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The 50mm experiment - conclusion

Posted by
CElliottUK (Reading, United Kingdom) on 30 January 2011 in Architecture.

I've learnt a lot through doing this. Most of it, I have to say, I'm not that happy with!
My ratio of "shots taken" to "shots that I like" is normally around 10 to 1, with this experiment it leapt to 35 to 1(The shot above, BTW, wouldn't have made the cut under "Normal" circumstances, as I don't think it's very sharp, but it was the best of 40 that I tried!!!!)
I don't think that current cameras are tuned up for fully manual-the screens aren't as good for critical focussing, and the movement of knobs and dials seems to create much more movement(Or it might be that I am more ham-fisted and blind than I used to be!)
Processing to Black and White, in the way I used to do it, gives a very sombre feel. (Note to self-so learn to process them a different way - idiot boy!!)
A shot takes around 100 times the length of time to set up!!!!!(Maybe that would get better with practice)
Not having a zoom is a pain in the bum, I was constantly walking backwards to get things in the frame, only to find that someone/something was now in the frame. I didn't realise how much I used zoom functionality.
Upshot, I'm wedded to all the aids that cameras now give. If I had to go back to Manual, as far as I am concerned, life would be a slower, more deliberate place, and, right now, that's not what I want

Canon EOS 7D 1/250 second F/1.4 ISO 200 50 mm

sim from k, Iran


30 Jan 2011 6:12am

Skyriani from Nelson, New Zealand

great image

30 Jan 2011 6:57am

L'explorateur from Vancouver, Canada

Welcome back to the future, Chris. Your image is very nice anyway, though :)

30 Jan 2011 7:16am

Phil David Morris from Saskatoon, Canada

Strange shapes, almost mushroom like. Wonderful black and white tones. I really
like this one.

30 Jan 2011 7:17am

Phil David Morris from Saskatoon, Canada

I like the background also, like a piece of art, striking and beautiful.

30 Jan 2011 7:18am

DULCIE from Danville, CA, United States

I feel your pain... and I like the way you analyze your circumstances and viewpoint with so much humor. I will be watching to see the next experiment. :-)

30 Jan 2011 7:34am

PRASHANT from Mumbai, India

Wonderful B&W treatment...Dancing water become part of sculpture.

30 Jan 2011 7:39am

Christine from Duns, United Kingdom

A striking shot, superb in B&W very interesting comentary

30 Jan 2011 8:34am

Richard from Duns, United Kingdom

Despite what you say, it's a super shot. It's also inspired me to try more.

30 Jan 2011 8:57am

@Richard: Part of the motivation for this experiment was that I was realising that I was turning into a "2-trick pony" - birds and rock bands. I was trying to find something that pushed me out of my comfort zone

rem_la from Villiers, France

belle conclusion !

30 Jan 2011 9:11am

Ronnie 2¢ from Atlantic Shores, United Kingdom

I interesting experiment and an outcome most of us can easily identify with. As you found, you were using an auto camera set on manual which is a whole different experience from, say, a 60's 35mm or a 6x6 running a spool of 120. And the world is different . . and the people in it ! Welcome back.

30 Jan 2011 9:28am

@Ronnie 2¢: I think that that is the real learning...Today's cameras are just not set up to do this. Get the right tool for the job, and it does the job well.

✿ Anina ✿ from Auckland, New Zealand

I love this one!! My favorite of the series. Taking 40 images was worth it ;) I really like the bokeh on the left and the water is stunning! I must admit I also prefer to be able to zoom - maybe the zoom lenses are 'evil' and just making us lazy :)

30 Jan 2011 9:34am

grouser from Ludlow, United Kingdom

Excellent piece of research Chris. Means I don't have to do it:) This one works very well, though the seeming vignetting at the top is a trifle distracting. I presume that's just tone coming in from the sky.

30 Jan 2011 10:14am

@grouser: Haha-no, the vignetting was added by me in my PP treatment. It's what I always used to do back in the chemical days-and whilst it might have been fine then, maybe it's not now.

CATCHLIGHT from Reading, United Kingdom

Amazing bokeh. Like we said you're basically playing with an 80mm (with the 1:6 crop) no wonder you're having to move back a bit to get it all in, but I like the look a lot.

30 Jan 2011 10:37am

Philip from Reading, United Kingdom

christ on a bike! it's just a lens! nice shot, by the way. looks like paris, circa 1917.

30 Jan 2011 10:47am

@Philip: Forbury Gardens, circa 2011

J.R. from Ginowan, Japan

I like it bro, but then again what do I know? He He

30 Jan 2011 10:51am

@J.R.: Good hit!

The Mouse from Glasgow, United Kingdom

You are such a geek. Nice shot.

30 Jan 2011 11:21am

@The Mouse: Praise indeed!

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

Interesting experiment with the limitations you imposed on yourself. I love the technology we have now. It really does make photography more fun, and the learning occurs much faster.

30 Jan 2011 11:39am

saeed from minoodasht, Iran

nice .

30 Jan 2011 11:47am

daniela scharnowski from Berlin, Germany

Hehe, interesting to read your manual adventure.
I not have a 50 but a 55 manula lens and learning to work with it was, well - educational.
I actually think the slowing down effect is a good thing, at least for me. I also admit not to use the lcd screen, I only use the viewfinder.
The conversion is quite nice and I lobe the bubbly bokeh this lens showa ;)

30 Jan 2011 11:57am

mayoline from Hoorn, Netherlands

I think it's a powerful image, that comes also through your choice of B/W. Well done!

