The April 2020 Challenge - discussions and insights

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
For you Nikon shooters, back in the film days, I bought a new 8008 with the 85 mm f/1.8. A super nice lens. But being fresh off Olympus OM 1, all manual, I could not live with computer driven photography. Sold it to my daughter. She loved it. I owned that camera/lens 3 times, and after 20 years, I gave it to a friend, that loves Nikon. Still miss that lens.
Still got the F-801s (N8008s in Northern America). I still like it, but find the grip (and bulk) a bit of a downside. I also have a full set of older AF lenses (most of them non-D): 20mm f/2.8, 35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.4, 105mm f/2.8 Micro, 180mm f/2.8 ... and my father's F50 came with first-generation AF 50mm f/1.8 and AF 28mm f/2.8. I've shot these occasionally. But I seem to prefer very frugal setups for film photography ...

M.
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
I'm going to get to the bottom of another nagging suspicion I've had for a long time now: It may be that the 28mm FoV just isn't for me (I'm usually a 35mm to 50mm type of guy, but I also love shooting with seriously wide lenses). Maybe this is the sore spot ... I somehow doubt it, but it's worth exploring. So I'll take another camera with a very nice 28mm lens along and see if I feel more comfortable shooting that.
28mm is a difficult focal length at times - I've noted elsewhere how I can be perfectly happy shooting with it, but then, if I shoot a different focal length for a while, coming back to 28mm is like a brand new learning curve readjusting to it. The best information I've seen on shooting with a 28mm actually comes IIRC from DigitalRev videos with Kai: it both "pushes things out" and "pulls things in" depending on how close you are to your subject. If you're close, it pulls the subject in, makes it bigger in relation to the background. If you're far away, your subject shrinks into the background. This is obvious to everyone with experience with wide angles, of course. But it was just the specific terminology of "pushes out/pulls in" that clicked with me. Generally I'd say I use the "pull things in" side of things the most with the GR.
 

William Lewis

Regular
Feb 10, 2020
Hayward WI
William Lewis
It is interesting how people respond to different focal lengths. I'm a classic 50mm shooter. Over at The Online Photographer blog, Michael Johnston has talked about his preference for 35/40 seeing that as his "normal" lens.

Likewise with wides. I find 28mm far more interesting than 35mm most times but I really dislike super-wides. I consider the near constant use of wides & super-wides in landscape photography to be a cliché even at best. One of the problems though is that I think there are many more good 35's than 28's out there and that doesn't help. A good 35 tends to be cheaper too :)
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
Okay, guys, tell you what - if I blow a fuse and actually do decide to change gear, I'll switch to the GX9 with Laowa 7.5mm (15mm-e) f/2 ... I'm fed up with my own "can't do" attitude, let's see something *really* challenging :p

All this whining on my part seems to part of a spiel that's not really entertaining anyone. I mean, I *am* serious about finding out what I can do with the GR III. But the key word is "do", not, as it were, "not".

Stay safe, and have fun :)

M.

P.S. This can't be coincidence - look what TED-Ed put out today (pay attention to the intro ...).

 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
It is interesting how people respond to different focal lengths. I'm a classic 50mm shooter. Over at The Online Photographer blog, Michael Johnston has talked about his preference for 35/40 seeing that as his "normal" lens.

Likewise with wides. I find 28mm far more interesting than 35mm most times but I really dislike super-wides. I consider the near constant use of wides & super-wides in landscape photography to be a cliché even at best. One of the problems though is that I think there are many more good 35's than 28's out there and that doesn't help. A good 35 tends to be cheaper too :)
It does really come down to preference. For instance, I find 35mm to be super useful, but I don't like it. Reason being I tend to use it more like a standard focal length, yet frequently notice distortion like I might get with a 28mm (with a 28mm I have to plan around distortion). So, for me, 35mm is kind of like a standard with the disadvantages of a wide, or a wide without the advantages of a true wide. Much happier with 40mm as a true standard lens and with 28mm as a wide.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
Lexington, VA
Steve
The 28 mm FoV is just too wide for me but 35 works. Like William and many of us, I shot for much of my “film period” with a 50 and then for a while with the old Pentax 2.8 40 mm pancake. The lens I find perfect in terms of FoV is the new Sigma 45 I have on the A7. The X100 works because the 24 MP sensor let’s me crop my way into the sweet spot.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
The 28 mm FoV is just too wide for me but 35 works. Like William and many of us, I shot for much of my “film period” with a 50 and then for a while with the old Pentax 2.8 40 mm pancake. The lens I find perfect in terms of FoV is the new Sigma 45 I have on the A7. The X100 works because the 24 MP sensor let’s me crop my way into the sweet spot.
My preferred FoV is 35mm - but when adjusting images in post, you often lose a bit of the original, so I often frame a tad (but not more!) loosely. Gives you the breathing space to reign in the image. I crop as little as possible (if not for aspect ratio!), but 35mm images often allow for the necessary corrections.

