There was a time when photographers didn’t carry nine different lenses with their camera, a time when one wide-angle lens was enough to get an adroit photographer through the day because he realized that sometimes the best way to zoom in was to damn well walk closer to his subject. While most of us like having a versatile zoom lens, there’s something to be said for having only one focal length.
The formula for a fixed-lens camera is simple: combine a single, fixed prime lens at a “walk-around” focal length (e.g. 35mm), a large, light-gobbling sensor, and a body design that often takes its cues from heritage products like rangefinders. The result is a distraction-free camera that requires a more intentional kind of photography: suddenly, composition and exposure are not judged on the fly; rather they are meditated upon until the perfect shot becomes clear through the viewfinder. When you shoot with a fixed focal length camera, you don’t take pictures, you take photographs. We’ve rounded up the top six “fixies” to get you started on your path towards being an artisan.