A single prime lens for walkaround?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by robert_thommes|1, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. Here's your challenge. Suggest one single prime lens to use as a walkaround lens. Define "walkaround lens" as a lens capable of tackling these situations: unknown(in advance ) circumstances, cityscapes, interiors, people, tours, landscapes(near and far), walks in the woods, etc, etc. But most importantly, I'm interested in why you suggested what you did. I realize that what ever you decide will be full of comprimises. For use on a 1.6 crop camera. Thanks for playing along. I do appreicate your responses.
     
  2. 50 mm lens has been a standard for a while. 85 mm is too is a good option. FX lens i mean. you get what you see with these lenses. ideal in my opinion. need zoom walk few steps forward.
     
  3. I tend to like wide/normal views of things, and I like the view of a 35mm lens on full frame. On crop frame that would translate back to about 22mm, and in fact I've used a 24mm f/1.4 on crop frame and found it to be very nice. That would be my choice if I could pick anything. It's an expensive choice though.
     
  4. Depends on how your inner eye sees. For me, a 35mm on FF is about as natural as it gets. See the picture and raise camera to eye and click. I like 50mm too but it's a too tight much of the time. The EF 20 2.8, 24 2.8 and 24 1.4L are about as close as it gets to the same angle of view on APS-C.
     
  5. 20mm on a dx cam.
     
  6. I'm partial to something close to 35mm, which is my favorite focal length to use on my rangefinders. For my 40d I use my Sigma 24mm 1.8 macro lens (which is equivalent to about 38mm full-frame) when I want a do it all prime. It's wider than the traditional 50mm, but not too wide to be used for other subjects which makes it a good all-around lens for me. At one point it was my least-used lens but feeling a bit of boredom one day I decided to challenge myself by spending a day using it alone and discovered that how versatile it was for my shooting style.
    Of your list of criteria I think it would have the most trouble with interiors and people depending on the specifics of the shot. It's fine for groups of people but would probably be to wide for single portraits. Depending on the building it might not be wide enough if you want to capture the entire room, although the wide aperture would help with lighting. It might not have enough reach for long distance shots. Otherwise I think it can handle most situations quite fine, and since the sigma can focus on something as close as a few inches, I find that it has great overall utility and can handle some shots that I cannot get with my zooms, or situations that a longer macro prime would have trouble with.
     
  7. Oops I didn't see the word "prime", I favor a 50mm f1.4.
     
  8. A wide angle lens, as wide as possible. It will allow you to get the wide angle shots which other lenses can't get, and then to zoom in, just crop. How much more versatile can you get than that?
     
  9. A single prime lens is not really the best tool for the tasks you describe.
    Dan
     
  10. Are you about to make a purchase? I would advise that you walk around with your kit zoom lens for a day and try out the various lengths. Then settle for what seems most natural to you.
     
  11. Agree with G Dan. Although I shoot on the street with a 35mm and FF cam, for the wide range of activities you mentioned
    a zoom is more appropriate.
     
  12. Trick question, right? There isn't one.
     
  13. I often just use my 28mm lens on a 1.6 crop factor camera, which is about the same as a 45mm lens on a FF camera. Often it is not was wide as I would like, in which case I simply take a few shots and stitch them together. Mostly I use the 28mm if I think I am going to be in low light, if I have a lot of light I use a 18-55mm zoom.
     
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Confining my answer to Canon lenses, EF24F/1.4L USM. This is the most used "walkabout" Prime on my APS-C bodies.
    WW
     
  15. A single prime lens is not really the best tool for the tasks you describe.​
    To say the least. You describe the reasons why people buy superzooms.
     
  16. 24 f1.4L
     
  17. If you find the prime or even the zoom that does all this well let me know I'll take it.
     
  18. 28 1.8. Do it myself all the time.
     
  19. Why? To capture what I see. I am not trying to get THE shot, just what I see. It is how I interpret the world before me and not what I can do with ant certain set of optics. One of the challenges in using a single, prime lens is the limitation. Would this be my choice for a wedding or an event? Of course not.
     
  20. The 35 or 35 equivalent is my normal favorite. 50 is just a touch tight for me but then again sometimes the extra reach is welcome. If I was photographing people on the street I'd probably prefer something in the 90 range. One guy whose work I see a lot uses a 135 on full frame shooting street candids and comes away with some superb keepers. In the end you pick a lens and make the best possible shots utilizing it's pluses and working within it's limitations.
     
  21. 'walkaround lens' could be the most ridiculous term in all of photography.
     
  22. 35mm Zeiss ZE on full frame.
    00WaRa-248597584.jpg
     
  23. Oops. Sorry I forgot about the 1.6x factor. Is there a nice, small, fast 24mm? Or 21?
     
  24. One of the challenges in using a single, prime lens is the limitation.
    What is the value of limiting yourself this way? Isn't there at least equal value in choosing the right tool for the job at hand?
    Dan
    BTW, I shoot primes and zooms and choose from among them based on what I'm shooting for the most part. I can make good photographs with either, and in various situations either might be the better choice.
     
  25. The 24mm 1.4L is unbeatable IMHO, both on an APS-C or full-frame.
    On a FF body you get the unique combination of a wide angle and a very shallow DOF, and on an APS-C body you get a lens that is roughly equivalent to a 35mm lens (still a fairly wide "normal" lens); one of the few options for this on APS-C.
    In both cases, you get an incredible lens that is fast, sharp, not too very big (relatively), and can hold up in all sorts of weather.
     
  26. I'd use a lens that affords a "normal" perspective, i.e., roughly what my eyes see. So on a full frame body, it'd be the 50/1.4

    Robert, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't you posing this as a hypothetical situation, rather than as a real scenario
    for which you're seeking advice.? If so, it seems that some posters have failed to pick up on this.
     
  27. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Robert, correct me if I’mwrong, but aren’t you posing this as a hypothetical situation, rather than as a realscenario
    for which you'reseeking advice.? If so, it seemsthat some posters have failed to pickup on this. . . .
    :"Here's your challenge. . .
    Thanks for playing along. I do appreicate your responses."
    Seems obvious to me
     
  28. 'walkaround lens' could be the most ridiculous term in all of photography.​


    I too really do not understand the "walkaround lens" thing. I mean what exactly are you shooting and where do you go that your not walking around at some point with a camera. So travel, parties, the zoo, the park, the woods. I walk around at all these places so am I going to these places with my "walkaround lens"? I am being sarcastic of course, I get what people mean by it but it really is a bit silly to classify a lens this way. When I am walking around for travel I may have a different lens then the times I am walking around at a party.
    If your looking for most general in a prime its probably something on the wider side since you can always crop in so 20-35 is the most obvious.
     
  29. 35 mm on full frame (20 or 24 mm would be a rough equivalent on your 1.6x crop camera)
    Fast aperture (f/3.5 or faster)
    VR/IS would be a big plus
    Movements (tilt/swing and shift/rise) would be useful but not a deal-breaker.
    Why?
    (1) Because 35 mm is wide enough to capture a lot of different types of scenes but not wide enough to introduce much distortion. People's faces won't taken on a distorted look even if you get fairly close to them.
    (2) A "normal" lens is not as flexible as it offers no wide-angle capability.
    (3) This lens would NOT be good for macro photography, sports, birds, wildlife, or head shots, but none of those applications were mentioned, so I think the 35 mm focal length is a good choice.
    Note: For many of the applications listed by the OP a steady carbon fibre tripod would be desirable. Since most people are perfectly capable of "walking around" with a lightweight tripod, I don't believe that this negates the concept of a "walk-around" lens.
     
