Family Photographers: Shoot Wide Primes!

Started Jun 27, 2011 | Photos thread
Christoph Stephan
Christoph Stephan Veteran Member • Posts: 4,149
Re: ... or the 18-135mm as family lens?

canerino wrote:

Christoph Stephan wrote:

Your shots are really masterpieces!

My question is, in how far do you really need the wide aperture of the primes for these shots? Would depth of field not become too limiting if you want to depict the scene around? Therefore, couldn't they have been shot with a 18-135mm Zoom instead?

This all the more as you can zoom to a desired focal length in seconds, the fleeting moment might have gone in the time you change lenses.

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Thank you for the kind words, Chris!

You are absolutely correct that for many of the shots that I featured in my Leica post, many shots were stopped down. But for family work, I'd much rather have a wide aperture as my point of flexibility rather than a lens that zooms. The other aspect of it too is that I feel like I dont shoot well when it comes to shooting zoom lenses. It seems that there are just 'too many choices' with a zoom. Whereas with a prime, it's one less thing for me to think about and more energy I can put into framing the scene I want and pressing the shutter when I want to stop action.

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Thank you for your kind and detailed response. These are interesting thoughts. Of course with primes, you can always zoom with you feet (doesn't always work with landscapes and buildings but should work with closer subjects like your kids) and weight and size is another advantage, too. Now pancake primes are also made by Canon (not only by Pentax) and even the normal ones are quite small, your camera is much lighter and more compact.

On the other hand one has to learn how to use the limited depth of field wisely. I once took test shots of a colleagues face (from the side) with my then new 50mm f1.8 at f1.8 and was frustrated that his ears were sharp, but his nose already completely out of focus. Especially at shorter focal lengths I experienced that it is not that easy to separate the subject from the background, part of the subjects often are unacceptably out of focus while there is still too much detail visible. Obviously I have to learn a lot in this regard, so far I am mostly a landscape, flowers and wildlife shooter.

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