How to Win a Photo Contest with a Cheap Plastic Lens


Ok, it wasn't exactly a photo contest, it was a 'challenge' over at and there weren't that many entry's.  But it still won. And here's the point: you can take a pretty good photo with any kind of camera and any kind of lens.  It's just a matter of what you are most comfortable with - and what you're most likely to carry around.  I had splurged on a (used) Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 which is a monster piece of glass (actually a bunch of pieces). And while it took great photos, it found its way into my travel bag less and less.  Over at Ken Rockwell's web site, he had recommend the cheap, light, plastic, Nikon 28-80 f/3.3~5.6.  It was half the size of my 'pro' lens and probably 1/4 the weight.  And it became my walk around lens. Which is how it came to take this photo in Shinjuku Station at 8:41am.  Because it's not a fast lens, I was shooting with a slow shutter speed and I noticed that the shots were blurred with motion of the commuters coming and going from the trains. I then noticed that the effect was kind of cool. So I just sat there taking photos while the commuters jostled and stared, and finally came up with this photo. Another world


Ken was right; the lens is pretty darned sharp. Pity it rolled off the top of my car as I drove away one day, cracking it into several pieces.  I remember cringing as I saw this orb bouncing along the road in my rear view mirror, causing me to simultaneously remember where I had put that lens while switching out to the tele.