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07-05-2009, 08:38 PM   #61
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Marc, only you mentioned perspective. And I don't use pixels.

Chris

07-06-2009, 10:11 AM   #62
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
Marc, only you mentioned perspective. And I don't use pixels.
The concept is of course the same with film as with digital - you *can* crop a 28mm to yield the same FOV as a 300mm lens would have produced, and the results will have *identical* perspective, but will of course have less resolution because it is such a heavy crop. So the difference resolution remains the answer to question you posed about why we bother to have different focal length: yes, you *could* shoot everything with a 28 (or whatever wide angle lens you prefer) and crop to yield whatever FOV you prefer, but you'd lose resolution as compared to using a different focal length in the first place.

Now, it *is* true you didn't mention perspective at first - although of course you did later in posting the link to the Wikipedia article on the subject. But the discussion is at this point vague and diffused enough that we might as well return to your original actual statement:

QuoteQuote:
Zooms make you lazy. Rather than walk to compose your shot, one tends to zoom for framing, with little regard for the effect of focal length.
OK, then, what "effect of focal length" did you mean?

Note I totally agree with the idea that zooms often make people lazy, and in fact we may actually agree as to the reasons, but it's hard to say because you were kind of vague in your refer to "effect of focal length". Here's how *I* would put the issue:

Zooms can indeed encourage some bad habits. When encountering a scene one wishes to shoot, there are two very separate things one should really consider in composing it: what kind of perspective you want, and what kind of framing you want. These are *entirely* distinct things, as any artist could tell you: perspective is determined solely by where you position yourself, and framing is determined by the angle of view you choose to represent from that position. One could call these two things - perspective and framing - the fundamental aspects of composition.

What a zoom does is allow you to get the framing you want by changing angle of view from your starting position - which is to say, it allows you to choose any framing you want *without* encouraging you to first walk around to establish your perspective. So you end up not actually exercise creative control over one of the two fundamental aspects of composition.

On the other hand, if all you have a a single prime, you are *forced* into compromising one or the other. That is, to get a given framing, there is only one position from which you can achieve it, so you cannot have independent creative control over perspective. Conversely, to get a given perspective, there is only one angle of view your lens can produce, so you cannot have independent creative control over framing.

This is why I say that zooms - while they *can* encourage bad habits - are actually the better tools if you want to control both framing and perspective. The way to do this is to first walk around to choose your perspective, and *then* zoom to choose your framing. Of course, you may have already had the framing in mind before you started walking, but the point is, you don't actually select focal length until you select your position.

Of course, with a sufficiently large set of primes, one can do more or less the same. Especially if one considers the possibility of cropping, or the reality that a small change in position to fine tune framing might well not really mess up perspective too badly, one can generally get by with a surprisingly limited set of primes and still retain as much independent control of perspective and framing as one desires.

For me, in shooting landscape, experience with zooms - where I have full control over both perspective and framing - has taught me than I can get an awful lot done with just 28mm and 40mm (APS-C; 42mm and 60mm respectively for 35mm film in terms of reproducing the same framing for a given perspective). Others may find different focal lengths work best for them. Once you've identified the focal lengths that work best, you might indeed find you simply *prefer* working with primes (as you do, and I do tool). But zooms - if used "properly" to give independent control of perspective and framing - are a great teaching tool to help you find the focal lengths that seem to work best for you, and thus help guide your selection of primes.

But assuming the IQ, size/weight are within what you are willing to accept, you retain more control of perspective & framing with a zoom.
07-06-2009, 11:03 AM   #63
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
So by extension one single focal length lens is all anyone would actually need.
Boy have we been duped by the interchangeable lens camera manufacturers!

Chris
Yep...that is why I shot for a full decade before I bought my first wide-angle or tele.

Steve
07-06-2009, 12:55 PM   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
So by extension one single focal length lens is all anyone would actually need.
Boy have we been duped by the interchangeable lens camera manufacturers!

Chris
To a large degree, this is true. For the vast majority of the camera's history, most photographers got by with nothing but a single fixed lens. Some of my most satisfying outings to this day are accomplished with a fixed lens 50's folder of one brand or another. While in the midst of one of these shooting trips I rarely, if ever, wish I had other lenses with me. I guess it's just a certain mindset I fall into. Minimalist shooting in this age of "auto everything, too many too easily available choices", is quite a freeing experience..... give it a shot sometime.

07-06-2009, 09:00 PM   #65
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I could probably live with a 35mm lens only, but never just a 50mm,
even though you would say they are theoretically interchangeable...

