Today, I took photos at the Classic British Car show in Burlington, Ontario. And apart form a few aerial shots, I used only my 50mm lens (that is, a 50mm on my full-frame camera; i.e. if you have a crop sensor camera, you would use a 35mm lens to get the same view).

So, why a 50 (or 35)?

  • It imposes a certain discipline and consistency in the images. Sure, it is inconvenient to sometimes have to take a step back, but so be it. My images all have the same look and feel, which can be nice.
  • It is a nice “neither wide nor long” length. It used to be called a “normal” lens. Most of what I want to shoot, I can shoot with a 50, if it’s what I happen to have.
  • It is fast (1). It is an f/1.2 lens, meaning I get fast shutter speeds, if I want.
  • It is fast (2). It is an f/1.2 lens, meaning I get crazy blurry backgrounds, if I want.

In practice, all that means that I can get perspective by getting close:

And I can simplify, by getting closer:

I can create diagonals, almost as if I am using a wide angle lens:

And yet I can “get enough in”:

I can even combine foreground and background (“old and old”, here):

And I can get in close enough to show detail without showing other all the people crowding around:

Um, and did I mention I like hood ornaments?

I also save time by not having to decide zoom factor. So, primes rock, for me. But that does not mean I can do everything. A very wide “close-far” shot would be impossible. So I decide on a lens-  in this case the 50 – and take photos appropriate to that p[articular lens choice.

And that is how that works, folks.


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