17 February 2012
When I read prime lens reviews they tend to say the same thing: Extremely sharp, great contrast, excellent flare reduction and good background separation. These things are all well and good but I always bring myself to the same conclusion... why wouldn't I buy a zoom lens? For years now I've been in the cave. I absolutely love my 24-70. It isn't as smooth these days. I've dropped it so many times it makes a squeaking sound whenever I turn the zoom slider and it doesn't connect to the camera as well as it once did. I love staring at the puppetry of the zoom, being able to quickly change my frame with my hands rather than my body. The speed is helpful to me as a wedding photographer. I don't carry my bag around with me at a wedding so my lenses aren't always to hand. This means my detail images are taken with the same lens as my people shots, which, as I've been told for so long, isn't necessarily the best thing. So I've stayed in the shackles, staring at the shadows, because I've got a system. I like my system, it's easy and gives me a little bit of extra time throughout the day to do something different. Yesterday I was given an 85mm 1.8. I've noticed these beauty portraits with girls leaning over in summer and have come to the conclusion that in order to create them you need a focal length longer than 70mm and a wide aperture. I've always had a 50mm stuffed away, never used, but all these images seem to be taken with this 85mm so I thought I'd go out and see what all the fuss is about. At first it annoyed the hell out of me. All the moving around. It's a struggle to find a good spot where you can place your subject and fit yourself in with this massive focal length sticking out of you. I also couldn't understand what difference it was going to make to the natural light that my zooms couldn't... a blinding headache. But as I ventured out into the light my eyes began to see the usefulness of these lenses. They deal with light differently. Unlike the zooms the camera finds it easier to pick out the bit where you put the little red square. The light spreads evenly across the lens and the light parts of the frame contrast evenly with the dark unlike the zooms which tend to pick out the light bits and leave the darks black. I've put an example at the bottom. Please bare in mind it's my first shot at this type of photography... I can see the issues but I think they're pp issues... I'm useless with the sharpening tool. My eyes are now open, I can't wait to get my hands on that 35mm everyone keeps talking about. I reckon that will make the distance issue a little easier and still pull in a nice portrait. I'd say I'm out of the cave on this one.