What would be a good basic lens collection?

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
mike703 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,707
LBA beware

GreenMountainGirl wrote:

There also appears to be a lot of overlap of range in the lenses people own, which I do not understand why that is.

It's a disease colloquially known as 'LBA' (Lens Buying Addiction).  Whatever collection you have isn't quite enough. You always need just that one more specialist lens to make your lens collection (and, therefore, life and happiness) complete.

You start with your kit lens... then you need, obviously, a telephoto zoom as a second step.  Then you have the common range covered but a fast prime for indoor shots or portraits - like a 50mm f/1.8 - would be nice.  Then you discover macro... and an ultrawide for landscapes / interiors is revelation when you realise that 18mm just isn't wide enough.  Pretty soon you realise that actually your kit lens isn't so good when you look at the corners of huge blowups of the pictures on your monitor with a magnifying glass, so you'll need something like a 17-55 f/2.8 to remedy that.  And so it goes on.

As an addictive disease it's better than drugs (your health doesn't suffer, much, and if the house is about to be repossessed and the kid are starving you have the nuclear option of selling a few of your less used lenses).  And it's cheaper than sports cars, mostly....

If I want to take a shot in the 35 - 40 mm range I could use one of four lenses (Pentax 16-45; Tamron 28-75; Pentax 35mm prime; Pentax 40mm prime).  So I have the fun of choosing what to carry with me for a specific shoot, whether it is a walk in the countryside (couple of small primes) or a family gathering with the requirement to switch from individual portraits to large groups (zooms, definitely).  And the small Pentax primes are so.... tactile... and... collectible.... (shakes head to snap out of it).

Anyway to answer your original question your two-lens zoom pair covers the 18-300 range nicely, and will do 90% of what you ever need.  A fast prime in the 35mm - 50mm range (f/1.8) is small and very useful in lower light or for portraits if you want small depth of field.  Many restrained people would stop there and call it a day; beyond that you're on the slippery slope above.  Welcome... 

Best wishes

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