30 Jan 2011 12:11pm

Lougris from Toulouse, France

il me semble avoir compris que le résultat de tes essais ne te satisfait pas ?
je trouve que tes images ont un bon rendu tout de même ! :)

30 Jan 2011 1:01pm

@Lougris: Ce n'est pas le résultat final, c'est la longueur de temps, et les problèmes que j'ai rencontrés. Tout ce que je veux dire, c'est que la photographie manuel ne fonctionne pas bien avec les équipements automatiques d'aujourd'hui

STEED from Somewhere, France

The experiment goes on............Nice......Very Nice....

30 Jan 2011 1:25pm

David from Avranches, France

Really like the background too, its doing that dance thats usually associated with a near by fire.

30 Jan 2011 1:38pm

Lougris from Toulouse, France

merci pour ta réponse, j'ai un peu de mal avec mon anglais !!:)

30 Jan 2011 2:04pm

Sam from Chennai, India

Beautiful image. Like it. Excellent experiment, so well described in detail. Great :)

30 Jan 2011 2:34pm

Don from Spokane, United States

I like how this shot came out. I liked your discussion of your trials in shooting manually. I too have found the current crop of digital not ideal for manual settings. My point-and-shoot is very hard to use manually. Anyway, i like hearing of your experimentation.

30 Jan 2011 3:42pm

myky from London, Canada

Very interesting experiment...thanks for saving me the work!!!
You have to love the zoom!

30 Jan 2011 4:25pm

Nigel from Avening, United Kingdom

After all that it's a great shot!

30 Jan 2011 4:59pm

Hoshisato from Ealing, United Kingdom

It looks like your learned a lot of the basics of photography and now that you're getting back to zoom lenses, it won't be the same again. I revisit my 50mm experiment regularly and, as a bold statement, I think it will improve everybody's composition if they would do the same from time to time.

30 Jan 2011 6:15pm

marci from in, Morocco

great shot - and great experiment. I often shoot with a 50 mm, so am used to the walking in and out and back and forth and don't mind it. I wouldn't want to give up my autosettings, though - sometimes its fun to play, but sometimes you just want to shoot! (oh, and I'm glad I'm not the only one with a 10/1 ratio!)

30 Jan 2011 6:15pm

Sonia Nansid from Barcelona Stockholm, Sweden

Very interesting B&W.

30 Jan 2011 6:21pm

Yvon from Orleans, France

great capture

30 Jan 2011 6:22pm

Sally from Glasgow, United Kingdom

I must agree with my husband

30 Jan 2011 7:37pm

M@ndy from London, United Kingdom

well done for for your persistencey - great shot in BW

30 Jan 2011 8:13pm

kiwisa from North Shore, New Zealand

It does sound like a lot of work and good on you for persperving with it. Sometimes it is good to get in touch with the basics again. Good outcome for all the work too, 5*****

30 Jan 2011 8:17pm

john4jack from Corvallis, Oregon, United States

very nice. learning often is of more value than results

30 Jan 2011 8:54pm

٭ ƸɼiϾ ٭ from Narbonne, France

i complety agree with your conclusion..
i use a lot the zoom, more confortable to take the right shoot...
however, a fixed lense must be more bright, but somes telezoom are almost - or same in performance ...
most of the professionals prefer fixed lence
but the technologie enable to do huge shooting !
if i spend 2 hours near a seagulls cloud, i can take around 2000 shots, i keep 300 / 400, and 10 of them have an nice position / interesting to show, it s impraticable to do like that with traditional camera

30 Jan 2011 9:57pm

flyingwind风飞扬 from Bridgetown, Barbados

The big column under the blurring background making me into great imagination!

31 Jan 2011 1:03am

Sunder from Chennai, India

Nice shot , Chris.

Re. your experiments with manual shooting, it must have been fun.
I suppose we can draw a parallel with typewriting....
I am sure now we cannot go back , dustup the old remington , feed papers and type....
Imagine each typo has to be whitened and retyped comparison to Word 2011...

Nevertheless, a travel backwards in time machine is always fun...provided we come back to present...
dont you agree..?

31 Jan 2011 2:12am

Susan from Sausalito, United States

Almost an angel!

31 Jan 2011 2:52am

Becky from los angeles, United States

It's really beautiful.

31 Jan 2011 4:02am

Stephen from Canberra, Australia

At the end of the day it's a great shot like this that matters! Superb tones and I love the grainy depth of field.

31 Jan 2011 7:32am

Adela Fonts from Barcelona, Spain

Excellent end to an experiment well spent ... we can also take advantage of it to observe the process. Thanks you very much friend!

31 Jan 2011 8:40am

Marleen from Doesburg, Netherlands

Very interesting to follow your experiments;-)) They call the 50mm a footzoom :-DDDDD and you know why!
In my experience most shots take time and I often use manual (after resetting the 'search eyepiece' -sorry, don't know the english word- it works very well;-)

31 Jan 2011 1:12pm

Punit from Somewhere in, India

I like this shot. Btw, interesting to read your thoughts on the nifty fifty. Thanks for sharing your experience.

31 Jan 2011 1:13pm

Suzanne from Melbourne, Australia

amen to all that!!

1 Feb 2011 2:38am

Didier from Tubize, Belgium

That's photographer life, Chris :))) Personnaly, I always fix 2 parameters: aperture or speed, and ISO. It's good to come back to old fashion that makes us understanding and mastering basics of lignthening, but it's over anyway. No so bad shots, indeed!

2 Feb 2011 10:09am

Earnest from Oklahoma, United States

There's a lot of manual dexterity and quick thinking involved for unassisted shooting... I failed miserably.

21 Feb 2011 6:29pm

Canon EOS 7D
1/250 second
ISO 200
50 mm