Do you have a favorite lens focal length?

Jun 13, 2019,15:36 PM
 

... that goes for zoom lens users as well.

I favor a 50mm... the f/1.4 Summilux in M-mount and the AI-S f/1.2 in F-mount.  When I first got my MP I made a decision to try the 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit as an only lens for a couple of months...  one size doesn't fill all and it helps to visualize the advantages of each FL.

So... for the RF it's 15, 28, 50, & 135 and for the SLR it's 20, 28, 35, 50, 85, & 105...





I still favor the 50, but on extended trips I always pack a wide and a tele.

What's your go-to focal length and why.

Have a good weekend...
Casey


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For an SLR ...

 
 By: JohnFM : June 13th, 2019-16:19
an 80/1.4 is my favorite lens. If I carry two, 80 and 35. If three, add a 24. If four, a 200. If it’s a Leica M, 50 is about it, though a 35 is a bit more versatile for travel.

Thanks John...

 
 By: cshimokita : June 13th, 2019-16:51
I also like the medium tele range. In addition to the Nikon 85 f/1.4 AI-S I have the Canon (dSLR) EF 85 f/1.2L, although I have a slight preference for the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 Micro AI-S and Canon EF 100 f/2.8 Macro... a longer reach with compression create... 

I was a pro....

 
 By: myles721 : June 13th, 2019-16:32
The Nikon F series is one of the finest tools man has ever made. I don’t say this lightly..I started out with a hand me down 1968 F black body with photomic head. But the F3’s were amazing especially when coupled with the MD motordrive. The,only other cam... 

Thank you Myles...

 
 By: cshimokita : June 13th, 2019-17:03
I have lusted after a F2 for some time, but my two x F3 have served me well through all kinds of situations... the F3P has been to the shop a couple of times due to user error... build like a brick. I have looked at the motor drive for the F3P, but I am n... 

Street style, 28mm

 
 By: thegrailwatch : June 13th, 2019-16:33
Wide and (usually) very close to my subject. Crop and use of B&W or color completely dependent on what the image I feel calls for. ...  

It's interesting...

 
 By: cshimokita : June 13th, 2019-17:13
that a lot of photographers don't get on with the 28... not sure why. One comment I read recently (different forum) was from someone who liked 35 & 21 but not 28. I find 35 to be a little flat, no zing... although it might have to do with what version, fi... 

Thanks Casey

 
 By: thegrailwatch : June 13th, 2019-17:24
What's your take on the Q2 which basically encourages everyone to shoot at 28 and just crop the heck out of everything to achieve various focal lengths? Shooting a portrait at 28 and cropping will make a face look very different than shooting at 85mm. Not... 

Absolutely different look and feel...

 
 By: cshimokita : June 13th, 2019-17:52
I have been reading some discussion lately regarding using crop vs. different FLs. Sure crop gets you the required framing but the look and feel are different. For me portrait will always be at 85 or 100 (135 format). Not to say that I don't like non-trad... 

I agree that the 35 is a little flat ...

 
 By: JohnFM : June 13th, 2019-17:42
... but it doesn't distort much, given a little distance -- that's its strength in my opinion. The 24 is a fantastic length, but like the 21 and even the 28, you have to be careful, especially in the corners.

Re: 35mm, agree with your assessment John...

 
 By: cshimokita : June 13th, 2019-18:03
When traveling with the Canon 5DII I will sometimes take only the EF 35mm f/1.4L... no issues at all. As you say, 35 has its own strengths and is a great all around lens. Anything wider than 35 and you are in composition land... I have too many photos of ... 

Excellent pictures Thegrailwatch!

 
 By: renerod : June 13th, 2019-19:23
My favorites are 3, 5 and 9. Please, share more. Best. René

Favorite FL... a "loaded" (but good) question...

 
 By: InDebtButOnTime : June 13th, 2019-18:08
Like "favorite guitarist"... a fun but tough question to answer, espesially for one focal length. I suppose easier for one zoom range. For that I'd pick my Tamron 28-105 2.8 for its useful range and speed (not portablity!) or my Sigma 12-24 4.5-5.6 (full ... 

hahaha... so true "indebtbutontime"...