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 07-07-2009 at 02:05 AM.
07-07-2009, 04:49 AM   #66
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I could not live with a single lens. But I could make do for some time with my 24/2 and 77/2, along with a screw in macro adapter for the latter.
07-07-2009, 08:54 AM   #67
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
I could probably live with a 35mm lens only, but never just a 50mm,
even though you would say they are theoretically interchangeable...
Not at all - you can crop a picture from a 35 to *exactly* mimic the field of view of the 50, but the reverse is not true. So of course a 35 would be a better choice than a 50 if you wanted to have only one prime and didn't mind cropping (with the corresponding loss in resolution) as a way of mimicing other focal lengths
07-07-2009, 09:17 AM   #68
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Not at all - you can crop a picture from a 35 to *exactly* mimic the field of view of the 50, but the reverse is not true. So of course a 35 would be a better choice than a 50 if you wanted to have only one prime and didn't mind cropping (with the corresponding loss in resolution) as a way of mimicing other focal lengths
Some of my older fixed lens cameras have split the difference by offering 45mm lenses (My Zeiss Ikonta 35 folders, for example, with a 45mm Tessar on one, & a 45mm Schneider on the other)

07-07-2009, 10:27 AM   #69
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Not at all - you can crop a picture from a 35 to *exactly* mimic the field of view of the 50, but the reverse is not true. So of course a 35 would be a better choice than a 50 if you wanted to have only one prime and didn't mind cropping (with the corresponding loss in resolution) as a way of mimicing other focal lengths
but wouldn't all of your photos then suffer from mild distortion due to the wide angle? even cropped?
07-07-2009, 12:52 PM   #70
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QuoteOriginally posted by séamuis Quote
but wouldn't all of your photos then suffer from mild distortion due to the wide angle? even cropped?
No. That's precisely my point - focal length has *nothing* to do with perspective. Aside from DOF, there will no visible difference between a shot from a 50 and one cropped to match from a 35. The only reason people have traditionally associated wide angle lenses with perspective distortion is that the natural tendency is to shoot from a closer distance with a wide angle lens. but it's the change in distance, not the change in focal length, that alters the perspective. Shooting from the same location, there is no difference.

Of course, while not an attribute of focal length, some lenses may introduce more barrel or pincushion distortion than others, and very wide angle lenses do tend to be more prone to this. But that's kind of a separate issue, and indeed it is perfectly possible a well-designed wide angle would outperform a poorly designed "normal" in that respect.
07-09-2009, 05:18 AM   #71
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QuoteQuote:
Of course, while not an attribute of focal length, some lenses may introduce more barrel or pincushion distortion than others, and very wide angle lenses do tend to be more prone to this. But that's kind of a separate issue, and indeed it is perfectly possible a well-designed wide angle would outperform a poorly designed "normal" in that respect.
I believe this is the type of distortion I was referring to. ive seen it even on some 35's.
07-11-2009, 08:00 PM   #72
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Every lens I own is MF. Quite frankly, most of the Pentax AF lenses were cheap crap, with the exceptions of the "*" lenses, which usually had poor availability and/or excessive prices. All of my cameras except for my dSLRs are manual focus anyway, and I wouldn't buy any APS-C lenses since I couldn't use those on my film bodies.

With just a couple of exceptions, a "standard" 50mm and a 15mm (so I had SOMETHING that vaguely resembled a "wide" angle on the damn APS-C dSLRs), I have nothing but zooms, since I prefer the framing control and the "seamless" focal length coverage. I prefer MF lenses, since many of the AF lenses had those godawful skinny little focusing rings that you could hardly find, much less actually use, and many were poorly damped due to the need to accommodate the AF mechanisms. While I think that recent vintage AF lenses are much better in that regard, I prefer my entire range of lenses to work in a similar fashion, so I stick with MF lenses, and I've gone to the used market to fill out my lens collection as necessary. My old MF glass will last as long as I do; I doubt I would be confident that AF lenses would have similar durability - too many "features" to malfunction like motors, chips, drive screws, etc.
07-11-2009, 09:20 PM   #73
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I manually focus probably 80-90% of the time when I take pictures. However, 80-90% of the lenses I own are AF. I guess I just like to have that feature, for those little times I do want autofocus. Yes, you can get MF a lot cheaper, but I don't have a LBA or dozens of lenses like some people, so the little more money I pay on AF is worth it, and I usually pick quality AF lenses.
07-12-2009, 05:06 AM   #74
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QuoteOriginally posted by 24X36NOW Quote
Every lens I own is MF. Quite frankly, most of the Pentax AF lenses were cheap crap, with the exceptions of the "*" lenses, which usually had poor availability and/or excessive prices.
uh, FA limited?
07-12-2009, 06:34 AM   #75
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QuoteQuote:
My question is this ; who else prefers high quality old tech glass to consumer grade new stuff.
I just purchased my 4th MF lens yesterday.
When it arrives I'll have 4 beautiful Voigtlander's in my camera bag.

Skopar 20mm f3.5
Ultron 40mm f2.0
Nokton 58mm f1.4
Lanthar 125mm f2.5 (Macro)

There you have it; wide angle, normal, portrait and tele-macro, what more could one man need?
All are high quality, metal bodied with 9-bladed apertures and superb glass.

I have adapted my K10D with a split-screen focus screen and a 1.3X viewfinder; both very helpful for manual focus lenses.
My favourite film camera is my trusty ME Super, and all of these lenses fit it perfectly.

I'll be selling off my other Pentax cameras and lenses in the near future.

This kit will serve me well until the day I die.

I'm in a happy place right now!
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