That said, the lens the actually prevented me from selling off the A7 II was the Sigma 45mm f/2.8. That's a lens after my taste, and then some ... However, it shares one less-than-desirable trait with another adorable lens, the Fujifilm 23mm f/2, and that's their quite obvious glow at closer focusing distances wide open. It can be an asset - but in high-contrast situations, it often leads to highlight bleeding ...

M.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
Lexington, VA
Steve
My preferred FoV is 35mm - but when adjusting images in post, you often lose a bit of the original, so I often frame a tad (but not more!) loosely. Gives you the breathing space to reign in the image. I crop as little as possible (if not for aspect ratio!), but 35mm images often allow for the necessary corrections.

That said, the lens the actually prevented me from selling off the A7 II was the Sigma 45mm f/2.8. That's a lens after my taste, and then some ... However, it shares one less-than-desirable trait with another adorable lens, the Fujifilm 23mm f/2, and that's their quite obvious glow at closer focusing distances wide open. It can be an asset - but in high-contrast situations, it often leads to highlight bleeding ...

M.
There's always a problem when a lens has "character". ;) This is an odd lens for me because I like sharp and, although this lens is sharp, it's the quality of the out-of-focus areas that really give a pop to to the sharp parts. This is the kind of complexity that comment sections just can't appreciate and I'm glad Sigma had the commitment to deliberately make a lens like this.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
Lexington, VA
Steve
I had a random thought yesterday, which I'm sure others have shared. I wonder what the animals are thinking right now? I wonder which are being affected the most, for better or worse?
 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
I had a random thought yesterday, which I'm sure others have shared. I wonder what the animals are thinking right now? I wonder which are being affected the most, for better or worse?
If the Panda's in the zoo that mated after being together about 10 years presumably because no one was staring at them are anything to go by most animals will be doing very well thank you. When the countryside was locked down in the UK some years ago (2001?) because of foot and mouth there were some birds that breed that wouldn't normally be around, too shy or whatever. People in too great a number and wildlife just don't mix, sadly homo sapiens is the most destructive and disruptive animal on the planet.

Barrie
 
Well, I suppose today's the day I'll stop limiting myself to use one lens for this challenge. Too often I have to find a way to make the 28mm lens work for the subject at hand and I don't think it's going to bring me anything by forcing myself to use just one lens. It's just becoming a hindrance. Changing focal length won't help because I change lenses a lot normally, depending on mood and subject. I now know that I can make a 28mm work for me, it suits me much more than a 21mm which is too wide for almost anything I do.

An extra handicap is the present situation with only few people in the streets, which doesn't inspire me to practice street photography.

So I'll probably continue by taking my usual kit, these days that'll be the Sony A7Rm4 with, most likely, the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28, Voigtländer FE 1.2/40 and Zeiss Loxia 2.4/85.
 

Steve Noel

All-Pro
Oct 5, 2010
Casey County, KY
Well, I suppose today's the day I'll stop limiting myself to use one lens for this challenge. Too often I have to find a way to make the 28mm lens work for the subject at hand and I don't think it's going to bring me anything by forcing myself to use just one lens. It's just becoming a hindrance. Changing focal length won't help because I change lenses a lot normally, depending on mood and subject. I now know that I can make a 28mm work for me, it suits me much more than a 21mm which is too wide for almost anything I do.

An extra handicap is the present situation with only few people in the streets, which doesn't inspire me to practice street photography.

So I'll probably continue by taking my usual kit, these days that'll be the Sony A7Rm4 with, most likely, the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28, Voigtländer FE 1.2/40 and Zeiss Loxia 2.4/85.
Whatever works for you. I think we've all said it, At one time or another. It's not about the tool. It's about the job or product at hand.
 
