Saturday, January 14, 2012

"One camera one Lens" It might be more applicable now than ever before..

The "One Camera, One Lens" applies for all makes, Pentax, Canon, Nikon, you name it. I own Pentax equipment and therefore I show Pentax equipment on this blog.

Hi Photographer friends,

Have you compared  2012 prices of lenses to just a few years ago? Lenses have become more expensive than ever. I believe that the ratio of camera$ / lens$ prices is out of control.

We used to say that the camera bodies were replaceable every-so-often, but that lenses were an investment for life. I don't think that holds true anymore. The sensors are so advanced now, that they often outresolve the lenses, especially the older lenses. So maybe lenses are not a lifetime investment anymore.

In addition, manufacturers are making us believe that, to be a good photographer, we need an arsenal of lenses that we couldn't possibly bring to all of our photo shoots even if we wanted to. Some preach that prime lenses are the only quality lenses one should use, while other recognize that today's zoom lenses are far better than the old school zooms. The reality is that everybody is right, (regarding primes or zooms)  but we don't all have a bank account that allows us to purchase all we want. Most of us have a bank accounts that allows us to  purchase what we need and maybe a little of what we want.

If you want to become a better photographer, all the lenses in the world won't do you much good if you don't learn how to use them efficiently and wisely. An extreme zoom lens or telephoto will bring a far away object in the viewfinder, but the perspective will be all screwed up. It's the same for a wide angle lens, you may catch the scene almost behind you, but the perspective will also be screwed up.

Try to get acquainted with each of your lens, and practice a lot. In most situations, a normal lens (that is a lens that shows you the scene about the same as what your eyes normally see)  will render the best quality images. For an APS-C DSLR, 28 - 30 mm lens is a normal lens, for what we now call "Full Frame", a 45 - 50 mm is a normal lens.

Film/Sensor formatImage dimensionsImage diagonalNormal lens focal length
9.5 mm  8 × 11 mm13.6 mm15 mm
Half-frame24 × 18 mm30 mm30 mm
APS-C16.7 × 25.1 mm30.1 mm28 mm, 30 mm
135- 35mm (Full Frame)24 × 36 mm43.3 mm45 mm, 50 mm
 6 × 4.5 (645)56 × 42 mm71.8 mm75 mm
 6 × 656 × 56 mm79.2 mm80 mm
, 6 × 756 × 68 mm88.1 mm90 mm
 6 × 956 × 84 mm101.0 mm105 mm
 6 × 1256 × 112 mm125.0 mm120 mm
 Large Format 4 × 593 × 118 mm (image area)150.2 mm150 mm
Large 5 × 7  120 × 170 mm (image area)208.0 mm210 mm
Large Format 8 × 10  194 × 245 mm (image area)312.5 mm300 mm

Only after you master photography with a normal lens, should you venture into the Wide Angle, Telephoto and Zoom lenses. don't have to, but it would make you a better photographer in the long run.

Even if you currently have an arsenal of lenses, maybe you should spend some time practicing with a normal lens. It's the old adage "One camera, One lens". Most of today's photographers seem to have forgotten the correct usage of each lens. We see photographers stand at the same position and change the angle of view (zoom lenses).  This changes the coverage area without a corresponding change in perspective. Perspective changes not because of the focal length, but due to the position of the lens in relation to the subject. Changing to a normal lens and changing the position of the camera can drastically change the perspective. The "One camera, One lens" teaches you to use your legs (instead of zooming from one position), and puts you,  the camera and the lens in the most appropriate position to obtain the natural perspective. Once you try and practice this, you will get to know each of your lens intimately and will be a better photographer because of it...and who knows what other photographic opportunities will be discovered by walking closer or farther to your subject.

May the light be working with you :)

Thanks for reading,

Yvon Bourque
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