Friday, March 2, 2012

Going Manual

     It all started from Anseong festival. As I said on my blog, I was caught unprepared and equipped with inferior gear. I was also still in chaotic thought, choosing or discovering what my photography aesthetic is. Lenses came in mind. Reading forums and articles in the past, other photographers keep talking about using what you have and just "be creative." Something that's becoming really annoying when repeated a lot. Sometimes I get so annoyed I find such a statement condescending, especially when said photographers actually use and only use those really expensive lenses.

     So I started searching for a lens that suits my current needs. Since I was looking for something I'd use for concerts or anything on stage, I thought wide aperture on long reach lenses are the first ones I'd look at. The usual dilemma has come again. Start with a humble lens. Then think, "a little more dollars and I could get a better one..." Then goes to "If I'm to spend this much, then I might as well go for primes." And so on. These lenses are expensive!

     I can't remember how but I started considering cheaper alternatives, which lead me to check out manual lenses. At this point I gave up longer reach and got myself more keen to wide-angled ones. So the first disadvantage of manual lenses losing auto-focus didn't bother me... or at least I thought so.

     The very well known brands are really expensive despite being manual. But sometimes brands do say something when it comes to lenses. Ever wonder why some people keep mentioning "Canon killers?" I believe because a lot of their lenses may be really good but really expensive. Same goes to manual lenses like Carl Zeiss, Voigtlander, and Leica.

     Fortunately in the world of manual lenses, there also are some cheap ones. That's when I found out about Samyang lenses. It's been produced under many names but I refer to it in its Korean name, being made here in Korea. I can't believe how much rave Samyang's new lenses have received. So I ended up choosing between 85mm or 35mm. I forgot how I got myself to choosing between these two primes, but in the end, I bought the cheapest one (85mm).


     The time I opened the box when it arrived, I was taken aback from its size and form.  Since I don't mingle much even with fellow photographers, I was never exposed to other lenses than my kit ones.  This baby is quite heavy, large, and has its iris really staring at me.  Quite intimidating for someone used to a humble nifty-fifty.

     Trying it out, I do agree with almost all of the reviews. My experience of using it, on the other hand, has a different story.

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