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To Dan, whom I usually agree with: No, using one's feet isn't a perfect match for zooming a lens, or having multiple focal lengths. But neither is IS for aperture (or vice versa), or post processing for differences in lens construction, or natural for artificial light, or...
But no photographers keep all possible shooting possibilities open by having every single lens, source of light, etc. So at some level we must all decide what gets the job done. And I'd argue that for many shooters using the feet instead of a different focal length can solve many if not most distance/subject...Show more →
I sometimes shoot primes (the past few days I've been shooting a 14mm prime on a Fujifulm X-E1) for street and similar subjects because I have less to think about and am willing to give up the compositional control of focal length in exchange for light gear and the ability to work quickly and unobtrusively. I like shooting this way a great deal sometimes.
And I have no choice but to use my feet to get to the optimal distance given the focal length that I'm using. However, this is not the same as zooming. I have much more to think about and much more compositional control with a zoom than I have with a prime, even in the latter case by moving forward and backward. Primarily I have a great deal of control over foreground/background elements and their relationships to the primary subject that I must give up when shooting with single prime. I can move forward/backward with a prime to get the primary subject to fill X percent of the frame, but then I simply have to accept the resulting size of background elements and even whether or not foreground elements appear in the frame. With a zoom I can control the relationship among these elements - perhaps moving closer and using a shorter focal length in order to make background elements smaller and get in front of foreground elements, or choosing a longer focal length and thus including certain foreground elements that are between me and the primary subject when I move back and also narrowing the area included in the background.
So, no, zooming with your feet is nothing at all like altering focal length by selecting a different lens or using a zoom.
BTW: This little X-E1 plus a small prime or two (or the 18-55 zoom) can make a really fine little "minimal" kit for certain kinds of shooting - perhaps in a number of situations better than twisting a prime or two onto my full frame DSLR.