I recently bought some new camera gear, and now I’m thinking of selling a couple of my old lenses. One of them is a Sigma fish-eye lens (10-20mm f4/5.6 for Nikon DX) that I use for extreme wide-angle photos. It’s a trick lens, and while some of the images are interesting, I never really used it as much as I hoped to.
The other lens, however, is the original Nikon DX super-zoom (AF-S 18-200mm f3.5/5.6 VR). It’s not a high-end pro lens, especially in low light, but it has a very versatile focal range. Under most common conditions it replaces a whole bagful of interchangeable lenses. I used it all the time.
It’s amazing how we can become attached to things. I’m not talking about the kind of attachment that leads to gaudy levels of conspicuous consumption. I mean the way we become attached to the useful objects in our lives.
Probably the most common example we are likely to share is our first car. Mine was a Plymouth Volaré, a car that so spectacularly failed to live up to expectations that its production caused the downfall of Chrysler Corporation in the 1970s and ultimately helped destroy the reputation of the entire American auto industry. It was not a fun car to drive or maintain, but it was my car. It gave me freedom and control that I had never had before. I never loved it, but I have fond memories of the places I went and the things that I did and the people who road with me. I felt bad about getting rid of that car.
I felt the same way about the first computer I ever learned to use, a VAX 11/780 at college. I eventually got the job of running it for the school, and it became my job to sell it when we upgraded to newer computers. I remember when it was waiting to ship out — 4 or 5 refrigerator-sized racks of electronics standing in the hallway — and I remember feeling like a piece of my life was going with it.
I’m feeling that way now about that 18-200 street zoom. I own a few other lenses, but I don’t use them nearly as much as I used that lens. Almost every photo I shot with my D200 was through that lens — maybe 35,000 images altogether. I carried that lens everywhere, and I used it to do cool things. It’s not a feeling I’ll ever quite experience again.