Photos that inspired you to get a particular focal length

Started Mar 29, 2014 | Discussions thread
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itsastickup Regular Member • Posts: 279
Photos that inspired you to get a particular focal length

Do share your inspirations.

Here are mine:

I started with the low-light p&s the Fuji F30, but not because I was interested in photography but because my Godmother, who would often give me wads of cash, insisted I send her photos. I'm still not interested in photographs in their own right (I'm more of a music/hifi buff) but I do get a lot of satisfaction out of the pleasure that parents express of my pics of their kids. And I rate satisfaction above pleasure, even where it paradoxically takes pain and the sufferings of delayed-gratification to achieve. In fact I generally try to order my life in favour of satisfaction at the expense of pleasure, which I think people often do when they get past their teens and twenties. Having kids forces the issue also.

However, I was inspired to move in to the SLR world by someone's beautiful pic of their daughter. Man, I needed that background blur. And so I got an SLR with a standard 50mm lens (pentax ME Super with 50/1.7).

Here is her pic: (the photo is marked 'not for sharing', so it seems I can't embed).

I never thought for a second I would need any more than a 50mm equiv. I wasn't interested in wide-angles or long lenses or zooms, and for my contextual portrait purposes the 50mm was all that was necessary.

......until I stumbled across what is still my favourite photo of all time :

Man, I needed a portrait lens after that. And some kind of reflector. I have a lot of nieces and nephews and brothers and sisters, so I was going to party on my portrait lens I can tell you. I ended up getting the wonderful Canon FD 135/2.5. I also have the m42 Zeiss 135/3.5, but it's double-lining/nisen bokeh means I rarely use it other than when travelling because it's so lightweight.

I thought that that was that. Famous last words.

Then one day I barged in to this :


What a difference the longer length makes. Even 135mm wasn't enough any more.

You can actually see that even 230mm vs 350mm (gif animation here ) makes a subtle but definite difference. And I'm all in to subtle enhancements that separate my photos from the crowd. The sort of things that make people say "What a beautiful photo" but they don't know why. I even take contextual portraits at 3.5m where possible, to get that advantage (using a 75mm equiv lens). I've noticed serious pros (I'm semi) do this also. For headshots I use the Nikon 55-300mm VR at 220mm closed down a bit to try to claw back some sharpness. It does an OK job. Nice bokeh and no focus breathing; a great poor-mans super-headshot lens.

Anyway, that's been my focal-length journey in pictures. What's been yours?

 itsastickup's gear list:itsastickup's gear list
Nikon D5100 Fujifilm X-Pro1 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR +4 more
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