Hi all,


Just wanted some advice. I will be beginning fieldwork in a few months, and was curious to know what lenses people have found most useful during their fieldwork?  In terms of usefulness, I guess I am thinking in terms of distances from subject, speed, transportability, cost etc.  My initial inclination is to take a relatively cheap 50mm lens, but would like to know what other opinions people have.

Thanks!

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Hi, 

I think 50mm is a good choice, it forces you to get closer to the subject, and, in my opinion, this is part of our work.

Maybe I'd choose a more versatile 17-50...

ps. what's your camera?

Hi, I would recommend taking a look at Karen Nakamura's website www.Photoethnography.com and especially her equipment page: http://www.photoethnography.com/equipment.html.

I would agree with her that a 35mm to 50mm, then possibly a 80 or 100 mm. I tend to use my Olympus OM-2 film camera with a 28mm f 2.8. Not super fast but for most distances I don't have to focus since the depth of field includes everything from 2 feet to infinity. Great for spontaneous shooting. I avoid zooms for a lot of reasons (slow, expensive, and too distant from the subject).

Good luck!

Thanks for quick reply Alessandro, its a canon 350d.  I have the kit lens, 18-55, but thought the 50mm might be better for low light situations.

Great resource, thanks!  I also am usually against zooms, also find that they intimidate/inhibit people more.

Jonathan said:

Hi, I would recommend taking a look at Karen Nakamura's website www.Photoethnography.com and especially her equipment page: http://www.photoethnography.com/equipment.html.

I would agree with her that a 35mm to 50mm, then possibly a 80 or 100 mm. I tend to use my Olympus OM-2 film camera with a 28mm f 2.8. Not super fast but for most distances I don't have to focus since the depth of field includes everything from 2 feet to infinity. Great for spontaneous shooting. I avoid zooms for a lot of reasons (slow, expensive, and too distant from the subject).

Good luck!

Sure, but I tried this Tamron 17-50 f 2.8 and it's simply amazing!

Good luck for your research!

bye!

This might go beside the point, but I used to be suspicious towards zoom-lenses, but found Nikon's 18-200mm (3.5-5.6) zoom lens very useful during my fieldwork. When attached to the camera, it was still light enough to carry everywhere I went and eliminated the need for other lenses. As far as I understand, the Nikon lens is quite good, so I don't know if other manufacturers have good all-around lenses. Most probably they do.

Of course everything depends on where you go and what sort of photographing you intend to do, but the 200 mm tele-option was very useful during large public gatherings, such as rituals and dances when it was not possible to go physically close to the subjects.

Usually I have the 18-200mm lens attached and a small 35mm prime in the bag, and I think together they cover pretty well my needs. If the situation is low-light, the f1.7 35-lens does a great job.

Thanks, this is also good advice. I suppose I had been thinking more about taking portraits, but the point about rituals is a very good point - especially since I suppose I wouldn't really want to get in people's faces as much in moments like that.  I guess there really isnt a single perfect lens!

Tuomas Tammisto said:

This might go beside the point, but I used to be suspicious towards zoom-lenses, but found Nikon's 18-200mm (3.5-5.6) zoom lens very useful during my fieldwork. When attached to the camera, it was still light enough to carry everywhere I went and eliminated the need for other lenses. As far as I understand, the Nikon lens is quite good, so I don't know if other manufacturers have good all-around lenses. Most probably they do.

Of course everything depends on where you go and what sort of photographing you intend to do, but the 200 mm tele-option was very useful during large public gatherings, such as rituals and dances when it was not possible to go physically close to the subjects.

Usually I have the 18-200mm lens attached and a small 35mm prime in the bag, and I think together they cover pretty well my needs. If the situation is low-light, the f1.7 35-lens does a great job.

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