Feet or Zoom With Your Lens Which is Better

“Zoom with your feet” is a common phrase uttered by many photographers, myself included.

It’s used to argue that though prime lenses (those with a fixed focal length like 50mm, 85mm, and so on) can’t zoom, that you can still get a similar effect as a zoom lens by physically moving nearer or further away from a subject.

The problem is this: zooming with your feet and zooming with your lens don’t produce the same results.

In other words, if you take two photos of the same subject, one that’s zoomed in with a zoom lens and another that’s zoomed in by zooming with your feet, there will be a noticeable difference in how the images look.

The question is, what are the differences in these results, and which method is better?

Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens offers up a nice tutorial on this subject in the video above.

Have a look at the video, and for a detailed explanation of the topics he raises in the video, check the outline below!

One of the best advantages of shooting with a zoom lens is its versatility – in a single lens you can cover a variety of focal lengths and replace two, three, perhaps even four prime lenses with a single zoom.

In the screenshot above, you can see how Jay P. Morgan was able to take four photos at four different focal lengths, all with the same lens.

Looking at the screenshot above, you can see this concept in action.

Notice how that even though the background got larger with each successive change in the focal length in the first screenshot, that the relationship between the man and the background remains the same in the second screenshot.

That’s because with a zoom lens, you’re just cropping the image with each change to a longer and longer focal length, and as a result, the visual relationship of the foreground and background are consistent from one shot to the next.

In other words, if you want a consistent look from frame to frame, use a zoom lens.