Another Tool

August 24th, 2007

D20 1460 Another Tool I’ve ranted here before about the unimportant nature of the tools we choose for our work. There is no virtue attached to the tools, other than what comes from the quality of their construction or their designed-in ability to achieve their intended purpose. Cameras and lenses are tools. Photographs are what photography is about. We all chose the tools that work best for us. Knowing the available tools and making good choices is part of the discipline of photography.

The Holga lens on my digital camera is an interesting combination of tools with enjoyable results. I like the photos I’m getting with that combination. But this photo of the lovely model Vassanta http://www.modelmayhem.com/member.php?id=209943 was done with a very different tool, a 50mm f/1.4 lens.

Using a camera like the D200 with a 50mm lens changes the way that tool works from how it works on a “full frame” camera. On a D200 the 50mm focal length is a very moderate telephoto. Pretty much perfect for portraits. But I’m using my 50mm for a couple reasons. First, as was the case in this photo, it allows me to control depth of field. With that f/1.4 aperture I can achieve very shallow depth of focus to put a background out of focus and isolate the subject. I seldom use 1.4…it’s just too shallow and autofocus tends to miss too often. But stopped down one or two stops the autofocus has a bit more room for error and the background still goes nice and soft. The effect is a lot like what I would get with my beloved 85mm f/1.8 on my film cameras.

Of course, the other thing that makes the 50mm f/1.4 a useful tool is the ability to shoot in very low light levels. With the ability of my D200 to shoot excellent quality photos at 1600 ISO that wide aperture on the 50mm gives me a lot of flexibility to shoot in all sorts of light. Since I like to use the “available darkness” when I’m shooting outside the studio rather than bringing along and using supplemental lighting, the f/1.4 is very helpful.

The 50mm f/1.4…a useful tool for making photos in certain situations.

Vassanta…a beautiful woman who looks wonderful through any lens.

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About this Blog

Photos and comments by Dave Levingston. This is the place to see my most recent work which may include nudes, dance, landscape, nature and whatever other kinds of photos I feel like taking.

Since it does contain nude photos, this blog is not intended for viewing by anyone under the age of 18.

All photographs and written comments on this blog are protected by the copyright laws of the United States.

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