City of London Street Photography By Michael Wayne Plant

Lens focal lengths that I use

Regarding lens focal lengths that I use.

I like to work with lens that do not put me to far away from my subject, I do not generally need long telephoto lens and I do not need extreme wide angle lens. Most photographers are the same in this regard, we get bitten by the bug to have a lots of lens and in reality we often do not need them. Right now, I can go from 24mm to 200mm with only two lens this is more than enough for me. I occasionally want wider but not often. I mostly however use about two focal lens consistently, these are 35mm and 85mm. I do however have a little weakness for a 40mm lens but this then means I am carrying a spare lens that is close to the 35mm lens. So I normally decide before hand which one or as they are both light take both the 40mm and the Zeiss 35mm f2.8 because one is manual focus and one is autofocus. When going out to photograph, I invariably chose a lens and then stick with it most of the day. If I am doing portraits, I will normally take the 55mm and the 85mm, if I am in a photostudio, if I am working on location, I will also take the 35mm. The reason is that a 35mm is a great lens for environmental portraits where the location is important so that the subject gets imbedded into the social landscape that they inhabit. If I am making documentary work, I take the 28mm the 35mm and the 55mm, though sometimes I leave the middle lens at home and work with only two lens if I want to work with a light kit. For when I am doing street photography, I will often leave home with only one lens and that is either the 35mm or the 40mm depending on my mood and once I get the 28mm Sony lens I might add this to the mix.

The new Batis 85mm lens by Zeiss looks like something that appeals, I really hope that Sony releases soon more lens in the 85m to 135mm range in addition to the 90mm macro lens that was recently announced. I am still waiting for my ideal portrait lens from Sony, I am currently using both the a-mount 85mm f1.4 lens and the 135mm f1.8. I would love to see something like the legendary Nikon 105mm f1.8AiS lens as that was my favourite portrait lens in the days of film and I would love to have something like that with autofocus from Sony. I am still waiting to try out the 90mm macro lens as this I suspect will make a great portrait lens and it also does extra duty as a close focus macro lens.

Because, I do not have a special interest in photographing buildings or landscapes, I do not need tilt and shift or really wide angle lens, I do not photograph animals or sports so I do not need long telephoto lens, which makes my lens choices much easier. I do have zooms but they seem to only get used when I need something special or the flexibility needed in rapidly changing situations. If I was shooting weddings or events then I would be using Zoom lens much more often. The other thing that is not often mentioned, is that by using only a few focal lengths in your image creation you are helping to create your style of photography. Each lens has a feel and by using a limited selection you give your images a particular feel every time you work. If you are using a wide range complements of your zoom lens your images will go from wide angle feel to telephoto feel and this changes the style of your images very quickly. Which is not a good thing when you want to develop a style that is your own in your work and images.


New images created with the Wonderful Zeiss Loxia 35mm f2 Lens.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.