  30. I'll answer as if this is a thought experiment. (Because some of the wishes exclude some of the others.)
    On a small crop I'm happy with a small 50. (XTi with a 50/1.8)
    This makes a -in DSLR terms- lightweight combo with high image quality.
    It works in low light, is able to shoot a variety of subjects without making you step in too close, it combines nicely with the small viewfinder the rebel has.
    On a full frame I might go with a better 50 or even a 35.
    In my experience a bigger viewfinder makes shooting at wider angles way more fun than a smaller viewfinder.
    Come to think of it, I had great fun recently walking around with a midrange crop body and a 100/2.8 IS macro lens. The possibility of going from infinite range/short tele lens to 30cm range 1:1 macro is very attractive. Just forget about sweeping landscapes.
    In short, for me it depends on the body...
     
  31. For me this isn't a challenge as I've done it for years. Anything between 28 and 50mm on full frame will do for me. Latley I've been seduced by zooms and they are brilliant, but they are so big and heavy that I'm going back to primes.
    Cheers
    Alan
     
  32. "Define "walkaround lens" as a lens capable of tackling these situations: unknown(in advance ) circumstances, cityscapes, interiors, people, tours, landscapes(near and far), walks in the woods, etc, etc."
    This is why zooms were invented. I like prime lenses, mind you. In fact, my DSLR kit currently only features two prime lenses: the 24 L MKII (used on the 5D MKII for landscapes), and to 100 L macro (used on the 50D for, you guessed it, macro, and as a short tele).
    For your intended "walkaround general purpose do it all conceivable" I got the Canon G11.
     
  33. I appreciate the 'game' that is being played, but:
    cityscapes, interiors, people, tours, landscapes(near and far), walks in the woods, etc, etc.​
    The bold part alone seems to make it a contradiction.
    Thinking back to my film SLR days (primes only back then) I would tend towards 35mm - not that much wider than the human visual field but gives the option of more creative depth of field. If the APS-C is the 7D, then I would choose the 28mm and use all those pixels to be able to crop to the equivalent of up to 100mm and still print at 10x8.
     
  34. It's just probably a poll. Yeah, a couple primes or one zoom would make more sense. Better yet, a zoom and a prime...
    or a small P&S.
     
  35. 35mm on full frame just about every time. A 50mm otherwise. I don't even own any of my several pro zooms anymore and am happy to get shot of them as you can become a servant of their flexibility because you can 'cover everything' and so you sometimes try to. Using one prime obliterates that tendency and forces you into a more consistent photographic style.
     
  36. A 28 mm on a crop camera would suit me best.
     
  37. I agree with those who recommend the equivalents of a 35mm or 50mm. Personally, I like a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 on a D700 for those times when I just want to take the camera out around town just for fun, without any particular photographic goal in mind. A single normal prime can beautifully handle a surprisingly wide range of subjects, but it makes you think a great deal more about camera position and using your "foot zoom" instead of just twisting the zoom ring to set the appropriate crop around the world. If nothing else, it is an excellent exercise to help keep you from getting lazy about moving around for the optimal position.
    Of course, there is no "right" answer to the OP's question. It's too much a personal taste.
     
  38. but it is something else. by just zooming in or out on a subject, you are changing the look of your photo beyond the crop. a 50mm lens on a subject at 10 metres may give you the same framing as an 75mm lens at 14 metres, but the images will not look the same. of course, prime lens shooters know this, and that is why using primes isn't a big incovenience to them...they choose a scene, visualise the image, select the appropriate focal length for the shot, then move into position. got photographers who learnt to shoot this way, the term "zooming with your feet" seems just as silly as "walkaround lens".
     
  39. 35mm lens on full frame....so that would be a 20mm, or so, on your crop frame.
     
  40. I really appreciate all the feed back on my question. Thanks for taking the time.
    A couple things to add. First, this is a true question, and not something asked hypothetically. Maybe instead of the word "walkaround", I should have just asked for your opinions of a single prime lens; as if I had NO other lenses at all...PERIOD. Anyway, the answers seem to advise 35mm and wider. A couple of you suggested a 50mm as the single prime. And I'm actually leaning more in that direction myself. I guess I'd rather shoot more from a distance than with an "in your face" style. So by stepping back (and/or making a panaramic), or forward to capture details, I'd be OK.
    Several comments mentioned your lens decisions were based on "how I(you) see" things. I really don't know how I(me) sees things; as an indicator of which lens will give me that prospective. I've routinely used zoom lenses, and zoom in probably 80% of the time over zooming out. How could I determine just "how I see things". Might there be an exercise for determining such a thing? I'm game to try.
     
  41. Here's a way to easily 'test' what size lens to use without having your camera:
    1) Get a piece of thick stock cardboard.
    2) Cut out a hole the exact size of your sensor (or film).
    3) Find (or make) a ruler with mm measurements.
    4) Hold up the cardboard hole to frame your shot and measure the distance from your eye (don't poke your eye out!)
    If you framed the subject 50mm from your eye, this would be the equivalent to a 50mm lens. This works for any camera, since the cardboard hole size varies based on your film/sensor size.
    This is a only an estimate. Good luck and have fun!
     
  42. Robert, the only way you can know how you see, is to shoot a lot of a period of time. you will gradually hone your skill and style. you will likely get to a point where you will only need two or three prime lenses that lend themselves to the genre's of photography that you graduate to. you will no longer have that urge to cover the entire focal length range from 17mm to 400mm, that some people are afflicted with. basically, it just comes down to experience. it usually makes sense not to spend too much money on lenses until you know just what lenses suit you. this may takes years for you to reach that conclusion, but it's worth the wait, and it means you can save for some really nice glass.
     
  43. My usual is a 24mm or a 50mm lens with XP-2 film and a single filter on my N80.. The lens focal length would depend on where I am going to be going. Indoors or outdoors, out to lunch or hiking/cycling etc. The 24mm is the more frequent flyer.
     
  44. In my view, the term "walk-about lens" has a meaning that is easy to understand, though it is subjective and depends on the needs of the individual photographer. Think of it as your I'm-going-out-with-one-lens-and-one-body-to-shoot-whatever-turns-up lens - e.g. you aren't quite certain what you might find, you want to travel relatively light, intend to avoid switching lenses.
    It also could mean "a lens that might be useful for general photography to a person who doesn't have unusual or specific needs."
    Dan,
    who still thinks that the exercise of picking a single prime to do all of the things the OP listed is a strange one: "a lens capable of tackling these situations: unknown(in advance ) circumstances, cityscapes, interiors, people, tours, landscapes(near and far), walks in the woods, etc, etc." As described, this is not an exercise in picking the "best lens." It is an exercise in minimizing your losses.
     
  45. "What is the value of limiting yourself this way? Isn't there at least equal value in choosing the right tool for the job at hand?"​
    Dan, I'm sure you're aware that "limiting yourself this way" is a traditional (if controversial) method of learning to see photographically. For example:
    "I'll say this: A year with a single Leica and a single lens, looking at light and ignoring color, will teach you as much about actually seeing photographs as three years in any photo school, and as much as ten or fifteen years (or more) of mucking about buying and selling and shopping for gear like the average hobbyist."
    -Mike Johnston
     
  46. If I could use only 1 lens on a full frame camera, it would be a 50mm f/1.4. Light, fast, sharp and a reasonable length. I work a lot with people and faces on the street and a 35 seems too wide. On an 1.6x sensor, a 35mm would be my choice and an f/1.4 if I could afford it.
     
