Shooting from the Hip and Gear Lust

Something I’ve been working on is trying to decide whether I like the 23mm or 35mm focal length. And once I do, I want to perfect shooting from the hip.

Or in my case, from the chest. I find shooting from the hip (chest) to be a great way to capture candid images. You can simply walk at people and without raising the camera to your eye, snap and get great photos without disturbing the scene too much.

The main challenge is framing. 35mm fov really is perfect for shooting from the hip because it’s so wide you almost can’t miss your target. And the depth of field is so deep at f/5.6 or f/8 that everything is in focus.

Sometimes you get unintended cool images despite missing, thanks to how wide it is. But the width means you have even less control over what’s within the frame.

I really like the 50mm fov but it’s much more challenging. It gives you a bit more of a sniper scope for those moments where you want to give your subject some space.

But framing is a lot more difficult and its easy to overshoot, cut the head off your subject, etc. And even at f/5.6 or f/8, the depth of field is relatively shallow so you have to pre-set the focus and zone focus or just hope your autofocus motor is really fast.

I’m amazed I got this one at f/1.4, though!

While many people complain about older lenses like the XF 35mm f/1.4 I find I can focus from the hip pretty reliably. Sometimes it misses, like with this one.

“Long Pants! 100 Baht!”

So close! I actually framed him right but somehow the focus didn’t engage my target. Other times, I’m the one who misses.

It’s a good time-saving maneuver but its also riskier since you chance mis-framing the scene entirely. I think the technique’s far more reliable for someone dedicated to one or two prime lenses.

Right now I only own the 35mm f/1.4 and XC 15-45mm. I’ve been wondering about re-adding a 23mm equivalent to my kit. Problem is, there are so many good ones…The Fujifilm 23mm f/1.4 is one of the few primes I’ve never owned. And every time I pick one up I think “wow, I really want this lens!”

Viltrox is supposed to be coming out with a 23mm f/1.4 sometime this month for only $250, however. Half the price of the Fuji one. Also, from my own experience I know the 23mm f/2 is a nice lens. Its WR, cheap, a touch wider than the f/1.4 and a lot lighter.

Thing about fast lenses is that you pay the weight tax 100% of the time while you might only be using f/1.4…How often, exactly? There’s the question.

Do I NEED f/1.4? No. Do I WANT f/1.4? Kinddaaa…

Also, the XC is still super-fun, even for hip shots. Might not even need a 23 with this little beast!

Categories: Uncategorized


  1. Great post, thanks for sharing. Season’s Greetings!

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