OK, that’s better now. Yesterday I did two things: I took my time and I changed lenses.
Taking one’s time is pretty much a precondition for any kind of photography. I mean, sure, on some busy days I have made some images that were jolly good, and what may have looked like hard work had been no more than a minute of luck or two. But that’s just that, luck, and you can’t rely on luck. Detaching oneself and spending some substantial time in disconnectedness with one’s work and troubles is still the best recipe for creativity.
The other thing is the lens. I have changed to the Sigma 70/2.8 Macro, this fantastically versatile lens of highest quality, for sure one of Sigma’s best designs. I set it to f2.8 and for the rest of the day kept it at that. If this lens does not give me fresh views and ideas, then I’m probably dead. Thankfully I wasn’t 🙂
Speaking of lenses, there is a purchase that I’ve been contemplating for a long time now, I suppose at least half a year. I’m speaking of a mid-range zoom. I felt the strong urge for something like that when we were in Udine last Saturday. I carried the Tokina 11-16/2.8, the Nikon 10.5/2.8 fish, the Sigma 28/1.8, the Nikon 50/1.8 and the Nikon 70-300 VR, and after much changing around, I finally ended up using only the 28/1.8. It worked pretty well, but in many cases I had wished for something in the range of below 20 to at least 50, maybe more.
Of course I have the Nikon 18-200 VR, and normally I carry it with me when I’m on trips, I just don’t use it. Recently, while I was sick and at home, I had a look at old images made with the 18-200, and I found that it was never really sharp. I mean sharp like the Sigma 70/2.8 or sharp like the Sigma 28/1.8. I guess I’m just spoiled, but I don’t really like the 18-200 any more.
Basically I see two candidates, the Tamron 17-50/2.8 VC, a stabilized low-light champion, nice for winter nights, and the highly regarded Nikon AF-S VR DX 16-85mm 3.5-5.6G ED. Both are stabilized, the Tamron is faster, the Nikon has a better range. Both cost about the same. See my problem? I can’t really decide what I need. In Udine, in that wonderful, bright light, the Nikon would have been the clearly superior choice, in winter nights in Vienna the Tamron might allow me to stay in low ISOs. So what’s that? A winter lens and a travel lens? Do I need both? None?
The Tamron may be better for the coming season, but don’t my primes suffice on Vienna’s streets? Is a stabilized 50/2.8 any better than a non-stabilized 50/1.4 or even a 50/1.2? Hardly, huh? And is a zoom really what I use in Vienna?
You may find me mulling about that much longer, or I may make a quick decision, I have no idea. Let’s wait and see.