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06-22-2020, 02:09 PM - 9 Likes   #1
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Really? Just One Camera and Lens?

Really? Just One Camera And Lens? YES!

I had someone ask me if I had to pick one lens and camera to do my everyday stuff of portraits, landscape, cityscape, close ups on nature like flowers, turtles and bugs, what would I choose? Well the one camera and lens I go to most of the time for most of my photos. The Pentax K1 MarkII with my Pentax HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW.

If you are into photography you might think I am mad. At first when I was so tired of wondering what lens to use and my photography needed to step up and be more inspiring, thought I was mad, taking just a 50mm lens and one camera and leaving all my cameras and lenses at home. In doing this I decided I needed to make compelling photographs with a 50mm lens using any creative methods I could conjure up. You know, single frames, cropping in post, using pixel shift, long exposures, low light work, and night shots, but only one lens.

I have a light weight camera and lenses but I decided quality over weight was much more important and my K1-MarkII and 50mm lens weight twice as much as my light weight KP camera and 31mm Prime (which on my ASP-C KP is 46.5mm).
After realizing I didn’t need a lightweight camera system for my photo work even if hiking, I decided to take my K1-MarkII and heavier 50mm 1.4 lens. I knew the controls like the back of my hand and the weatherproofing of both my camera and lens was also a factor for south Mississippi and Louisiana. I would settle on the trusty 50mm. Yes, I can picture you shaking your head. Why on earth would I take just a 50mm lens to do all my work? After being less than inspired with photography lately, I needed a challenge. That challenge was to only use the 50mm lens (not a zoom lens), while trying to capture dramatic landscapes and other photos.

I had not been this excited about photography in a long time. The 50mm lens challenge reignited a creative spark inside me that had been missing lately. This challenge was also a great opportunity to feel the 50mm focal length again. For weddings, I shoot mainly with a 50mm lens and now I use it 95% of the time on weddings, because I know what to expect from the 50mm.

Initially, I had gotten so lazy using a zoom all the time it was difficult to compose a photograph at first. The 50mm focal length is quite mundane, but that is its beauty to get you to be creative. You cannot rely on distortion from a wide angle lens or the beautiful compression from a telephoto. In fact there is not any measurable distortion in my Pentax 50 mm lens. All you can rely on is filling the frame with something interesting.

After shooting with the 50mm lens for a period of time now, I came to the conclusion that it’s actually a great lens for landscape photography. The focal length just feels natural and therefore feels just right. It feels like you’re right there, looking with your own eyes. Close enough to see the details, but wide enough to feel the bigger picture.

Having one focal length also eliminates any wasted time in changing lenses and no wondering what lens to actually use. You simply pull your camera out and compose a photograph. It’s quite liberating and something I would definitely recommend to any photographer who has gotten tired or taking photos or lost your drive and inspiration to be challenged with your photography.

Well you might ask are you going back to your other lens. Only on occasion for a specific job where I need a specialized lens for a specific work, but for my every day use it will be my K1-MarkII and my 50mm lens.

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Last edited by mhsp1948; 06-22-2020 at 03:33 PM.
06-22-2020, 02:38 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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Great pics there...and yes I completely agree with you. Whenever my photography got ground down I would do something similar. Its so easy to start packing a bag and think ‘ooohhh must have a 35mm for any landscapes, oh and must take the 135mm in case any good candids are available, best to take the zoom too just in case and a bag of filters, flash, tripod, remote etc etc etc’ before you know it you are lugging a half ton of gear around, most never gets used, the whole thing becomes tiring and a chore and you end up with blandissimo pics mostly.

Cut down to the basics and you enjoy it more. Its part of the reason I went back to film and years ago the best lesson I ever had was a week with a box brownie and a challenge to get 12 solid pics. Taught me loads about composition.

These days the best days are when I go with a single lens, cam out and snap. The frustrating days have all been fudging about changing lenses, messing with lens hoods etc etc and mostly missing the shot from either fudge, stress or so tired from the messing about and lugging a load of gear that I have lost the ‘eye’.

