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My skills with 50mm and RF sucks.
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
Ko.Fe.
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My skills with 50mm and RF sucks.

I liked Canon 5D and 50L combo. I would often switch to it instead of zoom during assignment, reportage.

For some reason I'm OK with one person in the frame with DSLR, but I don't like it at all on RF.
It sucks because most easy and less expensive lens to obtain for RF is 50mm. And I have four 50 of all kinds.
But every time I'm trying to use it for the street or reportage it just narrowing me to one person in the frame. Or one tree in the flied.

Any trade secrets for how to be happy and versatile with 50mm on RF?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
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I do. But with 50mm... maybe I need to step aside instead of getting close?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
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I've never really noticed this in the photos you've posted here. In any case, maybe you're just getting too close to your subjects. With a small, unobtrusive camera it's easier to get in close to people and the 50mm focal length might be too long for your framing. Have you tried the same approach but using a 35mm instead?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
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Don't really use a 50mm with the rangefinders much. Mostly 28mm, 35mm, 85/90mm. The 50mm just seems kind of "blah". Have you tried other focal lengths with your rangefinder?

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogman View Post
I've never really noticed this in the photos you've posted here. In any case, maybe you're just getting too close to your subjects. With a small, unobtrusive camera it's easier to get in close to people and the 50mm focal length might be too long for your framing. Have you tried the same approach but using a 35mm instead?
My "worth to print" rate with 50mm is 1 to 7 with 35 or with 21, wider. But with 28 is more difficult, again.
Size of the kit is more handling issue than be unpropitious.
I'm OK with big wide (zoom) on small camera, but if it is on the big one, then it becomes hassle and bustle.

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Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Don't really use a 50mm with the rangefinders much. Mostly 28mm, 35mm, 85/90mm. The 50mm just seems kind of "blah". Have you tried other focal lengths with your rangefinder?

Best,
-Tim
I do. But I have four good 50mm and it just feels scrooge to sell them and get two slower and wider instead.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
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I know how you feel Kostya, same thing for me with 35mm on RF most of the time as I wear glasses.

Perhaps its because you are shooting on a 0.68 or 0.72 Leica so you are pre-composing already for 28mm or 35mm.
Have you considered using a 50mm Aux VF on your RF?

I'm currently shooting with a 35mm lens on the M3 and having tons of fun because I use a 35mm VF. I don't even bother using my 35mm goggled summaron on the M3
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
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I feel similarly.
One part of it is the frame lines for a 50 are smaller than the (always full) matte screen, on most RFs. Size of the VF image makes a big difference. The Canon P with its 1:1 VF does make me want to use 50. Of course this is just due to weak imagination, the perfect photographer should be able to visualize anything, no matter the VF; I'm not.
Framing needs to be more precise in that a smaller movement of the camera has a bigger effect on the composition.
In street, documentary and environmental portrait photography, the relationships between a main subject and its context are often important. With wides, these can be next to each other. Even when the 3rd dimension plays a role, one can neatly arrange objects to be next to each other in the photo. Trying that with a 50 is hard because of limited DOF and often ends up boring and flat (because one will have to be far away) and/or with unbalanced compositions (because one often has to pick just one object beside the main subject or so). In short, one has to work the 3rd dimension in a different way. Successful (IMHO) 50mm pics often use the "looking through a peephole/some foreground object" strategy, or they depict a flattish scene that doesn't have a foreground, mid, background at all or in any case works more graphically. They may have to, because the "being there, able to step into the picture" effect is hard to get with a 50, not enough context, too far from the scene. So precise graphical or otherwise clever composition becomes more important. So its a quite different way of photographing, for me.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
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KoFe,

Perhaps I can frame things a bit differently, because I tend to shoot with two cameras when I can.

I like one camera to be rigged with a 28mm or 35mm; a second camera with a 50.

Just know that most of my shots (75%-80%) will be taken with a wide. In a way the 50 only seldomly gets used and is not the dominant camera.

I would also agree with the post about the intamacy allowed with a RF'er that allows one to get closer.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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Like Cal, I tend to shoot with two cameras. When I was using Leicas, it was a pair of M6's, one with a 35 Summicron and one with a 50 Summicron. Now with Fujis, it's two XP2's with equivalent lenses. Those lenses cover about 85% of what I normally do--35 for in close, 50 for when a bit further back. That other 15% was usually covered with a 21 or 24.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
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Perhaps it has more to do with your own perception of the shooting experience itself. Is it possible that you've grown accustomed to working further away from your subject matter when using the DSLR and longer focal lengths? If that were the case then relatively speaking it would feel like you've moved in fairly close, or have become more intimate with your subject matter, when using a 50mm lens on the DSLR. Conversely if you are accustomed to primarily using shorter focal length lenses on the RF then switching to the 50mm is going to decrease that intimate feeling that you've grown used to.

