So there I am, in photo nirvana, with a one-prime-lens sytem, right ? Errrr…. ahem….well….. not!
What can be wrong? Minimalism, deep intimacy with the gear, low weight, low cost (relatively speaking), etc…. all pointing in the right direction….
Well, it is not that anything is wrong. It is this nagging question: how can I make matters righter than right? Because, to be clear, in this sorry world of mine, there is right, and there is mooooore right, and there is purrrfect. And I am chasing moooooore and purrrfect like Captain Ahab was after Moby Dick. It is not for nothing that my camera is called Pequomodo.
And, yes, the one-lens system has all these wonderful advantages, and the one-lens-that-does-it-all is very, very good. But is it puurrrfect? Remember, the amazing Zeiss Loxia 25mm f:2.4 did not receive the überlens label…. Besides, there can always be mooooore, right?
And, yes, one fixed prime lens doesn’t quite do it all. So the idea of adding a second lens to widen the shooting envelope of my system hardly sounds foolish. And once there is a second lens, why not a third…?
But that doesn’t really change the dynamics of a single-lens system, if they “only” complement each other. Say, adding the Loxia 85mm to the 25mm. I cannot envision many shots which would lend themselves to being shot with both lenses. Which leads to a tantalising possibility: having two lenses mounted on two separate bodies. Which brings ust right back to the sweetness of a one-lens system. So sweet I want two of them…
There is, however a more devious question. Lenses deliver a certain “look”, they have a “rendering”. So, while I have a great one-lens-does-it-all 25mm Loxia, aren’t there cases where I’d like the same same shot rendered by a different lens, say, a Sony 24mm f:1.4 GM?
Let’s look at it this way. If the second lens simply complements the first, owning two lenses amounts to bigamy. If on the other hand, in some instances it replaces the first, then owning two lenses amounts to infidelity. Which should it be?
For historic/romantic reasons, I now own 2 lenses. The Zeiss 25mm f:2.4, a.k.a. Julia, and the Zeiss ZM 35mm f:1.4, a.k.a. Audrey. The latter one definitely an überlens, even if not perfect on a Sony A7. Julia is a lot easier to use, native on Sony, with more DOF, better haptics. Audrey needs more work, but, when I get it right, yields a higher level of délicatesse.
Let’s cut to the chase. My experience is that owning multiple lenses that can take the same shot (or pretty much, if they are not exactly the same focal length) leads to what, for me, matters.
Different lenses lead to different images. And I am not talking about anything related to the focal length, speed, or performance envelope. No, just the look, the rendering or whatever you wish to call it. The eye-opener was when I shot a construction site, or a fraction of it actually, and took the time to shoot it fairly comprehensively with both Julia and Audrey. Well, after editing, I ended up with two shots that didn’t look or feel the same at all. one was B&W, and the other colour. One included parts of the image that I’d edited out of the other (see at the top of the post). Plain and simple different images. Different storytelling, different feel, different Gestalt…
This is the exact opposite of an all-Hassy sytem [(c) PJ] or an all-Milvus system [(c) DT], which are, in essence, multiple-lens-single-look systems, or, multiple-prime-as-opposed-to-a-zoom systems. Pascal and Dallas have chosen single-look-multiple-FL systems, which are in essence extended single-lens systems (except when it comes to carrying them around). And I am still in my groove of a single-lens system. Only, I have more than one…:-)
And so, the single-lens system rules, in whichever form and guise!..:-). Whether it is a multi-lens single-lens system, or a multiple single-lens system…:-)
What is there were/is no purrrfect, but, instead, multiple versions of an image, each of them, in the mind-blowing words of Emmanuel Levinas, indispensable to the whole of the truth?
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