Saturday, February 19, 2011

In Good Company

I've been shooting pictures for over 30 years. In that time I've bought and tried and sold many lenses. I sold my 135mm back in 1988, then bought another in 1989, then sold that one a few months later when I bought a 180mm. Two years ago I once again bought a 135mm and I'm keeping it. It's a great focal length for shooting in the city and makes a fine portrait lens.

The one lens I regretted getting rid of was my 28mm. I had moved to a fast 35mm lens and decided it was ideal for most of my work. But after several years I still couldn't shake the feeling that I was missing something. So about ten years ago I bought a second hand 28mm f/2.8 and bingo! That few degrees of angle of view made a huge difference. I was back in my true visual comfort zone.

In the 1980s when I was shooting primarily color landscape and nature subjects the two lenses I used almost exclusively were a 20mm and a 180mm. I always had the 35mm with me, but 95% of my images were being made with the 20mm and 180mm.

Back in the city the 35mm lens was getting the most use, until the 28mm arrived. A few days ago I bought my third used 28mm lens. It's an old Nikkor from the 1950s when lenses were still measured in centimeters. This one is a 2.8CM f/2.8 that has been AI'd so it will couple with the index metering cuff on newer Nikons. So now I have two manual focus 28s and one auto focus, and I use them all constantly. They keep me close and pull in the surroundings giving me that important little extra bit of context.

Last year I read an interview with Bill Eppridge in the April issue of Rangefinder Magazine. It's a good interview and right off he says, "I'm a 28mm shooter." I read that and I thought, "How cool! So am I.

Photo: ©2010 David W. Sumner (Nikon N90s, Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D AF)

1 comment:

John W. Wall said...

That's a really cool shot on the fire escape, Dave. Your post reminded me of a photojournalism teacher at Brooks (I forgot his name, but I just emailed the school to find out) who said he did 99% percent of his work with a 24mm and a 105mm. Of course I went out and bought those two lenses and they became my favorites too.