If that is not the case and you do want to continue the use of a 50mm lens on your RF then the only other thing that I can think of is to stick with it until you've found a way to identify and use the positive qualities that this focal length brings to the mix. If it were the only lens you had available to you I trust that you would find a way to make it work. It just might require more work or a different mindset (or both) than your other lenses.

From my perspective you've shared some really wonderful photos on this site since I've been a member. I would note that your images have a rather distinctive feel to them that I for one appreciate. What camera/lens combo you are using to capture those images makes no difference to me as long as you are able to continue to share your vision with the rest of the world. I would hate to see a piece of gear get in the way of that. Go with your gut and do what makes the inner photographer happy.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
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Didn’t want to duplicate your entire post, but thank you. You have articulated what I haven’t been able to put into words. I am having difficulties with 50mm, now it makes sense why.

A M3 to accompany my M5 is on my wish list not sure it will help but the GAS needs to be fuelled

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I feel similarly.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
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From when I got it to when I sold it, my Leica M-D had either the 35 or the 50 mm lens on it almost all the time. Other lenses constitute perhaps less than 10% of all the photos I made with that camera, and the remaining 90% are about a 50-50 split between those two lenses. Which one I'd choose (and stick with for months at a time) seems capricious ... It just seems that when I got used to one of the two lenses, I couldn't find a reason to switch to the other for quite a long while.

The same kind of thing seems to be going on with my CL now. I tend to have either a normal (35 or 43 mm) or a wide (10 or 28mm) on it almost all the time, and only switch from one to the other after a long stretch of use. But with this camera, because of its versatility for doing copy, tabletop, and macro work, I often have other lenses on to do those things as well.

I almost never carry two cameras at once (at least without considering the iPhone as a camera... ).

"Diff'rent Strokes", etcetera. Doesn't matter much unless you're not getting what you want. Then you have to work at it and find out what does work better for you...

G
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
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I really enjoy shooting with rangefinders, I like the way they feel and the simplicity of operation, the diminutive size. I own many, they usually have a 35mm or 50mm attached.

But when I examine my keeper rate of good images from an RF , it is very low compared to my shooting with mirrorless cameras or an SLR. Maybe it's because I started with SLRs long ago, or maybe it is because of the isolation of the subject matter when viewed at maximum aperture with shallow DOF. I'm not sure, but I certainly do much, much better with a mirrorless/SLR.

If you photograph better with a dSLR, why fight it? It's the image that matters, and no one will ever be able to tell what kind of camera you used.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #15
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Good practice: look at a scene with your eyes. Then look through the camera. Switch back and forth repeatedly, until you can frame the scene in your mind without looking through the camera. Try this again and again with different scenes. After a few minutes of this you can generally have a pretty good idea of what you're going to be looking at when you put the camera up to your eye. It'll make you a lot more comfortable with the 50mm lens.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
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I like using 50mm lenses with RF cameras. It is the natural choice as I find 35mm lenses wide.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
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I'm a 35mm shooter; it matches best how I view the world.
I so seldom use a 50mm lens now I often leave it at home.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
I like using 50mm lenses with RF cameras. It is the natural choice as I find 35mm lenses wide.

Me too Raid. In fact at this moment I have a 75mm lens mounted which in my book is an even better focal length for the way I shoot and see the world. But like the OP of this thread my skills with 50mm and RF sucks. And with longer lenses like my 75mm it sucks noodles. I am thinking specifically of my ability (inability) to focus quickly and accurately.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #19
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For every person who likes a "nifty fifty" there is one who doesn't.

I think people like them because they're fast and cheap, and also high quality. It's a "nifty" combination.

For a standard lens for street photography and reportage, I prefer 35.

One of the famous National Geographic photographers from the 80s and 90s (Steve McCurry?) had his favorite combo:
  1. 2 bodies
  2. Fast 28 on one
  3. Fast 90 on the other
  4. Same film in each body (Kodachrome 64 or 200, IIRC)

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense:
  • Fast to switch between favorite focal lengths
  • No chance of getting debris in the body or damaging the rear element of the lens
  • Retains prime lens quality and speed
  • No camera bag needed, he stuffed his pockets with film
  • He might've had a flash, too, I can't remember.

He wanted tight people shots and environmental portraits, and that was his perfect set-up. I'm sure used other lenses when he had something specific in mind.

I like his approach over trying to make a 50 do more than it wants to.

To be successful with a 50, you have to shoot enough with it that you start seeing shots that would be good for 50, rather than try to make 50 fit everything. I went out yesterday to test my "new" Olympus OM-G. I brought my three primes: 28/3.5, 50/1.8 and 135/3.5. I shot 85% with the 135, 12% with the 28 and just shot or two with the 50, mostly out of guilt.

