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4 Reasons to Use One Focal Length to Master Photography

Fujifilm x100v mirrorless camera with fixed 35mm equivalent lens

Over the past two and a half years, I’ve exclusively used my FUJIFILM x100v camera with its fixed 35mm equivalent lens, a shift from my previous setup with a Sony A7III and various lenses.

Surprisingly, this limitation enhanced my photography, improving composition, angles, and image quality. This article explores how using a single focal length can rapidly boost your photography skills.

#1. Improves Your Observation Skills

When I used to shoot with my Sony A7 III and Tamron 28 – 75mm zoom lens, in most cases I simply stood in one location and either zoomed in or zoomed out to take the photo I wanted.

Shooting with lens hood on camera lens

When I switched to FUJIFILM x100v with a fixed 35mm lens, this wasn’t an option anymore. I now have to physically move my feet and get closer or further away from the subject in order to frame it the way I want it.

I’ve noticed that when I physically move around, my perspective changes, and I observe how the photo composition is altered based on my physical location. This allows me to see the same scene from many different angles and perspectives, and choose the best one for each particular situation.

Essentially, my FUJIFILM x100v forced me to become much more observant–and being able to visually recognize important details in my opinion is the most important photography skill you can acquire.

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#2. Helps You Develop Your Personal Photography Style

When I used to shoot with my Sony A7III, I had three different lenses which I used for different purposes. 

Having different lenses is fun and allows you to experiment with different focal lengths, however, it also means that your photography can become unfocused and lack a personal style.

When I switched to FUJIFILM x100v with the fixed 35mm (full frame equivalent) lens, I found that my photos started to look more consistent and coherent

This was especially noticeable in my Instagram feed and a lot of my friends and followers started to ask me what camera and lens I am using because they really liked my photos.

Screenshot of my Instagram feed

Many famous photographers, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, have chosen to use a single focal length for their work.

By limiting themselves to one perspective, they were able to develop a distinct style that was immediately recognizable. This is because using a single focal length lens allows you to see the world in a unique way and develop a personal style that is truly your own.

Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Two men stand in front of a large piece of cloth. Brussels, Belgium. 1932.

#3. Allows You to Be Present and Capture the Moment

One major advantage of sticking with a single lens that has a fixed focal length is that it eliminates the need to constantly switch lenses. This allows you to stay focused and be able to capture the moment as it happens, without worrying about missing the opportunity for the perfect shot.

capture the moment 1

The photo above is a great representation of this. It was captured during one of my recent trips to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. That day, my wife and our friends were sitting in a local restaurant in Amalfi when all of a sudden an enormously strong rain with wind started. The owner of the restaurant ordered everyone to quickly move inside the restaurant. I stood at the entrance to the restaurant with my camera, ready to capture something interesting.

That’s when I saw the waiter from another restaurant who ran outside to collect all the dishes from the tables. Although my fixed 35mm focal length definitely wasn’t the best option for that moment, it still allowed me to capture the moment. There’s a chance that if I had an interchangeable lens camera, I could have missed that moment while switching lenses.

#3. Allows You to Be Present and Capture the Moment

Do you know why Steve Jobs famously wore the same outfit every day?

One of the reasons for this is to limit decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is the idea that after making many decisions, a person’s ability to make additional decisions becomes worse.

The fewer choices you have to make, the more energy you have left for more important decisions.

The same idea can be applied to photo gear. When you have multiple cameras and many different lenses, you may become overwhelmed and unable to make the decision of which camera or lens to take with you.

decision fatigue with cameras

When I switched to Fujifilm x100v, it eliminated the need for me to think about which lens to take with me. This freed up more time and energy for what’s really important: taking pictures!

Plus, the Fujifilm x100v is super compact and lightweight so I can easily carry it around with me wherever I go. This drastically reduces the friction of taking photos and makes it much easier to take my camera with me every day.

The more you take your camera with you, the more you shoot. The more you shoot, the better you get at photography. Simple.

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One Focal Length to Master Photography: Conclusion

Using one focal length to master photography can help you take better, more consistent photos in a shorter period of time. This is because it encourages you to become more comfortable with your equipment, be present in the moment, and reduce the friction of taking photos.

If you liked this article, be sure to check out my other tutorials on photography:

I hope this article was helpful to you in your journey of mastering photography with one focal length. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with me via email: hi [at] ohmycamera.com.

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Aleksandrs Karevs

Aleksandrs Karevs

Hi, my name is Aleksandrs and I am a full-stack digital marketer passionate about digital photography. In my free time, I enjoy taking photos with my everyday companion – FUJIFILM X100V. Read full story here.

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Aleksandrs Karevs OHMYCAMERA Founder & Author

ARTICLE BY

Hi, my name is Aleksandr and I am a full-stack digital marketer from Riga, Latvia. In 2018 I became obsessed with photography and decided to create this blog to share my knowledge about both photography and marketing. In my free time, I enjoy taking photos with my everyday companion – FUJIFILM X100V.

Aleksandrs Karevs OHMYCAMERA Founder & Author

ARTICLE BY

Hi, my name is Aleksandr and I am a full-stack digital marketer from Riga, Latvia. In 2018 I became obsessed with photography and decided to create this blog to share my knowledge about both photography and marketing. In my free time, I enjoy taking photos with my everyday companion – FUJIFILM X100V.

Discover Why 2,367 Photographers Love This Free eBook!

Simply enter your email below to receive a FREE eBook filled with actionable tips for immediate photography improvements. 

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