The first time put with film a year or so back and a single 58mm lens I found I was smiling and actually enjoying photography again for the firts time in a long time.

I tend to favour 35mm lenses but I am singing from the same hymn sheet, albeit with a wider angle
06-22-2020, 02:48 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I agree with you. If I didn't shoot birds then 50mm would be enough for pretty much all of my photography needs...well, okay, I do get the wide angle urge every once in a while too. 50mm for landscapes also obviates the need to find interesting foregrounds really close to you as well, and it makes a good lens to do panoramas in.
06-22-2020, 02:57 PM   #4
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Amen Astro-Baby and automorphism - thanks for the comments

06-22-2020, 02:58 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Great pictures. Very nice.

+1 with one camera one lens.
My favourite combo is my K-3 with the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4. I use it possibly close to 40% of my shots.
06-22-2020, 03:13 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Nice little photo essay. In my youth, I had little money for lenses, so I made do with a used K1000 and some second hand 50mm lens for the better part of a decade.
Becoming very familiar with that combo allowed me to become a better photgrapher, IMO.
Even today, I often use the same lens and camera combo for weeks at a time, because I know the reults I get in various lighting and scenery.
06-22-2020, 03:25 PM   #7
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You know hcc and robgski, I have really been enjoying my 50mm lens much more than I thought I would, in fact I really like it. I find myself leaving home and going place for work and short trips and taken just one camera and lens and you know I like it a whole lot.
06-22-2020, 03:38 PM - 1 Like   #8
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My first thought was it makes for a very expensive point and shoot. But, you could never get that quality or control from a P&S. If it works for you I commend you. I don't do it all of the time, but I have done it on occasion with certain primes and it really does make you think about your compositions.

06-22-2020, 03:46 PM - 1 Like   #9
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I do this quite often if I'm just out and about. I'll use a 28 or 35mm prime (on crop) and shoot all day with that. I like the challenge and the emphasis on composition. (As Tom just mentioned above ^^)
06-22-2020, 03:56 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I shot for over a decade with a 50mm f/1.7 lens and 35mm film SLR and was quite satisfied by the results.


Steve
06-22-2020, 04:22 PM   #11
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Thank you for your comments ramseybuckeye, paulh and stevbort
06-22-2020, 06:24 PM   #12
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For me right now, my 1 camera + lens is a K-3II and Sigma 18-35 Art. I think I'm starting to like it more than, dare I say, the DA*50-135.
06-22-2020, 07:48 PM   #13
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I shot mostly a 35mm LTD on my K3ii for over a year. For me - quite useful....
06-22-2020, 08:20 PM   #14
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I find that when I go out with just one camera and my Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Art lens, I get better pictures than if I go out with multiple lenses and/or with a zoom.

But the problem is... I need to shoot my kids sports, so teles are always going to come on the camera.

I've been meaning to do a OYOCOL (One Year/One Camera/One Lens) with the Sigma 30 Art since I bought it (in a way, it's a "poor man's" version of the OP's setup - a fast normal lens). I even bought a set of all my favorite filters in 62mm just for it... and one day I just have to do it. But my other normal lens (the DA 35 Limited) also calls my name quite often... and my fifties seem to cry out to me if I don't use them for a period of time... and to be honest, short teles are almost like cheating in photography, anything you do with them seems to look good. Finally, there's times when I just end up using a zoom such as last Saturday when we had a birthday party for one of my sons...

But I'll try to consciously use my normal lenses more.

Speaking of which... this year I decided to create a 2020 Challenge where you shoot a different type of photography every month... and this month is Normal Field of View month. I'd love to see more of the OP's pictures and this might just be the place to post them: The 2020 Monthly Challenge - June - The Normal field-of-view - PentaxForums.com
06-22-2020, 08:20 PM - 2 Likes   #15
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I'm with the OP, I like what is considered a long lens for landscapes. Ferget the wide angles, give me a great standard lens with a big maximum aperture and I'm pretty content to shoot anything that catches my eye. My one camera/ one lens days are generally whatever lens I got most recently, but after that shine wears off, I'm back to the *50/1.4
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