A Photoblog by Monte Stevens

A place for my photos and random thoughts

The Best Zoom Lens

with 10 comments

Leaves in the snow

I read a quote somewhere by an famous photographer that the best zoom lens we have is our feet. Well he must not live in an area where there is snow, gusting wind and temperatures in the high teens. My wandering in Blendon Woods Park today with only my 35mm lens required me to zoom by using my feet. However, today the snow was deep enough to go over the top of my boots making for cold toes and wet socks. Invigorating to say the least.

I have been shooting for several months with this nice little fixed focal 35mm lens and enjoying it, leaving my zoom at home. I use it for my travel with work as it is lightweight, small and fast. It works well in low light situations and I love working with the shallow depth of field. I’m getting better at knowing what coverage it gives me on my DX format camera and how it handles contrast and colors. This is espcially true with street and portraiture photography but  when it comes to landscapes in the winter I think I’ll use the 18-200mm. That way my feet stay dry.

They’re still cold.


Written by Monte Stevens

January 12, 2010 at 12:01 am

10 Responses

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  1. I sometimes enjoy shooting with a prime lens but then there are also times you can’t beat a good zoom lens. The lens or any other piece of equipment is not often the limiting or enabling factor of a good photo — that’s all in vision, creativity and abilities of the photographer.

    Hope your feet got thawed out. 🙂


    January 12, 2010 at 8:53 am

    • I wish I owned a faster zoom, love the creativity with shallow DOF.

      Monte Stevens

      January 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    • Monte: You want a faster zoom lens? Run! 😉 Sorry, couldn’t resist!

      Paul L.

      January 13, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    • Great answer, Paul!!!! LOL

      Monte Stevens

      January 13, 2010 at 9:27 pm

  2. I have four lenses but can’t pull myself away from my 18-135mm, it just does it all for me and it is all I use unless I am birding then I get out the 70-300mm. I just leave on the 18-135 and shoot in P mode with my D90, tough habit to break but it works for me.


    January 12, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    • I’ve used the 18-200mm for a long time but the DOF with a faster lens is lens is a tool I’m really liking.

      Monte Stevens

      January 12, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    • OMG! “P” mode?! But REAL photographers don’t use “P” mode! LOL!

      Paul L.

      January 13, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    • I once attended a wedding seminar and one of the photographers shot almost exclusively in “P” mode and called it “Professional.” LO

      Monte Stevens

      January 13, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    • Don, and what works for you is important. There are several tools available on my D300 to help me in exposure with a lot of ease. I’ve used them a lot no matter what mode I shoot in.

      Monte Stevens

      January 13, 2010 at 2:32 pm

  3. For me, the zoom issue isn’t so much the ‘moving the feet’ issue as it is DOF and lens speed. I use a wide-angle zoom all the time, and it’s just that sometime I wish it was faster than f/4.

    Really lovely image, Monte.

    Chris Klug

    January 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm

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