In praise of low(prices) and slow lenses

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Reality4711, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. Reality4711 macrumors 6502

    Reality4711

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    scotland
    #1
    Many moons ago when I was a mere middle aged professional (earning my living) photographer the lens cupboard was full.
    Canon:- 300/2.8,200/2.8, 135/2, 100/macro, 85L,50L,35L,16/35L,100/400L,70/200/2.8.
    As was the camera cupboard.
    Canon:- eos 1Diin,eos 1DSii,eos 10D (2),eos 1V,T90(2),eos5(2).

    Standards were high, workload intense, success based on sales and satisfaction limited mostly to the clients praise and the odd pat on the back.
    Having never reached the dizzy heights necessary to allow personal/project work when it came to selling up early (health) and retiring the phrase low & slow suddenly held out the hand of relaxed pleasure.
    Critical focus, motion freezing speed and tracking went the way of shaking hands and retreating eye acuity.
    Replaced with ,time, thought and other goals. The happy chance of being somewhere beautiful at the right time. The appearance of out of place entrances to balance that out of kilter image and so many other reasons to thank the lite kit and the slow lens. Finally blurred became arty and plastic became my friend:).

    My kit now :- nikon D800, 18/35,50/1.8,soon to arrive 85/1.8. Normal at f8 using iso for exposure speed.

    As an aside this method reminds me of using XP2 in my T90's, able to shoot on one roll from asa50 up to asa1600 and get 36 usable images - goes around comes around.

    Sorry for the ramble. Comments loved as usual.

    Regards

    Sharkey
     
  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #2
    I wax a bit nostalgic for many things about the film days. However, being quite a bit older now, I doubt I would have the joy (let alone the patience) but can rest knowing back then, it all made sense to me and thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of the entire process from shooting, processing to proofs and final print (save for when a client wanted the entire roll unexposed).

    One of the things I recall well were fast lenses that were not about "bokeh" so much but about light gathering for ease of manual focus and using the optimal f stops which usually meant going down a couple of stops. Every shoot required thought on which film, which developer and which lens to bring along. I think my best work was done with completely manual camera and lenses.

    Some of the things people can do today in camera or with applications used to take considerable effort and craft back then. Now these things are taken for granted and often people stop thinking about the entire process. - They have lost their "Zen" as it were.

    Fond memories - Kodak's Kodachrome and technical pan film. Agfa's low ASA/ISO film, Rodinal, Warm tone papers and amazing colour films for soft portraiture. Ilford's Cibachrome, XP b/w films and all of their print paper line. Diafine. Vivitar 283 and 285 flash, 90 macro f/2.5, 70-210 and on and on. As for cameras - I started by borrowing a Nikkormat and my first purchase was the Nikon FM (though my first hands on was with a Canon AE1. The original Olympus OM1 had set a standard for "small" in the 35mm camera class at the time. Fond days to be sure.
     
  3. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #3
    Dumped all that 35mm DSLR nonsense for much smaller, lighter, and less expensive M43 system. :)
     
  4. Reality4711, Jan 23, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016

    Reality4711 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Reality4711

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    scotland
    #4
    Snap on the AE1. 1.8/50, 70or100/300 &3x convertor - all from mystery box at local auction:)
    --- Post Merged, Jan 23, 2016 ---
    Tried using Olympus for a while:( but soon realised the wrong way for me. I suppose if the 50mp eos5 had been around that would have been my new base but the D8oo came first and its solidity won me over.

    Still the slower/cheaper lenses and a change in perspective fitted well - hence 'low & slow'. Drifting round the edges of performance means a lot more freedom of thought and a serendipitous result that pleases for no reason other than I tried.

    I still have admiration for the fine art, top line sports and creative studio photographer using state of the art kit to stretch the boundaries but that has always been so.

    For me relaxing my kit selection has helped my mind relax also and in turn given me the opportunity to view photography from a more positive position (not fault finding) but appreciation . I like my stuff now and more of it; for my reasons and not for what is fashionable or in vogue.

    Anyway 'low & slow' is the way to go from now on.

