Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Photographic revelation

Revelations are wonderful things. They come upon us at the most unexpected times and are always welcome. Tonight I had one.

I have been a photographer since the "olden" days. The only High School club I belonged to was the Camera Club- way, way back in the early '60s. Thats the 1960s, not the 1860s, by the way!!

Back then zoom lenses were rarities and they usually were very bad. No, that's not true, only 99.99% of them really sucked! If you wanted quality images you needed good fixed focal length lenses. I always made sure that the lenses I bought were of the best quality that I could afford. Most of my lenses were Minolta Rokkor lenses and they were wonderful. I learned to compose and correct for exposure and do final cropping in the dark room. I still have many of those lenses and use them today on digital cameras. After all, the real secret to good photographs (after the "eye" of the photographer of course) is the lens.

Over the decades zoom lens quality has improved exponentially. We have reached the point where the quality difference is imperceptible between fixed focal length and zoom lenses. I admit that I have succumbed to the siren's song and use zoom lenses the majority of the time. But is that the right thing to be doing?

For many uses I don't use zooms. I use fixed focal length lens for macro shots, product shots for our pubs, wildlife shooting and several other projects. Why? The quality of the lenses I use is awesome and I can always crop at the last minute.

DUH!!! I'm doing the same thing with crucial shots that I have always done- I'm using fixed focal length lenses and cropping!

My next project is to take a break from zoom lenses. For the next few weeks, maybe longer, I'm doing all of my shooting with dSLRs and non-zoom lenses. Stay tuned and we'll all see how this works out!

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