I thought that I’d put a few of my thoughts to paper so as to speak. Firstly, and in no particular order, are my thoughts on cameras and lenses. Like cars, maybe one’s choice of camera reflects to a certain degree one’s personality. I’m a self-confessed lover of retro designs, thus my passion for my Olympus PEN-F and my latest acquisition, an Olympus PEN E-P5. but not at the exclusion of the modern features that I find most convenient, if I’m anything, it’s that I’m certainly not a Luddite. For me it’s a matter of form and to a certain extent nostalgia but absolutely not form over function. Occasionally I get sick and tired of all the “this camera model/format is better than that/your camera model/format” arguments. I use the term arguments lightly as there’s often absolutely no logic associated with such comments. What there often is is a demonstration of total lack of understanding of even the most basic principles of photography from some people who haven’t even invested a few seconds in learning how their camera works let alone how to use it as a creative tool. That’s all cameras are, tools, and like any other tool, an easy target for a poor workman to blame. It’s a form of tribalism that isn’t unique to camera gear and exists in many other shapes and forms. To sum it up I firmly think that just about ANY modern camera, irregardless of make or model is more than capable of taking excellent photos, and the same goes for most lenses after all, the lens is, in my opinion, ultimately a lot more important than the camera body in achieving results. Taking interesting photos, is, however, a totally different matter.
So that leads me onto lenses. I have a nice collection of lenses for my chosen system that I’ve steadily acquired over the years. Unlike camera bodies where one does generally get more features with more costly models, whether one has a use for them or not is another matter, lenses aren’t so easy defined. I have a few “Pro” badged lenses, they are good lenses and they are weather-sealed which I sometimes find useful but I also have many budget-friendly lenses which are more than capable of producing excellent image quality that is very often impossible to distinguish from their “Pro” stable-mates in real world terms, and I’m not talking about all those laboratory testing type sites full of graphs and charts. Sure build quality is a big issue if one chucks them in and out of a bag all the time but I’ve never had a problem with any of my lenses, they’ve all served me very well as I look after them and they look after me. I simply don’t believe that the difference in optical quality between cheaper and more expensive lenses can, as some might have one believe, be justified in terms of price alone. I have achieved optically excellent results time and again from lenses which, if one chose to believe the reviews, were only fit for the dustbin.
Zooms versus primes, an argument as old as the hills. I used to be a dedicated user of prime lenses and I’m still very happy with mine but a big component of my thinking was based on the old zoom lenses that I was using many years ago which were inferior in just about every respect compared to prime lenses of the time, it’s a completely different story today. I find that I’ve been using zoom lenses a lot more than prime lenses over recent years. There are three principle reasons for this, firstly, I want to frame the image as I want it when composing the shot, I don’t want to habitually crop in post-processing, why have a high resolution sensor and then crop a large chuck of this and throw it away?. Secondly, it’s often difficult to impossible to change positions to frame as I wish and thirdly, by the time I’ve fumbled around changing lenses, assuming of course that I have the lens that I want in my bag, the moment has long since passed. There is also a fourth reason and that’s simply, in my chosen type of photography, one rarely seems to have the right prime lens on the camera at the right time 🙂 and lastly there’s also the question of weight, something that’s very important to me, it’s a simple equation, more glass = more combined weight = more fatigue.
Lastly, I watched a very interesting video the other day on the theme of originality in photography and how some folks like to copy the style of another photographer in the belief that this makes for better images. I think that the exact opposite is true. As you all know I love processing my images more so than taking them. This is where one can experiment to one’s heart’s delight. I really like to think that if I have any style it is that I don’t have a style that I stick to ad-nauseum. What’s the point of that?, where’s the fun in that?. If I did so then I’d be bored faster than you can say the word. One of the joys in photography for me is that it gives me a fabulous artistic freedom to do what I like and not what some erroneously believe is a guaranteed pathway to an award winning formula.
Well, that’s enough from me, I very much look forward to hearing your views on the subject.