    Regards

    Sharkey
     
  5. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #5
    If you have the patience, maybe you might try 4x5 cameras. I recall many a day waiting at a location for the right time of the day when the sun was in its most ideal position for the shot. I would take 3 sheet film shots for the entire day. After that, neg development and a contact sheet and then storage unless an enlarger print was to be made. There was a certain calmness to the process and use of a photographer's eye as well as craft soon afterwards. Today, one could probably do it and simply scan the neg on a decent flatbed scanner.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 23, 2016 ---
    I feel the same way. I had Nikon equipment all my film days and then Nikon digital and finally my choice for mirrorless with the Fuji line up. There are some truly amazing mirrorless cameras out there from several makers and something for everyone in terms of bells and whistles. For me, it would be mirrorless then medium format and skip DSLR altogether unless there was some new bells and whistles that were meaningful to me that will never be on mirrorless cameras in the future. Sometimes I think that a "battery grip" might include more computer power for added controls as being a nice addition to some mirrorless cameras.
     
  6. mofunk macrumors 68000

    mofunk

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    Americas
    #6
    At first I thought I liked prime lenses because they remind me of my first 55mm lens. But ehh things change. Yes some are inexpensive but what I love about them the most is that you kinda get more creative when shooting. I have a Nikkor 20mm f/1.8 and at times it almost feel like I have a fisheye. I can easily manipulate it in the post edit phase.

    however I do love my fast glass. Sharp sharp sharp.
     
  7. Boulder macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    #7
    Pfft peasant get a true camera like the Sony A7RII. ;)
     
  8. LiveM macrumors 6502a

    LiveM

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    #8
    I dumped my massive Nikon DSLR gear for mirrorless when Samsung came out with the NX500. I got one big and heavy lens (85 f/1.4) but the rest are tiny and I love the extraordinary quality and lightness.

    I expect after this to go all Leica and stay there forever.
     
  9. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #9
    If I had to shoot FF 35mm still or slow moving objects, that is a great choice. For the wildlife I shoot, a very bad choice as the AF in A6000 would do a better job.

    But I am not going back to the large, heavy, expensive world of 35mm unless i win the lottery and can afford the kit I want and hire a sherpa to carry it.
     
  10. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #10
    Even if I won the ;lottery I doubt I would go with a FF camera. I love the compact size of my Nex-7 and the increased IQ of a FF camera isn't enough to overcome the increase in size and weight.

    Before I bought my Nex-7 I was on the fence between it and a micro4/3s. The Sony won out but I think I would have been happy with either.
     
  11. Reality4711 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Reality4711

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    scotland
    #11
    When I started this thread I really was not thinking of other 'standards' other than dslr.

    My point or theme was the use of cheaper & slower lenses to expand your imagination in their use. Having to consider composition, timing and exposure limits to create. Cheaper and slower does in most cases bring smaller with it and therefor the ability to be a bit more adventurous into hiking and load carried departments.
    Oh and as getting more keepers is probably inevitable more photos for the money. Another theme I read recently pointed out that wedding photographers can make their lives easier and satisfy a larger number of their customers by shooting one camera set up with the definitive fast/wide/expensive lenses and another with slower/lighter/cheaper lenses.; the former for the hard to get stops with wafer thin DOF, tons of OOF and character and the latter making sure great aunt is in focus at the back of the brides family group shot or the accidental shot including her walking behind the grooms jumping in the air (kilts optional).

    I well understand this sites drive to better standards of photography (higher/faster/longer/etc) but I am sure now that the fastest/heaviest and most expensive lens does not by default mean that is what most of us will produce.

    Noticing and capturing a good subject; timing and forethought cost nothing but make up most of the millions of great images we see nowadays.

    Just a thought.

    Regards

    Sharkey
     
  12. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #12
    I agree that the best kit doesn't always produce the best pictures. But the way I look at it is I'd rather be the weakest link in the chain rather than my camera or lens letting me down.
    A cheaper or lighter set up wouldn't make me any better at composition etc. Just the same as having the best kit doesn't. Use what you like and like what you use (as long as you can afford it!).
     
  13. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #13
    Ah... now I have an A7RII and a M9 and and and.... I love the M9. It came to me late in life and my GAS seems to be in remission since I was lucky enough to get it. It is so so much fun to shoot.

    The A7RII with Leica glass is sublime BUT.... the new "upgraded" EVF is rotten for focussing manually with. The old one on the A7 MKI was much clearer and easier. It is blurry despite being higher resolution - I dont get why this is... so be warned.

    BIG BIG fan of Sony and Leica here...
     
