In earlier posts I talked about the advantages I have found in using 14 mm and 20 mm prime lenses while touring in Ireland, etc. I’m not going to repeat the advantages of touring with prime lenses since you can read them in many of my earlier posts. What I’m addressing today is why I have added another prime lens to my daily walks … the 45 mm f/1.8 Olympus lens which gives me an effective 90 mm focal length.
In Ireland the 14 and 20 mm lenses were ideal for the wider landscape pictures that I took, but I learned that while walking around Hanover city streets, the things with the most character were found in the smaller details. To capture this I decided to get the 45 mm f/1.8 lens to obtain a greater reach.
The question I’m sure you want to ask is “why not use my 14 – 150 mm zoom lens?” since it would give me a lot more focal length flexibility. The primary reasons are that it is bigger, weighs more, doesn’t have as good low light capabilities, and isn’t as sharp. The 45 mm lens is sharp at f/1.8 and the sharpness is quite good, and consistent at f stops between f/4 and f/8. If I wish to focus on details with the further stuff blurred, I can set the aperture at f/1.8 … can’t do that with the 14 – 150 mm f/4 to f/5.6 zoom lens. If I’m interested in maximum detail and depth-of-focus I can set the 45 mm prime at f/5.6 to f/8 and keep shooting without any thought. In addition, since the 45 mm is so sharp, and since I display my pictures on digital devices, I can crop-zoom significantly to home in on the details thus negating the need for a longer zoom. If I need to take a wider shot and don’t have a wider lens in my pocket, I can take a panorama with two or more pictures and then join them when I get home.
The only potential disadvantage of shooting with prime lenses is the occasional need to change them and this raises the possibility of getting dirt on the sensor or dropping a lens; but I haven’t found this to be a problem. My practice is to choose the best lens before going out depending upon where I’m going and what I’m shooting. In doing this I am almost always able to change lenses while sitting at home or in my car, and almost never need to change them while walking.
Since this is a different focal length than I am use to using, I have tried to learn more about shooting with it by walking around close to home. Above is a picture that I took while testing the lens under the conditions I expect to encounter. I’m showing the same picture below in B&W. That is another aspect of my pictures that I’m exploring; i.e. displaying the older buildings, etc. in B&W.