  47. Thanks, Dan. You restated my intentions perfectly. Bob
     
  48. The part "how I see things" is interesting. For me, it is why I use primes more and more, when I can. With a prime, I know what field of view I will get. I know where to go or what to do when I want to get a specific angle. So 'pre-visualising the photo' just works better, and the second I watch through the viewfinder, I can work out the details, rather than start composing.
    Zooms allow more laziness, and for that reason seem to make me more a "routine" shooter (which you could say is a lack of my discipline too, of course). So, that partially echoes what Ralph just said 2 posts ago, but I see no reason to limit to 1 prime, though.
    Because, another reason to like primes: they are small and light. I'd at least bring 2 or 3 if I can. If you really really make me choose, it would be 35mm (on a APS-C body). But I'd miss the 24mm dearly, and the 105mm also very often (all Nikon lenses, so the exact types may be less interesting in the EOS forums).
     
  49. I don't think zooms allow laziness, they give you versatility. With a zoom I can take 1 shot at 24 and the next at 105. 2 completely different shots in the same scene.
     
  50. When my son was a little baby (unable to move), I would have the 50mm f/1.4 glued to my 30D. Now that he's a little bigger (17 months and running), I've switched to my 28mm f/1.8.
     
  51. Mike Johnson has written many things over the years which I often disagree with including what has been quoted in this thread.
    These days learning to photograph with a zoom lens and a digital camera is a great and fast way to learn how to photograph.
    IMO, walking around with a single lens "glued" to ones camera body is using luddite mentatlity. Back in the day the only reason I had one 50 f/1.4 mounted to my Nikon F was because that's all I could afford. My photographic world blossomed when I could afford a 28, 24, and 105 mm lens. If one wants to do that - fine but don't try to sell the concept like it'a snake oil.
    The one prime lens for X years approach is just a crock, IMO. Totally passe. Yes using a single prime lens forces you to consider photographing differently but by and large your photographs all start looking the same.
    Now it's certainly possible for the beginner to choose the wrong zoom if they are trying to stick to a single zoom but I think that's a different issue.
     
  52. "Yes using a single prime lens forces you to consider photographing differently but by and large your photographs all start looking the same."​
    Not necessarily. For example, most of these photos were taken with a single prime lens, and a lot of people think these pics are pretty OK.
    Of course, such proficiency demands more from the photographer and less from the camera, but then that's what is meant by "learning to see."
     
  53. Hi,
    I really like the zeiss 25mm 2.8 on my d700, great sharpness with little distortion and close focus make this lens very versatile for a prime.
     
  54. Back to the original question: any type of composition or photo will require its own unique focal length/subject distance/DoF combination. The concept of a walk-around lens is ludicrous in that respect... but it's often the best we can do.
    The advantages of primes are clearly the size of the lens and big aperture, while the advantage of a zoom would be in versatility.
     
  55. This whole prime vs. zoom topic is pretty irrelevant. Sure, some people armed with a zoom will make them more versatile. It can also could make them lazy. Same with primes, some just use a couple or even one and it helps them see as mentioned. On the other hand, it could make their photos quite dull and he/she might just give up all together ...
    It all depends on the photographer...whether prime or zoom, visualizing is vital.
     
  56. I could be walking around with just about any lens. An 85mm, a 50mm, a 35mm, 135mm, etc. I am usually looking for specific types/styles of shots when I do this. Zooms (the ones that are any good) are a pain to carry around for a long time and while they give more options in terms of angle of view, they have issues of their own. That doesn't mean I might not go walking around with a zoom. Sure, I do that too. Which gets me back to the first sentence of my post.
     
  57. For just walking around I might tend to shoot wider than longer so for the 1.6 crop camera I might tend more towards something in the 35mm range but you are right, there's gonna be times when you want a little wider or a little longer.
     
  58. 50 mm f1.8. Cheap, light, great optics.
     
  59. I usually bring a 24mm, a 35mm, or a 50mm whenever walking around with just one lens. I rarely use the 85mm as it's too long for the things I photograph.
     
  60. John Morris,
    How did my cat, Kirby, get in your kitchen?
    Bob
     
  61. This got a little lost in my previous post:

    I'd really miss close focussing if I got a prime with a MFD over 40 cm's (16") or a max mag of less than 0.25.

    Keep your wishes in that area in mind when choosing.

    The same goes for aperture and bokeh wishes.

    The same could be said for wide or long, but that's what started this whole party...

    (for some the 50/2.5 macro is great, for others an F1.2 lens and for others again anything longer then 24mm feels
    cramped...)

    And I didn't even mention qualities like: size, weight, sharpness, color, handling or price.

    [I think a negative selection / minimal requirement approach might help.]
     
  62. I no longer own one in an EOS mount, but if I was determined to stick to a prime as a general "walk-around" lens on an APS-C camera, it would be the 35 f/1.4. Maybe something a bit wider, and just as fast, but the 35 offers a good compromise for a single pick, as it captures about the same field of view as a 50 mm lens on a FF camera, and that covers lots of potential shot territory. For my all around main shooting lens, I would make f/1.4 a priority unless it came with IS, and even then, the faster the better (for me).
    I have the 50 f/1.4 in EOS mount, and I love the lens, but it's just too long on a crop camera for me to consider as a "walk around" lens. That goes for the "nifty-fifty", "cheap-fifty", or whatever other names the 50 f/1.8 is answering to today. It's still a 50, and on a crop camera, it limits all of your shooting to a mid-telephoto perspective. It really has zero in common with the finder view that has made the 50 mm lens the "normal" lens on 35 mm film, and FF digital cameras. You will live in a mid-tele world, and never appreciate anything even approaching a normal, much less a wide view of daily life. Unless of course, that's exactly what you want!
    Once upon a time, primes were so much better than zooms, that most all of us owned a full range of primes. Thats not the case any more. Some folks still prefer primes for a raft of reasons, and that's OK, but I can't do it. I find it limiting, rather than liberating. My standard "walk around" is the 17-55 f/2.8 IS. If I had to choose one prime, it would either be the 35, or something a bit wider, like the fast 24 mm lens.... I would really have to be married to the prime-only concept to save my coins for either one though. If using a prime as a standard lens might end up a passing phase, try the Canon 28 f/1.8, or one of the third party fast-wide lenses. None are really cheap, and they all have their issues, but if that's what you want to do, get the best you can afford that will give you the view you expect.
     
  63. 70mm on a DX frame.
    Next purchase is a Sigma 70 mil 2.8 Macro. I dont know why but it seems to be in line with what my eye sees
    Currently enjoying a 35mm 1.8
     
  64. Keep in mind that there were conditions in the OP - the question was not "are zooms or primes better" or "what do you prefer for street photography?" or "what works well for macro?" or any of the other issues brought up here. As soon as the answer limits the scope of use it is not responding to the original question, which referred to:
    "cityscapes, interiors, people, tours, landscapes(near and far), walks in the woods, etc, etc."
    It is hard to imagine a broader range of subject types - just about anything that one might shoot is included here or could be by extension.
    With one prime.
    Dan
     
  65. I'm with Dan. I have several zooms and primes but will never choose to go out with a single prime lens if I am to tackle many shooting situations. Two primes or one zoom is a bare minimum for me.
    Happy shooting,
    Yakim.
     
  66. AS the OP, I sort of hate to open up a new can of worms, but what might make a good 2-prime lens combo in the 1mm-99mm range? Maybe a 28mm and 50mm lens(on crop body)? I'm not an extremely wide/angle shooter. I may not know "how I see things", but real wide is not it.
     
  67. I may not know "how I see things", but real wide is not it.​


    You already answered part of your question. take your zoom and see what focal length you seem to like most. I would think something wide and something long would be idea. I often go with 28 + 85 but on full frame. I could see the same 2 lenses working just fine on APS-C.
     
  68. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Robert,
    If you want me to think about two Primes, then let me take two cameras, a lens in a coat pockets is a waste . . .

