Short Primes | A Rationale

A Little Latitude?

When I first conceived to start this blog back in March (2018), my sole intention had been to stick with one focal length on my cameras and, perhaps more for myself, demonstrate just how versatile the 35mm FL is for so much of what I love to capture. This view has not changed for me and, I think that going through my first thirty or so posts makes this point pretty clear. But I hit a snag – and it’s been bugging the heck out of me since I started these pages. That snag, is – sensor size versus focal length. Limitation isn’t the point, but ambiguity is.

Shooting any camera system that is not full-frame, brings up two truths. If a 35mm lens is mounted on (for example) and APS-C camera, then the FoV becomes closer to 50mm. If the FoV of a lens is 35mm on (again, for example) an APS-C unit, then the FL is closer to 23mm. Annoyingly now, (because as my pages evolve, I am feeling the need for a little more latitude and clarity, rendered apparent by the ambiguity of the issue at hand) for me anyway, there’s a tough choice to be made. Or not – as the case may be. Let me explain. 

I love short primes – life-primes as I have heard them referred and, of all of them, 35 and 50mm are my absolute favourite FLs to work with. 28mm has also been rather handy for some of my work (recent urbex outings, for example) but the former two remain my favourites – my brain can adjust very quickly between the two not least because I have used them for so many years. Also, as my chosen equipment (which I will discuss at some point in the future, I’m sure) is so portable, I can carry two cameras in my bag which weigh next to nothing and, cover all three prime FLs in a snip. Indeed, I tailored my equipment in order to be able to do just this. In so doing, and in altering the direction of my initial intentions for this blog I am solving two issues. No longer am I going to restrict from using my 35 on my APS-C body because, it’s still a 35. But I am going to embrace that extra tightness that the sensor affords me in resultant FoV. Similarly, I shall continue to enjoy the versatility of the 35 FoV I shoot on my other system, stop arguing with myself and just, as some say – make photographs. I’m sure nobody cares as much about my struggle as I do but I need to get this straight, although I do know that others will suffer the same befuddlement around the same issue. I just don’t see how it’s possible to shoot only one FL with the same FoV without forking out for a FF system – and it’s just not worth that much for me to even consider it when I get so much joy from my endeavours and, my current equipment.

With all that out in the open – these pages are evolving (and I suppose that they had to) and, will open up a lot more photographic possibilities, I am certain of it. Small primes are just pure joy to work with and cover everything I could possibly need. There is a freedom – and that, was my eureka moment. 

If you’re reading this, I hope that you’ll embrace the simplicity of a little limitation and, enjoy some of my work. It’ll be a huge pleasure for me to have you along, in like-minded company.

35Chronicle.001 (60)35mm | 720nm Infrared | Click to Open in New Tab

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