It is pretty easy to get wrapped up in the hype of a new lens – oohhh the wide aperture, and ohhh imagine the depth of field. In fact, there are some persons who get so wrapped up in the capabilities of a lens that they purchase it for one purpose and once that purpose has been achieved, that lens rarely gets to see the light of day ever again. Essentially, the person becomes a lens collector – purchasing a lens for very specific purposes without exploring what are the other creative capabilities of a lens or what different thought processes need to be taken into consideration to properly use the lens on a more regular basis.
Enter my argument for having a vision. A lens not only grants a user certain new freedoms – shallower depth of field, longer focal distance, wider angles, sharper images etc. but it also places other restrictions. Understanding those strengths and weaknesses gives you a better understanding of that lenses’ capability and gives you an intrinsic ability to somewhat predict the capability of the lens. And, when you can predict the output, you are in a position to visualize the potential in a scene through both the restrictions and capabilities of a lens.
Knowing the capabilities puts you in the position to start experimenting with the scene to allow you to take the strongest image possible with the lens that you posses. That then becomes a recipe for creativity and thinking through an image – making a photograph rather than relying on the camera to just take it for you. More importantly you stop thinking that you need the next best, ultra, deluxe lens just to take that one photograph and you start thinking along the lines of someone who is not restricted by his/her equipment but only by their capacity for imagination and their willingness to invest in creating something different.