'You pays your money, and you takes ...'

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Torus34, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I just finished checking my gear for tomorrow. I'll be wandering the streets of Perth Amboy, NJ looking for possible prints. My gear will be a 35mm body fitted with a 52mm lens & 2X tele-extender. In effect, I'll be working with a 104mm lens. [I use a separate exposure meter. The film will be an ISO400, with the meter set to ISO200.]

    'Nuff of the details. They're of importance to what follows, though.

    What struck me, and prompted the title, is that I'll be using [and prefer, btw] a single fl lens for meandering 'street' photography, and not a zoom or a 'macro'. This places specific restrictions on what I can photograph. I'll be looking at my surroundings through an imaginary 104mm 'frame', as it were. I've made a decision which eliminates those exposures which could be made with a zoom lens [or a 'macro'.] I've narrowed my choices. To some extent, I've fitted my photographic 'eye' with blinders.

    I see this as a trade-off. While I give up many possible exposures, I sharpen my ability to see those which I can make. I should note here that what I'm after is a print better than at least one which I already have hanging on my walls. I'll probably run two rolls of 24 exp. through the rig. That's my usual 'take' in such a situation. If one of those meets my criteria, I'll consider the time [2-4 hours] very well spent.

    Anyone care to comment on the visual effect(s) on them of walking about with a 'prime' vs. a 'zoom' or 'macro' lens? [Or vice versa?]
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I came of age in the mid-1980's, when zoom lenses were considered pretty crummy, and there simply were NOT many zoom lenses that serious shooters used for regular,everyday work. Primes were much better then,and my basic assignment bag was 24-28-50-85-105-135-200 and two 35mm SL bodies. For "street" work, I preferred a NIkon Fe-2 and the 85mm f/2 Ai Nikkor manual focus lens--there were no viable AF cameras at that time. The 85mm f/2 is much smaller than today's 85mm 1.8 lenses--it looks about the same size as a 50mm 1.4 lens, in fact, with a 52mm filter thread,and not much longer than 50mm,since it's a true telephoto. My second choice was a 28mm f/2.8. Occasionally I'd carry the 105mm f/2.5.

    Anyway, I don't see it as too big of a handicap, using film and a prime lens in the 100-105mm focal length range. Using a tele-prime,and not a zoom, allows you to sort of mentally sort the scene as to viable/not viable for the lens on the camera. It's a good length for working across the street with,shooting to the other side of the street. Since the lens and working distance determines the framing,and 100-105mm demands a rather long working distance, the depth of field in decent weather is pretty good,since you'll be shooting from 20 to 100 feet away most of the time.

    Perth-Amboy?? Is that the town where Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes got their start?
     
  3. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi, Derrel, and thanks for taking the time to comment.

    'The Amboy Dukes' was a book written in the 1940's by Irving Shulman. It dealt with gang life in Brooklyn, NY.

    The Amboy Dukes was a rock band which took its name from the book. One member of the band was Ted Nugent. The band was formed in Detroit, Michigan.

    Perth Amboy is a town in New Jersey located right across the Kill from Tottenville. In years past there was a ferry linking the two towns. I live in Tottenville, making Perth Amboy, which has a large 'downtown' shopping district and several ethnic communities, a natural hunting ground. There is also a South Amboy. Collectively and colloquially the two towns are known as 'The Amboys' by geezers like me. You can also find an archaic useage of 'The Jerseys' if you rummage about a bit. A little to the north are several New Jersey towns with names such as Orange, South Orange, etc. They are known even these late days as 'The Oranges'.

    See what you started? ;-))
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2009
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    and up a little farther north... you have Me! hehe lol Denville, New Jersey. A stones throw from Babe Ruth's former summer home.

    In the fall, I used to start in Perth Amboy area and work my way along the shore... enjoying the sites and snapping a few pictures.


    I too started in photography back when zooms were less than ideal. You get used to framing everything in your mind for a particular focal length and just knowing how it will look. I never really considered it a disadvantage but simply a different mind set. I enjoy it quite a lot. On the other hand, I can definitely see the advantages of zoom for professionals that need to shoot quickly. For that, I am happy that optics in zoom have come as far as they have.

    Shooting with a longish telephoto usually means a switch in the way I see everything around me. I tend to look for subjects rather than stories. I tend to see things isolated in a small frame... remember spaces are compressed and DOF is different. This is quite different from shooting with slightly wider focal lengths when I tend to look for a story... subjects in a situation or activity.. etc.

    Remember... you are actually traveling with two focal lengths; 52mm and 104mm. Experiment a little.

    I tend to travel with two primes; story and subject. They tend to be around the 24-35 and a 50-90. Lately, I've been traveling around with a 35mm and 75mm on a crop; which tends to be a normal and telephoto.
     
  5. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I find I get better street photos when I only have one focal length to worry about. With a zoom there are just too many options, and I have a difficult time framing the photos in my mind as I "search" for subjects.
     
  6. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    djacobox;

    Bravo! You managed to say what I said in a very few words. I do run on sometimes, nu?
     

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