Side Note: I find myself being caught more often without a wide angle than without enough tele. I'd probably have a 35, something in the 85-100 range, then supplement on the bottom with a 20 or 24 mm. < Those are damned useful.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #20
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I think it's mostly to do with the environment you shoot in. Busy streets in a major city, markets, indoors in bars etc you will always need a 28 or 35 as you'll be right up in peoples faces.
Less busy cities, small towns etc and a 50 (or longer) makes far more sense as you'll be further away from your subjects.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #21
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I don't shoot people, but for me it was a revelation when I bought my first lens that was wider than a 50. Nowadays, if I'm going out with one lens, its usually a 35.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #22
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Thank you all for many good words and valuable comments. It is something I could use as reference to read many times.

I started to take pictures with Fed-2 and 50. Every time I use it, framing comes naturally, but it isn’t street.
I have SBOOI, I look into it, it is unobstructed. But wait, why it is so little in the bright frame.
Where must be something wrong with my eyes, but I see it as 21мм or 90 degree and here is 50 or less which is focus.
Something else I get from this thread is what I’m not alone with getting squished by 50 in the crowd. I like crowd, I like to be beside or walking through.

It is my second time to read how wide introduce some effect, while 50 isn’t.
Again, I like what I see wide and close, from one to four meters. Anything longer is haven’t happened with me yet.
Geometry and extra precise framing is not my thing.
So with this thread and help I’m realizing more and more why 50 is not my thing on RF.
I don’t use RF a lot, I have no worries if object isolated by dof, but by the framing. I like something spontaneously appearing near me and trying to catch it.
Every time I’m trying to spend time and frame, walk around, back and forth, it is not good
Based on comments here, I will try to get to two lens or even three.
50 for hollow streets, 35 for then it is more than one person under streetlight and 21 for juicy crowds. Or see if I could get it with small zoom.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #23
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I might be the odd one here as I am a 40mm person by circumstance. 19mm on m43, GW690 (90mm is 39-40mm equivalent), and Pentax MX with a 40mm (thanks ruby.monkey). It's quite an interesting not long, not wide focal that does fit many situations.


50mm feels long to me, I can get used to it quickly but "the but" relating to your discussion is that it's on SLRs I have shot it and never on RF.

While darkroom printing the GW690 negatives I often crop, making use of the large negative, but that also means I'm going for a 50mm FOV overall...



Going 40mm is totally OT, but I found an interesting article about it being a standard in cine (28mm is 40mm equivalent) and might be relevant for the discussion: https://noamkroll.com/28mm-lenses-th...g-a-film-look/

The Lumix 35-100 (70-200) lives on my EM5 and I have actually found it much more versatile for being a tele than I'd previously thought. Strangely 75mm is not that far off 50mm and feels less awkward, perhaps because of expecting it to be long and framing with that idea. And oops, I derailed discussion into SLR territory
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #24
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Solved it looks like.

I used 50 for years but have progressed to 28 very often on the daily camera. Bill Pierce with a 35 on his camera swapped with a mate with a 50 so they could each take a photograph of the other that would be of themselves on their own roll of film. He found the 50mm lens he was suddenly looking through was like some compressing telephoto, in comparison to his own 'get it all in' pj's 35mm lens. The 50 is not what we often think it is. Compose and wait is often not 'street' and that is better 28, or 21.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #25
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With 50mm on an M3, the image in the viewfinder helps me compose better than with 50 on an M6 with a 0.72x viewfinder.

When looking through the 0.72x viewfinder, I feel I should have a 28mm lens mounted even though there are frame lines for 50. Maybe this feeling affects my composition.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #26
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I sold M3 ELC, it was not in use for long time before I purchased it (still with Midland seal) and it was not in use much by me. If I own camera I must use it.

And I find it handy to have 35mm lens in 50mm frames on... M4-2 by using of goggled Summaron. But weight dis-balance from goggles made me adding the grip, which is so nicht Leica.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #27
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The classic combination of 28 and 50 is my bag, with 35 if I can only use one RF lens for general and up close shooting. I didn't like the 50mm focal length until I got a Summicron, then I loved 50mm. If you find you're only shooting one subject, you may be too close. Personally, I use 50 as a short tele portrait lens, although sometimes it can be a more general focal length.


