It is the effective focal length of my favorite lens, the Zuiko Digital 50mm f2.0 Macro prime. Mounted on a four-thirds system camera, it gives a field of view similar to 100 mm., on traditional 35 mm. film, the most common medium of years gone by. 100 mm is a “portraiture length”, and this lens is primarily a macro, with portraits as its secondary purpose. That being said, 100 mm gives a rather “constricted” view of the world.
So what would I be doing using a fast macro prime, with a narrow field of view, on a walk-around in broad daylight? Most people would probably do a walk-around with as much zoom range as possible, then why would I stick to one that cannot zoom at all?
First, it forces me to think more, on a.) what to shoot at and b.) how to shoot it. Shooting with a lens permanently stuck at 100 mm severely limits flexibility…100 mm is too short for any sort of paparazzi use, yet it’s too narrow for group shots and landscapes. So what can you shoot with it besides bugs, flowers or a solitary portrait? You have to think it up.
Second is that it forces me to go near a subject. No matter how lazy one gets, you can’t just shoot from a distance and hope to get a good crop later on. So even with tired feet, I have to get near, and some things are better appreciated up close.
Lastly, I just love this lens.
Of course there will always be situations where it would almost be criminal to stick to 100 mm. Imagine if one were to visit France for the first time, without any sort of wide angle at hand…quelle horreur. Yet for places that one has been to quite often, it may be interesting to find out what you can find “interesting”, with such a narrow view of the world.
We joined one of Mr. Carlos Celdran’s tours on a Saturday morning. The tour we had was a walk-around on Intramuros, but he offers tours in other places too. Generous on humor and highly educational – even for grown-up locals, I would highly recommend this to everyone, and if you’re interested, Google him up.
For those not acquainted, Intramuros is a walled city beside the Pasig River, in the present day City of Manila. During the Spanish colonial period though, Intramuros was Manila itself, the seat of the Spanish colonial goverment. The city only sprawled outside of the walls in recent history.
Today, Intramuros is being preserved as a relic of the country’s past. This doesn’t mean that it has been turned into one overgrown museum though, as today it still houses functioning offices, shops, restaurants, and it still holds some residents.
* we joined Mr. Celdran’s Intramuros tour last July 2010.