Any three lenses (but only three)

Started Jun 10, 2014 | Discussions thread
OP Tuanglen Junior Member • Posts: 40
Re: 28mm f1.8G, 58 f1.4G 80-200 f2.8D

TQGroup wrote:

OK then, turnaround is fair play, what 3 lenses could you not live without?

Hey, no fair!

All right, I guess it's fair, but I don't know how useful my answer will be. One of my reasons for asking was my own realization a while back that I didn't know my own answer to this question.

That surprised me, because I've been taking photos with relatively nice equipment for several decades, and I had always assumed I would have decided "what kind of photography I like" by...some point. It still hasn't happened.

Well, actually it HAS---several times. I always assumed I would eventually converge on "my own photographic interests", but in retrospect, that's not the way it worked. I would seem to be settling into an equilibrium, then either life changes (graduate and get an income or move to another country or have kids or have a change in health) or technical sea changes would trigger a metamorphosis into a different kind of photographer.

Apparently, I don't converge; I just pause a while between major changes.

And the ways in which my old pictures have gained or lost value to me over time are probably worth a separate discussion. I'll just say that even though my heart has always yearned to be a true photographic artiste, my art projects seem to lose value (to me) the older they get, while those crummy Polaroids taken with that crummy little camera of boring, daily life nothings, grow more precious with each passing year.

So...what does that mean for my three-lens choice? I haven't decided, but in the name of "fairness":

I love wide-angle shots, so I'll start with a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8. Since my lens quota limits me in number, I'll choose this instead of Zeiss primes. I find extra-wide shots more interesting in general than normal-range shots, and an unlimited free replacement policy means I'd use this bulbous, expensive, vulnerable lens to death and keep replacing it. In addition to expansive landscapes, which thrill me in real life more than the photos do after a decade, I would use the crazy-wide end of this lens to capture the places we live, work, and go to school, the kids' on the floor working on their projects, restaurant feasts, parties, the kids by the campfire under the starry sky, the family surrounded by a mob of activity in the Kunming market, and so on. Us, surrounded by the things going on in our lives. (In real life, because I don't have any free replacement policy, I've opted for the much lighter, safer, and more affordable 18-35G, which is a terrific lens from 18-28mm or so and which I can more easily afford to replace by myself.)

At the long end, I'd probably opt for the Nikon 70-200mm f/4. I'd rather have the f/2.8 if someone else would carry it for me, but that wasn't part of the deal. Free or not, that extra weight and size would cause me to use it a lot less, which would hurt me more than the extra speed of the 2.8 would help.
In the middle, I'd like a Nikon 58mm f/1.4. Beautiful images and so nice and light. I think I'd carry this on the camera and leave the other two at home on days (and nights) when I wasn't really expecting to do any serious photography and supplement it with one or more of the other lenses when I was more serious about taking pictures. (In real life, because of the expense, I'm using a Nikon 50mm f/1.8.)

Outside this experiment, I expect that I'll switch to a mirrorless with a lightweight, mid-range zoom as my everyday carry pretty soon instead of a Nikon DSLR with a 50mm f/1.8, using that camera/lens combo as if it were one of the lenses in my system.

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