Jan 31, 2011
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
Wow. One month with one prime lens is already very difficult for me. So far I get by with a 28mm on full-frame but I'm not sure if I'm going to stick it out to the end.
I discovered a few challenges ago that I can’t do it. I’ve been using zooms, or switching lenses as the subject requires, for so long, sticking to one lens is not possible for me. Thats why I chose the FZ1000 for this time round, and I am planning to switch to something else at Day 15. Possibly the V1+18.5 if I can let myself be restricted.
 

rayvonn

Hall of Famer
Jan 19, 2015
Well, I suppose today's the day I'll stop limiting myself to use one lens for this challenge. Too often I have to find a way to make the 28mm lens work for the subject at hand and I don't think it's going to bring me anything by forcing myself to use just one lens. It's just becoming a hindrance. Changing focal length won't help because I change lenses a lot normally, depending on mood and subject. I now know that I can make a 28mm work for me, it suits me much more than a 21mm which is too wide for almost anything I do.

An extra handicap is the present situation with only few people in the streets, which doesn't inspire me to practice street photography.

So I'll probably continue by taking my usual kit, these days that'll be the Sony A7Rm4 with, most likely, the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28, Voigtländer FE 1.2/40 and Zeiss Loxia 2.4/85.
Believe me, I know where you're coming from. There were previous challenges I just shouldn't have set myself, such as jpeg only images with no editing and using a 21mm lens. With those constraints, I was running out of battery way before the half way point. It's only through that suffering that I've learned the best choice, which I've engaged for this month - 50mm autofocus lens. General purpose focal length, shoot what you see, and a choice of apertures between say F2 and F16 which can be chosen for you by the camera most of the time anyway if its autofocus. You're not limited a great deal. This month is honestly the easiest I've found it, even when not in the mood I've had keepers and yet still learning new things through having to use it every day.

I'd also recommend using a different lens/ camera set up at least once during the month, not to sumbit images to challenge, but just for yourself, as a sort of release. That certainly refreshed me yesterday.
 

Matero

All-Pro
Jan 28, 2014
Helsinki, Finland
I chose this time to limit myself to b&w only. However needed already to make two exceptions to get something to show.

For lenses I lent the idea to browse through my Nikon collection:
Nikkor 35mm AF2D
Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4
Voigtländer Nokton 58mm f/1.4
Nikkor AF-D 85mm f/1.8
Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T
Nikkor 135mm f/3.5 Ai

5 days for each. I’m already quite pleased to my decision, learned a lot of these lenses.
 
Believe me, I know where you're coming from. There were previous challenges I just shouldn't have set myself, such as jpeg only images with no editing and using a 21mm lens. With those constraints, I was running out of battery way before the half way point. It's only through that suffering that I've learned the best choice, which I've engaged for this month - 50mm autofocus lens. General purpose focal length, shoot what you see, and a choice of apertures between say F2 and F16 which can be chosen for you by the camera most of the time anyway if its autofocus. You're not limited a great deal. This month is honestly the easiest I've found it, even when not in the mood I've had keepers and yet still learning new things through having to use it every day.

I'd also recommend using a different lens/ camera set up at least once during the month, not to sumbit images to challenge, but just for yourself, as a sort of release. That certainly refreshed me yesterday.
It certainly is a good idea to switch to something more "normal"; for the last two days I've been using my Voigtländer 1.2/40 for almost all of the time, photographing with that lens feels very natural to me. But I don't want to limit myself to using one specific lens again, even if for a limited time span: it leads to frustration, taking the fun out of photography. The days I used the 28mm I noticed soon enough that the same pattern developed as it did in the previous SiJy 2019 challenge with the 21mm: I shoot with the designated lens to get a halfway decent picture, relying on my skills, but not aiming for something I really value. During those shoots I passed on photo ops that needed a different lens because I was too focused on using the designated lens.

I wasn't planning to take part in a Single-in challenge again but the relaxed rules and more difficult circumstances for photography convinced me to participate. Will I join another Single-in? Not sure, but probably not.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
My remedy against "Single in" blues always was to *also* take a different camera/lens combination with me. I don't even try actively not to use it - but concentrate on the chosen setup. *If* I come across a subject I can't do justice with the "Single in" setup (and the other camera is better suited), I use the second choice. Depending on my mood (and state), I choose a zoom as second option to be on the safe side - at the moment, I pick cameras that compete with the GR III for a place in my daily bag - *not* the G1X III (it has a clear use case and fill the niche of all-weather compact perfectly) but the X-E3 with 27mm or the A6000, though the latter's main lens is the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 C, so, too big to really be considered an alternative. If I feel confident, I pick an M ... any M, really, though at the moment the 262 with the Voigtländer 50mm f/1.5 is the most likely pick.

M.
 

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