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Old June 30th 04, 09:40 AM
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Default "Normal" Canon Zoom Lens that's worth a damn?

"Skip M" wrote:

Moving is the only way to control perspective, apart from using a
tilt/shift lens. Zooming alone can only change magnification, and leaves
perspective absolutely unaltered.
David Littlewood

That, I think, was the point. Once you've gotten the perspective you want,
"zooming with your feet" would disturb that. Zooming with the lens would
leave that intact and only change the framing of the image.

Given the poor optical quality of early zoom lenses, someone writing
in a 1970s photo mag coined the phrase "zooming with your feet", which
is what you had to do when using the (then) optically superior fixed
focal length lenses. It was considered almost lazy use a zoom lens,
stand still and zoom to get the framing you wanted.

Much of that prejudice against zooms remains, mostly among people of a
certain age. g But the advent of top quality "pro" zooms has
changed all that.

When we are out looking for a shot, and find one we want, it is a joy
to be able to stand in one position, retaining the chosen viewpoint
(and therefore the chosen perspective) and zoom to crop the shot.
This cannot be done with fixed focal length lenses unless your chosen
cropping just happens to coincide with the focal length in use.

What this means is that you have to adopt a very different approach,
depending whether you use a zoom or a selection of fixed focal length

But the fact remains that fixed focal length lenses have a better
optical performance than all but the best zoom lenses, and if you want
that optical performance, you either buy top quality pro zooms, use
fixed focal length lenses or accept the limitations of shooting with
consumer grade zooms at f/8 or f/11 and at those focal lengths where
distortion is less apparent.