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Old Dec 7, 2010, 1:07 PM   #21
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Freudian slip
Actually using 1dIII.
Or wishful thinking LOL.
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Old Dec 7, 2010, 4:29 PM   #22
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My requirements are different than Peripatetic's. Doesn't mean he can't use a single lens for what he does. But it's flawed to think that because it works for his style it should work for everyones.
I don't need to spell it all out do I? Perhaps I do, this is the internet after all.

Is it possible to get by with one lens? Depends on what you want to do. Some can, some can't. Those that can might well have a different lens from each other.

There are advantages (sometimes) to having a wide variety of tools to choose from. But one of the biggest disadvantages is worrying too much about equipment and not enough about making the right kind of images.

Hence to answer the question; go back to basics. Which photographers do you admire? Whose pictures blow your mind? Which of your photography books or prints keep you coming back again and again.

What is your passion? What kind of images do you want to make? If you can't answer these questions then you're probably too much concerned with equipment at the moment.
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Old Dec 7, 2010, 5:12 PM   #23
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Craig - this isn't about what types of images I want to make. But I do find it amusing that you think you're somehow further along as a photographer and understanding what you want to create because you choose a single lens solution and others who choose multiple lenses do so only because they don't understand what they want to create. That's the beauty of a DSLR system - I and other photographers can choose the appropriate tool for the job we want - not try to force the wrong tool into working. So while I can appreciate you feel you are on a higher plane of photographic enlightenment I'm not buying it. I can't speak for others only myself - and for the images I want to make, there is variety - a variety that benefits from having several different tools instead of one.
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Old Dec 7, 2010, 6:53 PM   #24
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Jim, this is both true and untrue. No matter how much you might want to - trying to use a saw instead of a drill when the job requires a drill is just ignorant.
This seems to have touched a nerve but it isn't intended to be inciteful, rather insightful, if I may slaughter the king's English.

On the woodworking boards similar in form to this one I have often encountered the rookies who want advice on which saw to purchase. Typically the decision is between a cabinet saw ($2000) or a contractor's saw ($800). Everyone wants the cabinet saw, while most everyone's budget can only accommodate the contractor's saw. The paradigm that the cabinet saw is necessary for professional results is flawed, as illustrated with my earlier example.

So is the purchase of a cabinet saw foolish? Of course not. They have distinct advantages. Are they mandatory to produce a professional quality item? No way, no how. I was published in a woodworking magazine for my work, and at the time I had just recently upgraded my saw from a circular saw bolted underneath a piece of plywood!

Is that the end of the story? No. If a person wanted to build a Philadelphia Highboy any handsaw, contractor's saw or cabinet saw would get the job done. If we need to make three by the end of the week, now that's another situation. The greater the constraints, the greater the specificity for equipment.

And then on to photography. Do we need a trailer full of L series lenses to take a good picture? I'd like to try, but there again the paradigm of needing professional level whatever to get the task done is flawed. To a point.
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Old Dec 8, 2010, 2:12 AM   #25
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Craig - this isn't about what types of images I want to make. But I do find it amusing that you think you're somehow further along as a photographer and understanding what you want to create because you choose a single lens solution and others who choose multiple lenses do so only because they don't understand what they want to create. That's the beauty of a DSLR system - I and other photographers can choose the appropriate tool for the job we want - not try to force the wrong tool into working. So while I can appreciate you feel you are on a higher plane of photographic enlightenment I'm not buying it. I can't speak for others only myself - and for the images I want to make, there is variety - a variety that benefits from having several different tools instead of one.
It surely is about the kind of images you want to make. Otherwise it's just collecting equipment - nothing wrong with that of course.

I fail to understand what's got you so riled. I never said that everyone could get by with just one lens. Some people want to make a variety of images which means they cannot. Surely this is trivially obvious?

The original post was clearly tongue-in-cheek, as was my original response. It was meant to be food for thought, provacative.

But there is an important point that I was trying to make: that concentrating on buying more lenses, cameras, flashguns and other assorted accessories won't actually help you terribly much in becoming a better photographer or artist.

Artists frequently set themselves a purely arbitrary set of restrictions and then somehow, by remaining within those bounds discover a world of creative possibilities, and if you like, develop a recognisable style that would not otherwise have emerged.

Now most likely (absolutely certainly in my case) no one on these boards is going to be the next Gregory Crewdson, Sally Mann or Martin Parr. But on the other hand you never know. But one thing is for sure, obsessively worrying about whether they have every possible focal length covered, or a lens for every occasion, or indeed that they have THE ONE BEST LENS is not going to take them closer to producing great art. Or even necessarily the kind of purely-for-personal-consumption images that please them.

There is an hilarious post over at the other place where some poor fool coming from a P&S just dropped $2,000 on a 70-200 f2.8 IS, and is worried that there is something wrong with his lens because it doesn't zoom in enough. I suspect he somehow got the impression that that was THE ONE lens he really needed.

Think about what kind of images you want to make, this will help you figure out what tools you need. No? Isn't starting with the tools the wrong way round?

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There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept. Ansel Adams.
As to being further along the plane of photographic enlightenment.. Well of course grasshopper, in time you too shall see the light. Where else should I exhibit a smug sense of superiority except on an internet forum? Or perhaps there is a large set of the genres in photography which we might both appreciate, and other areas that interest you, and a different set that interest me. I appreciate that there are a whole range of skills and talents applicable to for example sports photography. I have none of these skills and have no interest in ever acquiring them, simply because the subject leaves me cold. The only person who springs to mind when I think of sports photography I like is the Dutch photographer Hans Van Der Meer (and his European Fields series). I saw an exhibition in London once - super! If I recall I think he uses a large format view camera, he may have many lenses, I don't know. You can get the book on Amazon. But that doesn't mean I look down on people who do like and can do sports photography well, it makes for a more interesting world.

