Looking for that one special lens that will vault your photography from ho-hum into ohhs and awwws? Perhaps you have been the victim of less than professional equipment and its been holding you back from greatness?
Or maybe you're looking at the equation upside down. Perhaps less equipment and exploring every single possibility of that camera/lens combination is the ticket to better photography. Many great photographers of the past and present favored a single lens. For example fine art photographer Brooke Shaden only uses a regular old 50mm.
The concept of one camera, one lens is getting mentioned a lot on the Internet. What say you?
"Cartier-Bresson himself used one camera and one lens—a Leica with a 50mm—for most of his career. But he was regarded as one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century because he knew exactly how his camera would perform. A good photographer takes the time to understand their equipment so they can get the best image, irrespective of how expensive their kit is."
"A year with a single Leica and a single lens, looking at light and ignoring color, will teach you as much about actually seeing photographs as three years in any photo school, and as much as ten or fifteen years (or more) of mucking about buying and selling and shopping for gear like the average hobbyist. "
I was determined to pursue photography, even on a serious budget. I pledged that I would not let my modest equipment hold me back, regardless of what gear I thought a photographer was “suppose” to have....
For me its EF 35mm f/2 IS USM on a Canon 6d full frame. Its wide enough to include the story. Great for video. Fantastic for low light considering that the IS allows for (caffeine free) hand holding down below 1/30. Not bulky.
For me and the type of images I take, it would be the Canon EOS 70D and the Canon L 100-400 zoom lens. Of course I would miss a lot of shots with such a heavy lens (3lbs), but I love the results I get as a street photographer taking candid images of people (mostly from my car as I drive the means streets of Chicago).
This lens used at 400mm compresses the image and gives a painterly look to the image which I like much.
It is also great for birds, animals, and flowers.
As far as the Canon EOS 70D goes, I find it wonderful in the way it responds to my needs.
The one camera one lens concept is probably why I gravitate toward prime lenses. When I attach a fixed focal length lens to my camera, I'm forced to think in that focal length. For me, the sense of confinement causes me to explore more creative options that the ability to zoom would stop me from seeing.
Even though I have different lenses for different situations, I still feel that primes make you adhere to one lens type of thinking.
i didnt buy mine yet, its the next investment ... i dont know, maybe bc of my hyperactivity i need room, so id go with an ultra wide angle, something in the range of 14 - 24 mm, of course a prime, zooms are bad, mkay ...
i have often the feeling that im missing some of the magic with anything bigger than 70mm, not that i dont like it, it just cant capture my emotions that well that i wanna catch, bc its an overall expirience that i have to translate into a picture
or who knows, ive been shooting too much macros in my life, really many ... so i know that magic from a macro, its a not everyday view on things, but its also just one ingridient, like liking cakes bc of sugar, but there is much more to it than just sugar, you know what i mean, im sure.
I've learned on primes because, back in the day, zooms were not that good. I have a wonderful zoom - Pentax SMC DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 ED (IF). - which is rally sharp. But, Like Andrew says, you learn to 'see' with a prime.
i use only a 5d mk3, with a tamron 28-300vc lens. i used to use more, but found that each one had limitations. if i was in just one venue at a time - like just landscapes, or just stills etc - then it makes sense to specialize. when i know i may have a still, a landscape, portrait, macro, etc, then having a do all lens is better. and let the higher iso's compensate for the slower lens.
When I go hiking or backpacking I limit myself to one camera and one lens. I like to carry a wide angle zoom lens like my Sigma 17-50mm because it covers the range I usually shoot at. I can shoot landscapes, flowers, and even get snapshots of my friends which covers my needs. I have carried multiple lenses on many hikes and find that I rarely take the time to switch between them so I usually don't bother anymore.
I almost always have a 400mm zoom or fixed focus on my camera for 20 years. Because I like to shoot wildlife from birds to whales. But the shots that made me the most money in the first 10 years were made with my 100mm macro and it wasn't the true macro shots. That cheap Vivitar lens bit the dust years ago. In 2008 I bought a 16-85 lens. The first months shots out of that have earned me over 10G. If I had to pick one it would be a top 100mm macro again, which I just can't afford right now. My Nikon D300 suits me fine. I know I should upgrade but I am very happy with what i produce with the D300.
