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Thread: Which prime lenses to buy or use?

  1. #1

    Default Which prime lenses to buy or use?

    I am in the process of building up a collection of lenses for my newly acquired SLR body. At the moment, I do not have any lenses, but I am considering acquiring some primes. Problem is that I do not have any idea of what combination of primes to get, and I was hoping for some suggestions from the rest of you.

    Suppose that you have an opportunity to take 4 primes and a body for a holiday, and bearing in mind that you will have to lug the darn stuff around wherever you go. i.e imagine that you have to even carry the stuff with you to the toilet. Which 4 primes will you choose for this purpose? It can be any holiday to any destination, from Nepal to New York, anywhere.

    Please share your thoughts with me why you will bring these lenses, and what you will do with these lenses. Does not what brands they are as the available focal lengths for primes tend to be pretty similar across the brands. e.g. 1 wide, 1 low light, 1 tele, 1 macro etc

    BTW, the only reason why I am not asking about zooms is because I have not asked yet.

  2. #2

    Default

    My gawd... prime lenses are SOOOO heavy. Are you sure you want to carry so much?

    I recommend a 20mm (landscape), 50mm (in city or other close up areas), 100m (spotting detail) and 200mm.

    I used these lenses with my A-1. And I always complain about the weight whenever I go to China. My dad is smart, he bought another A-1, took my 50mm and made me carry the rest all over the mountains.

    THAT is why I buy zoom lenses now.

  3. #3

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    4 Primes? man...tt's a little bit too excessive if you ask me....

    Anyway...the 4 primes I would bring are 20mm, 28mm, 50mm and 85mm. A 1.4TC would go very well with the 85mm if luggage allows.

    Of course...if I had the money...I'd go for the 24mm TS-E, 35mm, 85mm and mabe a 20mm for street shoots.

  4. #4

    Default

    I guess that the weight really depends on the system that is in use. I am currently using a manual focus system, as such, the lenses tend to be smaller and weight tends to be somewhat lighter.

    Please keep your suggestions coming in. I do already see some good ideas that I did not think of before.

  5. #5

    Default

    Originally posted by VincentLin
    My gawd... prime lenses are SOOOO heavy. Are you sure you want to carry so much?
    No there not .... unless you are talking about lenses like

    Canon .... 50/1.0, 85/1.2, 200/1.8, 300/2.8, 300/4 etc
    Nikon .... 135/2, 300/2.8, 300/4, 400/2.8 etc

    If I was to choose 4 primes out of the ones I own for a holiday it would be the following 5

    20/2.8, 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8 and 180/2.8 along with a 1.4 TC and extension tubes.

  6. #6
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    Default

    I recently went to New Zealand with the following combo:

    Bessa R
    Bessa L
    15mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 90mm.

    The combo was extremely light and compact, being all rangefinder cameras and lenses. The 15mm and 35mm got used most, followed by the 90mm and 28mm. The 50mm got no use.

    That said, if I had to choose only 4 lenses for any SLR kit, it would be : 35mm and 90mm (the 90 can be a macro), and space allowing, a 20 or 24mm and a 200mm. That said, my suggestion would be:

    20mm , 35mm, 90mm macro and an 80-200mm. The 20 for landscape, 35mm for general use, 90mm for potrait and macro... and the zoom "just in case" (it gets used least in my case).

    When travelling with my EOS kit, these days I travel with:
    17-35mm , 50mm and 80-200mm and a 2x. but its heavy.

  7. #7

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    Hello Keltzar,

    I have to agree with you 100% that the rangefinder combination is hard to beat as a set up for travels. I gave up the idea of using a rangefinder and sold my G2 set and went back to a SLR set up, only because of the greater degree of comfort and versatility that I missed about it. In fact, if ever I were to try out a rangefinder again, I would not hesitate to try out a R2 set up, maybe with a similar range of focal lengths as you have used for your trip to New Zealand!

    Hello Vincent & Jimmy,

    I noticed that both of you have something that is similar, a 200mm for Vincent and a 180mm for Jimmy. What do you normally use this focal length for? I have never used anything more than the 85/90/100 range, and when I did, they were only for spotting details like what Vincent mentioned. Any suggestions on what a focal length like this can be used for? It is something that I have never really considered.

