Favor your lenses

Every aspiring photographer I know (and they are legions) keep obsessing over X brand of camera vs. Y brand, or A model vs. B, etc.

Sure, getting the right tool is important and considering today’s plethoric choice, it can get head scratching at times. But truly, beyond your choice of camera body, you should favor lens decisions.

Canon FL 55/1.2

Basically a camera body is just a sensor recording data, with a feature packed box around it, and a domestic jpeg producing software built-in. Nothing more. Lenses, however… A lens will impact your images color rendition, contrast, detail resolution, line and curvature accuracy, vignette, and much more. Different lenses can give pictures completely different “atmospheres”. Some people say it’s not true, and we’re just making it up. That’s because their eye/brain connection is too crude to see it so they’d rather just dismiss it as false (great open mindedness, by the way…).

Minolta MC Rokkor 50/1.4 PG

Believe me. I’ve been playing with more lenses than I care to admit (to myself) ever since I got into NEX cameras, and the subtelties are very real. They’re just that, subtelties, but it doesn’t make them any less tangible.

Olympus PEN F 38/1.8, one of my most easily recognizable lens

So once you get a camera body, get as comfortable and familiar with it as you possibly can, and think you lens selection very carefully. That does NOT mean you should have every focal length covered. My widest lens is a 38mm, which on my NEX’s APS-C sensor equates a 57mm on film. That’s plenty wide enough for me because I’m basically a portrait shooter loving normal to short telephoto field of view, and that I wouldn’t know what to do with a wide angle if I were given one. I do keep a 18-55 zoom lens as a travel kit, more to accomodate the odd landscape shot my husband would like to take than anything else… I don’t need a super tele either, and both 135mm lenses gathering dust in my lens drawer are soon gonna get listed for sale. My only issue is both are so craking good lenses I can’t decide which one to keep yet. I might have to sell them both and be done with it !

This is from my FL 55/1.2 at 1.5 again. The DOF is so thin I didn’t get both faces in focus, and that’s fine by me. I’m just head over heels at the tender softness creeping in the kid’s face, contrasting with the crisp rendering of the adult’s.

Wide open (1.4) the Minolta MC Rokkor has a totally unique “glow” that totally makes up for its slight lack of contrast and sharpness (corrected in PP in this shot). That’s very characteristic of this lens.

Stopped down to F2 it becomes bitingly sharp. So much so it messes up my usual PP workflow that I have to adapt a bit.

Meet “the Eraser”. Background just totally melts away shooting the FL 55/1.2 at 1.4. I just plain love this lens as if it were a living being.

I have yet to work out the perfect white balance for the Minolta MC Rokkor 50/1.4. Here at F2. It has a 3D pop that I like quite a bit.

That’s by far my favorite shot of the month, and I owe it to my trusty FL55 lens, and my fun loving daughter who was kind enough not only to volonteer that face, but to hold it long enough for Mama to achieve perfect manual focus. Good kid 😉


About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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3 Responses to Favor your lenses

  1. bek says:

    Minolta MC Rokkor 50/1.4 PG – LOVE the pic with this lens, still looking at the others but this pic is a stand out!

  2. marla2008 says:

    Hey Bek 🙂 Actually I think the Canon FL 55/1.2 is a nicer lens. But I have to admit that Rokkor gives it a pretty serious run for the money, at about 1/4th the price, too…

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