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Author Topic: A Preference for Long Lenses  (Read 21356 times)

dreed

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A Preference for Long Lenses
« on: July 20, 2015, 10:45:37 am »

This ties in wonderfully with "A New Perspective On Landscape Photography". Great article.

Just one question - the "effective focal length" - is that inclusive of crop or just an abstract way to exclude referring to camera + lens or both?
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NancyP

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2015, 11:08:50 am »

Hear hear for the gist of the article, and for the very nice examples.

I think that focal length used really depends a lot on the terrain and subject - some "enclosed" subjects may require distinctly wide angle (or a medium-wide or a normal lens with panorama), for example, the mini-slot canyons in karst limestone territory, or landscapes where the framing by near objects is important, or skyscapes. I use 35 or 40mm the most, then short tele, then 21mm (the limestone formations; skyscapes) for local (Missouri) nature landscapes.

A small point - some of the photos would be regarded by some as "wildlife" photos or reportage and not "landscape" photos. Also, 35mm might be regarded by "old-timers" (from film era when 50-55mm was considered "normal" length) as "slightly wide". My first lens was a Mamiya-Sekor 55mm f/1.4, from the very short era when Mamiya made 135 format cameras as well as their MF line.
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Michael LS

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2015, 01:29:04 pm »

Yes, good to be reminded to appreciate our friend the Long Lens. If I may, Michael, I'd like to add a few more:

Other advantages to long lenses: (Landscapes and Street)

Able to sit on bum and still get great shot- sometimes don't even need to get out of comfortable car!!

Shooting in a crowd keeps anonymity and allows capture of moment purity with no disturbance by photographer

If mounted on tripod, can eat messy take-out food while still shooting with one hand

More looks from hot women, although not sure why

Menacing looks from Police are perversely thrilling (no Tasers please)

Using lens helps justify sh*tload of money you spent on it
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Hans Kruse

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2015, 03:39:38 pm »

I totally agree with the points in the article. I can't remember how many times I had to point this out on forums and on my workshops. On some of my workshops I have loaned out one of my 70-200 lenses because they came with only wide angle lenses and found them impossible to use in the given landscape. E.g. people think that in Tuscany a wide angle lens must be the right thing. In Tuscany I shoot mostly with my 70-200! I recently acquired the new Canon 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens since it is really great for landscape and I found often wanting to zoom in further. Many shots are only possible with a long focal length lens like this. Sometimes it's just that the shot with the right light can be done with such a lens since there is no time to move to another position.

Nice examples in the article.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 03:43:11 pm by Hans Kruse »
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2015, 04:32:15 pm »

Hi,

Personally I use everything from 10/3.5 fish eye to 560/8 telephoto. I would agree that telephoto lenses are as important than any other focal length for landscape photography.



Best regards
Erik

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http://echophoto.smugmug.com/Travel/Dolomites2014/i-grJdXpF/0/X3/20140605-_DSC4390-X3.jpg


I totally agree with the points in the article. I can't remember how many times I had to point this out on forums and on my workshops. On some of my workshops I have loaned out one of my 70-200 lenses because they came with only wide angle lenses and found them impossible to use in the given landscape. E.g. people think that in Tuscany a wide angle lens must be the right thing. In Tuscany I shoot mostly with my 70-200! I recently acquired the new Canon 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens since it is really great for landscape and I found often wanting to zoom in further. Many shots are only possible with a long focal length lens like this. Sometimes it's just that the shot with the right light can be done with such a lens since there is no time to move to another position.

Nice examples in the article.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2015, 12:31:23 am by ErikKaffehr »
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MattBurt

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2015, 04:39:21 pm »

I use long lenses less than wide in landscape photography but when the scene calls for a longer lens they can be just the ticket to make the landscape pop.
Another fun landscape application for a long lens is the compressed panorama. You get a wide image but with the characteristics of telephoto, bringing the background in close.
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Thomas Bürkl

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2015, 05:37:11 pm »

As I didn't find anywhere else to do this, let me start by saying "hi". I just joined the Luminous Landscape Community, my name is Thomas and I'm and landscape photographer from France.

