Any three lenses (but only three)

Started Jun 10, 2014 | Discussions
TQGroup
TQGroup Senior Member • Posts: 1,901
Re: 28mm f1.8G, 58 f1.4G 80-200 f2.8D

TQGroup wrote:

Tuanglen wrote:

TQGroup wrote:

May I suggest that you carefully think about your desired photographic outcomes, prioritise them and then plan accordingly. What is it that some say about "paralysis by analysis?"

Wise advice.

It's reasonable to assume from the question I'm asking that I'm planning to go buy my first three lenses and am looking for recommendations. That's not at all the case. I have more lenses than I need, both primes and zooms, and I'm not "paralyzed" in the sense you mean. After all these years, I'm still having a lot of fun experimenting with lenses and techniques (and simply taking pictures!), but I've always been curious about what others have learned from their own experiences. Occasionally, I'll slap my forehead and think, Of course, why didn't I think of that? The rest of the time, it's just...interesting.

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

 TQGroup's gear list:TQGroup's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3-5-4.5G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +24 more
Margouillat Regular Member • Posts: 450
Re: Any three lenses (but only three)
2

28/2.8 AIS, 55/2.8 micro, 85/2 AI...

I have those (and many others), but for the next decade I could do with only those three (on my Df)!

Why MF primes ? Well, because spending ten years with the same lenses might be a bit boring, so the MF adds some "sport" and the size and quality of those lenses have already survived thirty year ! So what's a dozen more years...

-- hide signature --

"Un photographe, finalement, c'est quelqu'un comme les autres, mais qui prend des photos." - Man Ray
http://www.flickr.com/photos/archivue/

 Margouillat's gear list:Margouillat's gear list
Nikon D700 Nikon D3X Nikon Df +1 more
bestzoom Regular Member • Posts: 139
Re: Any three lenses (but only three)

35 f1.4

58 f1.4

85 f1.4

 bestzoom's gear list:bestzoom's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM +2 more
vwsjr
vwsjr Regular Member • Posts: 494
Re: Any three lenses (but only three)

Tamron 150-600mm

Nikon 14-24 f/2.8

Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR

Probably an odd selection and not an outrageously expensive one either.  First and foremost I could not give up my bird and wildlife photography.  I'd sure like a Nikon 600mm f/4, but I love to hike far and with only three lenses, that big heavy one would just be too limiting.  I also love using wide-angle lenses and although I could substitute some other options, I think the Nikon 14-24 would be the best balance for what I need in this range, and it work well for landscapes, another favorite subject of mine.  Finally, I couldn't do without a macro lens.  Again, not sure this is really my best choice, but I like the working distance of this lens over a shorter one, and the portability and VR compared to some longer macro's.  I don't need the VR for macro's, but it gives the lens some added flexibility for other types of photos.

For me, if I was limited to three lenses, covering the extremes would be more important to me than having great lenses in the middle.  For the photography I do I just don't find myself using the 50-300 range all that often (on DX), and in a crunch I wouldn't mind giving up an even broader range, as long as I had good lenses for both ends.  I sure would feel guilty about not taking this opportunity to get the Nikon 800mm VR or even the 600mm f/4 VR.

 vwsjr's gear list:vwsjr's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm F2.8G IF-ED VR Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 +10 more
InTheMist
InTheMist Veteran Member • Posts: 3,078
Re: Any three lenses (but only three)

24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8
I don't shoot wide much, so the 24-85 would be my every-day choice.

If I had a fourth, I would take a 35 prime from Sigma or Nikon.
--
It's more important how an image looks as a thumbnail than how it looks at 100%.
http://inthemistphoto.com

 InTheMist's gear list:InTheMist's gear list
Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) Leica M-Monochrom Nikon 1 AW1 Nikon Df Nikon D810 +18 more
InTheMist
InTheMist Veteran Member • Posts: 3,078
Re: Any three lenses (but only three)

24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8
I don't shoot wide much, so the 24-85 would be my every-day choice.

If I had a fourth, I would take a 35 prime from Sigma or Nikon.
--
It's more important how an image looks as a thumbnail than how it looks at 100%.
http://inthemistphoto.com

If you lean more towards primes:
35/1.4 (Sigma)
300/2.8
Still the 24-85 for convenience (vacations) and when you're on a tripod at f/8.

-- hide signature --

It's more important how an image looks as a thumbnail than how it looks at 100%.
http://inthemistphoto.com

 InTheMist's gear list:InTheMist's gear list
Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) Leica M-Monochrom Nikon 1 AW1 Nikon Df Nikon D810 +18 more
whoosh1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,661
Zeiss 15mm, Nikon 400mm FL and 800mm FL - free to me :-)

May go for Zeiss 135mm or Nikon 200mm VR instead of the Zeiss 15mm for killer portraits. Would likely be torn between the Zeiss 15mm, Zeiss 135mm and Nikon 200mm. The other 2 would be the fluorite lenses - 400mm and 800mm.

