Saturday, 7 November 2009

Can a Llama outrun a car?

I'm munching on leftover re-heated pizza as I overhear Kim Possible. "Can a Llama outrun a car?" Well, rephrasing that, can a fixed focal length shoot better photos than a zoom? I'm not talking about the eternal quest for image quality. I'm talking about shooting satisfying photos.

And certainly, the answer is Yes. Certainly, a zoom is much faster to frame without moving your legs. And modern zooms are sharp enough - we take them so for granted that we don't even blink when standard walkabout lenses we pick for an Interchangeable Lens Camera are zooms.

So what do you lose with a zoom?
  • a large enough aperture / small enough f/no. For light gathering goodness and subject isolation.
  • the nudge to move your body and walk your legs - you're not discovering the alternative framing angles, perspectives in composition. Yes, you could use a zoom like a fixed focal length prime and refuse to zoom. If you can resist the temptation, you're a better person than I, Mbutu.
Now, that off my chest, one day, I'll gather enough motivation to write about what you lose when you have an Auto Focus lens.

Photography is a journey. Enjoy your journey
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