I used to want to own a really wide lens, instead I got myself a 24-70 mm zoom. Now, quite a while later, I still haven't got that wide lens, mainly because I think it would be quite hard to take a creative shot. I think it's easier to isolate interesting elements with a longer lens, even though I find that from around 200 mm, you really have to be very precise in the way you compose your images. A very small shake of your tripod can indeed entirely change what will be visible in the shot.

This doesn't mean that wide lenses are useless and I'm certainly going to try shooting with them, it's just not my priority right now.
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paulbk

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2015, 07:11:48 pm »

I remember when "moon rise" was new. Death Valley, I believe. Wonderful then. And now. Cameras were almost primitive then compared to now. Goes to show, it's the artist, not the brush.
Thanks for the flash back, a mellow mood indeed.
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Hans Kruse

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2015, 03:47:30 am »

As I didn't find anywhere else to do this, let me start by saying "hi". I just joined the Luminous Landscape Community, my name is Thomas and I'm and landscape photographer from France.

I used to want to own a really wide lens, instead I got myself a 24-70 mm zoom. Now, quite a while later, I still haven't got that wide lens, mainly because I think it would be quite hard to take a creative shot. I think it's easier to isolate interesting elements with a longer lens, even though I find that from around 200 mm, you really have to be very precise in the way you compose your images. A very small shake of your tripod can indeed entirely change what will be visible in the shot.

This doesn't mean that wide lenses are useless and I'm certainly going to try shooting with them, it's just not my priority right now.

Thomas,

Welcome :) Let me comment on your lens choice.

I'm shooting landscapes and I'm running landscape photography workshops now since 2008 (38 of them so far). I'm using lenses from 14mm to 200mm. On the Nikon side it is Nikon 14-24 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8 and 70-200 f/4 VR and in addition I have the Sigma 24-105 f/4 OS. On the Canon side I have the following Canon lenses 16-35 f/4L IS, 24-70 f/2.8L II, 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS II and 500 f/4L IS. I had the following prime lenses TS-E 17 f/4L, TS-E 24 f/3.5L and 85 f/1.8, 300 f/4L IS. The 500 is for wildlife only and I don't bring it for landscape for practical reasons. I shoot with the ultra side lenses 14-24 or 16-35 much less often than the other lenses since a lot of landscapes do not lend themselves well to such wide lenses. But I could not go and shoot landscapes without them. The 24-70 and 70-200 are the workhorses and they are always on a body each so I can take the body with the lens, compose and shoot. This is important when a situation comes up unexpectedly and when the weather suddenly changes dramatically and I want to get as many compositions of the scenery as possible. The 100-400 is a new acquisition that given the quality of this lens will be used quite a bit and most likely will replace my Canon 70-200. Regarding composition I can compose precisely with the 70-200 handheld, but most of the time I will use a tripod anyway to do the precise composition I like.

Zerui

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2015, 04:12:58 am »

I totally agree. Michael, about the joys of tele-landscape photography.
My response to sceptics is to point out that Klimt viewed his scenes through a telescope when painting landscapes en plain air.
Zerui
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stamper

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2015, 05:34:03 am »

Flexibility is the name of the game. I wonder if Michael would do an essay on street photography using long lenses? :)

Digital Finger

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2015, 10:52:45 am »

I love long lenses. However until I get into the lightweight cameras now out I find the Canon DSLRs long lenses just too heavy.

I have my eye on the fuji system once the 100-400 comes out
:)
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Pete Berry

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2015, 08:29:14 pm »

I love long lenses. However until I get into the lightweight cameras now out I find the Canon DSLRs long lenses just too heavy.

I have my eye on the fuji system once the 100-400 comes out
:)

First, excellent, very relevant little gem of an article, Michael!

