I have dreamt of this for a long time, but the paid assigments and camera reviews prevented me from using just one lens. However, I arranged my life (our life, with my wife) a bit and decided to travel the world for a bit longer. We sold our house, cars and a few other items, so there is nothing to worry about while away. While traveling, I can’t do reviews and I probably don’t do many assigments either, so I can use what ever camera or lens I desire.
I don’t think this qualifies as a photo project, because I think photo project has something to do with the content, not the gear. Using the same gear can be good for producing uniform content, but I still think photo project has to be somehow defined by the content.
Nevertheless, I think this is still very interesting and useful. I have always preferred simple technical approach to my photography and have often thought how cool it would be to use just one lens. By one lens I mean one focal lenght. That might be possible for a working professional, but then you’d have to specialize or do certain type of images. For most of us that is just too much of a stretch. For personal shooting the situation is very different, because only I can decide what, when and where.
There are many benefits of using just one focal lenght. I can concentrate on the content better, because there is hardly any equipment to think of. No changing lenses or zooming, which both can be very distracting. If I have multiple lenses with me, it always feels like I have the wrong lens on. If I have 85 mm on my camera I see wide angle shots everywhere and vice versa. Zoom, on the other hand makes me lazy, I just zoom in or out for framing instead of walking. Of course I can’t walk to my subject if that is a flying bird or some other faraway thing, but then a zoom might not be enough either.
With one lens I’m only looking for images that fit to my lens. That can sound limiting, but it’s not. A fact is that I can never capture everything, no matter how many lenses and cameras I have. I belive I would only loose moments while fiddling with my equipment. With my only lens I know what I get all the time, even without looking through the viewfinder. I know exactly what to look for and I’m fast.
I’m traveling light, so there is also a practical reason for simple equipment. They weight very little. I didn’t choose the lightest gear, but reasonably light for the performance I get. Besides, I already owned the gear and didn’t have to buy anything. That is very important.
What did I choose? I chose the Sony A7RII and the Zeiss Loxia 2/35 mm. That is a very nice combination with great image quality and light weight. The manual focus might turn some people away, but I’m fine with that and it suits well with my shooting style. The Loxia 2/35 is not the sharpest lens available, but it has characteristics that I like a lot. I’ll get to that in another post later. The A7RII on the other hand is a controversial camera that many like, but as many dislike. For me it does so many things right, it’s compact and the files are just amazing. If I was using autofocus I’d miss touch screen, but I’m not.
I’ve been on the road only for about two weeks now, so it’s just a beginning and although I’ve done some photography, I feel I’m only adopting to the current conditions, being on the road and being able to do what I want almost all the time. It’s also reassuring that I have no hurry. It doesn’t matter if I don’t shoot anything for a week, although that is very unlikely. I intend to shoot a lot, but there are moments when I want to leave the camera behind and just enjoy other things.