Rejoice, no choice!

I'm currently reading a few books, including one called the 'Paradox of choice'. One of the themes is that too much choice brings negative side effects. People seem to want choice, and to exercise their freedom to choose - yet when choices are more limited they are better able to make a decision and happier with the result.

I got to thinking that this kind of applied to how I use my lenses. While I wish I could bring and have access to all my gear when I leave the house, I often find I use my camera more if I just pick a single lens and run with that for the day. Especially if the choice is a prime lens! It is somehow easier to make a choice and pick one lens prior to leaving the house. With everything in the bag I could obviously make the same choice on the fly, but somehow I suddenly want to pick the 'right' lens if they are all handy. I'd never grab my 28mm prime to get shots of the kids playing soccer - yet if that was the only lens I had I take photos with it and get something different.

Ah the simplicity of not having to decide if I want to zoom in or out... Rejoice! No choice! There are some extra benefits too, like learning how one piece of equipment works to a higher degree, getting comfortable with the angle of view, etc.

So next time you head out, limit your choices and see how you like it!

© Chaoss

Photo credits: Brad Calkins, Chaoss.

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June 23, 2011


I agree. To much information could be overwhelming.

June 22, 2011


Amen, Brad. Too many choices overwhelms the senses and, with me, results in "Paralysis by Analysis".

June 22, 2011


I watched Zack Arias's video on Creative Live and he had a good piece of advice: "Don't buy anything for six months. Just get really comfortable with the equipment you already own.". With stock you see this all the time - people want to spend money on more gear to sell stock when they have 7 images online... Work with what you have until you know the limits - if those limits are holding you back. People don't want to hear that a nifty fifty is all they really need to do well.

June 22, 2011


hey Brad, good topic. yes, OPTIONS ANXIETY, i remember Pat Metheny coining this in the early days of guitar synthesizers,etc. There are gadgeteers and there are bootstrappers eg. the dude with tons of lenses and the press photographer(s)etc with one favorite prime lens. I am that bootstrapper, one prime for studio, one prime for events and editorial.
i realised that early in my days of zoom, that my best images came from shooting at a specific focal length and a specific f stops. so, i traded my zoom for primes for obvious reasons, lense speed, compactness, quality of prime, sweet spot,etc..
but i still bring out my zoom for the times i don't care for all these , ie. for the beach, travel,etc. but still replace it with my prime for stock and business shoots.
cheers . have a good summer in my old home town :)

June 22, 2011


Great blog, thanks for sharing. We have to limit the choices to let us learn more about our equipment.

June 22, 2011


I already did so. My bag was too heavy to walk with it for miles and miles. And what you say is so true: I learn a lot of one single lens.

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