Just for the point of clarity. Not asking for favorite camera/lens combinations. This wasn't suppose to be one of those "if you were stranded on a desert island which combo would you want" kind of things.
The idea behind one camera/one lens is to pare down equipment so that one can focus on learning and improving.
This thread grew out of other threads in which people ask for equipment suggestions so they can improve their photography. Often people believe that if they only had the "right" equipment, more exotic equipment or pro level equipment, then their photography would become amazing. True or false? Do you need a bag full of lens? Is a $100 50 mm lens incapable of producing quality photography?
Digital photography has totally changed any answer with regards to one lense as manipulation after the fact can make an image appear so totally different from what a photo print might have been when it's printed conventionally.
I just upgraded to a D3100 with a 18-55mm VR lens. I can already see the difference, even with my good days, I can still have shake effects on some of my shots, with this camera, which the body has shake reduction so it benefits my other lenses, I have a lot less movement blurs in my shots and more are coming out useable. I did a band shot on the Fourth, and out of fifty shots, only lost one to my movement. It also handles low light better than the D100. I am finding this an excellent body to use, and the 18-55 kit lens is actually a very good lens as well. Not a perfect one, but very good.
Do you need a full bag of lenses? Depends on what type of shooting you do. You need the right tool for the job. If you want to shoot macro photography a macro lens would be the way to go not a wide angle lens. Same way you wouldn't want to use a wide angle to shoot portraits. If you shoot one type of photography then one lens can work. A 50mm could work but you are not going to get to close to wildlife or close enough for certain types of architecture shots.
That's why I point to my 100mm macro. I shot all sorts of subjects at all sorts of ranges. Portraits, 1:1 macros, architecture, and even some landscapes. (Tight landscapes, but landscapes just the same)
I use what ever I need to Fulfill my artistic Vision. For me I don't want to only have one perspective and one FOV. I use what is necessary and don't feel a need to do something that is popular on the internet...except if that happened to be my artistic vision
Peter, I agree. Even though I usually take out a number of lenses, it does not mean I'll use them. Especially when shooting wildlife, one never knows what they might need.
Lenses are like any other tool. It is good to have the option, but it is not something you'll need for every shot.
The Photographer Spotlight today on Flickr ... a fine art photographer who uses a Point and Shoot and Gimp. ... says : “I want to let people know that it is possible to make it in this business and that random factors such as your location, experience, or equipment shouldn’t get in the way between you and your dreams.”
In a CreativeLive workshop Brooke Shaden showed how she uses a 50mm and expands the canvas by taking multiple shots and then combining in Photoshop. Interesting concept that could be use to create wider views in landscapes with multiple shots.
I've been busy working in the garden and around the yard, so I haven't been doing much photography...but this thread inspired me to take my one camera and one lens and do some shooting.
Over the past few days I've been spending at least a little time each day with my 6D and 100mm macro. The stripped down kit makes it easy and fun for me to shoot. I haven't even been using my tripod! It makes it really easy to go for a quick walk somewhere and have some fun with the camera.
I shoot just about every day. If backed into a corner about using just one lens (the one camera would always be a Canon EOS 70D or higher if I had the money) the one lens would be a 3lb monster Canon L 100-400 zoom. But only because of the type of photographs I take....Animals, Flowers but mostly candid images of humans in the public domain as I ride about town in my car.
If I could walk for long periods of time (chronic pain/pain killers), I certainly would not use a 3lb Canon L 100-400 zoom. I might then use the best Canon 50mm that I could afford.
My walkabout camera, when I have nothing particular in mind to photograph is a Canon 70D equipped with a Tamron 16mm-300mm zoom lens. It also has a so called macro capability. Great all purpose lens for the lite traveler. Quality may not be the same as an L lens but is more than acceptable.