It’s not good picture-taking weather here right now as it is cold and foggy, when it isn’t actually raining. The outdoors is icy, in other words, and not fit to set foot in. When this trend will break is anyone’s guess. The weather forecasters have a reputation for being wrong in their predictions, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
In the meantime I’m reading various blogs, mostly about photography. Yes it’s a life-long hobby for me that I’ve found renewed comfort in lately. When daily life is basically a struggle, anything fun and familiar is a welcome relief.
Some of the blogs go on about just getting into photography, and they give me hope for the future. Some of them are from professionals, and they give me amusement and sometimes despair for the current state of things. I wonder a lot about the equipment-obsession that seems to afflict so many these days. Okay, easy for me to be aloof because I’ve had literally hundreds of cameras so I guess I got it out of my system. Although I do still look at equipment, because it’s interesting. That doesn’t mean I want it all, though. However there are in fact two things I do want to further my photographic fun.
The first of these is a ‘normal’ focal length prime lens for my Canon EOS Rebel T100. That would be somewhere in the 30-35mm range. Canon makes reasonably priced EF-S series prime lenses in 22mm, 24mm, 40mm, and 50mm focal lengths, but nothing around the 30mm spot that would be normal for the APS-C cameras. Maybe they think people who buy these don’t take ‘normal’ pictures? Maybe they think we’re not normal? Maybe they just blundered. The kit zoom lenses are noticeably lacking in quality both for build and image, and if I can see that then people with good vision must cringe at their results.
So let’s look around and see what ‘third party’ lenses there are.
Youngnou 35mm f2: The reviews say it all. There’s no point wasting any amount of money on this.
Rokinon/Samyang 35mm f1.4: No doubt a reasonable quality lens, but it’s manual focus & exposure. I’ve already got a Super Takumar that does that, probably with better resolution, even if it does tint everything thorium yellow. Certainly not going to pay around $600 to not have the auto functions the camera is capable of.
Sigma 30mm f1.4: This looks like the ideal solution. It’s just about the perfect focal length. So what’s the trouble? To start with the price is 50% more than the camera cost. I mean this is like 3X what the Canon prime lenses go for. That seems more than a little steep to me. What’s worse is it is not sold in Canada; it has to be “ordered in” and let me tell you importing items into this country is a gamble. You’d be better off spending the day at the casino, in fact: less aggravating and you probably won’t lose as much money because you can stop whenever you want. Our bureaucratic system has ways of continuously milking the unsuspecting buyer. If it started out in the <$200 range it might be worth a go for this lens, but at $500+++ … no.
Now it isn’t exactly fair to say Canon makes no 35mm lens for this camera, because they have done and do. You can get a used EF 35mm f2 for $600-700 or maybe less if you can find a bargain. Often these bargains are ordered in from Japan, so see caution in above paragraph. The Canon site lists this new for $749, so the other offers aren’t exactly heavily discounted. That brings us to the other option:
Canon 35mm f1.4: this version is $2,299.99 from Canon, but can be found elsewhere for $2,069 – with free shipping. That’s about five times what I paid for the camera, or ten times what other Canon prime lenses for the same camera cost. Can anyone explain why? Must be a helluva lens. Oh and you can get one used for a mere $1,378 – from Japan.
All prices and specifications subject to change without notice, of course.
And you can probably get a better deal in the USA, or anywhere else for that matter. Canada isn’t exactly a shopping paradise.
But you can see that when looked at sensibly, it doesn’t make sense. Especially not alongside the other prime lenses which sell for under $200. Why is there no 30-35mm equivalent here? Maybe I should ask Canon. The ones costing three or ten times as much really aren’t in the budget for fitting to a $400 camera.
Until some fiscally prudent solution presents itself, I will continue to use the Takumar when I want ‘normal’ focal length for that camera, even if I do have to correct the yellow out. Otherwise I will run the slightly fuzzy zoom lenses.
What’s the second thing I want? More time to use the equipment I’ve already got. Time is a precious commodity when it takes longer than normal to do most anything. There are many tasks making demands on my limited number of available hours. I wish some of them would go away. I wish the weather was better for shooting in. While I’m at it I may as well go back to wishing for that affordable lens. And a lottery win. All are about as likely to happen.
Now here’s a shot taken out my front window, across the road, under the power lines, and over into the next valley courtesy of the Nikon P610 and its amazing optics. No processing; this is just how it looked.