    Then my two lenses would be: 35L & 85/1.8 plus my 30D and 5D. This is a very powerful "walkaround” Two Prime Lens Kit.

    I just mentioned the less expensive version (with the 35/2), here: http://www.photo.net/wedding-photography-forum/00Wajo

    WW
     
  69. When I go shooting with two primes - which I normally only do for indoor available light photography - I take the 24/1.4 and 85/1.8, shooting on a 5D. They're great lenses and I don't think I miss many shots for lack of a zoom. The 35/1.4 would probably work very well also. On crop frame the closest set would be something like 24/1.4 and 50/1.4. If you don't need the low-light capability the EF-S 60/2.8 macro or Tamron 60/2 macro would be worth a look as well.
     
  70. 28mm -35mm on a 1.6 crop.. 50mm on FF Back in the olden days when people learned actually photography and weren't "camera enthusiasts" and wow'd by "look what this gadget can do" ... the 50mm was the standard walkaround lens.
    "Walkaround" makes perfect sense.
     
  71. Cost, speed, quality, convenience can all factor into any lens. If you are willing to try manual focus lenses you may not need to limit your self to just one.

    These lenses are relatively small and can be placed in a coat pocket. I purchased two used MF Zeiss (50 1.4 and 135 2.8) lenses for about the price of a new Canon EF 85 1.8 USM. I use all three lenses and enjoy working with each of them.

    This is an example of the Zeiss 50 1.4 hand held at dusk in Chicago.

    [​IMG]
     
  72. How did my cat, Kirby, get in your kitchen?​
    Guess I left the door open. All the orange cats I've ever met love baking. And Zeiss lenses.
     
  73. 2 lenses, both fast... allowing for low light photos too.
    first lens: wideangle 24mm on full-frame
    second lens: medium telephoto, 85mm on full-frame
    that would make it 15mm on 1.6crop, 18mm on 1.3crop
    and 53mm on 1.6crop, 65mm on 1.3crop
    ......... so realistically 20mm f/2.8 [if there was one] and 50mm f/1.4,
    but f/2.8 is not that fast and i don't know a 20mm f/2.8 lens, so then perhaps 24mm f/2.8 but then 50mm f1.4 is kind of close, so
    24mm and 85mm f/1.8 on 1.6 crop sensor. variety for [what should be, but on 1.6 crop isn't so much] wideangle, and then 85mm for telephoto type of lens.
     
  74. "A single prime lens is not really the best tool for the tasks you describe."
    yes, just imagine how far better would HCB turn out to be if he had a tamron 18-250....
     
  75. I would go for my Sigma 30mm F1.4.
    Why?
    • Great for low light
    • Good enough for tight spots (50mm equal on fullframe)
    • Long enough for people or smaller groups
    • low distortion
    • fast and silent autofocus (HSM)
    • great IQ
     
  76. yes, just imagine how far better would HCB turn out to be if he had a tamron 18-250....​


    Jumping from a prime to a hyperzoom sounds a bit weird move, at least as I see it, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him choosing a short range fast zoom like the 24-70/2.8, if they have existed in his time.
    Happy shooting,
    Yakim.
     
  77. yes, just imagine how far better would HCB turn out to be if he had a tamron 18-250....
    If your suggestion is that a "real photographer" like HCB would not consider modern and versatile equipment such as that which has been developed since his time... you don't understand HCB.
    His use of a small handheld 35mm film cameras was a defiance of photographic tradition which was normally done with much larger cameras (have you seen photos of Dorothea Lange at work?) and it was thought that small cameras like the 35mm rangefinders were not worthy of serious photography. However, as we well know, HCB was able to make the photographs that he did because he chose to use this more modern (state of the art, actually) gear that allowed him to work quickly and without being encumbered by a larger camera.
    And why did he use a prime? If zooms were so great, why didn't he use them. Because the small primes were the only option he had!
    You don't emulate anything about HCB's photography other than the equipment he used a few decades ago if you choose to only use primes "because they were good enough for HCB." Using radical and very modern equipment he did brilliant work. Yet today, eschewing modern equipment seems to be roughly opposite of the approach of HCB.
    Yes, you can - like HCB - work quickly and effectively do street photography using a body with a 50mm prime. (I shoot this way sometimes.) But you can also work quickly and effectively in the "street" using a well-chosen zoom. I'm not convinced that if HCB were selecting his equipment today that he would necessarily limit himself in a retro way.
    And, of course, none of this has much of anything to do with the OP's question. Again... go back and look at the list of subjects that he mentions. This most certainly does not line up with the "classic" street approach.
    Dan
     
  78. Two prime lens combo in 1mm-99mm I'd say a Cosina 20/3.5 and a Tamron 90/2.8 Macro.
    Why not Canon? Because the Cosina is tiny -which is nice- and the Tamron is the longest Macro I could fit in the focal length limit.
    My personal Canon version might be 24/2.8 (or 24L) and 100L macro.
     
  79. Well it depends if you like wide angle or short tele, or normal. It really doesn't matter. Just understand when using a prime, it takes some time and use of a lens to get used to the particular focal length. You have to just realize that you are the zoom and not the lens. You need to learn what to expect from the focal length. You need to get use to the foreshortening traits on wider lenses, the compression traits on teles and get a feel for what they do to the pics. These are one of those questions that has no good or bad answer. Why don't you try some out via borrowing or renting yourself instead of depending on people whose experience may not jive with yours. Do your job and try some out, opinions are worthless as you have to do the shooting yourself. Given all that, I prefer 35mm and the old adage is the most versatile lens is the normal 50mm.
     
  80. Strictly in my opinion the whole prime versus zoom debate boils down to what you are trying to achieve photographically when you step out of your front door.
    If you want to capture everything that you see that takes your fancy you will fall into having zooms that cover everything from 14mm to 200mm or whatever. You will come back home with shots of street scenes, landscapes, people, birds and bugs. They will be good photos but they will be an incoherent jumble of different things.
    If you know what kind of photograph you want you will be able to do it better with one or two primes. The result of knowing what you want is a portfolio of consistent images with a distinctive style that is recognisably yours. The 'got everything covered' photographer comes back with shots that could have been taken by any number of people. But both will come home feeling good about what they have done.
    Neither approach is right or wrong - just the objective that is different. I used to have 'everything covered' but now I let those once irresistible opportunities to shoot everything go and concentrate much more single-mindedly on developing my style.
     
  81. HCB was able to make the photographs that he did because he chose to use this more modern (state of the art, actually) gear that allowed him to work quickly and without being encumbered by a larger camera.
    Right, but even today, primes are much smaller than zooms of comparable quality and maximum aperture. If you look at Cartier-Bresson's work, many images were made indoors in available light. Cartier Bresson didn't emphasize technical quality of the images but that's because with the film and cameras available at that time he had to choose between a) an elaborate, large setup for high technical quality and b) a small camera for being able to work inconspicuously. Today you can get both high quality and a small camera, e.g. Panasonic GF1+20/1.7 is more compact and in some ways easier to work with than a Leica M and 50mm lens. Today, the "standard" way of working for a pro PJ is the f/2.8 zooms - if you want to be inconspicuous then you'd choose something else (no, the answer is not a 18-200). IMO there's nothing retro about using fixed focal length lenses unless you do it with "I want to do something retro in my photography" in mind rather than effectiveness.
     
  82. i guess the 'zoom' mentality goes hand in hand with slr small format cameras. other formats are mostly not inflicted with these over sized monstrosities.
     
