I believe most photographers reach a point in their experience where they want to cut down on their gear. Whether they are trying to reduce size/weight or the sheer number of bodies/lenses they own, the philosophy of less is more tends to take hold along the way.
For those who seek a minimalistic solution that covers issues of size and weight in particular, I’d argue that a fixed lens camera is a way to go.
Many of us start out with DSLRs and zoom lenses — excited to finally have a “pro” setup, we just accept that the setup might be a bit heavier than we’d like.
Mirrorless cameras eventually draw many of us in with their sleeker proportions and promise of being a lighter, more manageable setup. Sometimes this is the case. But often it’s not, as the weight advantages of various mirrorless camera and lens combinations aren’t significant in comparison to their DSLR counterparts.
So, this is where a fixed lens camera should enter the conversation, and here are three reasons why you should choose one.
Small, Light, And Portable
A fixed lens camera is one that quite literally lives up to its name — it’s a camera body with a lens fixed to it. You can’t take the lens off.
This fact means such a camera is smaller, lighter, and more portable (maybe even pocketable), and it’s among the reasons why street photographers have an affinity for fixed lens cameras.
A camera like the Ricoh GRIII or the Fujifilm X100V is leaps and bounds more portable than pretty much any interchange lens camera, even when using the smallest lens available for that camera.
Less To Think About
When packing gear, how much time have you lost agonizing over which lenses to bring?
Should you pack the 24mm and the 35mm? Or maybe just bring the 28mm and the 50mm? The 27-70mm would work but do you feel like carrying it?
Then you just throw your hands up and pack it all.
There’s too much going on here.
Having a fixed lens camera keeps you from overpacking and it makes all the important lens choices for you. You’ll have one focal length and no option to swap lenses.
Sure, you lose versatility, but….
Being forced to deal with constraints tends to cause people to act more creatively — you know, necessity being the mother of invention.
Not that you’re really inventing anything new, but when you’re backed into a corner, so to speak, you’ll find a creative way out of that corner when you have to.
If you’re shooting with a fixed 28mm lens and you see something that you want to capture far away, you’re not going to be able to zoom by simply twisting your lens barrel. You’re going to have to go get the shot. Zoom with your feet.
Similarly, if you’re in a tight space with a fixed 35mm lens, you’re going to have to figure out a composition that will visually convey what you’re attempting to communicate.
It’s more work, but guess what? Shooting with a fixed lens camera has the potential to make you a more creative photographer.
Final Thoughts On Fixed Lens Camera
Of course, a fixed lens camera isn’t right for every scenario and it’s not right for every photographer — thinking of you, wildlife, and macro photographers.
But even if it’s not your go-to camera, I think a fixed lens camera is something that most photographers will value having in their collection. So pick one up and spend some time with it. I’m willing to bet you’ll keep it around.
- 3 Reasons a 28mm Lens Is My Favourite Focal Length
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