If you could only have one lens, what would it be?

Started Feb 20, 2014 | Discussions
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geoff35 Junior Member • Posts: 29
If you could only have one lens, what would it be?

I recently bought a Nex 3n with kit lens, and am really glad I did its a great camera. I have inevitably though been looking for faster lenses. I have tried the Helios 44m and the Pentacon 50mm 1.8 and they are both good lenses although a little more cumbersome on the camera than I would like. This led me to looking at the rangefinder lenses, specifically the Jupiter 3 and 8 not as cheap on ebay as once was though. I am looking for a good all round focal length thinking 24-50mm (36-75mm on nex) prime lens with wide aperture sub F2, for the times when the kit lens just isnt bright enough.

This got me thinking if you had too choose only ONE lens money no object what would it be and why?

Tuloom Senior Member • Posts: 1,811
Re: If you could only have one lens, what would it be?

24 Summilux Asph would do.

In a more sane range, the SEL24 Sonnar.

Letsgokoulos
Letsgokoulos Senior Member • Posts: 1,831
Re: If you could only have one lens, what would it be?
1

Canon 50mm f1.8 LTM. This is a lens for RF cameras, and the sharpness/contrast combination is amazing, especially for such a tiny lens.

Marc

edwardaneal
edwardaneal Veteran Member • Posts: 9,101
easy
2

back in 2011 I got the original NEX-5 with the 18-55 kit lens I shot with the kit lens until Sigma released the 30mmf/2.8 - - until just recently when I picked up the Sigma 60mm for portraits the 30mm has been the only lens I have used.

If I were going to only have one - no doubt it would be a prime in the 30-35mm focal length range, either the Sigma or the sony 35mm f/1.8

I dont like zooms

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hyenadog Contributing Member • Posts: 823
Re: If you could only have one lens, what would it be?

its a very easy answer .. the 50SEL

1. you get the ability for nice defocused background portraits;

2. it performs very well wide open - great for low light/action

3. it has OIS so great for video and low light

4. for Sony E mount lenses its good value

Pity the 35SEL isnt priced like this and pity the NEX AF isnt FAR better in lower light to take advantage

no brainer really unless you just want to just take static pictures of landscapes (enter NEX fanboys) LOL

EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: If you could only have one lens, what would it be?

I recently bought a Nex 3n with kit lens, and am really glad I did its a great camera. I have inevitably though been looking for faster lenses. I have tried the Helios 44m and the Pentacon 50mm 1.8 and they are both good lenses although a little more cumbersome on the camera than I would like. This led me to looking at the rangefinder lenses, specifically the Jupiter 3 and 8 not as cheap on ebay as once was though. I am looking for a good all round focal length thinking 24-50mm (36-75mm on nex) prime lens with wide aperture sub F2, for the times when the kit lens just isnt bright enough.

This got me thinking if you had too choose only ONE lens money no object what would it be and why?

Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS

Small, light, very good (even wide open), excellent build quality and a perfect match for APSc bodies as a normal lens. Also, stabilized.

I have several 50-55mm lenses but find them less useful unless portraiture is the theme:
Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM II: Small, heavy, short adapter and slightly longer than E35. Its okay wide open (lower contrast and sharpness). Very good at f/2 onwards.
Contax Zeiss 50/1.7 Planar: my favorite. I can trust this lens to perform, wide open, with good sharpness and contrast. The lens is very small but CY-E adapter is longer, and in the end, slightly longer than Canon LTM. Also a pleasure to focus manually (this I cannot say about the Canon above).
Mamiya Sekor 55/1.4: nice lens, good color, but recent addition for $60. I think an underappreciated lens. Built like a tank and looks very similar to Sony E 35 from the side cbut much heavier).

Also have Minolta 50/1.7 that goes on a55.

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marcoaml78
marcoaml78 Regular Member • Posts: 129
Re: If you could only have one lens, what would it be?

being that my (manual) 35 1.4 lens stays 80% of the time on the camera (the other 20 i have a SEL50 there). i would gladly take the touit 32 as a permanent lens. 50 would be too narrow for most of my uses (50 is useless for indoors for anything other than portraits)

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Dirk W Senior Member • Posts: 2,385
The SEL 18200 (1st version) n/t

n/t

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KwhyChang Veteran Member • Posts: 3,544
One lens, OK...but I'll use it on three cams
1

I'd use my Zeiss ZM 35/2, but on three different cameras... as a 35mm on my A7, as a 52mm/2 on my APSC, and as a 70mm/2 on my µ4/3 cam.

-- hide signature --

Dave

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 14,371
Re: If you could only have one lens, what would it be?
1

55mm Micro-Nikkor.

DtEW Senior Member • Posts: 2,215
Re: If you could only have one lens, what would it be?
1

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

This got me thinking if you had too choose only ONE lens money no object what would it be and why?

Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS

Small, light, very good (even wide open), excellent build quality and a perfect match for APSc bodies as a normal lens. Also, stabilized.

^This.

Or if there ever manifests the currently-fantastical OSS-equipped version of the SEL24F18Z, which I think is a more useful FoV.

Of course, 1) "money no object" is merely rhetorical fodder, and 2) you have an ILC - to choose only one lens misses the entire point of it being an ILC. Like buying a Rolex to use as a hammer. Because there are some very good fixed-lens cameras out there these days.

The much better questions for a photographer would either be:

1) "I can only afford to buy one lens right now. What would be a good do-it-all-lens?"

2) "I have a limited budget right now. What lenses would be good to start with that I won't feel compelled to upgrade from in awhile?"

Otherwise:

3) "I'm an aesthete. My camera is part tool, part fetish. I want that *one special lens* I can put on it so I can stroke it like a bauble-extension of my ego.  What is the one lens, money-no-object, that I should consider?"

Y'all know its true.

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astone Regular Member • Posts: 452
SEL1670Z

nt

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Alohaman Contributing Member • Posts: 576
Re: If you could only have one lens, what would it be?

A 10-70/2.8 with OIS.

What, there's no such lens? Drats!

Seriously, a 35mm equivalent of 15-105/2.8 would be great for a APS-C camera. But it would be HUGE for a mirrorless body and cost mucho $$$.

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EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: If you could only have one lens, what would it be?

I wouldn't count on a stabilized Zeiss Alpha (ZA) prime though, not even at 85mm. It will take a non Zeiss lens (as is the case in Canon's world too, non-L lenses) to have stabilization at shorter FL. In case of Canon, the shortest stabilized L prime is: 200/2.

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DtEW Senior Member • Posts: 2,215
Re: If you could only have one lens, what would it be?

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

I wouldn't count on a stabilized Zeiss Alpha (ZA) prime though, not even at 85mm. It will take a non Zeiss lens (as is the case in Canon's world too, non-L lenses) to have stabilization at shorter FL. In case of Canon, the shortest stabilized L prime is: 200/2.

Indeed. Which is a bit of a shame, as stabilization does indeed work great even at short FLs too, evidence the SEL1018.

Given that I see (perhaps this explains/debunks everything) the E-mount (only referring to the APS-C) as heading further toward the manifestation of practical performance in a wide spectrum of common everyday photography, I am hoping that somebody in Sonyland will soon relent with this whole "Zeiss is about ultimate optical (read: theoretical) performance and stabilization (unless absolutely needed) compromises that" and see that even Canon is stabilizing their 35mm FoV prime, red-ring-be-damned.  So maybe a G?

Anyways. Wishful thinking on my part. As I said in another post... I think it'll be a few years before we see another ~24mm for the E-mount.

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Vinylly Contributing Member • Posts: 800
Re: If you could only have one lens, what would it be?

I have a NEX-7 and I find my old Leica R 50mm. Siummicron f/2 is my favorite lens.  It's no larger with the adapter, then the Sony 18-55 mm kit lens, but is a little heavier.  I never use the kit lens.

Alohaman Contributing Member • Posts: 576
Re: If you could only have one lens, what would it be?

Vinylly wrote:

I have a NEX-7 and I find my old Leica R 50mm. Siummicron f/2 is my favorite lens. It's no larger with the adapter, then the Sony 18-55 mm kit lens, but is a little heavier. I never use the kit lens.

I have the Zeiss version of a Leica 50mm Summicron M-mount.  These Zeiss lenses for Leicas are great lenses.

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EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: If you could only have one lens, what would it be?

I think the decision to exclude stabilization from premium lenses is made primarily to avoid quality issues (decentering is a common one) and whether a lose element could hurt IQ, even if occasionally.

Even on sensor based stabilization, the issue could relate to shutter shock, misaligned sensor and so on (since the sensor can't be firmly screwed to prevent smallest movements) but at least the optics can get a pass on that.

With zooms, less so as optical compromise is already made. It is probably also understood that premium lens buyers will be more aware of shooting requirements and better prepared.

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dunders Regular Member • Posts: 115
Re: One lens, OK...but I'll use it on three cams

KwhyChang wrote:

I'd use my Zeiss ZM 35/2, but on three different cameras... as a 35mm on my A7,-

Dave

Dave,

My Biogon 35/2 does not play well with the A7r.  Can you post some photos to make me consider swapping for the A7, please?  I love the lens on the Zeiss Ikon and on the Ricoh GXR, but *ouch* on the A7r.

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Paul
... lost in the Irish Sea.
http://flickr.com/photos/dunders

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rsurya23
rsurya23 Regular Member • Posts: 121
Re: One lens, OK...but I'll use it on three cams

My Zeiss 35mm F2.8 sonnar. I sold everything else.

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