Is less really more?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by nerwin, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. nerwin

    nerwin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I was reading an article by Eric Kim. Some of you might have heard of him but he recently wrote something about less is more. He got rid of all his cameras and only shoots with a Ricoh GR and a Leica film camera with one lens, I think it was the 35mm.

    He was talking about how less is more, only shoot with one camera and one lens because it forces you to think and be creative. It gets rid of the stress of trying to decide which lens to use.

    I completely understand what he's talking about. But I honestly, don't think this approach to photography applies to everyone. It's a great practice that everyone should do and shoot everything with one lens for a certain period of time, but all the time? I suppose if you are a street photographer like Eric Kim, then all you really do need is just one camera and one lens.

    But if you are a photographer who likes to shoot a variety of different subjects, one focal just isn't going to cut it in my opinion. It will really limit you to what you can shoot.

    You can't shoot 200mm with a 35mm lens. Its physically impossible.

    Zoom with your feet? Well..what if you physically can't?

    I guess it all comes down to what kind of photography you like to shoot, your personality, your approach to it. My mood generally dictates what lens I may choose. Somedays I like shooting with just my 50mm and other days with my telephoto and wide angle, often times, the location can make a difference.

    So should you listen to Eric Kim's advice and sell everything except for one camera and one lens? Not everyone is Eric Kim, so no, I wouldn't.

    I think the best advice is to just have fun. Why only limit yourself to just one lens and focal length? You can do that anytime, but it doesn't have to be permanent.

    What do you think? Is less really more? Would you ditch all your cameras and lenses and just stick with one camera, one lens & focal length?
     
  2. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The world today is full of people who think everyone else should do things the same way they do and frequently get offended if they don't.

    I quit listening to advice from people I don't know a long time ago.
     
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  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    People who tend to write "I sold everything but my 50/35mm and love it" tend to come from a few angles;

    1) They got into photography when all most could afford was a single camera with a 35/50mm lens on the front and that was it. You MIGHT afford a cheap zoom, but in the earlier film ear zooms were a huge compromise on image quality.
    So for them there's a massive nostalgia attachment to the charm of a single camera and single focal length lens. It brings them back to their early days of shooting and is something very personal to that person and, I'd say, that generation.

    2) They tend to like people photography and/or landscapes or street or any other genre that easily fits with those shorter focal length lenses. They tend not to be wildlife photographers or sports or suchlike because those genres really do need their long focal lengths (unless they are super good at getting close to the wildlife or like scenic shots). So not only can they drop the number of lens choices; but its easy for them to do so and still achieve what they want.


    The CORE of the thinking, though taken to the extreme with one body and one lens only; is that by reducing the number of factors that you have to think about, it adjusts your method of approach. It's a very sane point; cut down the number of options and work with less. It can be a very good exercise for people and also the general theme of cutting down options is good for most of us once you get into the hobby and end up with a larger selection of gear. I think everyone goes through a "Big bag" phase where you keep trying to carry everything and eventually start to learn how to leave stuff behind. You learn how to plan a day photographically so that you can enjoy yourself and actually shoot instead of carrying loads of gear; most of which you'll never get out to use in the moment.
     
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  4. nerwin

    nerwin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Exactly. These articles pop up quite a bit. I don't really get anything from them anymore. I don't know how many articles I've read from PetaPixel that were like "Why you should only shoot with 85mm, or 50mm, or 35mm, or 28mm or 24mm..etc" It's like yeah, okay..but that's just your personal opinion. If everyone shot with one focal length, it would get kind of boring and then there would be posts from PetaPixel telling you should only shoot with a zoom lens! Haha.

    Eric Kim is ALWAYS posting something about using one camera and one lens. So it makes me wonder if he's in denial about it.
     
  5. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I agree with you, not Kim. There is nothing stressful about interchangeable lenses except for carrying them around. I'm for simplicity and recently moved from a DSLR system to mirrorless system to have a smaller, lighter system. But it is still an interchangeable lens system with 4 lenses. I often carry it with a zoom lens and nothing else - ala Kim. Sometimes I don't.
     
