Wednesday, May 11 2011

I’m comfortable with the size of my lens

When I was shooting for Glamourcon, my rig was pretty silly. Heavy pro SLR with vertical grip, 80-200/2.8 lens that stuck out a mile, big honking flash with a belt-mounted battery pack, and a Newton rotating flash mount. Not so strange for a wedding photographer, but a bit over the top at an autograph show. I often didn’t have the footroom for the 80-200/2.8, so I’d switch to the old “secret handshake” 28-135/4-4.5, using just the 50-135 range with a decent hood. Still, the rig was so bulky that I’d ditch it in my hotel room as soon as I got all the official shots of the guests, and walk around with something more reasonable.

The only thing I owned that was bigger and heavier than the 80-200/2.8 was the mighty 300/2.8, which is great fun outdoors, but not suitable for grab-and-go shoots with models. More of a lug-and-go, really.

Which is why I found Jeffrey Friedl’s recent street-photography shoots intriguing, since they were shot with a 300/2. My 300mm lens weighs 5 pounds. His monster tips the scales at 16 pounds.

The price? “If you have to ask…”

[incidentally, IIRC I’m the one who first described the Minolta 28-135/4-4.5 as the “secret handshake of the Minolta user’s group”, so it was amusing to see the term used frequently in the reviews on the Dyxum site. It really is a terrific lens, but many people have been disappointed with their results; this appears to be a tolerance issue, where certain combinations of body and lens result in a touch of back focus, eliminating its sharpness. Mine was fantastic on three different bodies, and if I ever reclaim it from its current home, my new body supports per-lens micro-adjustments to eliminate any back/front focus issues.]