Quality of Light

Pile with Cat

Nikon returned my 24-120mm f4 from repair this week, so I’ve been out testing it with the D800. For the last two years I’ve used the Leica rangefinders, film and digital, producing most of the photos on my Flickr Photostream. But that’s been mostly through the 50mm view as I discussed recently: “One Camera One Lens”.

I’ve established with this first set of images that Nikon did a fine job of fixing the lens to work to a very high specification. They replaced a few parts of the focusing and Vibration Reduction mechanisms, so there must of been something seriously wrong. As a tool it’s functional again.

Do I really need to bring back the D800 as a tool? I’ve been taken with the rangefinder experience. The DSLR is a completely different experience for image capture. This a camera that can do anything.

With a zoom lens that takes me from wide-angle viewing (24mm) to modest telephoto (120mm), the possibilities are immediately greatly expanded from a rangefinder at 50mm. The problem is the immediate confrontation with the Paradox of Choice, the counterintuitive notion that too much choice is a bad thing. I put that Leica opto-mechanical capture device to the eye and I see what part of the world it will capture at 50mm or 28mm. The DSLR forces me to choose a focal length then look and frame. Or I can look through the lens and change its focal length and then reframe by moving camera orientation or my position. Its far from seeing and reacting, my usual way of working.

Here’s the crux of it- by taking up a different tool, I disrupt that habit I’ve developed of looking and capturing, looking and capturing. It seems to me to be worth it for a bit to see if I can become more flexible in image capture and widen the possibility in the final print.

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