Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Picking Your Focal Length

Back in the old days, pre 1980s, a photographer had to do everything and be able to do it on moments notice. There wasn't any auto focus and there most definitely wasn't any sort of zoom.

I read a posting Ken Rockwell recently had on his sometimes, but quite frequently, daily blog talking about using prime lenses because they are faster to shoot and you get an image that is well thought out and doesn't need so much editing afterwards. He also mentioned for people who do use zoom lenses, which I unfortunately do, sort your images by focal points and see which one is used the most and to work on your skills with that particular focal length.

During my search I found some interesting statistics. I have a roughly equal number of images shot with my zoom at 35 mms as I do with my 50 mm prime lens. I was actually surprised to see that so I decided to make two slideshows to compare the quality of the images I've been shooting on each size. I threw away the majority of the images on both options and discovered that I have about 2x more images that are worthy enough to keep at 35mm. It makes sense to me why that size would have more keepers. I use to more often to shoot buildings since you have more real estate to work with on a 35mm lens than you do with a 50mm.

Now my next step is to study my images to see what makes them work better than my normal snapshots. It kinda seems dumb at times that I still haven't fully figured out how to take a good picture, but I sure have the means to find out.

Here are the two slide shows that I set up to compare and contrast the two different lens sizes. Many of you have seen these images before, but I refined them down to as few as I could go.

Pictures shot at 35mm

Pictures shot at 50mm

EDIT: I tried adding both slideshows but it seems that one of them overwrote the other, so both slideshows ended up being the same one. So I just linked to my picture site. You can look at the bigger versions now.

My most recent pictures from the Orange County Fair can be found Here