The normal lens is superior to all other
lenses in many situations. One of the most common situations involves a
dimly lit room interior. The occasion may be a party, a business
meeting or just a gathering of your immediate family. The shared
element is a low light level.
Flash is often employed to overcome low light levels, but it has its
drawbacks. In the first place flash pictures can't be taken
unobtrusively, as can available light pictures with a fast lens.
Second, flash destroys natural lighting, producing flat, shadowless
images. Finally, focusing is still a problem, since it has to be done
in relative darkness before the flash is fired. Clearly a fast normal
lens has the edge.
If you know you are going to be involved in a dim light situation, use
ISO setting of 400 and above. If possible turn on more light, or do
anything else you can to raise the illumination level and fill in
shadowy room corners. When you take indoor pictures with a wide open
lens, try to keep all important subject elements about the same
distance from your camera. Otherwise, because a large aperture greatly
reduces depth of field (especially at close range), many parts of your
pictures will be annoyingly out of focus. With outdoor scenes at night
subject placement is not as critical to sharpness, because greater
distances result in increased depth of field.
Another area in which normal lens has a clear advantage is vacation
photography. Most people on a pleasure trip use a camera merely to
record the experience and not to indulge in serious projects requiring
several lenses. They prefer to travel light and a camera with just its
normal lens allows them to do so. This combination not only serves the
needs of the casual picture taker but it also provides a versatile tool
for the talented hobbyist. At least 90 percent of all vacation subjects
can be handled by the normal lens.
A camera with one lens is easy to carry aboard a plane, easy to carry
on long walks and easy to keep track of during busy vacation times. If
the lack of a wide angle lens keeps you from capturing an entire scene,
photograph it in sections. You may like a piece better than the whole
anyway. If the lack of a telephoto lens prevents you from obtaining a
close up of a distant subject, try to move nearer or have the normal
lens image enlarged. Better still, concentrate on the thousands of
subjects that are ideal for your normal lens.
A small flash takes a little extra space but it permits you to
photograph many subjects with greater ease. It will match the angle of
view of your normal lens and will often give you better lighted record
One big advantage of using only a normal lens, whether on vacation or
not is that it is always in place on your camera and ready to go. There
is no need to ponder the matter of which lens to use. There is also no
need to change lenses because the wrong one happens to be attached.
The normal lens is a good people lens. Babies, children and adults are
all rendered with good detail and perspective from a comfortable
distance. Tight, heads only portraits are not recommended because of
the perspective distortion, but if people are approached no closer than
about 1.5 meters (5 feet), they are treated kindly.