After 23 years, I finally succumbed to desire and replaced my 85mm f/1.8 with a new 85mm f/1.4. Now my other lenses are getting jealous, because I rarely take this one off the camera. It’s not just that the lens is fast, which is perfect for the kind of low-light photography I enjoy. It’s also that the lens renders beautiful color, contrast, and bokeh. But at a recent Ojai Storytelling Festival fundraiser featuring Bill Harley, I was reminded why zoom lenses have gotten so popular.
If you’re going to shoot an event with a prime lens, you’d better be able to zoom with your feet. At this performance, I remained in my second row seat, so the lens was too long to include Bill’s guitar in horizontal compositions. As a result, those images don’t work, because an essential part of the story is missing.
Over the last forty years, I’ve accumulated a pretty nice lens collection. The 85mm f/1.4G is likely the best of the bunch, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the right tool for the job.
So I guess the moral of the story is that if I’m not willing to disrupt a small venue performance to move around and take pictures (and I’m NOT), I’d best pack a couple more lenses just in case.