  83. For the DX format I use a 10-20 zoom. Over the years (and I've been taking photographs for over 50 of them), my view has gotten wider and wider. With the high megapixel count and the ability to crop and hold value, the wider the image the better it is for me. I also do a lot of panorama stitching of images and using a wide format with lots of overlap produces better panorama images. But it all comes down to the vision of the person behind the camera. 99.9% of images are just pictures of places, people, animals or objects. It is that rare 0.1% that are actually photographs that show some insight by the photographer. Other than that most are just "I was there" images.
    I would keep the lens on the camera that best expresses your point of view and captures your creativity. I was fortunate to spend a summer with Ansel Adams many years ago. Ansel always had the image complete in his mind long before he picked up a camera and went to the location to take the picture. He may have had that image in mind for years before he actually opened the shutter.
    Great photographs are created between your ears, not in your camera, darkroom or computer.
     
  84. Well said, John. Thanks for that.
     
  85. For me, if I had to have only one prime to walk around with, it would probably end up being a 28 mm (in 35 mm camera equivalent terms). I just find that it gives the most interesting perspectives for me, with the possibility of interplay between foreground objects and the wider background. When used skillfully, a 28 mm wide angle can tell a story more than a standard lens can. That's not to say I wouldn't use the 35, 50, 85 and 105 lenses whenever appropriate.
    There's nothing wrong with having a zoom lens, but I think there are advantages to learning to use prime focal lengths well first, even if it's on the zoom. It's hard to describe, but you develop a certain intuition about where to be in relation to the subject... and in my humble opinion, this is a much better skill to have than the ability to move a big zoom in and out. Plus, as I've said in another thread, the average person can easily buy a fast prime. Getting close with a fast lens beats being farther away with a slow one any day of the week, as far as I'm concerned.
     
  86. You already see that the answer depends on many things and mostly on you (the photographer) and where you walk. But it's not difficult to figure out the answer. Just do an experiment: Put on the 18-250mm lens and walk around. It's better to do that for many days like a week or two. After collecting all the pictures and throw away the bad ones, you do a statistics and find out what focal length you use the most. Your answer will be the prime lens that has a closest focal length to your statistics
     
  87. it

    it

    50mm or 35mm
     
  88. 35 till you see no difference with 50-for real human been
     
  89. As i get older and curmudgeonly, I'm carrying less gear. Mark me down for a G2 Zeiss 45mm f/2 Planar in 35mm format, 80mm Planar in 6x6cm, or better yet, a 15mm f/3.5 Complan for 8x11mm!
     
  90. I always liked 50mm on a full frame camera. Walked around for many a year with a 50mm 1.2L on a F1.
     
  91. If your suggestion is that a "real photographer" like HCB would not consider modern and versatile equipment such as that which has been developed since his time... you don't understand HCB.​
    What Ilkka said.
    People forget very often that versatility can measured in many ways. Some people prefer faster lenses to ones which cover a broader range. Sometimes f/2.8 is not fast enough. All I'm saying that zooms are not always the answer-- very subjectively, I prefer a smaller, faster, sharper lens, than an expensive behemoth that is a jack of all trades but a king to none. It trains your mind better and allows for BETTER photography, BECAUSE of its (no pun intended) limited-focus applications. HCB knew that this is all that it takes for a good composition.
     
  92. If "all your photographs start to look the same", it's not the fault of your lens.
     
  93. I have a question for Tommy DiGiovanni. You mentioned that you enjoy using a 28 mm, and an 85 mm prime pair on your FF camera, and think that the same pair of prime lenses would also be fine for someone using an APS-C camera. How did you arrive at that conclusion? Using that exact same pair of lenses on a crop camera would result in images nearly identical to what your FF camera would capture if you were using a 45 mm lens, and a 135 mm lens pair. That's a pretty huge difference. It's just a thought, and not meant to spark an argument....
     
  94. I may not know "how I see things", but real wide is not it.
    Jim the OP said he does not shoot like to shoot wide so I meant for him it would probably be a good combo. The 28 would give him about 44 which is just about normal to slightly wide. I also know from past posts he often mentioned using a 28 - XX zoom and had no need to go wider.
     
  95. Oops. Where I wrote Cosina I meant:

    Voightlander 20/3.5

    (combined with Tamron 90/2.8 macro)
     
  96. It wouldn't be a matter of HCB being an equipment snob, but his methodology of shooting called for a small camara he could hide in his hands. He probably wouldn't use a large zoom, such as the 24-70, but I imagine he would love a camera like the Ricoh GRd3.
     
  97. Some posters don't seem to realize that this discussion is only relevant when using a common reference point - the most commonly understood one being 35 mm camera equivalent. Otherwise, you're talking total gibberish, and it suggests you know nothing about lenses except how to read open your wallet and zoom a zoom lens. For any meaningful discussion, you must translate the focal length you're talking about into its 35mm full-frame camera equivalent.
     
  98. I own the following primes: EF 24mm f/2.8, EF 35mm f/2, EF 50mm f/1.8, EF 85mm f/1.8, a Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro plus a number of OM Zuiko primes with an EOS adapter. If I could only choose one prime as a walkaround, I'd pick the EF 24mm f/2.8 for my 40D and 400D and the EF 35mm f/2 for my 5DII. In reality I'd choose a zoom as a general walkaround (on my EOS bodies) but 2 or maybe 3 primes for my OM film bodies, whatever floats my boat at the time... I tend to shoot more wide angle than telephoto, but when I need telephoto I need telephoto. A single prime would not cut it as my only lens.
    Cheers, Bob
     
  99. Pierre, somewhere in this thread the OP mentioned a crop sensor.
    Later he changed the one prime to two primes.
    My advice was given on those presumptions.
     
  100. Hi Matthijs
    It was just a general observation... not referring to any specific previous post.
    Some people (not you) don't seem to realize that the perspective or composition characteristics of any focal length only apply in relation to the image size on the sensor or the film. My "walkaround lens" is usually the short zoom on my compact digicam, but when it's set at 6mm, it's the same as what it would be at 28mm if it was my Nikon film SLR. For those who don't know, it's not a matter of the focal length itself, but of how far you have to be from the subject when using it. The original post about a favourite walkaround prime lens can only really be discussed sensibly in that context... and when using a common language, ie. 35mm equivalent.
     
  101. My walkround lens is a Canon FD 35mm f2.
     
  102. Pierre, I think most all the posters allready know that. I'd be very surprised if they didn't.
     
  103. This whole issue has been wargamed before. Decades ago, there were several popular 35mm rangefinder film cameras like the Canonet QL 17 and Olympus SP. These were medium priced, probably about $400 plus in todays U.S. dollars. Almost without exception, these cameras came with ultra sharp 40 mm lenses. (No lens interchangeability.)
    So that would be 27 mm for DX, and, of course, 40 mm for FX. Little more or a little less, no big deal. No need to reinvent the wheel.
     
  104. Reinventing the wheel? Well, halftracks were fun in WW-II.
    Meaning sometimes the wheel isn't the best solution.
    Sometimes a sharp 40mm equivalent lens is not how a specific photographer sees the world.
    But I'm probably preaching to the choir so I'll shut up now.
     
  105. If you want to capture everything that you see that takes your fancy you will fall into having zooms that cover everything from 14mm to 200mm or whatever. You will come back home with shots of street scenes, landscapes, people, birds and bugs. They will be good photos but they will be an incoherent jumble of different things.
    If you know what kind of photograph you want you will be able to do it better with one or two primes. The result of knowing what you want is a portfolio of consistent images with a distinctive style that is recognisably yours. The 'got everything covered' photographer comes back with shots that could have been taken by any number of people...​
    Italics added for emphasis.
    Utter nonsense.
     