  14. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #14
    How does a thread called

    In praise of low(prices) and slow lenses

    Get onto Sony and Leica?
    What next Zeiss lenses! :p
     
  15. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #15
    There's a certain triumph to overcoming or making the most of limitations (whether self-imposed, or external). Those are often appreciated most by those involved with process. "Wow, look what I was able to do with a ________!" But would the shot succeed if the viewer was unaware of that context?

    Our tools will always impose boundaries on our work. Our knowledge of those boundaries and what we intend to accomplish informs our choice of tools. If we're sufficiently experienced, we know exactly what can be accomplished within those boundaries. If we're sufficiently skilled, we can move those boundaries and accomplish even more. But in the end, all that matters is that we come back with a successful image.

    Whether we can live within our limitations is another matter. Do we come home agonizing over the one that got away, or pleased with what we have? If we have too much agony, perhaps we need different/additional gear, perhaps we need more knowledge and experience, or perhaps we have to adjust our expectations. If it all comes too easily, perhaps we have to push beyond our comfort zone.
     
  16. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a

    QuantumLo0p

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #16
    @Reality4711
    Sounds like your latter gear is much closer to mine than your former. Being a DX'er I am considering a D500 but it is appearing more likely I will buy a D7200 and pair it with a Tamron 150-600 which will be more like a 900 with a DX sensor. I like to reach way out and fortunately the DX platform enables that and in a thrifty way.

    Although some photographers are eager to jump to less bulky or simplistic gear, nobody can deny the DSLR platform is unbeatable for versatility. Someday a juiced up, glorified point and shoot may suit me but today is not that day.
     
  17. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #17
    Sure, I'll deny it. ;)

    There are mirrorless cameras that you'd be hard-pressed to prove are less versatile than a DSLR - about the only way they may be lacking is in the variety of available lenses. And some can more advanced than DSLRs in specific features. We're in a transition period - DSLRs do not have the iron grip on advanced features they once did. You'll now find mirrorless cameras at prices few DSLR owners would be willing to pay, with capabilities to match.

    Very few DSLR features are intrinsic to DSLR technology. You don't need either a flipping mirror or optical viewfinder to do most of what a DSLR does, and there are times when both of those features are a liability, rather than an asset. There are now mirrorless cameras whose auto-focus performance is equal to or better than top DSLRs. There are now FF mirrorless cameras. Their absence wasn't a matter of technology, it was a matter of market acceptance of mirrorless as a category. Would somebody pay FF DSLR prices for a mirrorless? Today, the answer is yes.
     
  18. Boulder macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    #18
    Know what is better than both a film Leica. ;)
     
  19. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #19
    I am too stupid to use a film camera... :-(
     
  20. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #20
    I'm too young!
     
  21. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #21
    Ha ha ha touche!
     
  22. Reality4711 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Reality4711

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    scotland
    #22
    Although happier with my kit now as it suites my limitations more accurately I do find posting my stuff on the web a bit(for want of a more grown up word) scarey.
    Not going to edge, but just taking photographs I like does not seem to appeal to many (if any) other people which can be a downer.
    Still spring approaches and maybe with it will come bit of time out in the sun.;)

    For now I think I will dig out an oldy or two to post on daily picture line.

    Regards and thanks for the chat.

    Sharkey
     
  23. Boulder macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    #23
    Probably the biggest purchasers of film are millennials which is kind of hilarious.
     
  24. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #24
    Hipsters. In all seriousness I do remember cheap film cameras. I used to hate paying to get my 36 pictures back and finding most of them were bin fodder.
     
  25. Nordichund macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    #25
    I can remember the arguments and discussions between film and digital cameras when digital quality was fast improving. Same thing today between DSLR and mirrorless. I sold my Nikon F3 back in the 90s and have just ditched the DSLR for the Fujifilm system.

    I admire Sony for raising the bar and investing heavily in the mirrorless world, I just do not enjoy shooting with their cameras. We are all different and Fuji for me has brought the joy back into taking shots.

    In an ideal world I would love an M6 with the Leica glass to appreciate the art. Up until the early 90s I used to own a vast vinyl collection, and just like film I really appreciated the uniqueness and the quality of the analogue world. However, even though I am glad to see vinyl becoming more popular, personally I have moved on. I love the new opportunities and convenience of taking my camera out and shooting thousands of images.

    But I still get great joy browsing through my now digitalised analogue folders. Each to their own.
     

Share This Page