Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

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John
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Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

Post by John »

As photographers I think sometimes we fall into thinking traps that do us more of a disservice than they should. One of these as I see it is the concept of the "walkabout lens". This implies the lens we have on our cameras when we're out and about, so we are instantly ready for every eventuality.

Well, every average eventuality. The 18-55mm zoom will be pretty useless when the world's only surviving Dodo (who knew?) waddles by a couple of hundred yards away.....the point I'm making is there is no such thing as a walkabout lens.

Images don't leap out at us randomly and make instant great pictures. Images need to be planned and worked on, even if it's just a plan to do something or go somewhere with intent to photograph. Do something might be book a studio and get a model. Go somewhere might be plan a day of candids at Blists Hill. Projects are also great ways to focus our talents. The one I suggested last year was "Project Red" - go and shoot 12 pictures in one hour, and every picture should have red as a component.

So plan, don't hope, and great pictures should result. Having said that, we arrived in Llandudno last year and found the Tardis there, with a girl in hotpants and a man blowing fire out of a tuba. Thank heavens I had my compact camera with me..... :)
066 Blowin the Tardis Blues.jpg
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Re: Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

Post by Pensioner »

A good post John - I couldn't have put it better myself.

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Re: Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

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John wrote: Images don't leap out at us randomly and make instant great pictures. Images need to be planned and worked on, even if it's just a plan to do something or go somewhere with intent to photograph. Do something might be book a studio and get a model. Go somewhere might be plan a day of candids at Blists Hill. Projects are also great ways to focus our talents. The one I suggested last year was "Project Red" - go and shoot 12 pictures in one hour, and every picture should have red as a component.

So plan, don't hope, and great pictures should result.

Good post, John.

If I'm going anywhere with the intention of taking photographs I invariably Google it first and look for viewpoints, or examples of other photographs taken there. An example might be, how many people Googled Whitby before the club's last trip?

For a model shoot I'll have an idea of what I want to achieve, but I might also change course during the shoot as new opportunities or ideas arise, for example an outfit or location.


The other form of useful planning when it comes to photography concerns self-improvement. How many of our members are actively seeking to improve their photography skills and are working on a plan to get them to where they want to be?

My big thing at the moment is trying to improve my lighting. I'm currently working on:

- DVDs
- Online training
- Workshops
- Books
- Lots of practice


PS - I tend to use the same lens for 99% of my photography.

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Re: Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

Post by John »

Do tell, Paul, what lens?
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Re: Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

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John wrote:Do tell, Paul, what lens?
It's one that was recommended by a fashion photographer, and not one of the more well-known lenses.
It's the Nikon 28-105.
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Re: Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

Post by John »

Thanks Paul!
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Re: Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

Post by PhilipHowe »

John, I don't have any concept of always having a camera with me. My phone has one, but it's rubbish, so I never even take it out to take a snap.

If I am going somewhere and think I'll take a camera, then I'll pick up my Olympus Epen, as it's quite small, but I do have a 14-44 lens and a 40-150 (x2 sensor wise).

If I'm going to take photos somewhere, then I take my 5D and put my 24-105L on it, which, I take 90% of photos with.
All others are taken with my 70-200L f2.8 IS.

If I just had to take one lens, it would always be the 70-200, but, as you say, I'd be miles away.
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Re: Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

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Do we have any fans of prime lenses?

When Ifirst got into photography I used my 50mm f/1.8 all the time. It's a pin sharp lens. Now I only use it occasionally.
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Re: Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

Post by PhilipHowe »

I had a spate of only taking my 50mm f1.4, but I lost interest.
I do have a Konica rangefinder that I think has a 35mm lens, I occasionally take (must develop some film, actually, any offers?).
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Re: Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

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I only use fast lenses for available light shots, say an evening wedding reception. Sometimes |I use my 43mm f/1.9 but more because I think I really should than any actual need. Zooms are so much more versatile....
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Re: Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

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Paul Jones wrote:Do we have any fans of prime lenses?

When Ifirst got into photography I used my 50mm f/1.8 all the time. It's a pin sharp lens. Now I only use it occasionally.
Primarily since my total move to the Fuji X system from my overweight Nikon kit I definitely prefer my Fuji prime lenses. My current outfit consists of a 14mm f2.8 (21mm equivalent), 18mm f2 (28mm), 23mm f1.4 (35mm), 35mm f1.4 (50mm), 60mm f2.4 Macro (90mm), 18-55mm (28-80mm), and 55-200mm (80-300mm) lenses. The two zooms are primarily used for holiday/travel photography - bright light availability and focal length range; but it's my five primes that I shoot with mostly - they are fast, pin sharp and importantly lightweight compared to their full frame equivalents - particularly the fast 23mm and 35mm f1.4 duo.

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Re: Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

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John wrote:Sometimes |I use my 43mm f/1.9 ....
Pensioner wrote: My current outfit consists of a 14mm f2.8 (21mm equivalent), 18mm f2 (28mm), 23mm f1.4...
This may be a silly question, but I wonder why lens manufacturers choose such 'odd' focal lengths as 43mm, 23mm, etc?

Is there an advantage to having 43mm as opposed to, say, 40mm, 45mm or 50mm?

Or is it just that they are being scrupulously honest instead of 'rounding up' to the nearest usual number?
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Re: Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

Post by John »

The reality is that most 24mm lenses are actually more like 25mm, zooms are rarely accurate, and a bit of "fudging" certainly can happen.

However, Pentax in particular seem to apply precise focal lengths. Perhaps that's where the design optimum happens to lie. Currently they do 14mm, 15mm, 21mm, 31mm, 35mm, 40mm, 43mm, 50mm, 55mm, 70mm, 77mm, 100mm, 200mm, 300mm and 560mm primes. Some of these are quite specific and unusual lengths.

However, the 43mm is logical. The "standard" focal length for any format is taken to be the diagonal measurement. In the case of 35mm film, this is 43mm. The "standard" 50mm lenses are actually slightly long.
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Re: Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

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Thanks John.
I knew that you would know. ;-]
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Re: Photographic Illusions: The Walkabout Lens

Post by Pensioner »

The Fuji X lenses are based on a 1.5x factor re 35mm equivalent focal lengths, so my fast 23mm f1.4 is roughly the age old equivalent of 35mm (34.5 to be exact), etc, etc etc.

Barry

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