I don't like football (both types) or baseball or basketball. I think they are stupid and pointless and uninteresting. On the other hand a good game of rugby or cricket is pure nirvana.

Is it really necessary to append IMHO to every post? Surely that too is trivially obvious?
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Old Dec 8, 2010, 5:09 AM   #26
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Very interesting thread. Some good discussion going on.

I respect the photography and views of many here, including Peripatetic and JohnG. How about we all do a virtual group hug!

My post is not at all meaning to be trivial. I actually believe the views being shared here may appear contradictory, but are actually complementary - when we establish the foundational messages being conveyed.

My first camera / lens combination similar to JohnG's: Canon 350D and 28-135mm, in addition to the 18-55mm kit lens. Using both these lenses, I captured thousands of decent photos. However that was only achieved by studying and practicing technique and knowing lens and camera limitations. I also had the 50mm f1.8, which I could hardly use as it didn't focus accurately on the 350D). Since then (over the last 5 years) I have added some additional lenses (e.g. Sigma 10-20mm, Canon 100mm macro, Canon 15-85mm, Canon 100-300mm) - and a new body (Canon 7D). Each of these has it's purpose.

At the same time, I have seen in my own photography over the years, if I use one lens, especially a prime - it 'forces' me to think about alternative and creative composition more. (I think this is one thing Peri has shown over time too). So if I use my 50mm f1.8 (which is now focuses more reliably on my Canon 7D and is thus actually usable) - or the 100mm macro, I can often get images I'm very happy with, also because of the above 'photographic' element described in the first sentence in this paragraph. So it's not just the 'sharpness, fast lens, good lens quality' factors that come into play, but the working out the 'art' of it too. And getting to know a focal length can help that.

For sure, there are many scenes I definitely needed the 'tool' to get what I really wanted (e.g. some 'big sky' sunset shots, using the Sigma at 10mm) Or a bird in the nature, where only my Canon 100-300mm at 300mm will allow the closeness required. (and of course I would love a 500mm f4 IS or something like that...)

To answer the original poster's question about 'one lens' - I also now think about lenses as a 'walkaround' factor- maybe convenience and even 'age' coming into it. So the first 4 years of DSLR for me, I used to use the 28-135mm as my main 'walk-around' (I have a good, sharp copy of the 28-135mm). As my first digital camera was a Fuji point and shoot (prior to me getting a DSLR), and I found I was using the tele end more than the wide end of the P&S. I then discovered the 'power of depth of field' that a DSLR can give - and thus the 28-135mm (especially when zoomed towards the tele end, and focussing on a nearby subject) provided new photographic opportunities for me. It's still very handy as a 'camp zoom' and a 'walk around portrait' for good light. (I don't do studio, most of my portrait shots are outdoor).

However the last year or so I now use the 15-85mm as my main walk around (either on my 7D or my 350D), as I've found it has a more useful focal range on a crop camera than the 28-135mm. It is also more forgiving with a more powerful IS.

While I'm at it, I will even add this dimension. There are times when I will een use the 'kit lens' (18-55mm) on my Canon 350D for another reason - i.e. when going out for a day with friends, and I want a versatile zoom range, yet still being light-weight. The 350D and 18-55mm is about half the weight of my Canon 7D with 15-85mm, and that makes a real difference for the 'convenience' factor, or even if I hand the camera to others to photograph something, especially as quite a few of my friends whom I go around with are Asian international friends (often with small hands) - so that combination works best for them.

There you!! Hugs all round.

Paul
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Old Dec 8, 2010, 7:19 AM   #27
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Jim - I get what you mean. And I agree - people don't necessarily need the most expensive solution. My point is - if you need ultra-wide you need ultra-wide and trying to force a telephoto to do the job of an ultrawide is not usually the best approach. At no point do I mean to suggest that anyone wanting to shoot birds in flight needs to buy a $7000 lens. But they are better off buying a 300-500mm lens than a 200mm lens of any price point. My stance has always been to buy the tool based upon need not want. The question isn't - what lens should I buy next it should be: man, my YYY photos are just not where I want them to be - how can they be better. Sometimes it's a technique issue, sometimes a software one and sometimes a flash or a tripod and yes, sometimes camera or lens. So we're not far apart in our thought process.
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Old Dec 11, 2010, 9:14 AM   #28
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Im with you John. I have yet to see any sports photo taken with wide glass unless its a photo of the entire field and of all the events I have photographed I have yet to see another photog using wide glass whether it be indoors or out.

The most used field sports lens period is the Canon 400 2.8 bar none. This is far from wide. I have yet to break out anything shorter than my 70-200 for field sports as the officials at most venues get a bit upset when people rush onto the field with a 28mm lens to get 5 ft from the action to get a capture. It can also be a bit tiring running up and down the field with the players.

Certainly the right lens for the job. I have a nice arsenal of glass, I dont call it a collection as they all get used. Im not one to use ultrawide for what i shoot most of the time. The widedst I have is a 24-70 2.8L

Bodies
50D
1D MKIII
1D MKIV

My glass consists of
24-70 f2.8L
24-105 f4L
35 f1.4L
50 f1.4 (My only non L glass, tried the 50 1.2L and was not happy with it past f2)
85 f1.2L
70-200 f2.8L
200 f2L
300 f2.8L
400 f2.8L
1.4x TC
2x TC

I had a 135 f2L until I bought the new version of the 70-200 that produces similar IQ at the 135mm range (unlike the older version) and I use every single piece of glass, if I find myself not using it then its time to find a new home for someone who will.

John if you want to try out the MKIV maybe our paths will cross and Ill let you take it for a test drive.
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