 
 By: cshimokita : June 14th, 2019-00:41
The question grew out of a conversation I was following regarding Love/Hate the 28 , and how passionate some people get about their lenses choices. Tamron 28-105 is quite the range ; ) I enjoy almost all (never shot fisheye nor anything longer than 200 wi... 

I have an F3 also!

 
 By: renerod : June 13th, 2019-19:18
It is almost new, as my late father kept it. It was one of his treasures, so yes, he used it, but cared a lot. I tend to prefer a 50mm. I have a Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8 on it, but looking for a 1:1.5 AI-S. And of course I would love a beautiful and chunky 1:1.2... 

René, I hope you're using that F3...

 
 By: cshimokita : June 14th, 2019-00:57
My experience with the AI-S 50 f/1.2 is that it's not the "so call best" available 50, but I like the edge it gives away from dead center... the OOF is considered to be a bit strange... I love strange ; ) When I first got into dSLR, it was the Canon 30D w... 

It is ready and waiting!

 
 By: renerod : June 14th, 2019-09:59
I’m waiting to have some leisure time to re-take this beautiful hobby. I have also waiting a Nikon FM-2, a Contaflex II, a Contax IIIa and a Rolleiflex 2.8 planar waiting on my desk. So many projects, so little time! I do enjoy a lot film photography and ... 

I have not used the Ai 50 1.4S, so no hands on experience...

 
 By: cshimokita : June 14th, 2019-14:52
You can still buy this lens new from Nikon for about USD 370... so it must have reasonably good performance... if you haven't read Ken Rockwell's lens reviews, it's a good place to start ; ) Casey

I am always reaching for my Pentax D FA 50mm f2.8...

 
 By: jporos : June 13th, 2019-21:05
but of course on my crop sensor (APS-C) it is a 75mm. Just seems to work in all sorts of situations.

"jporos"... 50 transcends sensor size ; )

 
 By: cshimokita : June 14th, 2019-01:05
There is an old saying that you shoot your age... if so I should be over using the 50, maybe I am living in the past ; ) f/2.8 is almost enough these days unless you're looking for razor sharp focus. With my manual focus lenses I am normally around f5.6, ... 

Depends...

 
 By: JLCman : June 14th, 2019-00:03
Nikon SLR: 21-35-85 or reduced to one: 28! Fuji X: 14-23-53 (=21-35-80), no Zooms at all!

+1 for "reduced to one: 28"...

 
 By: cshimokita : June 14th, 2019-01:20
JLCman... the Nikon SLR & Fuji X make a good combination and I see you're shooting equiv FLs... Which SLR 21mm are you using with the Nikon? I have been considering that FL, maybe more so with a film RF body than an SLR... I have to shoot a roll with the ... 

They all have a purpose so maybee 58 is the answer?

 
 By: Tegis : June 14th, 2019-00:41
Never had a 58 so i dont know. 35 is very usable for most things and so is 50. Decisions decision so 40 it is? ...  

The AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2D has quite the reputation...

 
 By: cshimokita : June 14th, 2019-01:38
Nice collection Tegis... Ken R calls that 135 the world's greatest portrait lens and Nikon's sharpest 135mm lens... that's a mouth full even for him... Care to share any thoughts on your experience with that lens? Casey

Its great not that my amateuer hands can use any of the gear to its full potential

 
 By: Tegis : June 14th, 2019-03:09
The defocus control feels slightly gimmicky and can make it overall softer so i havent fully figured it out since i rarely use that option.

Thanks for the quick reply...

 
 By: cshimokita : June 14th, 2019-07:31
I understand that with that lens, DC stands for Defocus Control where the meaning is more complex than at first imagined. It seems that the lens is designed to control the bokeh i.e. the softness of out-of-focus areas (front or back) but not the overall s... 

I understand the basics

 
 By: Tegis : June 14th, 2019-08:31
Really should use it more but at ~200mm equivalent on my dx digital body you need space and the rigth subjects that i dont get to that often. Need to get a fx body or try it on the F100.

Sharpest portrait lens was always kind of an oxymoron for me...

