The Perfect Travel Lens: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

The Perfect Travel Lens: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

December 4, 2019 100 By Peter Engel


In this episode I will explain to you
why I’ve learned that the 35mm lens is the perfect
lens for travel photography. AdoramaTV
presents Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace. Hi everybody welcome to this week’s
episode of Exploring Photography right here on AdoramaTV. I’m Mark Wallace. I’ve been traveling the world for about 13 months now. I haven’t been back to the United States the entire time. A lot of people ask me on Facebook and through my blog. Can you tell us what’s working and what isn’t working? Well absolutely, that’s what this episode
is about what I learned in my past year, a little over a year of
travel and travel photography. Well I started shooting with a DSLR
systematic Canon 5D mark III with a few lenses. Then about of five or six months ago I
switched over to a rangefinder camera and so what I wanted to do is see, well
did that switch which work for me and which lenses are working for me, what worked
with the Canon system what didn’t? All that kinda stuff and so the way I
wanted to approach this is to do something that Jared Platt
thought me how to do that is to. I’ll dive into Lightroom and look at the statistics and find out
what the numbers are telling me. If you don’t know how to do that you can check an episode that I previously made all about meta data and how to learn
from it. Well let’s figure out what I’ve learned from my travel. The first thing I wanted
to know is which lenses do I tend to favor. Which ones work best for me, and my criteria for judging that was
when I throw pictures into Lightroom all the pictures that I put in there
which ones, or how many am I flagging. How many am I picking, saying ya this is a winning photo so I looked in Lightroom, I look at
all the lenses and you can see that the data shows that the 21mm, the 16-35mm lens, the 24-70mm at the wide side of that lens, my success rate is about 11 or 12
percent. In other words I’m getting more good
shots out of my wide angle lenses then I am with my telephoto lenses. At
the 135mm and the 70-200mm side, the long end of that lens. My success rate drops to about
eight-percent. So, wide-angle lenses for travel photography are clearly better by about a 4% margin,
which isn’t huge. But I learned a little bit more as I
looked closely, more closely at this data. The other
thing I wanted to know was let’s take a look at me Canon versus
the Leica argument. Don’t get caught up on Leica it could be
any rangefinder or mirrorless camera, a Sony a7R. It could be a Fujifilm, anyone of the many awesome cameras that they have. It could be anything. So I chose a Leica but it could be any mirrorless camera. So a light weight
small camera versus a DSLR camera. When I looked at the data of all the images
I shot with my Canon system versus the rangefinder system, they were equal. In terms of winning percentage. In other words about 10% or exactly 10% of the images that I shot with both systems came out as winners. So they’re on equal footing as far as the image quality and the
images that I liked. I didn’t compare the Leica versus the
Canon so it’s not that comparison, but just looking equally, I liked about the same amount of photos. One of the things that I really hoped
for in a smaller camera and I talked a lot about this in a previous episode was that the larger system I had no camera
in hand, in other words I just wasn’t shooting a lot because my camera was always in my bag or leave I’d it at the hotel. So my hope was with a smaller camera
like this that I would take it with me a lot more
and so I wanted to see am I shooting more, and if so does that translate into more
winning shots, and absolutely I am shooting a lot more and when I
looked in, looked closely at the data I see
that I on my DSLR camera, on my Canon camera, I was taking about 44 winning photos per month and with my rangefinder I’m
shooting at about 75 winning photos per month. That’s a170% increase in winning photos and because both of them have the the
same success rate all that means is that I’m shooting more
pictures with my small camera that I am with my large camera. Which is a sort of a no brainer. Of course if you take a small camera you’re going to use it more then a big camera that you have to carry around and it might also be that I’m
sorta have new toy joy and so I’m just using this a lot
more than my other camera. I don’t know but the data says that I’m shooting with
this camera more than my larger camera. Alright well now
that we know that, my question is will which lenses are the best. We already know that I’m favoring wide angle lenses which was sort of a surprise to me because for years
I’ve been saying long lenses, long lenses, long lenses. Well let’s look and see. So in both
systems, the Canon system and my rangefinder system I used, if you take everything and put it
together and average it. Not average, it’s added up. 51%
of all the photos were shot with a 35mm range and wider. So I looked at my 24-70mm and said how many of those were 35mm or wider. My 16-35mm, I added those in there and then my 21mm and my 35mm Leica lenses and so 51%. But I wanted to see how exactly that
broke down just looking at my rangefinder camera. So when I look at that it’s still about the same about 54% of the shots are shot with a 35mm
lens or wider. Except I didn’t have this 35mm lens until about three months ago. So I was very curious, I
wanted to see what happened three months ago when I added this lens. Now the reason I bought this lens was
because I was shooting a lot with my 21mm lens but just every day shooting it felt just too wide, too
much in the frame. So I go back and forth
between that and my 50mm lens, my standard lens. But the 50mm felt a little bit to long, a
little bit too close, a little bit to cropped. So I just wasn’t happy with either
one of those and so I read a lot of blogs and a did a lot of research
and peopled swear by the 35mm lens.
Steve Huff Photos one go those guys says if you just shoot with this and nothing
else, it will dramatically increase your skills. I wanted to see, well maybe that’s true so I bought my 35mm lens. And wow what a change. We look at the
data after I bought the 35mm. 79% all of my photos were shot with a 35mm or the 21mm. So it’s a dramatic shift between these lenses and these
lenses. So almost exclusively I’m shooting wide. Why, why is that? While the 35mm is just the right porridge. It’s not too wide, it’s not too
long and you can stick it on your lens, you can carry it around. It’s very, very small. At night if you don’t need a lens hood you can see this is a very compact small lens, it’s not intimidating. it
works for portrait photography, you can shoot scenic’s with it, you can do anything with this lens. In fact I can take all these lenses and leave them at home in a bag and just use the 35mm and I will be successful. I wanted to
look at the data to see what it said. Of the two lenses sure enough,
66% of them were shot with this 35mm lens. So the takeaway on the things that I’ve
learned in my last 13 months is this: you should travel with a small
camera that has a 35mm lens
because you’re gonna shoot more with it. It’s a lens that you can do almost
anything you want with and because they’re so readily available for
all different brands Sony, Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Fuji-film, you name it they all have 35mm lenses. They’re all very affordable, all way up
to skyrocket high prices but you can get low light performance, you can get scenic performance, there really sharp, there awesome. You can get old
35mm vintage lenses, you can get brand new lenses. They are everywhere and so what I’ve
learned is the 35mm lens coupled with a mirrorless camera is
absolutely the way to go. So if you’re looking for a
solution, a one lens solution, or a starting point. Get a mirrorless camera, get a 35mm lens and go for it. That’s what I’ve learned in my last 13 months. Well there you have it. Thank you so much for joining me on this episode of Exploring Photography.
Don’t forget there’s a tone of information on Adorama TV. It’s absolutely free and all you need to do is subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode. So click on the subscribe button and you can look back at past episodes like how to learn from your meta data and do the kind of number crunching that I just did as well as shooting with
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