Visual Vocabulary

This is my X-Pro 1 paired with the XF 55-200mm F 3.5-4.8.

When you look at that Aperture rating your first thought is likely to be dam slow Lens. I am making an assumption - don’t hold it against me. When compared to F1.4 or 2.8, it is slow.

Let’s hold on for a moment.

How many times have you created an image at F3.5 or 4.8 not to mention stopping down to 5.6, F8, F11 or F16

Shooting Wide Open all the time is quiet frankly boring. It’s as if we buy our Lens now if it only renders beautiful out of focus areas.

This stupid.

Since when did out of focus areas become more important than our subject matter?

The visual weight in any image must be the subject - the out of focus areas will take of itself.

I am speaking here for common sense and taking a stand for mastering the tools we currently have.

The X-Pro 1 and The XF 55-200 F3.5-4.8 make a formidable partnership.

For me, it all comes down to understanding the relationship between Aperture Value, the correct Shutter Speed and a fearless application of ISO. All of this should contribute to the all important CREATIVE EXPOSURE.

The XF55-200mm on my Camera is an 82-300mm in Full Frame terms. This means my Shutter Speed needs to be action stopping because I am hand holding the Camera.

So my first task is to set my Shutter Speed to 1/500 sec and leave it.

My next task is to set my Aperture to 5.6 for 55mm - this is my starting position.

If I need strong compression and depth of field, I will most likely zoom to 300mm and use my feet to compose my scene - most likely a Portrait or some subject I cannot physically walk close too.

So, when using this Lens, my Shutter Speed doesn’t change - I am flexible with my zoom range, Aperture and most importantly - my ISO.

This is a beautiful thing because I have no worries about this Lens being fast or slow - it is perfect for a wide range of subjects.

At 55mm F4 I can shoot a nice Portrait - if I need more compression, I use my zoom to about 135mm and zoom with my feet while keeping my Aperture at F5.6 - this is perfect for Portraits.

When is comes to compression and depth of field, nothing beats using a long zoom range and F5.6 - the benefit here is the subject remains well defined.

I live in the United Kingdom and this time of year, my daylight hours a very short. The time I have to create good images using this lens is about 4 to 5 hours. Let’s say from 10 am in the morning till about 3.30 in the afternoon.

Common sense simply says use a Fast Lens once the light levels drop and switch techniques to low-level-lowlight shooting. This is where I would use my 16 mm F1.4.

So the lesson here is very simple - master your Lens. Use the right Lens for the job.

Don’t allow yourself to get carried away by the marketing hype.

Get up early.

Go and chase the morning Light - it’s a thing of beauty.

I love practising with my long Lens.

Simply because it’s a Lens I love travelling with.

When I am home I think like a tourist.

This means when I travel, I’m confident I can come home with images that does my travelling justice.

Because I need to travel light.

Also, mastering all of my Lenses and their visual vocabulary means that when I use a Lens with a variable Aperture, it doesn’t bother me because I know how to navigate the Aperture, the Focal Length, the Shutter Speed and how to work with the Light.

Oh, one more thing…..don’t forget your Flash - Speed Light; that’s a subject for another day.

For now, it’s all about understanding how to become a human Focal Length Translator.

To be continued.

Thanks for reading

Using Format