The Powerful Two Lens Kit

Since film isn't my primary medium, I've focused on efficiency when packing my analog kit for travel. My first priority, of course, is the mirrorless body and lenses that I will use on assignment. But it's the film camera that I reach for when I'm on my own time.

"Judith" - Pentax Program Plus with Pentax-A 50mm at f/1.7. Fujicolor 200 negative film. Photo by Derrick Story.

The analog kit that has served me well recently in places such as the Eastern Sierra and Reykjavik, Iceland, is simply a body and two lenses. The first optic is a basic zoom, typically 35-70mm or somewhere in that neighborhood. I like this range because the lens itself is compact and fits easily in my bag.

The second lens is a fast prime. Normally, I'm using a 50mm unless the location dictates that I go wider or longer. The image above was captured with a Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, which is a fantastic lens that's widely available at an affordable price.

At first I was concerned that I would miss shots that I wanted with such a spartan kit. But the reality is that I'm having a blast and recording terrific shots. Take a close look at how the 50mm rendered the image above. The subject is detailed while the surrounding area falls off into soft tones and colors.

I can use the 50mm inside, even with ISO 200 film, yet still have zoom for my outside explorations where I might want to go a little wider or get a tad closer. And because these items require such little space in my camera bag, I always have them with me.

Shooting with film is a joyous activity for me. I feel good when I do it. And it helps separate my personal work from my professional assignments.

I'm heading to Washington D.C. in a couple days to cover the WildSpeak conference. I'm choosing the Pentax Program Plus as my SLR for off-the-clock. I can't wait to hit the streets with it.


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