After my old sack of bones reached 70 5-6 years ago I got out of my Canon/L-lens period and into first, the 4/3 Oly E-30, then the Panny micro4/3 GH line with the birth of the GH1 - now GH3&4. I discovered the superb adapted 4/3 Pana-Leica 14-150/3.5-5.6 (EFL 28-300mm) and it's been my go-to "bag of slow primes" lens ever since. With the excellent m4/3 7-14mm (14-28mm EFL) on a second body in a belt holster, I've got the waterfront covered pretty well in a light kit - and the little 100-300mm and 25mm/1.4 in my small day-pack if I feel the need.

The flexibility of the 14-150 led me to discover tele-landscapes and architectural details that the 24-105-L would have had trouble framing, and the bulk of the 70-200/4.0 was more than I cared to sling on a second body when touring.

Below, a Death Valley tele-pano at 235mm EFL, and Prague overlook at 300mm - both with the 14-150mm.

Pete
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HansKoot

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2015, 10:58:03 am »

As I didn't find anywhere else to do this, let me start by saying "hi". I just joined the Luminous Landscape Community, my name is Thomas and I'm and landscape photographer from France.

I used to want to own a really wide lens, instead I got myself a 24-70 mm zoom. Now, quite a while later, I still haven't got that wide lens, mainly because I think it would be quite hard to take a creative shot. I think it's easier to isolate interesting elements with a longer lens, even though I find that from around 200 mm, you really have to be very precise in the way you compose your images. A very small shake of your tripod can indeed entirely change what will be visible in the shot.

This doesn't mean that wide lenses are useless and I'm certainly going to try shooting with them, it's just not my priority right now.

Hi Thomas, I think that any choice is possible for creativity. At my present exhibition, "Argentine in B&W" I found that I used all focal lengths kind of equally divided. The mountainous photos I did more with the long(er lens(es), but when the foreground was the main subject the wide angle did a great job too.  Then I know photographers that limit their choice deliberately to one lens only, in the opposite way, just to enhance their creativity.  So I think any choice you make is good, as long as you feel your creativity is stimulated by it. For me limiting would not work, because I always want to choose the focal length according to what i see and would feel to "loose" shots.
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MattBurt

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2015, 11:22:15 am »


Below, a Death Valley tele-pano at 235mm EFL, and Prague overlook at 300mm - both with the 14-150mm.

Pete

Those are both lovely images, especially the tele pano! There's something about a good tele pano of mountains that just makes me happy.
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Pete Berry

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2015, 09:58:47 pm »

Those are both lovely images, especially the tele pano! There's something about a good tele pano of mountains that just makes me happy.

Thanks Matt. The Death Valley pano was with the 16MP GH3 at the end of an Oct. two week shoot on the Sierra's eastern slope chasing turning aspens. Quite a change from the 6,000-12,000' elevations we were at most of the time! The Mt. Whitney summit shot below, at 300mm EFL - again with the Pana-Leica 14-150 - was at the end of our very long one day excursion into DV and back to Lone Pine, where I pulled over on the shoulder of Hwy 395, set up the tripod and waited for the blocked sunset to "bloom" behind Whitney.

Pete
« Last Edit: July 23, 2015, 10:01:08 pm by Pete Berry »
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MattBurt

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2015, 11:31:28 am »

That's really nice too. Sharp and colorful.
Here's one I did with my K-3 and a vintage Sears branded 135/2.8 (202.5 EFL) that I got for $40. Not a bad value!
IMGP2744-Edit by Matt Burt, on Flickr
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Pete Berry

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2015, 12:58:01 pm »

What a gorgeous, evocative image! I see that it's a 3-shot portrait-oriented pano. Is the site in the UK?

Pete

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MattBurt

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2015, 05:09:12 pm »

What a gorgeous, evocative image! I see that it's a 3-shot portrait-oriented pano. Is the site in the UK?

Pete



Thanks Pete! It's actually near my home in Colorado, USA. The Castles is a natural rock formation, not anything constructed by man. It's a well-known landmark here.
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stevme@verizon.net

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Re: A Preference for Long Lenses
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2020, 09:58:56 am »

Mr. Reichman, founder of this site, was a fine teacher, as you can see by this brief article, posted toward the end of his life. It was both instructive and sad at the same time, remembering the many other contributions he made, always trying to encourage and further photography.
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