  106. If you want to capture everything that you see that takes your fancy you will fall into having zooms that cover everything from 14mm to 200mm or whatever. You will come back home with shots of street scenes, landscapes, people, birds and bugs. They will be good photos but they will be an incoherent jumble of different things.
    If you know what kind of photograph you want you will be able to do it better with one or two primes. The result of knowing what you want is a portfolio of consistent images with a distinctive style that is recognisably yours. The 'got everything covered' photographer comes back with shots that could have been taken by any number of people...​
    (Italics added for emphasis.)
    Utter nonsense.
    One of the other posts regarding HCB makes an interesting point. However, its fundamental point is not "use primes." Its real point is select the equipment that is right for the photography you are doing. Which leads us away from the primes v. zooms nonsense (I align with a "primes and zooms" approach) to the OP's question about what is best for the photography he is doing. It is hard to argue for a single prime on the basis of his list of subjects - whether or not you are primal or a zoomer yourself.
    Dan
     
  107. Isn't that primate?
    (Me I zoom events and prime art...)
     
  108. I would bet my right arm that while everyone knows about crop factors, many people still think there are inherent characteristics to any given focal length that persist despite the crop factor. Ever have anyone ask you what's a good portrait lens focal length for a given camera (compact or crop sensor) because they don't think their 22mm lens or whatever will give a good perspective, despite the fact that it's equivalent to a 35mm camera's 105mm lens?
     
  109. Pierre, are you saying that a 50mm lens on a 1/2 sensor is going to do as good a job as an 'equivelant' 75mm lens on a 35mm camera, assuming that the 75mm lens is the best lens for the job?
    a 50mm lens is a 50mm lens, no matter what camera you put it on, and the characteristics of said lens remain the same, no matter camera it is on. it will not have the same characteristics as a those that many photogs hold dear for portraits, as the 50mm lens on a 1/2 frame.
    you may be making this point above, i just didn't fully understand your post.
     
  110. On FF, 35mm 1.4L is probably the best walk-around lens.
     
  111. It's quite silly how long this thread has gone on (not that I haven't contributed to the foolery!).
    And, as I've said so often on p.net, listen to G Dan. His take on the prime vs zoom debate is bang on (even if he's long ago written me off as a complete hack).
     
  112. I used the 28 f/1.8 on my 40D for a while and really enjoyed it. It gave a slightly wide/normal equivalent focal length on the 1.6x sensor. It really forced me to move around more and think about composition through the viewfinder. Some of my best shots were taken with that combo. That said, the 28 1.8 is quite soft and hazy wide open but stopped down to 2.8 it is very sharp. And I mean noticeably sharper than the kit zoom lens at standard view without magnifying. I like IS and I wish there was a fast prime that had it. If you're shooting nature/landscapes handheld you'll want to stop down for more depth of field, and IS would allow you to more handheld of that sort.
     
  113. I shoot digital with Canon but like to use 24/2 and 85/2 Nikkors (on adapters) for intimate stuff on APS-C. I've owned the Canon 24/1.4 but found it too big and expensive and the 85/1.8 is also a lot bigger than the Nikkor. With the 5DII (when I feel like packing a big camera) I often use a Nikkor 35/2 AIS. The Canon 35/2 has that pentagonal aperture that messes with the bokeh. It takes discipline though because the zooms are always handy and too easy to grab.
     
  114. I also have a Russian 58/2 that I rather like on an APS-C camera. I really like the look it gives when wide open.
     
  115. IMHO Walkaround lens=flexible=zoom lens(from "wide" up to mid telephoto range) and not too heavy or bulky.
     
  116. Hmmmm... Please describe the perfect pot or pan (but not both) to be used for all cooking. It must capable of tackling these situations: unknown(in advance ) circumstances, boiling spaghetti, frying eggs, making waffles, baking cakes, etc., etc.
    I suppose I pick a deep, 4 qt pot, but it's going to make some pretty awful waffles. Short of going on a camping trip, this seems like a pretty silly question to me.
     
  117. Dan,
    Not nonsense at all, I challenge you to name one exhibition/collection of photography by anyone remotely well-known where one shot is taken with 17mm and the next with a 500mm. Photographers who wish to make coherent bodies of work don't do it - full stop.
    Again, I am NOT saying that somebody who jumps around massively with focal lengths is taking bad photos - it's just that they are assembling disparate things. If you have a zoom but use it with a particular object in mind then that's alright. But a lot of the 'got everything covered' brigade simply take a bit of everything. There's nothing wrong with it - but it isn't focused work.
     
  118. Galen Rowell's Mountain Light exhibit includes shots from 20mm to 500mm. I'm sure it's not the only one.
    From the original post,
    Thanks for playing along.​
    I'm amazed how many people have played along. Fun times.
     
  119. Suggest one single prime lens to use as a walkaround lens.​
    Zeiss 50/2 Makro Planar (on a FF camera).
    But most importantly, I'm interested in why you suggested what you did.​
    I don't think you want to have only long or only short lens. That's why 50mm.
    This lens has shorter minimal focusing distance than most other 50mm lenses I know, so you can go close to your subject. That gives more creative options than regular 50mm. It has well corrected distortions (can be useful if you want to create wide angle by stitching) and has more pleasant bokeh than most other 50mm lenses. Other interesting options for a single lens setup (with different compromises) would be Sigma 50 (nice bokeh), Voigtlander 40/2 (very small), Canon 50/1.2 (fast, nice bokeh). For APS I would get Canon 35L or Zeiss 35/2. Great lenses, but I think it is more fun to use primes on FF and I would upgrade to FF first.
    I sort of hate to open up a new can of worms, but what might make a good 2-prime lens combo in the 1mm-99mm range?​
    This gives lots of interesting combinations, on FF for example:
    • Zeiss 35/2 and Zeiss 100/2 Makro Planar (two of the best lenses in the Zeiss Z* line)
    • Zeiss 28/2 and Zeiss 100/2 Makro Planar (similar but wider)
    • Zeiss 21/2.8 and Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 90mm (great lenses with no CA, for landscape?)
    • Canon 35/1.4 and Canon 100L (some of the best lenses in Canon lineup, great for available light, nature, people, travel)
    • Canon 24/1.4 and Canon 85L (for people and events?)
    • Canon 35/1.5 and Canon 135/2 (for people and travel?)
    • Canon 28/1.8 and Canon 85/1.8 (lighter and less expensive variation of the above)
    • Any combination of the above
     
  120. Please describe the perfect pot or pan (but not both) to be used for all cooking. It must capable of tackling these situations: unknown(in advance ) circumstances, boiling spaghetti, frying eggs, making waffles, baking cakes, etc., etc.​
    Sure, but with only one 4qt pot and one pan you can make lots of delicious meals.
     
  121. Hi Alan,
    Of course for the occasional shot - but I think you would agree that the photographs that are characteristically Galen Rowell (rather than just great shots that he took) were pretty much all in the 24mm focal length. That was his walkabout lens and he would be as well known today if that was the only lens he ever used.
     
  122. All this one prime talk has been back to thinking about finally breaking down and getting that 35L. Is it really that good on a 5d2?
     
  123. I am sure it is great - it was my favourite lens when I was a Canon user on a 1Ds II. You should give the ZE 35mm serious consideration though if you can put up with manual focus. Optically it is unrivalled in the SLR world.
     
  124. The best "walk around" primes would be in the 28mm to 50mm range for FX (full frame), or DX equivalent. (18mm to 35mm.)
    If you had a small backup point and shoot with a long range zoom to slip in your pocket for UFO flyovers, you would be dressed for all occasions.
     
