"In general, structure is key to creativity, because staying within certain confines forces invention, but also because the self-imposed limitations soon become second nature and then fade beyond your awareness."
Mike adds: Doug wrote that in this comment on the "Must Read" post.
I've written much the same thing in the past (or tried to). But Doug says it better.
By the way, if you feel the opposite—that total freedom and lack of constraints is the key to creativity—I won't argue, necessarily. (I don't speak for Doug.) Such generalizations are provisional, malleable, particular. Working with limitations helps me to be creative, but you might be well different, and the enigmatic nature of creativity is such that that doesn't make either of us wrong.
Zooms = SUVs
Later, Speed added: "Zoom lenses are the SUVs of photography—good at a lot of things, great at none. Toyota sells a lot of SUVs and Canon sells a lot of zoom lenses."
Excellent analogy...it gets at the multipurpose usefuleness of zooms and their popularity, and also their ungainliness.
But then, I'm a bit of a sucker for drawing analogies between cars and other things. :-) Regarding things soon becoming second nature and then fading from awareness (a great phrase), I was just wondering the other day whether you can even get "the feel of the wheel" in modern supercars. I mean cars that have hundreds of electronic controls and things like launch control and four different suspension settings. Does operating those cars get to be unconscious and natural? Or are they more like modern cameras, not too complicated to master but too complicated to operate without conscious distraction?
I use zooms occasionally. I owned an SUV once, too, and actually quite liked it.
Two-lens kit, Mike style
This might be a good place to mention one of my favorite two-lens kit-building strategies. What you do is buy a mid-range, all-purpose fast zoom, and then buy a small, light, faster prime in the middle of that zoom range. So then you use the zoom for specific tasks and the prime for everyday walking around. For example, in my favorite lens line o' the moment, it might be the Panasonic 12–35mm ƒ/2.8 zoom and the Panasonic 25mm ƒ/1.7. It's true that they overlap, but they're very different in real-world use, feel, and "gestalt," and they're useful for different things. It's like having both a big SUV with AWD and a small, light, RWD roadster.
It works in pretty much every lens line, too—it's not specific to one brand.
(Thanks to Doug Thacker and Speed)
UPDATE Tuesday: I just got the Zeiss newsletter this morning, and it tells me that Lloyd Chambers has written an article called "Zoom or Prime Lens?" on Zeiss's "Lenspire" site. I haven't had a chance to read the article yet but Lloyd's stuff is almost always worth reading.
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