My Gear Acquisition Syndrome
I started with Canon 5D and 70-200mm F2.8 IS II and always found myself shooting at 70mm because I wanted to capture more back ground. One of the recommendations that I remember was that start with a zoom lens to find out what your most used focal length are. I shot for about a year and started to get really bored by the trapped feeling of telephoto lens. It took great photos when I wanted to focus on details or half body shot, but when I tried to get a full body I always felt so limited.
Seasons after seasons, I noticed that I was getting frustrated with more subjects appearing within my frames. Mostly due to the fact that I was seeing more and more photographers outside of the shows and there were more interesting photos when you are within the crowd of show goers in front of the venues. I thought to myself, if I cannot get a clean perfect shots, I might as well go extreme opposite and fill my frame with chaos. Also, at that time my friend had a spare 50mm f1.8 so I tried out for a day taking the risk. Results? I had tons of fun. I was starting to capture the photos that I have been wanting to take and I did not have to run as much to get that perfect clean shots.
Fast forwarding another half a year and I adopted Adam’s(@le21eme) Nikon flagship camera. I like changes and challenges.
There are few reasons why I took the leap.
- I always longed for Nikon’s burst shutter sound. It was a music to my ears every time I heard it.
- Superior autofocus tracking. 3D tracking was so good compared to canon.
- It offered lighter weighted 85mm f1.4
I always loved the creamy bokeh that Nikon’s 85mm was creating and wanted to master it. However, after using it for about a month, I was hating it already. I felt more trapped and found myself stressing over shots that I took vs. shots that I wanted to create. Grave mistake.
Then I went back to research more about photos that I wanted to create. My new inspirations were Phil Oh’s photos from Vogue, USA. After some diggings, I found out that he was shooting with Canon 35mm and there I was faced with a dilemma about if I was going to shoot in wider angle, I should have stayed with Canon. At the same time, Nikon released a new 24-70mm with VR options so I looked into it and told myself, let’s find out which focal length is right for me in that range.
I threw away two seasons to master 24-70mm. I experimented with shooting only at 50mm, 35mm, and soon after I found myself shooting at 28mm. (thank god I did not get 35mm prime) However, both Canon and Nikon did not offer top of the line 28mm focal length primes and 24-70mm did take really nice photos at 28mm. It gave me a versatility of zoom if I wanted to focus on details hence it was a perfect lens for me which I shot with ever since.
However, a flagship camera with new 24-70mm lens was so heavy. Canon 5D with 70-200mm lens was also heavy and reason I opted for was to get a lighter setup that Nikon and 85mm combo offered.(really nice balance when you hold them) My arms were hurting after a daylong shoot and I had to hug it around to keep it up.
About a month ago, I got a Leica M6 from my tax returns and yes, Leica offers a supreme optics that I have been looking for in 28mm focal length. I purchased Elmarit 28mm F2.8. With wide angle lens, you do not get bokeh that much anyway. You do not need to go below F2.0 unless it is absolutely necessary for you. I will be shooting at F8 with zone focusing system. It will be another challenge but I wanted to switch things around and go back to the roots of photography. I am hoping to learn a different techniques by shooting in Film. I believe it will also help me to understand more about photography.
Also, Nikon just announced a new 28mm F1.4 lens like 3 days after I purchased my Leica lens. It is tempting to get it and scrap all my Leica gear but I think I will learn more with Leica than adding another lens for my DSLR.
Even though it took about a three years to figure out what my favourite focal lengths are, I am happy to know what I want in my photography life. It wasn’t easy spending a lot of money to go through these cycles and I understand that not everybody can do it. However, I think this is an investment in my opinion. You really never know if you will like something or not unless you try it. You cannot spend days after days reading about reviews on the internet. You need to try in real life and have to shoot a lot.