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Thread: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

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    What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    I thought this might be an interesting topic for us to discuss. If you were to carry all day, one lens, which would it be...

    For me, it would be a boring 50mm lens, either on FF or crop, this seems to do it, most likely it would be a macro lens, as I enjoy close up work, but in lieu of that, even a 50mm 1.4. I like the field of vew, even though they are different of crop cameras, but I mostly shoot with my 5D these days. It is light and it makes me move around more, where the zooms are heavier and I think I get lazy, both physically and photographically....so what do y'all think...???

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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    Don,

    I agree that using a prime lens can keep away the "lazies" in one. A good exercise (or maybe even a "method") is to put a prime lens on a body and walk around using only that one lens for the day. Some of my most rewarding days have been done just this way.

    I've done this with the 135mm f/2.0 on FF and had some great days walking around Bangkok or other places where people will be in the photos. The longer lens allow me to "get close" without climbing up on the subject's lap to do it – building in a bit of a comfort zone for them. I've used the 85 f/1.2 for this too, but the speed of the 135 really helps. And the 135 will focus close for close-up shots of fruit in a cart or whatever.

    On the other hand, I like the 35mm lens for this type of outing too. My 50mm f/1.4 is my least used lens, but that's just me. I've always been one to not relate well to that focal length. Although, with that being said, I do see that some of my shots with the 24-70mm end up on 50mm, so I must not really dislike the focal length all the time.

    For scenics I usually go wide, and I like close-ups and some macro (or near macro) for which I usually use the 100, but the 300 is great for a certain kind of close-up that I like to do. So for nature or scenic stuff my kit is usually absurdly heavy.

    If you sent me out for the day with only one prime lens though, I might choose the 135mm f/2.0. Alternate choice would be 35mm.

    Edit to add: If I owned a Leica M8 and was to go out for a day of street photography I'd surely choose the 50mm or shorter (wider) because the rangefinder is far less intimidating to people.
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 22nd May 2008 at 11:58.

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    Since I only recently became flush with 3 (count 'em!) primes for my M8, I find that I can very easily take whichever one is left on the camera and manage shooting hours or even all day without changing. Maybe I'm a lazy changer. But certainly with either the 28 or the 75 I can find things and ways to shoot without too much trouble. The 21 maybe less so, but it's still doable.

    But to answer the question more directly (sorry), I guess I'd have to say the 28 is the most frequently used.

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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    With my Canon for sports my 400 2.8 for street work my 35 mm 1.4 for concert work my 85 mm 1.2

    With my leica my 35 mm 1.4

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    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    35L on the 5D. 35mm is to me perfect shoot anything focal length.

    P.S. I've gotten my zooms down to three, 16-35, 24-70, 70-200IS. I have all the fixed focal lengths from 14 to 400 (with a hole at 300 - the 200/2.8 and 1.4ext currently fills that but look at 300/2.8 somtime).

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    Dale - you made a great point, and that is the best way to really get to know photography as a whole is to fix one prime lens and shoot with nothing but that for a period of time, days or weeks. That way one really gets used to the focal length and how to use it and also gets some physical exercise...my cardiologist is sooo happpy...I think starting in the 60's shooting, no one used zooms much way back then, most just started with a 50mm prime, I remember being so happy when I got that first second lens, a 135mm if I recall, wow, that was something, a whole new way of looking at thinks, then bam, a 28 or 24mm, not sure, and bam again, new views, and perspectives to explore.. today with zooms it is all to easy and I know I get bogged down thinking about gear and GAS overall, that sometime to decompress just going out with a prime lens again is a joy, and kind of redirects you in many ways....guess it is time to put on that 135mm lens again....Don

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    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    I shoot almost nothing but fixed focal lengths and have had the habit of when getting new lens putting it on and shooting nothing but it for a month and carrying the camera with that lens for all that month.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    John - do you think the younger photographers are missing anything by starting with a kit zoom lens over a 50mm prime? Or in the end is it all the same? For todays starter photographers, it seems like the auto everything and zoom lenses are a cheat in certain ways, and might hinder the process overall, as they compensate for more precise care and actual learning the functions of both the camera and what focal lengths and wide apertures can actually give you. I guess though, that if some one is actually interested, NOTHING stops them from attaining this knowledge by intent, though in the "old" days one did not have as much choice in the matter.....

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    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    I think a young photographer starting out with a zoom will take years to unlearn the bad habits he'll get from using a zoom. They will not develop an eye for seeing different images in the same scene. They may never understand DOF.

    I would and do tell young photographers if they are serious get 35, 35 and 90mm lenses and just shoot those for a year or their cropped sensor counter parts.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    Agreed, on all points, too bad most stores don't offer anything but body with lens kits, at least in common chains go, and most kids today want it easy and that is it, if they have any interest in photography at all. Our kids are 'lucky' in that they have us old foggies around to offer a dissenting opinion...haha..

    A prime lens really gives one a feel for what the focal length is good for, and what can be done through experimentation and moving around with a particular lens combination for awhile, sort of analogous to learning how to drive a standard transmission car, gives you a better understanding of how the car works and feel for better controll....too bad a whole generation mostly misses these benefits....

