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A Selection of Glassware

Many owners of interchangeable-lens cameras eventually give some thought as to how many lenses they should own. You can change lenses, so it would seem to call for a minimum of two. But be wary of overdoing it.

It might seem cool to need only a single lens. Perhaps if you could find something in the wide-angle, telephoto, super fast but lightweight category, I suppose. Your primary interest may be in saving weight for hiking, but compromises are inevitable. Or if you're new to photography, you may hope to get by with a single lens based on budget limitations. After spending all you have on a new camera, perhaps all you can afford is a basic all-purpose zoom. But given that interchangeable-lens cameras allow for the use of different lenses, you're all but sure to end up with more than one at some point.

My involvement in photography spans nearly forty years now. Although the first SLR body I owned was a Canon, I decided to go with Nikon once I became more serious. Back then, Canon had just switched from its early FD lens mount to the EF mount that has defined the brand up to the beginning of the mirrorless era. These days, everybody is coming out with new lens mount designs, but Canon's move caused something of a scandal among photographers back then. How dare they change their lens mount? At least in part, I went with Nikon due to their stated commitment to retain their heralded bayonet F-mount. With very few exceptions, every lens I've owned along the way would fit the Nikon DSLR body I shoot with today.

While I have let go of some of them over the years, I would admit to keeping more lenses than I can reasonably justify. They each have their uses. Or at least I like to think they all do, even if that value may be mainly sentimental in a few cases. If I had it to do all over again, no doubt I could avoid some redundancy and overlap among my lenses. But I would feel downright deprived if I didn't own many of them. Different lenses are built to optimize certain features or maximize performance under certain conditions. The right tool for the job, and all that.

I used to have a friend who worked as a bartender. She took it as a point of professional pride in knowing and having the right glass for each occasion. To this day, I'm sure she has an impressive display of glasses of varying styles to fit every drink. She had red wine glasses and glasses intended for white wine. And they could be broken down further as to Cabernet, Burgandy, Chardonnay, and so on. Ahe had glassware for different mixed drinks, pilsner beer glasses for German lagers, and beer steins for heavier-bodied ales.

We discussed it at length one time. I've never understood the need for so many varieties, just as she couldn't understand why I had so many camera lenses. She said each type of glass was optimized to bring out the best in a specific beverage style. It would be hard for me to justify the expense and effort of owning so many types of glasses. I guess it depends on your needs and interests. I'm afraid I wouldn't even know the difference between some. So far, I've gotten along just fine with fewer styles of glassware in my house.

Heck, if someone were thirsty enough or wanted to travel light, maybe just a single glass would do?

Perhaps the two kinds of glass aren't so different after all. Whether we're talking about glass for camera lenses or for beverages, it strikes me that there are similarities. You buy what you need and can use and afford. If you can appreciate and utilize a unique style of glassware, it may be worth owning. Attempts to achieve the best results may benefit from the use of specialized glass. But that may not be for everyone. The more serious you get, the more likely you will find it helpful to have specialized glass, but you can have a good time with whatever you may have on hand.

To each his own, I guess. Drink up. And enjoy.

Date posted: February 21, 2021


Copyright © 2021 Bob Johnson, Earthbound Light - all rights reserved.
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