Here's why:

1. They are given to me free - might as well get the best lenses that are hard to afford

2. For the next decade - specialize and master in photography that will really stand out from others (bird/wildlife/sports due to focal lengths involved - or really wide with Zeiss 15mm OR killer portraits with Zeiss 135/Nikon 200). Return to other photography types after a decade.

3. For general photography - cheat a little and get a Sony RX100 III (24-70 equivalent) - if that is not allowed - then an iPhone.

Tuanglen wrote:

If you could pick any three lenses for a Nikon FX camera, and they would be given to you for free, but those would be the ONLY three lenses you would be allowed to use for the next decade, which three lenses would you choose?

 whoosh1's gear list:whoosh1's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon D810 Fujifilm X-T20 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +16 more
PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 14,219
Probably the three lenses I travel with now

16-35vr, 24-70f2.8 (Nikon), 80-400g

They fit in my bag, and while I carry some other lenses with me, typically, I hardly use anything else.

One way of saying it is that they are less specialized than anything else I have.

I might have said 14-24 instead of 16-35, but it's too big to fit in the waist bag so it tends to stay home, the best lens I rarely use.

I'd like to think of a way to get an exotic telephoto in there, but they're too specialized for me to give up one of the above.

-- hide signature --

Craig
www.cjcphoto.net

 PHXAZCRAIG's gear list:PHXAZCRAIG's gear list
Nikon D80 Nikon D200 Nikon D300 Nikon D700 Nikon 1 V1 +37 more
Felts Contributing Member • Posts: 582
Re: This was a difficult exercise!
1

Rexgig0 wrote:

Even so, choosing an ultra-wide prime, rather than a wide-normal prime, was not so easy, and selecting the 18mm, with its complex moustache distortion, rather than my 16mm 2.8D Fisheye, with its greater but simpler distortion, was also difficult.

If you use Lightroom, the 20mm 2.8D lens profile works a treat for the 18mm as well. You can then save it as a preset... easy!

I also include some basic sharpening etc. in my preset then tweak more/less if necessary. If you need any more info on this then PM me. 

-- hide signature --
 Felts's gear list:Felts's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Pentax K-1 Pentax smc FA 31mm F1.8 AL Limited Pentax smc FA 43mm F1.9 Limited Pentax smc FA 77mm 1.8 Limited +3 more
Rick L Contributing Member • Posts: 907
Re: 28mm f1.8G, 58 f1.4G 80-200 f2.8D
1

For example, if I were able, instead of a $1200 Tamron 150-600 I would happily purchase an F2.8 400 and an F4 600, together with the services of a porter (or two) to carry them around for me. Don't laugh, I've seen it with my own eyes!

When Ansel Adams was asked how bit a camera one should have, he responded as big and you can carry.  In later years, he amended that to as big as your mule can carry!

-- hide signature --
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.

TQGroup
TQGroup Senior Member • Posts: 1,901
Re: 28mm f1.8G, 58 f1.4G 80-200 f2.8D

Tuanglen wrote:

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.

Talk about convergence... your 3 are very similar to my 3 options (in fantasy) and even closer to my 3 travelling options in reality. Scary, isn't it?

 TQGroup's gear list:TQGroup's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3-5-4.5G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +24 more
xtm Senior Member • Posts: 1,155
Re: Any three lenses (but only three)

16-35 f/4

24-70 2.8

200 f/2 VR

 xtm's gear list:xtm's gear list
Nikon Df Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200mm f/2G ED-IF VR +2 more
ormdig
ormdig Senior Member • Posts: 2,244
Re: Any three lenses (but only three)

While there are some primes I would like if money is no object:

58mm f/1.4, 135f/2 and the 200 f/2.

I will stick with zooms as they fit 90% of my shooting:

24/70 f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8 and (money is no object!) 200-400 f/4,

-- hide signature --

Pete

 ormdig's gear list:ormdig's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S 105mm F1.4E ED +7 more
flbrit Veteran Member • Posts: 4,256
My three lenses
3

Nikon 14-24

Nikon 24-70 (own it)

Nikon 80-400 AFS G (own it)

Own a number of primes (18(Zeiss) 24 35 58 85(Nikons)) but would reluctantly have to forgo them for the focal range.

