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Chicago Food and Travel Photographer

Street Photography with an 85mm Lens

For a long time I shot with zoom lenses. The good ones are versatile, easy to shoot with, you can zoom without moving and numerous other reasons. But more recently I've switched to all prime lenses and I'm loving it. 

A prime lens is a fixed length lens. It does not zoom at all unlike many other types of lenses (including your iPhone). The advantage of prime lenses is that they are lighter, faster (lower f-stop) and are sharper than zoom lenses. The other factor I love about only owning zoom lenses is that they force me to be more creative. 

On this particular shoot I decided to leave the house with nothing but an 85mm Zeiss Batis 1.8 to shoot street photography. 85mm is traditionally a portrait lens so this was a challenge. What I found by bringing only one prime lens with me was that my brain shifted and I started thinking about the types of shots I could create. 

The limitations of the lens actually helped me to think more creatively instead of zooming out and shooting a shot wide or using my zoom to get in close. It actually limited what I could do therefore made me think harder on the types of shots I could achieve and how to execute those shots. 

I find that since I've moved to all prime lenses I'm having more fun shooting and my abilities are growing by leaps and bounds. I also am in love with the Zeiss lenses I've bought. I never really believed that Zeiss had a look until I started shooting with them. I hate to say it but now I'm a believer.