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04-27-2009, 07:44 PM   #1
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A New Method...

Well, I am not sure if this is in fact a new method, but it is to me because I just thought of it. I am mainly a zoom lens user (even though the DA35LTD is my daily lens) but I am thinking that in order for me to learn to take a new perspective on how I see the world through the lens, I am going to stop taking what is easily given to me but make of it what I want to.

I find that when I do use the zooms that I am more often than not taking pictures at the ends of the focal lengths. I think that is somewhat restricting, I may as well just have a 16mm, 50mm and a 135mm and call it a day. But I have all of that wiggle room to play with and I don't, I have a whole other 119mm to be creative with, and I think that I have been allowing myself to be held back by not playing in all of that wonderful space, and maybe there are others out there that can relate.

I think that I am going to make a concious effort, from now on until it becomes second nature, to play in that 119mm space that I have been given and see what I can make of it.

04-27-2009, 07:59 PM   #2
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Don't know where the post/thread is here, but there's an incredible article/argument here made for sticking to a standard FOV focal length prime lens, because not only is that generally the best from a mechanical/technical standpoint, but that it really works your creativity and makes you work for your shots to good results.
04-27-2009, 08:04 PM   #3
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Good idea - you're not alone. Others have suggested, to break out of the "slam it against the stops" mode of shooting with a zoom, that you pick a focal length at random within the zoom range, at shoot at that one spot all day. Zoom with your feet.
04-27-2009, 08:24 PM   #4
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Next time you find yourself on either end, you could try walking backwards or forwards (depending on which end) to force yourself to use the focal lengths in between.

04-27-2009, 08:56 PM   #5
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I had a super zoom and decided to add some primes to my collection... looked at the xif data on all my photos and found it was almost exclusively full in or full out. With a few around the middle.

So i ditched it and went for some select primes instead. and ditched the zoom idea.

I have a 35, 50, and 90mm (+macro) so far

and i will add a 14 or 15 - and a 300 and be done

I'm much happier with primes, they are actually fast (as opposed to 2.8 being called 'fast' in a zoom) and dont weigh a ton.

Last edited by WerTicus; 04-27-2009 at 09:13 PM.
04-27-2009, 11:22 PM   #6
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I have been working with three lenses lately
Pentax FA 31mm f/1.8 and the FA77 f/1.8 and in-between the Pentax 50mm f/1.2

paradoxically, limiting ourselves can be the doorway to more creativity.
04-28-2009, 07:28 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buddha Jones Quote
Well, I am not sure if this is in fact a new method, but it is to me because I just thought of it. I am mainly a zoom lens user (even though the DA35LTD is my daily lens) but I am thinking that in order for me to learn to take a new perspective on how I see the world through the lens, I am going to stop taking what is easily given to me but make of it what I want to.

I find that when I do use the zooms that I am more often than not taking pictures at the ends of the focal lengths. I think that is somewhat restricting, I may as well just have a 16mm, 50mm and a 135mm and call it a day. But I have all of that wiggle room to play with and I don't, I have a whole other 119mm to be creative with, and I think that I have been allowing myself to be held back by not playing in all of that wonderful space, and maybe there are others out there that can relate.

I think that I am going to make a concious effort, from now on until it becomes second nature, to play in that 119mm space that I have been given and see what I can make of it.
Great point. Mike Johnson at T.O.P. had a nice article on how to stress a lens. He notes as you have that most people use their lenses at the limits of the zoom, which is where most of the lens' flaws appear. So, I try to consciously pull back a bit from the limits. Though, I rarely use the kit zooms that I have as I just love the primes for their small/light size and of course great optical qualities!
04-28-2009, 11:39 AM   #8
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When I use a zoom lens, I pick the point of view that fits the scene best. Then I zoom to get the best possible frame.
So, I end up using whatever part of the zoom that suits best.

04-28-2009, 09:55 PM   #9
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As an exercise, select a focal length and use it for a whole day. This can be mind boggling. All of a sudden you realize that 50mm from 10 feet is not the same as 25mm from 5 feet - it's a completely different photo because of the way the background interacts with the subject. Those of us who grew up with 28/55/135 as the focal lengths still tend to think this way.
04-28-2009, 10:14 PM   #10
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To me, DA*50-135 is almost like a prime lens in that the aperture stays constant regardless of the focal length you are at. If you had a framework of a shot in your mind to begin with, you can use a zoom lens like DA* like a prime.
04-28-2009, 11:33 PM   #11
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Buddha, I know exactly where you're coming from. When I had my DA*16-50, I'd be using it mainly at the 16mm ends and 50mm ends and my brain just couldn't think in between.

I've since moved to the great Pentax prime lineup and haven't looked back. You may be like me in that you 'need' that restriction in order to get you to think about the composition and creativity more. I found the zooms would be the easy way out for me and I'd usually take it. Unfortunately, I found I couldn't control myself as much as I'd like to. This is probably all mental, but that's just the way it worked for me.

My kit consists of the DA 21 Ltd, DA35 Ltd Macro and the DA70 Ltd. Occasionally I'll bring along the DA 40 Ltd, but not often now. The DA*50-135 gets the nod when I have special assignments and I need the SDM, weather sealing, etc.


Try primes for a while and see how that works You'll hate changing lenses, but the setup is that much more compact... and as mentioned, will push your creativity. OR your feet. Or both.
04-29-2009, 01:19 AM   #12
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I totally agree!! I was in the state before with my 50mm. It helps the shooter to understand how to compose their shots and it helped me in doing so. Now Im just saving up for a prime macro lens and pick up a takumar at the same time.
04-29-2009, 01:39 AM   #13
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I just don't see the use-only-at-limits thang. My primary walkaround is the DA 18-250 and it's usually locked at 18mm only when I'm doing shoot-from-the-hip walk-by's. When I actually frame a shot, it's more likely to be at 30 or 50 or 100 or 200. I'm about the same with my DA 10-17, most often at 12 or 15. Maybe it's just me...
04-29-2009, 07:46 AM   #14
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I thought to myself, "I use more than just the extents of my zoom lens!"

But then I thought that I might be deluding myself. So I ran the numbers.

I searched all of my images shot for those shot with my 50-135mm, and then plotted the count for each focal length. 38% of my photos were taken somewhere between 51 and 134. The remaining 62% were shot at the stops.
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04-29-2009, 08:01 AM   #15
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I am starting to see why over the years many people have come to like the prime lenses, and I do plan on increasing my prime lens arsenal in the second half of the year for sure, but I don't plan on selling my DA*s any time soon though.
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