Sunday, January 5, 2014


My wife's "personal shopper" bought her husband a very nice gift for Christmas this year.  In case you haven't been following along for most of these posts, my wife hates to shop.  With the exception of grocery shopping which she won't cede over to me, I do the shopping.  Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, etc., all become my domain.  It works for us.  

Every Christmas and my birthday, we go through the routine.  She asks me what her personal shopper is going to get her husband for Christmas, or his birthday.  Anyway, you get the drift.  I don't mind, as I don't like surprises and it makes it easier in the long run than having her go out and find something that she's not sure whether I'll like or not.

For years, I've been using the kit lens that came with my Sony Alpha.  It's a 28-200 zoom with a 3.8 to 5.6 ƒ-stop.  For those of you who know lens, you can tell it's not a very fast lens, in other words, it doesn't work very well under low light conditions.  The lens I got is a fixed focal lens of 50mm, with a 1.4 ƒ-stop.  It's fast.

After I came home with it, I put it on my camera and I've been testing it out.  It's going to take some time to get used to, that's for sure.  A couple of times, I've pulled the camera up to my face and immediately attempted to zoom in or out.  Nope, can't do that with this lens.  And it's been awhile since I've had a fixed lens on my camera, probably since I was in high school and I had an old Vivitar SLR with a Pentax screw mount lens.  

Zoom lenses make things easier for the average photographer.  You don't have to really think about composition that much, so you just adjust your lens.  With a fixed prime lens, you have to think about things like this, moving yourself within the environment to get the shot you want.  It's a learning curve, not steep, but I figure I'll end up being a better photographer in the process.

So far, I like the lens.  As noted above, it's fast, not just in low light, but it's also very fast with it's response to focus. I was taking shots of a train traveling by and firing off shots as fast as I could.  With the old lens, about 1 in three would be blurry and out of focus because the lens wouldn't respond.  None of the shots I took this week were blurry.

The lens is primarily used as a portrait type of lens.  I haven't used it for that yet unless you count a shot I took of our dog Jack today.  With just some side lighting from a couple of lamps I was able to get a good shot of him as he lay on the couch.  I'll not bore you with the technical stuff, but at least know I shot in ISO 100 with the camera set at ƒ1.4, the widest the lens would be to let the maximum amount of light into the camera.  Very little grain and a nice looking shot over all.

Maybe this will pave the way for me to get more stranger shots.  I've been avoiding those over the past couple of months mainly because I haven't been really pleased with the results I've been getting with my old lens.  Well, I don't have any excuses now.  Wish me luck.


  1. congratulations on the new lens, looking forward to lots of great photos from it

    1. Thank you Harry. So far, I'm really enjoying it, almost enough to possibly make another 365 run.

  2. Have fun with the lens. Fast lenses are good to have. I'm not the biggest fan of prime lenses, despite owning a couple of them. With glass getting so good with the smaller zooms, I tend to go with them more. Still have a lot to think about with composition and such, but gives me a little more freedom to mess around. Good shots you have to start with it -- I look forward to seeing what else you come up with!