The normal lens

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

As part of my camera updating, I purchased a couple of new lenses.

The first is the Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 super wide-angle lens. I’ve been wanting to experiment with a wide angle lens, but didn’t want to spend the thousand or so dollars on Nikon’s comparable lens. The Tokina is the one I had been after, but that one has been back ordered for months. Additionally, the Sigma is supposedly a sharper lens, though it does have some vignetting (light fall of at the edges). The Sigma is also a lightweight lens, which isn’t a bad option if you’re out trooping around taking landscape photos.

(When you’ve trucked around with a heavy lens for a while, you learn to appreciate small, and light.)

The second lens is the 50mm f/1.8. The so-called ‘normal’ or ‘primary’ lens. Other than my 60mm macro and my older Sigma 400mm, I’ve always used zoom lenses. I bought this 50mm lens for a couple of reasons: it’s small and lightweight and can be used for most photographic conditions, including low-light; it’s also supposed to blow the doors off the zooms when it comes to sharpness.

When I tried the lens, wow! Unbelievably sharp. Tiny little thing, almost looks like a toy. And cheap! (Well compared to a lot of other lenses). This is an amazing lens.

I already know that I’m using it exclusively for dusk and night shooting without a tripod (ghost walk next week comes to mind). I wonder about using it for more of my photography. Rather than move a zoom back and forth, or switch lenses all the time (resulting in dust on the sensors), try working with one fixed lens. To learn to depend on myself, rather than my lens, camera, and PhotoShop making the picture for me.

That’s a novel idea.

It won’t do closeups, but I’ve been concentrating on these too much lately. It won’t take a bird’s eye at 1/2 mile, but I’ve been focusing on these types of shots too much lately. It will take street scenes, landscapes, people, and buildings–all the things I’ve been putting off, because these are the type of photography that I’m not that great at. Which means I should be working with these types of pictures, rather than hiding behind my specialized lens.

There’s a dozen more lenses I’d love to have, but my camera budget for 2005-2007 is exhausted. Darnit.

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