 
 By: Blansky : June 14th, 2019-08:52
because in portraiture you rarely wanted sharpness. Just too much reality. On my Hasselblad I used a cheap Cokin piece of plastic to "de-sharpen" the Zeiss lens. Mamiya made a lens for one of their portrait lenses that you put disks with holes in them to ... 

👍👍👍

 
 By: cshimokita : June 14th, 2019-14:54
[nt]

Horses for courses...

 
 By: Blansky : June 14th, 2019-07:21
As a portrait photographer my go to lens was a Hasselblad 150 which I used for 95 percent of my work. When I switched to digital is was a Canon 70-200 Zoom.

Very interesting topic and responses

 
 By: Quan : June 15th, 2019-16:36
Thanks Casey and sorry can't meet you these short 2 days in Shinjuku...he....he... I only have RF (sold SDLR) started of with 35 the only lens for almost 3 years then 21 and 50, later add 90 and 28. Since I shot mostly in crowded place so 21 and 28 will b...  

Thanks for taking some time with this topic...

 
 By: cshimokita : June 15th, 2019-21:34
The 90 is an interesting choice considering your 'style', but I guess it's nice to have the full range including tele. The 21 has some appeal to me but since I have the 28 Elmarit and CV15 it's not a pressing issue. Love your Japan photos, particularly th... 

A word about the CV15 lens

 
 By: cshimokita : June 18th, 2019-15:01
Specifically the Voigtländer 15mm f/4.5 in M-mount Version II (Version III is optimized for use with digital). It's called the CV15 because the lens is designed and manufactured by Cosina in Japan... the Voigtländer trademark is used in an agreement with ...  

Got a new set

 
 By: Jurry : June 22nd, 2019-22:41
I was lucky enough that my wife bought me a complete new camera set: Nikon D750 with 28-140mm, 40mm macro, 70-210, and one lens which is incredibly sharp; the 300mm

From what I have read the D750 is a great camera...

 
 By: cshimokita : June 22nd, 2019-23:35
that checks all the right boxes... loved the recent "Sunset" photo. You seem to favor the longer lenses 140-210-300... certainly the D750 can well manage that range. Do you find yourself using one focal length more than others... Casey

Mostly longer

 
 By: Jurry : June 23rd, 2019-00:01
Hi Yes in general I favor the longer lenses. The zoom lenses are more for general use, easy to aim and shoot The new 300 mm is one I’m learning how to use. It’s incredible sharp but I’m still experimenting with it That sunset photo you refer to was actual... 

Jurry... sounds like a good approach...

 
 By: cshimokita : June 23rd, 2019-01:40
particularly having the three different areas of interest... in the end anything can be photographed ; ) Totally agree that macro (micro) product photography has it's challenges. Have fun and looking for some photos in the days, months, and years ahead. M... 

Yes

 
 By: Jurry : June 23rd, 2019-02:59
Hi yes I have every intention to try and make few series and post a selection of them.

1.8

 
 By: Slowmaster : June 29th, 2019-04:15
Nikon 35mm 1.8... great quality yet much lighter compare to any 1.4. Modern digital camera are great in low light so you can use “higher” ASA to compensate the half stop that the 1.4 gives you. As for the extra death of field, I found it personally a non ... 

Agreed that modern digital cameras

 
 By: cshimokita : June 29th, 2019-09:01
can potentially manage higher ISO levels, which can impact the choice of lens... as mentioned the f/1.2 and f/1.4 lenses (or f/0.95) might have an advantage if you are looking for narrow DOF... not everyone is. The option I sometimes use for isolation is ... 

Thank you for the comment...

 
 By: cshimokita : September 7th, 2019-15:33
for some reason I have never bonded with 35mm FOV... heck, I use it when traveling but it's not my first choice. Casey

Thanks 'watchthatman'...

 
 By: cshimokita : September 7th, 2019-15:31
I am of a mind that 50 is the optimal lens. In M-mount I have 50 f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH, 28 f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH, and Cosina-Voigtländer 15 f/4.5... Together with a Nikon AI-s 50 f/1.2 (F-mount) I shoot about 80% of my film with a 50 FOV and a fair bit of ...