  125. John Jennings,
    You mentioned my favorite rangefinder camera from Canon. It sports an amazingly sharp, and pretty fast 40 mm lens. I bought my first one brand new just prior to my first trip to Colorado back when the cameras were current in the Canon lineup. Pretty much everything I shot was in Kodachrome, or Ektachrome, and the resulting slides were stunning by any measure (for me at the time). Yes, the 40 mm f/1.7 lens was a tad wide for a FF normal lens, but it delivered image results in spades. The camera sporting it's back view below is the very same camera I bought prior to my Colorado trip back in the late 1970's. As you noted though, even that sightly wide view will require a 25 mm lens on a crop camera to match the same field of view.. It doesn't matter how close or wide a photographer likes to work, so long as the view is as was expected at order time...
    [​IMG]
    Sarah Fox,
    This is a shot of one of three pot hangers in my kitchen. I understand your point, and I regard cooking utensils in the same way as photographic tools. They might even hold a higher place for me, as they deliver my best attempt at food preparation to my table every day. No food... no camera gear, and I really enjoy cooking food. This shot is just the tip of my culinary iceberg, and only gives a hint of my appreciation for copper, while ignoring knives, cast iron camping gear, griddles, etc.
    I never thought of it in the terms you presented here, but it rings true. Lenses, like pots and pans are built for a purpose, and it is unlikely that any one can perform the job suited to another with the same degree of of success. If you like to cook, buy the right tools to suit your style over time. If you like to capture images, don't be afraid to buy the tools that support your photographic vision over time either....
    [​IMG]
     
  126. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Jim Krupnik:
    Now I have seen a small glimpse of your cooking utensils - I like you even more.
    I assume you can also hold and use a fountain pen correctly: and appreciate the use of same?
    WW
     
  127. Use what feels comfortable to you, whether that is a prime or a zoom.
    Most of the "experts" on this forum know crap about art and are just pushing their overvalued opinions on a public forum much like streakers and flashers get their perverse kicks from showing their undersized equipment to an unsuspecting crowd just so they can compensate for their obvious lacks.
    Which is why I normally stay off these kind of forums... bye now.
     
  128. Use what feels comfortable to you, whether that is a prime or a zoom.​
    Very simple. Very true.
    Most of the "experts" on this forum know crap about art and are just pushing their overvalued opinions on a public forum much like streakers and flashers get their perverse kicks from showing their undersized equipment to an unsuspecting crowd just so they can compensate for their obvious lacks.
    Which is why I normally stay off these kind of forums... bye now.​
    I respectfully disagree. Also, writing this stuff in this forum is very much like spitting to the well you are drinking from.
    Happy shooting,

    Yakim.
     
  129. The most creative aspect of focal length is the perspective that various lengths provide. Perspective is actually dependent on viewpoint and different focal lengths allow for different viewpoints - dramatic receding with wide angles to compressed power with long lenses. There is no ideal - The best focal length is the one that realizes your vision best
     
  130. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member


    Most of the "experts" on this forum know crap about art and are just pushing their overvalued opinions on a public forum much like streakers and flashers get their perverse kicks from showing their undersized equipment to an unsuspecting crowd just so they can compensate for their obvious lacks.
    Which is why I normally stay off these kind of forums... bye now.​

    I also disagree with the above, I add:


    Honi soit qui mal y pense

    WW
     
  131. The best walkaround prime is the one you feel most comfortable (least annoyed) with. Carrying around one focal length makes your mind see compositions for that field of view, but with different level of ease for a given field of view. You can be an 'immersive' person who likes to walk around, enjoying the whole scene, and then a wide angle is a more convenient choice. If you are very socially-oriented, focal lengths around standard (slightly wide to slightly tele) are probably more convenient for you. Somebody who naturally sees small details, or has a more developed hunting instinct may prefer the longer focal lengths. It depends on how frustrated you will be missing a shot that cannot be taken with that lens.
    I prefer 28mm on full frame and usually pixel peep for details in it. 35mm is quite nice too. 50mm is just about the least-inspiring to me, 70-135mm range (with macro) becomes more interesting again for many subjects.
     
  132. My go to lens is a 100mm portrait lens I keep it on my SLR all the time. I think if I were to buy a new lens it would be a 100mm macro. The 100mm lets me get some close shots with out being in someones face. A little less intrusive.
    I have never really fell in love with zoom lens for some reason.
    Kind of backwards for the all the wide angle trend these days. But then I'm kind of backwards I still shoot film.
    If I were to build a walk-a-round system I wold get a Leica M4 or M3 with a standard lens. And shoot Tri-X.
    Joe
     
  133. Jim Krupnik,
    I agree that the Canonet was a natural match for those stunning slide films. Kodachrome was so pretty a lot of folks didn't really notice if the actual picture was pretty lame.
    I also remember, back in those antediluvian days, that there was a rough consensus among some top Life Magazine photographers that the 35mm perspective (for DX use 24 mm) was the best match for the human eye plus a little extra to get more background for context.
     
  134. Jim, I'm humbled before your cookware! :) I *am* currently camping, and I have a 4 qt pot, 2 qt and 1 qt sauce pans, and a large, stainless skillet. That's about as little cookware as I could stand to use. We're eating fairly well, though. It's amazing just what one can cook on a propane stove with only a few square feet of counter space. I haven't attempted my lavender duck, as we have no baking pan! ;-) (Our oven is too tiny.)
    --------------------------------
    Addressing the OP's question, I'm currently in Yosemite, so I have to take this walkaround lens concept rather seriously, depending on what I'm doing. We went to Hetch Hetchy yesterday. That was about a 6 mi hike for us. It might be a piece of cake if we were young, but we're not, and the hike was mildly challenging. I resolved to carry ONE lens and a lightweight tripod. Based on prior experiences in Yosemite Valley, I only carried my 24-105. I ordinarily throw my little Zenitar fisheye in the bottom of my holster bag, in case I need to photograph some extreme foreground object against a distant background. It's so tiny and light that it's one of those "why not?" sort of lenses. However, I decided I should leave it behind too.
    After about 1/2 mi from the car, there was a waterfall on the distant shore of the reservoir that was just begging to be photographed. I was only good to 105mm and probably needed more like 200mm to photograph it. However, my 70-200 was in the truck. I resolved to press forward and to try to grab the shot later when exiting the park.
    Much farther up the path, we were crossing some beautiful granite plateaus, with pristine snow-melt gently coarsing across them in little pools and rivulets, and with impressive granite formations in the distance. I framed up the snow melt in the foreground and the granite formations in the background as best I could with my 24mm capabilities, but I was really cursing that I hadn't brought my fisheye, because it ordinarily goes wherever my 24-105 goes. I could have gotten some awsome shots of those snow-melt pools with the granite mountains in the background!
    As we left, we passed by the vantage again where I could have shot the waterfall with my 70-200, and enough parking had freed up that I could have parked a few hundred feet from that vantage on the way out. Unfortunately the light was completely wrong (about 5 hr after we first passed that point), and the photo was no longer worth taking.
    Yes, I got some nice shots with my 24-105, but I missed my very best photographic opportunity because I didn't have a "why not" lens I routinely carry just for that slightly unusual shooting situation. I got just a bit too tight with my equipment budget. I don't think my knees would afford me a return with my fisheye, and that would take another precious day from our trip, so I will realistically never have that opportunity again.
    THANK GAWD I DIDN'T ATTEMPT THIS WITH ONE PRIME LENS! 8-\
     
  135. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Priorities are wrong Sarah:
    "Camping" = One frying pan + One Knife + Zero Plates + one Mug each + lots of camera gear.
    Easier on the knees, too.
    WW
     
  136. The most creative aspect of focal length is the perspective that various lengths provide. Perspective is actually dependent on viewpoint and different focal lengths allow for different viewpoints - dramatic receding with wide angles to compressed power with long lenses. There is no ideal - The best focal length is the one that realizes your vision best.​
    Perspective has nothing to do with focal length. It is dictated by subject distance. Take your zoom, open it to its widest and focus at a nearby subject (say, 30' away). Take multiple shots as you constantly zoom in on your target but do not move. All your shots will share the same perspective because neither you nor the subject moved. Zooming is equivalent to cropping (in an ideal lens anyway).
     