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  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    He might just be a - - wait for it - - one trick pony ;)


    Loads of articles do the rounds. You notice it if you subscribe to many magazines for hobbies, esp something like photography. You'll get the same articles (more or less) on HDR/macro/wildlife/sports/portraits etc.... go round and round. Some every year, some every so often.
    The internet highlights it even more so because you can so easily view from other authors. In general it works because each author has their own fanbase that they cater too; and most people will only establish a handful of regularly checked information sources so it doesn't matter if 50 other people are doing and saying the same things.

    The other aspect is that, unlike print media, you can easily go back in time on the internet and spot those repeat articles over and over; heck popular ones might even remain front-page on the search engines for a long while.
     
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  7. nerwin

    nerwin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I completely agree. When I go out shooting, I generally only bring along one or two lenses and leave the rest behind. But I RARELY bring my big think tank bag unless I know I might need it all.

    It's an interesting subject. I myself get caught up in the gear, A LOT.

    When I started out photography and picked up a 35 1.8 and I shot everything with that lens. That was on crop, so when I went to full frame..logically I had to get a 50mm and I often shoot with my 50mm when I feel down because it's kind of my happy place, it's familiar territory for me.

    But I don't think I could sell everything and just stick with that one lens. I think for me, it would add to my stress because I'd be constantly thinking "I wished I had a wide angle or telephoto". Haha.
     
  8. nerwin

    nerwin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Exactly. While I don't shoot with a mirrorless system, my thinking is the same. I often just pick one lens for that day if I'm out and about shooting. It's not a big deal. I don't need to lug around all my gear with me.

    I kind of like having best of both worlds. I've been considering buying a Ricoh GR just because it's so small, has large sensor and a fixed 28mm lens just to bring with me everywhere when I can't or don't want to bring my DSLR.
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    OMG...Overread nailed it....Eric Kim is indeed, a one-trick pony. And it's a stale, loathesome trick too.

    Less is not more. Less is less.

    If you want to stultify, then get rid of 99% of your options, and photograph the same sh!+, over and over and over, with the same gear. Like Kim does.

    Anyway...light writing (photo-graphy) depends on light, a lens, and a recording medium, and an output or viewing device (paper or metal-based printout, light projection, or pixel-based screen display).

    Getting rid of all variation in the lens. Great! Less is more. Snort! OMFG, such ignorance he espouses. But then, look at his exploitative work. I find his "work" highly offensive. He give street shooters, and all photographers, a black eye with the way he photographs people in public.

    I hereby condemn you to a lifetime of eating ONLY Oscar Mayer Ballpark Franks as your single meat choice. Less choice is better, right?

    Great advice from Eric Kim, right?
     
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  10. nerwin

    nerwin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I also noticed that Eric Kim very rarely posts new photos, he kind of constantly shares all his old photos. So I'm not what the deal is.

    He also recently bragged about how he makes $200,000 and owns a Lambo just from photography. Yeah right!! Don't we all wish!?
     
  11. zombiesniper

    zombiesniper The camera takes the Pic. I just point the way. Supporting Member

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    Personally I think Eric Kim hit it out of the park....almost. He only got the lens length wrong. He must have meant to say 500mm since that's what I mainly shoot and if it works for me it must work for every............dagnabbit I'm going to write an article on this.....Okay maybe not.

    I've learned a long time ago is that opinions make nobody's life/job any better. Stating what works for you and why is great, but jumping to conclusions like "and that's why everyone should be shooting with *****" only shows how incredibly arrogant and ignorant some people can be.

    The best advice I've ever been given in life and it works for photography as well. Never stop learning and find what works for you.
     
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  12. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I don't think I'd put too much stock into what Eric Kim says. I don't put much into a lot of what Petapixel posts anymore either. Their so called editor's background is in IT or PR or something... I have more journalism experience than he does just from high school! lol

    It doesn't make sense to me to always use just one lens/camera. You use what works for you or for a particular purpose. If Kim says that using one lens works for him, that's up to him I guess.
     

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