Brian

 flbrit's gear list:flbrit's gear list
Sony a7R II Olympus PEN-F Olympus E-M1 II Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Zeiss Loxia 21mm F2.8 +14 more
whoosh1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,661
Materialistic alternative - 400mm FL, 600mm & 800mm - and sell :-)

Even more materialistic alternative (if photography was not my passion) - get 400mm FL (~$12k), 600mm VR (~$10k) and 800mm FL (~$18k). These $40k worth of lenses would be free to me (in this hypothetical experiment). Sell them for $35k - and go for $35k worth of trips & take pictures with a P&S or an iPhone :-).

whoosh1 wrote:

May go for Zeiss 135mm or Nikon 200mm VR instead of the Zeiss 15mm for killer portraits. Would likely be torn between the Zeiss 15mm, Zeiss 135mm and Nikon 200mm. The other 2 would be the fluorite lenses - 400mm and 800mm.

Here's why:

1. They are given to me free - might as well get the best lenses that are hard to afford

2. For the next decade - specialize and master in photography that will really stand out from others (bird/wildlife/sports due to focal lengths involved - or really wide with Zeiss 15mm OR killer portraits with Zeiss 135/Nikon 200). Return to other photography types after a decade.

3. For general photography - cheat a little and get a Sony RX100 III (24-70 equivalent) - if that is not allowed - then an iPhone.

Tuanglen wrote:

If you could pick any three lenses for a Nikon FX camera, and they would be given to you for free, but those would be the ONLY three lenses you would be allowed to use for the next decade, which three lenses would you choose?

 whoosh1's gear list:whoosh1's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon D810 Fujifilm X-T20 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +16 more
OP Tuanglen Junior Member • Posts: 40
Re: Materialistic alternative - 400mm FL, 600mm & 800mm - and sell :-)

whoosh1 wrote:

Even more materialistic alternative (if photography was not my passion) - get 400mm FL (~$12k), 600mm VR (~$10k) and 800mm FL (~$18k). These $40k worth of lenses would be free to me (in this hypothetical experiment). Sell them for $35k - and go for $35k worth of trips & take pictures with a P&S or an iPhone :-).

Yes, great (or at least sneaky) minds think alike, and that's why I forbade that sort of thing in the imaginary fine print. Given such an offer with no fine print, I would have looked to Nikon's industrial side for some sort of lens system that was ridiculously expensive, requested three (for free), sold them, and used some of the proceeds for a budget camera or, if required to, waited ten years and then sold them. If I had to wait ten years to sell, I might just request two of them plus a 28-300mm do-everything lens to capture moments in life over those ten years that would be too precious to miss (and an iPhone isn't flexible enough to capture a lot of them).

But since the deal wasn't real, I figured writing down a lot of fine print would result in fewer respondents, so I stuck with K.I.S.S. and left it implied.

FWIW, the imaginary fine print disallowed P&S cameras but allowed cameras on phones. The reason was that I, and most of us, will be carrying smart phones from now on, so strategies that assumed an ever-present phone in the pocket would have more practical value.

I suspect that if I ask the same question five years from now, I won't want to limit it to "Nikon mount" due to improvements in small, mirrorless solutions.

nathantw Senior Member • Posts: 1,725
Re: Any three lenses (but only three)

24mm f/1.4g, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4. I basically used those 3 for decades but they were f/1.8 and f/2.8 versions.

-- hide signature --

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathantw/
Always have a camera with you and make sure you use it.

anotherMike Veteran Member • Posts: 9,203
Re: Any three lenses (but only three)

Landscape: Zeiss 21/2.8, Nikon 24/1.4G, Zeiss 135/2 Apo Sonnar

Studio: Sigma 35/1.4 Art, Nikon 24-70/2.8G, Nikon 200/2G AFS

-m

OP Tuanglen Junior Member • Posts: 40
Re: Any three lenses (but only three)

anotherMike wrote:

Landscape: Zeiss 21/2.8, Nikon 24/1.4G, Zeiss 135/2 Apo Sonnar

Studio: Sigma 35/1.4 Art, Nikon 24-70/2.8G, Nikon 200/2G AFS

-m

Mike, if I recall correctly, you concluded a few days ago that the Sigma 35/1.4 Art was your favorite 35 for landscapes, beating out even the Zeiss 35.

Yet, if you only had three lenses for landscapes, you would still rather have both the Zeiss 21 and the Nikon 24, at nearly the same focal length, than pick one of them and spread out a little by adding your very favorite 35 for this exact purpose.

I can imagine various reasons, but I'd rather hear it from you given how carefully you analyze these things: why would you rather have the (Zeiss 21, Nikon 24) pair than either the (Zeiss 21, Sigma 35) or (Nikon 24, Sigma 35) pairs?

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads