower your ideas get. The prevalence of fast primes in the bags of wedding photographers, particularly, ought to tell you something about your ideas, here.

I'm not a pro, but I do strive to have fun shooting photos while getting a great variety of shots wherever I go. I'm not one who can justify both paying for and carrying around extra lenses to get the best possible IQ. If you give me $2000 for my photography hobby, I'd sooner spend it on traveling to a place I haven't been to than on more lenses.

Since the Nikkor 18-200 cost $800 last time I checked, it's not exactly the sound cornerstone of an economic argument. The 18-300 and 28-300 were pushing beyond $1000.

If you were to give *me* $2000 for my photography hobby, I'd sooner spend it on equipment that would make the most sense for whatever photographic enterprise I had in mind--by which I mean to say, I would actually *have* an idea in mind of what I wanted to shoot. I wouldn't just show up and call it good with a big zoom range.

There's nothing wrong with you and me having different priorities with respect to photography. What puzzles me is when amateur entry level DSLR users jump right to a multi lens setup when their standards aren't even at the level of my standards. Then when I go out shooting photos with them, they are fumbling around with a large backpack, spending too much time changing lenses or miss the good shot because they have the wrong lens on.

Let's say you plan to shoot intimate, low-light street scenes: the dude with the $125 50mm f/1.8D prime next to you will be shooting circles around you and will have spent a lot less to do so.

It's give and take. He can get his 50 mm shots with an ISO of 400, while I might be shooting at ISO 1600, but will have shots at 18 mm, 35 mm and 60 mm.

Which will suck. You're kidding yourself that there's a "give and take" in the choice. Because your photographs will be noisy and full of all the optical issues for which super zooms are so fondly known; but worse, because you'll have been zooming-to-frame (which we both know you do), your different focal lengths won't actually amount to a different perspective. It'll just be you standing there giving us 18mm, 35mm, and 60mm of the same thing and trying to pass each off as something meaningful or distinct. Meanwhile, the guy who's been shooting with one focal length and moving his ass to compose will actually have a much greater diversity of perspective, content, and meaning.

It's why guys like Cartier-Bresson used a single fixed prime for their entire careers: they know that so much of a photograph's meaning comes from the photographer's relationship to his or her subject--something that finds expression in a chosen perspective. Focal length is subordinate to that relationship, a result of it. But *you* are talking like someone who uses focal length to *define* it, to make it for you; and that, my friend, is a recipe for some seriously disengaging stuff.

It's possible to use a super zoom for great photography, but because great photography has never required focal length flexibility, it's the worst possible choice. Super zooms were conceived for people who just aren't that into it--people who want to zoom to frame, who don't care to think about things like perspective or communicating their relationship with their subject.

There's so much more to photography than focal length. Seriously, man, you've stuck yourself in a very, very tiny box.

Focal length isn't the only thing that matters to me. Other things are equally important.

Obviously not. I mean, obviously not. You're not interested in shallow depth of field at reasonable subject distances; you're not interested in optical quality; you're content with high ISOs; you're not interested in focus speed; you're not interested in artificial light (which is slower to set up, harder to use with that variable aperture); you're not interested in close distance-to-subject or macro possibilities, etcetera etcetera etcetera. This whole thread is about you defining focal length flexibility as "the thing" that constitutes your acceptable "trade off" with all of that. Which tells us a lot about your photography.

But it's also about you passing judgment on your peers from a position of willful ignorance. You're talking about them "fumbling" and "missing the good shot" while 99% of this thread's replies have suggested that your reliance on your super-zoom will have you "missing the good shot" yourself, most of the time. "The good shot" comes from your most active engagement in the moment, and slow, variable-aperture, pumper super-zooms are the worst possible way to develop that. It wouldn't surprise me that your friends, who might be "fumbling" now, will leap-frog you sooner rather than later.

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