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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnastovall View Post
    I think a young photographer starting out with a zoom will take years to unlearn the bad habits he'll get from using a zoom. They will not develop an eye for seeing different images in the same scene. They may never understand DOF.

    I would and do tell young photographers if they are serious get 35, 35 and 90mm lenses and just shoot those for a year or their cropped sensor counter parts.
    Erratum:

    "35, 35 and" to "35, 50 and"

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
    Mike Johnston


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    Senior Member Arne Hvaring's Avatar
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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    It depends upon what I'm doing. For all round shooting, people, family and travel, the 35 mm is my prime choice. But it's not my most used prime, that honour goes to the 90 mm TS/E. I constantly use/need the tilt and (to a less degree) shift capabilities of this lens. It is also very sharp both at distance and in the near field. Goes well with the 1,4x converter too.

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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    When I had it, the 45 and 90 TSE's saw about equal use for landscape while the 50/1.4 definitely saw the most use for travel/general, followed closely by the 85/1.8.
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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    Over the past few years, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 has been my most used, primarily shot on a 5D. The focal length suits me well, and the lens is an excellent performer.

    Recently the Olympus Zuiko OM 40mm f/2 has been my most used lens. I love how it handles on the OM-2n. It too is an excellent optical performer, and 40mm suits me even better than 50mm.

    Having received the Zuiko Digital 25mm f/2.8 a couple days ago, I think I'll be spending quite a bit of time with just this lens and the E-420. Digital is so much easier than film, and this combo is as close as I can get to the E-420 and OM 40.

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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    Coming from 4x5 to the Contax 645 with Aptus 775, I am using the 45mm like I did the 110mm Schneider. The 35mm is about like a 90mm on 4x5 so I use that but not quite as much as the 45mm. I also like the 140mm with and without the 1.4x Mutar.

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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    My favorite 2 lenses on the Canon where the 135 F2 and of course the 200 1.8. They are i think 2 of there best lenses at the time. I liked the 85 1.2 also. Now this goes back several years until I started to bolt on Zeiss and leica glass. My favorite R lens was the 180 F2 and the 19mm
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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    I have to say that in my case it is the 90mm TSE and the leica 28mm R. When i travel, these two lenses are clearly the most used. However, if i am shooting wildlife either my 300/4 or 500/4. Mark

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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    On Canon 85/1.2L - on anything else - the fastest 50 I can lay my hands on. My favourite zoom from Canon - was the 17-40F4L it actually focussed properly. -

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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    Most used Canon prime?

    Most used for me is defined by shooting weddings with a Canon 1DsMKIII ... so, 35/1.4L followed closely by the 85/1.2L -II. If I had to bolt on one prime lens only, it'd be the 50/1.2L.

    When I am restricted to one lens ... (and that happens at a wedding where you have jump out of the vehicle and shoot the wedding party at some location they stop at), I always select my Zeiss N24-85/3.5 with a Conrus EOS AF mount. It is the only zoom lens I own for the Canon.

    Leica M8, it'd be the 28/2ASPH because of the 1.3X cropped sensor ... For MF digital, it's almost always the HC 100/2.2 Prime.

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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    Shot a wedding Monday where I did all the portraits and B&G shots from start to finish with just one lens, my 85mm 1.8, I was shooting in low light and my 24-70L just doesn't sharpen up enough wide open. It was fun eventhough for candid work that 85mm that I once was almost married to has been surplanted for the more petite 50mm 1.4, I've fallen in love with the way a 50mm draws eventhough it's a inferior lens in almost every way.

    I shoot weddings with two cameras (FF) on me, one with the zoom and flash, the other with prime wide open. The prime only shots make up 15-20% of the final proofs which is not bad considering what a high percentage of the proofs are taken up by 'must have' shots in the very ceremony intensive weddings I shoot.



    Left is 85mm @ f2.8 posed and light fill flash, right is 50mm @ f1.8 candid of the bride in the synagogue just before the veiling ceremony.
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    Super Duper
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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Shot a wedding Monday where I did all the portraits and B&G shots from start to finish with just one lens, my 85mm 1.8, I was shooting in low light and my 24-70L just doesn't sharpen up enough wide open. It was fun eventhough for candid work that 85mm that I once was almost married to has been surplanted for the more petite 50mm 1.4, I've fallen in love with the way a 50mm draws eventhough it's a inferior lens in almost every way.

    I shoot weddings with two cameras (FF) on me, one with the zoom and flash, the other with prime wide open. The prime only shots make up 15-20% of the final proofs which is not bad considering what a high percentage of the proofs are taken up by 'must have' shots in the very ceremony intensive weddings I shoot.



    Left is 85mm @ f2.8 posed and light fill flash, right is 50mm @ f1.8 candid of the bride in the synagogue just before the veiling ceremony.
    Your wedding work is getting better Ben. Nice.

    May be selling the Zeiss 24-85 you've been longing for. PM me.

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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    Only 'getting better' Marc? That's not a way to sell a lens!
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Super Duper
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    Re: What is your most used prime lens?Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Only 'getting better' Marc? That's not a way to sell a lens!
    Well, when you're already good each step after that is incremental Ben.

    I'm actually getting worse ... except for my last wedding ... which was a little better

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