These are the kinds of images I get from 50mm, on RF, SLR and mirrorless:


M9 - Valentino by Archiver, on Flickr


M9 - Inspection by Archiver, on Flickr


M9 - I Am Number Four by Archiver, on Flickr


M9 - Dry Dock by Archiver, on Flickr


M9 - Spectral Statue by Archiver, on Flickr


GX85 - In the shadow of the gates by Archiver, on Flickr


M9 - Trophy by Archiver, on Flickr


GM1 - Beats [explore 2014 07 05] by Archiver, on Flickr
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #28
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85% of what I shoot is @ 50mm. 10% wide angle, and 5% tele. Granted, the majority of my shooting is with an SLR, but...

If you use a rangefinder, and do not have the right finder for you focal-length, you won't enjoy using it.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #29
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My favourite SLR setup was a 5D III with a 50mm f1.2L. Paired with a 24mm wide angle it covered everything with excellent results. The problem was the size and weight, and so I migrated to Leica initially with film and subsequently digital.

I think a lot of leica users start out as 50mm shooters, only to find themselves migrating to wider angles. I suspect this is at least partly and subconsciously driven by the fact that at 50mm you can clearly see outside of the frame lines and you are constantly seeing a much wider angle through the rangefinder.

IMO, the Leica lenses are excellent, but the digital bodies are crippled relative to contemporary mirrorless because they inherit - for no good reason other than nostalgia - downsides that were intrinsic to a film rangefinder camera. In particular, the rangefinder eye relief is terrible for a modern camera and limits the use of wider lenses if you wear glasses.

For me, this means that 35mm and 50mm are the only "comfortable" focal lengths that I can use. I also use 28mm a lot, but the frame line problem makes precise framing when shooting quickly something of a lottery.

What is interesting is these limitations do not bother me much when shooting with a film body, because my M7 is just so much better than film SLRs for documentary work. But with digital, expectations for the resulting images are higher and competing contemporary digital mirrorless cameras are a valid point of comparison. At the end of the day, it is the images that count - not the tool.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #30
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I understand what Kostya says. I do not change lenses oft, usually I keep a lens for weeks or months before deciding to change it.

And until I bought the M10 my only digital camera was the Leica x1, 35mm equivalent fixed lens.

So I'm much used to take photos with a 35mm lens. Leica x1 or M7. Even with the M10 for many months I had the 35cron on it. Later I bought the 28/5,6 summaron which became my most used lens. Until...

....a couple of months ago I decided to go back to a 50mm lens, both digital os film. I found it very difficult, always feeling to be too close to my subjects, as if there is not enough place, which is not always a point to go back a couple of steps...

I guess it's only a question of habits...but many times when I'm out with the 50 I think how easier it would be with a wider lens !

Not a first world problem anyway...just an impression !
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #31
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Man, whatever, if your pictures suck, they suck. Don't blame the lens.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #32
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35mm is, for me, the 'natural vision' focal length. It is my baseline angle of view. I go wider or tighter from there, as needed. For street, I find 50mm restrictive and frustrating. 35mm or even 28mm is better for me.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #33
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I got used to a 50 with RF rather quickly after coming from a 35L/Canon 6d combo. At times it can be a bit crunched, but for general purpose I’ve found it easy to compose. I remember when I first got it, I looked through a LOT of Bresson and other 50 shooters to try and gauge distance and aperture they best I could. I sorta “immersed myself” in the 50, and now usually pair it with a 28cron for when I can’t back up any further. It’s not probably my favorite focal length. I do still love the 35 for a small one lens kit though.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #34
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I've never been too happy with a 50 and I prefer a 28 or 35.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yokosuka_Mike View Post
Man, whatever, if your pictures suck, they suck. Don't blame the lens.

All the best,
Mike
Fortunately Ko.Fe timed this for when he was on a golden streak in the Gallery here....
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #36
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You’re photographing a scene, not a subject, with a “normal” lens.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #37
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My frustration with 50mm lenses is: you have this big, bright & brilliant range finder, and when you use a 50mm lens, you throw away half of that gorgeous view and all you're left is a small bit in the middle! Whatsup with that? Just look at the middle image below!

If I were to design a rangefinder, I would include optics that moves into the optical path and enlarge the 50mm field of view so you get the same large native rangefinder field of view.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #38
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"More" is not always "better" in photography.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #39
helenhill
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Great set of Images Archiver !

I Love a 50, v3 Summicron and MOST
50’s for that matter and Leica’s most character , crazy atmospheric lens, the 21 super angelon
BUT
these days I am settling just on 35 FOV
35 2.8 summaron
Will see where this road takes me

35, 50, 21 all good !

So hang in there Ko
one day the 50 will come into PURRfect view
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #40
Ricoh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
"More" is not always "better" in photography.
Indeed, it's very rare that 'more' is better, just increasingly confusing obscuring the subject(s) of interest.
As it's widely understood, photography is a subtractive process whereas art, eg painting, sketching and drawing, is an additive process.
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