  137. Sarah wrote:
    Hmmmm... Please describe the perfect pot or pan (but not both) to be used for all cooking. It must capable of tackling these situations: unknown(in advance ) circumstances, boiling spaghetti, frying eggs, making waffles, baking cakes, etc., etc.
    I suppose I pick a deep, 4 qt pot, but it's going to make some pretty awful waffles. Short of going on a camping trip, this seems like a pretty silly question to me.
    GREAT post Sarah. I've tried to make a similar point before by substituting a question like "what is the best vehicle to use for all trips?" - but your analogy is so much better.
    Me? I think I'll go use my waffle maker to whip up some fondue.
    Dan
    Oh, and I won't reply to the "find one photographer who uses multiple lenses" silliness since someone else beat me to it. :)
     
  138. But what if you were restricted to just one prime, G Dan? I'd be very interested to hear which lens it might be. (And my question, in case it isn't obvious, is hypothetical).
     
  139. But what if you were restricted to just one prime, G Dan? I'd be very interested to hear which lens it might be. (And my question, in case it isn't obvious, is hypothetical).
    Mark, to my way of thinking the original question is not just hypothetical. It is nonsensical.
    There is no "best" answer to the question. I suppose if I accidentally found myself with one prime I'd shoot with whatever I had on my camera and hope for the best. But given the incredibly wide range of subjects and situations described in the original post there is no prime that can cover them all satisfactorily. For example, "landscape near and far" with one lens? And a lens that is great for landscapes to also cover "interiors?"
    Is there any real world photographic reason for asking this question?
    Dan
     
  140. There is no good "real world photographic reason" for asking the question, Dan. Think of it, rather, as a thought experiment.
    How about this question: Do you ever leave the house with just one prime, and, if so, which one? And, please, anyone is free to answer.
     
  141. How about this question: Do you ever leave the house with just one prime, and, if so, which one? And, please, anyone is free to answer.​
    Mark that would have been a better question for this post. I would probably go with 50 on full frame, when I had a 40D it would be 28 1.8. I really liked the look of 28 on APS-C, just slightly wide and pretty much perfect for what I usually shoot. Hopefully someday soon it will be a 35L on my 5D2.
     
  142. "How about this question: Do you ever leave the house with just one prime, and, if so, which one? And, please, anyone is free to answer."
    That is a sensible question. Yes, I do sometimes go out with only a single prime. I sometimes do street photography with a single prime - though more often I may bring along more than one, and I just as often shoot "street" using a zoom. In a few situations when I want a camera "just in case" but want to keep bulk and weight of gear minimal I might bring a body with one prime.
    I shoot full frame. Depending upon which of the above limited situations I was dealing with I would most likely make the "primary prime" a 50mm or a 35mm.
    I have other reasons for shooting with primes at times that are unrelated to this.
     
  143. William W, I have always been fascinated by fountain pens. Not only are they mechanical works of art in their own right, but they represent the zenith of the basic inkwell technology that redefined persistent personal communication over time and space, as well as recording history for posterity a few thousand years ago after ink liberated writers from chisel and stone. The funny thing is that despite going to a parochial school from the third to eighth grades, and being drilled on the importance of penmanship by a series of Nuns for the entire time, my penmanship is just plain awful. Always has been, and always will be.
    I can read and write in English and a couple of Cyrillic based alphabets, but even I have a tough time reading my cursive script a week after the fact. I print, and I type. Thank God for the keyboard.... Still, I love to read original text written by a master of penmanship with a fountain pen. It adds a level of expression that is a step above anything easily matched with a keyboard. I still have a few fountain pens hiding somewhere around here. I wonder if ink is still easy to come by....
    Sarah Fox,
    I would gladly trade some of my very favorite copper cookware to be camping in Yosemite at this moment. Some of the most memorable times of my life were experienced on camping trips, and I wouldn't trade them for the world. I have old super 8 film reels of me at 2 years old bouncing off of my parents knees while seated around a campfire, and even though I don't directly recall those moments, I do recall countless others from the age of 5 or so to the present. One thing to keep in mind is that even cheap camping gear today weighs a fraction of what similar gear weighed in the 60's through the mid 90's. That means that I could pack a great deal more utility and comfort with far less mass today. I do have to bring along at least one 6" to 8" cast iron pan though, even with lightweight stoves and a nesting alloy pot set. I think it's a religious thing...
    That being the case, there is no way that I would trim my camera gear to one, or even two lenses. After going to all the trouble to get to a soul-satisfying place for a week or two, I think I could make enough room to bring along a reasonable selection of photo gear. My parents, aunts, uncles, and family friends made a point of finding room for video and still gear on camping vacations that I was a part of over 50 years ago, and there was no such thing as "lightweight" camping gear back then. I enjoy those slides and movies to this day, and given the amazing gear we have now, I just can't get comfortable with the idea of bringing back images or video clips that need my live commentary to be complete. I vote for bringing and toting what you need, and being glad you did so years later (what you said)...
     
  144. I'd open a new thread for that if I were you...

    M.
     
  145. i just love a 50 mm on a 1.6x sensor,, the viewing angle feels just right with the weight and size.. However to expect it to excell at every situations: unknown(in advance ) circumstances, cityscapes, interiors, people, tours, landscapes(near and far), walks in the woods, etc, etc. would be somewhat unfair..
     
  146. How about this question: Do you ever leave the house with just one prime, and, if so, which one?​
    Very rarely do I do that but if so, it's the 60/2.8.
    Happy shooting,
    Yakim.
     
  147. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I wonder if ink is still easy to come by...." to get the good stuff we have a couple of specialty shops in Sydney (AUS) - all the good ink is imported - I have some beautiful purple ink I use, it is from Italy.

    ***
    Do you ever leave the house with just one prime, and, if so, which one? And, please, anyone is free to answer."

    I spent about three months last year using only my 50mm lens on my 5D for my "personal shooting" (i.e. Photography for my business was excluded).

    There were many reasons, the major of which, was that I felt I was losing touch with my skill in framing and "seeing it" before I took the shot - maybe I felt I was getting lazy as I was using the 16 to 25 on my APS-C as my "walk about" and I also was using a Powershot quite often.

    The discipline of using only the 50mm was good for me. I understand that such a "restriction" might make others wince

    Anyway, at the time I was also instructing a class of high school kids doing their first year in Photography - and they were set a task of setting their zoom to 30mm (APS-C Digital Cameras) . . . and using it like that for one month . . . so I did the same: only I did it for three times as long - interesting how that attitude and the comparative results stops the debates in the classroom of “why should we”.
    WW
     
  148. What becomes clear is that people use photography differently, and what works for one person might not come close to working for another. Some people go out in the world and look to see what there is to photograph, others already know what they want to photograph and want the right tools to do so. I am in the group that goes out knowing what I want to photograph and more often then not this makes limiting myself to one prime lens a non-starter.
    I have to add that I shot for years with a SLR and one 50mm lens, in looking at the photos I really wish I had a wider option along at the time. This was shot with a 50mm lens, I really wish I had a 35mm with me at the time, and no I could not simply step back, well not and live.
    Photo taken with 50mm lens

    Given the same problem now I would have taken a few shots and stitched them, but in 1991 I was not thinking much about stitching photos.
     

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