  8. #8

    Default

    jimmy : oh... sorry, I didn't mention the apertures... trust me, they are still heavy. FD lenses are quite heavy. You have to factor in other things that you are carrying (like clothes and water).

    parchiao : 200mm? hahaha... i use it more for abstract things, focal length like this (i find) can be very useful in this function. either that of discreet photography of beautiful females locals... wah erhm... i didn't say that.

    my advice is based mainly on my manual camera. So, if you are buying a newer generation camera, the weight of the lenses might not be such an issue.

  9. #9

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    And yes... when I go travelling with my EOS camera (nowadays), I just bring my 28-135mm and loads of film.

    I find this zoom to be quite useful. Doesn't weigh much. Fits into a small camera bag and carry on luggage.

    I don't think fast lenses would be useful (heavier mah, airline will complain). I'm of small built and I don't like to carry so much weight too (my picture link below tells a thousand tales). So I stick with a decent lens with some 100 and 200 Sensia films.

    Need a tripod? Forget it. I use my haversack's frame as a makeshift tripod.

    Then again... I'm tired of carrying my SLR. I'm looking into buying a Bessa R with 35mm.
    Last edited by VincentLin; 10th June 2003 at 12:14 AM.

  10. #10
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    4 primes? That's a bit purist isn't it?
    Anyway, for me on a EOS system, I will bring:
    20mm f2.8 (For landscapes)
    50mm f1.8 (For general street photography)
    135mm f2.0L (For portraits, 135mm allows more space between you and the subject)
    And a 200mm f1.8L (Absolutely the brightest lens in the EOS system)

    Usually, I will only bring my 50mm prime, plus a couple of zooms. Will be going to Japan in 2 weeks' time, my setup is a 20-35mm,
    50mm, 75-300mm and a 28-105mm.

  11. #11
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    Default

    Just come across this article...

    If you are into outdoor hiking this might be useful.

    FAQ- His camera bag

    When comes to SLR, I'm learning to see with a 50mm lens, since it is the cheapest brightest lens and easy to carry.

  12. #12

    Default

    u only need 3:

    28mm, 135mm, 400mm[or 500mm]

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Which prime lenses to buy or use?

    Originally posted by Parchiao
    I am in the process of building up a collection of lenses for my newly acquired SLR body. At the moment, I do not have any lenses, but I am considering acquiring some primes. Problem is that I do not have any idea of what combination of primes to get, and I was hoping for some suggestions from the rest of you.

    Suppose that you have an opportunity to take 4 primes and a body for a holiday, and bearing in mind that you will have to lug the darn stuff around wherever you go. i.e imagine that you have to even carry the stuff with you to the toilet. Which 4 primes will you choose for this purpose? It can be any holiday to any destination, from Nepal to New York, anywhere.

    Please share your thoughts with me why you will bring these lenses, and what you will do with these lenses. Does not what brands they are as the available focal lengths for primes tend to be pretty similar across the brands. e.g. 1 wide, 1 low light, 1 tele, 1 macro etc

    BTW, the only reason why I am not asking about zooms is because I have not asked yet.
    (Street Shooting Priority)
    24mm f2.8, 35mm f2, 85mm f1.8, 100mm f2.8 Marco, 2xTC

    or

    (Nature & Landscape Priority)
    20mm f2.8, 28mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8, 100mm f2.8 Marco, 2xTC

    The above are two common combination.

    The TC is included for taking sunrise/sunset with the 100mm.

    Please keep in mind that no matter how good your prime is, they only suck during low light if you did not use proper support ( eg. bean bag, tripod)
    Last edited by jasonpgc; 10th June 2003 at 01:40 PM.

  14. #14

    Default

    Hmmm...actually I'm rather curious....the original post was asking for primes for a holiday...err..how come I'm seeing the huge super teles in the line up as well? (Re: 200/1.8, 300/400 mm lens?)

    Unless we're talking about a safari here?

  15. #15

    Default

    I think that they must have thought that I wanted to bring the camera and lenses to the ladies.

    In any case, many thanks for the suggestions. I have a better idea of what lenses to get, based on some very interesting combinations.

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