I am a big supporter of the “get to know your gear” opinion. I strongly believe that the more you use something, the better you learn to take full advantage of the strengths of that particular piece of equipment, and the better you learn to manage its shortcomings without even thinking about it. To a point where they just disappear, in fact, and make the statement that gear does not matter as truthful as it is. Gear does not matter (to an extent), but knowing it and liking it does. This, I think, it the crucial link between equipment and photography itself.
Hardly a surprise to most of you, but my favorite, most cherished duo for professional work is a fast fifty on a 35mm sensor camera (my absolute favorite is still the RZ67), and it really makes no difference which fast fifty on which camera. I even wrote an article about it, and it was one of those articles I enjoyed writing the most in all my time working here at Photography Life with Nasim and the other brilliant members of our team.
Why am I saying all this? After I wrote the “Fifty for Creativity” article, I promised myself to use the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D lens more. Much more. I promised myself I would almost force myself to switch from the fifty, push myself out of my comfort zone and just learn it. You see, I love that lens. I really, really do. I love that it’s soft in the corners (which it really is), I love its character, heft, size and feel. On top of that, I think it is one of the most beautiful autofocus lenses Nikon has ever made, perhaps even the most beautiful. It’s so well proportioned, so well balanced on my D700 (especially without the hood), that even if it were a poor lens, it’d be a thing of beauty and I’d want to own it for that reason alone. But it’s not a poor lens. It’s a bloody brilliant lens (and, as most such things, it has several irritating flaws that you just learn to accept).
Having said that, going out of comfort zone is not an easy thing to do. After using the 85mm more and more of the time, I come back to that small, light, inconspicuous AF-S 50mm f/1.4G and it feels like… coming back home. It’s somehow right. As before there is this quiet voice in my head saying I would most likely prefer a 35mm equivalent even more, especially in conjunction with the 85mm lens – it’s one of the most popular, classic lens duos, after all – but until I buy into the Fujifilm system and get myself the XF 23mm f/1.4R, best I stay away from the temptation and gladly accept there is nothing better for me than a classic fifty.
And so, before I can share my thoughts on the 85mm focal length (one thing I can tell for certain, it is astonishing for portraits, but, naturally, not nearly as versatile as a “shorter” lens), I thought I’d give the 50mm focal length some more deserved attention, only this time with less words accompanying the images. But more than that, I’d like to use this article as an opportunity to ask you to share some of your work as well, something I feel we don’t do nearly as often as we should.
Let us know of your favorite lens and camera combination, one that just gets out of your way and lets you do your thing without distraction, one that feels best in hand, acts as an extension of your mind. Write us a few words about it, of how you’ve began learning it, of how you’ve started growing, of how it, perhaps, helped you shift focus from the technical part of photography towards the creative and forget if pixels ever mattered.
Showcasing your work is important, so link away, my friends, link away! This is the time when you should not be timid. :)
A side note: for the curious among you, all of these were taken with the AF-S 50mm f/1.4G lens mounted on a Nikon D700 camera. All Images Copyright ©Romanas Naryškin, All Rights Reserved. Copying or reproduction is not permitted without written permission from the author.
My favourite lens is Nikon AI 24mm f/2.8 which I bought second hand for about 100 USD. I use with my Nikon D90 so it’s really a 36mm for me.
This my favourite picture I’ve shot with it: twilightexposure.blogspot.fi/2013/…ranta.html
I often tell folks that if I could only have 1 lens it would be the Nikkor 70-200. I know it is a bit big to just walk or hike with but I do mostly action/sports things and I just love the lens for everything.
My favorite combination lately is my D800 with the 60mm 2.8 Micro. I treat it like a long 50 that can get really close on occasion. Using it has really helped me stick to carrying one lens and while it doesn’t let me do everything, it’s flexible enough so that I don’t feel like I’m going to miss every single shot I want to make if I don’t carry my whole bag all the time. It’s not so much that it gets out of my way, but more that it gets me out of my way.
A very joyful article and even better images. It is funny since where I come from a lot of people despise the 50mm field of view and sometimes make fun of me (not in a bad way, it is all in good fun between colleagues). I am one of the few that loves the 50mm equiv, maybe it is because the first lens that I had was one of those and I find it easier to use, compose and enjoy (I guess it feesl natural, like you said).
Now onto the comments!
Awesome display of photos by everyone! I am following a some of you now :-)
As far as me goes, since I switched completely to m43 in 2011, I have been tied between 35mm and 50mm equivalents. Yes, I have a 28 and a 90 also, but those two are the ones I use the most wth the 50mm being my favorite. I have a trip to Puerto Rico in a week to visit my family and I plan to force myself to use the 35mm (even though I know I will use the 50 in the long run LOL).
My photos are nothing comercial, I just do it for the love of it (at the risk of my wife giving me the eye when she sees the costs involved, lol). You can see some of my stuff in:
I love the 50mm, but I love the 40mm more. When I first got into M43, I started out with the 20mm pancake, which I fell in love with. Even though I upgraded to the P/L25mm, I always went back to the 20mm.
Even with full frame, I pounced on the 40mm pancake from Canon.
Now, I am the proud owner of a Fuji XE2 and surprisingly, the 35mm is my target, while I quietly take looks at the 27mm.
My fav couple of lens at this moment are Sigmas 18-35mm/1.8 and 50-150/2.8 OS. Here are some recent macro with them and Nikon D7100, partly done with macrorings and teleconverter from Kenko, some with Ledzilla light / few old photos at flickr with these lens too:
Hi, what a nice iniciative and what great work I’ve seen from every of you, keep shooting!
I’m a passionate about photography and attempting to become a professional, meaning leaving of it with newborn photography.
My favorite lens
Nikkor 50mm 1.4G (totally in love whit it) and which I use with babies.
Popurri on flickr
My favorite lens is the Canon EF 85/1.8. It has great optical performance and fantastic bokeh all in a small, light and cheap package. It was already my favorite on the Canon 30D with APS-C sensor, though it is a bit long there. Now on the Canon 5DIII it is really the perfect focal length, if I had to choose one lens, the 85 would trump my 35, 50 or 135 with ease.
Here two photos, the first from the 30D, the second from the 5DIII:
I LOVE the EF 85/1.8. I have it and the 1.2 L, and while I love the 3d effect the 1.2 gives me, as well as the creamy bokeh, it’s AF is painfully slow and it’s just so darned heavy. The 1.8, on the other hand, has lightning fast AF, pleasing bokeh, and next to NO chromatic abberation, which the 1.2 has. Not that that can’t be corrected in post, but it’s sure preferable not to. Surprising considering you could get 6-7 copies of the 1.8 for the price of one of the 1.2s. 85mm is definitely my focal length of choice for just walking around (35mm is a close 2nd), and the 1.8 is unobtrusive, light, capable, and quite honestly, underpriced in my opinion. Great piece of glass; more pros should have one, and not worry about it not having the Red Ring Of Professionalism :)
My first dslr lens is nikon 16-85 (24-120 equivalent). I love this lens because it goes from wide angle to moderate telephoto. After using it for a few years, I decide to challenge myself to take photos using only a prime lens. I try 35mm (52mm equivalent) a few times, but I don’t like its FOV. When fuji announces its 23mm (35mm equivalent), I decide to give it a try. At first, i find it quite restrictive because 23mm isn’t wide enough or tele enough. So, I ask myself what makes 23mm unique ? I find out that 23mm has simillar FOV as my eyes.
So, using 23mm is WYSIWYG.
Here my photo example:
My Fav is D800E + 24-70 (I never liked this lens while I was reading reviews; When I started using it , I loved it).