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Thread: Lens lineup: opinion?

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    Member Frits's Avatar
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    Lens lineup: opinion?

    I am a (very happy) recent Leica convert (M9).
    I have pretty much built up the kit that I wanted, but I am not sure whether I made the right choice.
    My current lineup is 28 - 35 - 50 and 90mm.
    The 90 and the 50 stay for sure but I question the proximity of the 2 others.

    Options currently being considered:

    1) Stay as is
    2) 24 - 35 - 50 - 90 (change the 28 for a 24)
    3) 28 - 50 - 90 (drop the 35)

    I have only done some random shooting so far. I have a Caribbean vacation coming up soon, which will probably give me a better feeling on what I want to do.

    What is your experience / opinion?
    Frits

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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    There's no right answer only the answer of what focal lengths you like. It all comes down to how you see the shot and what you're comfortable with. If you prefer 28 then stick with that and drop the 35. If the 35 works for you then maybe drop the 28 and add a 21 or 24 if you like wider.
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    Senior Member Per Ofverbeck's Avatar
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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    First of all: since you already own them, DO NOT sell any of them right now unless you absolutely have to! TheyŽll keep their value well, and your taste and priorities will change a lot over time.

    For the time being, however, put away all but one of them, and start out with only one lens (35 or 50 are easiest to start with) for a few months. This way, youŽll learn what this one lens can actually do for you (and that will be a lot, with either one of them).

    Also, youŽll find out in what direction you should go with your second lens: longer or shorter? So, in due time, get either the 28 or the 90 (not both) from the cupboard, and try to use those two for another few months. After that, youŽll be experienced enough to decide about that final lens....

    FWIW, I own 35, 50, 75, 90, and 135 for my M9, but hardly ever carry more than two of them. 135 is only for those few occasions where I really need the longest possible lens, and then preferrably on a Visoflex. Otherwise, I take either 35 + 75 (indoors, street, people) or 50 + 90 (running dogs, portraits & c).

    I should add that since I have to use glasses when shooting, I just plain cannot see the 28 frame, so my photographic universe starts at 35 mm....
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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    IMO, the 35mm FL is the essence of RF shooting. No RF shooter should be without a 35mm lens. I don't like the 28mm FL on RF. The frames are very difficult to see in the VF and if you decide to get an external VF, why not get a 24/25 for better spacing and slightly wider view? As you can see in my signature, that is exactly what I did.
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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    My lineup is very similar to yours Edward except I have two 35's, two 50's, no 18 (yet) and a 24/90 where your 25/85 goes.
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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Per Ofverbeck View Post
    First of all: since you already own them, DO NOT sell any of them right now unless you absolutely have to! TheyŽll keep their value well, and your taste and priorities will change a lot over time.

    For the time being, however, put away all but one of them, and start out with only one lens (35 or 50 are easiest to start with) for a few months. This way, youŽll learn what this one lens can actually do for you (and that will be a lot, with either one of them).

    Also, youŽll find out in what direction you should go with your second lens: longer or shorter? So, in due time, get either the 28 or the 90 (not both) from the cupboard, and try to use those two for another few months. After that, youŽll be experienced enough to decide about that final lens....

    FWIW, I own 35, 50, 75, 90, and 135 for my M9, but hardly ever carry more than two of them. 135 is only for those few occasions where I really need the longest possible lens, and then preferrably on a Visoflex. Otherwise, I take either 35 + 75 (indoors, street, people) or 50 + 90 (running dogs, portraits & c).

    I should add that since I have to use glasses when shooting, I just plain cannot see the 28 frame, so my photographic universe starts at 35 mm....
    My thoughts almost exactly. ... You have more than enough lenses already. Put one lens on the camera and don't take it off until you've made and studied a thousand exposures. That will help you really learn the camera and the lens.

    We all tend to have much more equipment than is really needed, or good for our photography. I'm as guilty as anyone there.

    Per, I have the same problem, but I've learned to see what a 28mm sees by looking through the viewfinder and imagining the real FoV. Since I tend to shoot loose, it works out fine. :-)

    (My kit spans 21-28-35-40-50-90-135 mm lenses. Missing that 75mm ... 8^O)

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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    I agree with the others who said, stay as is (also don't sell anything that you already own!).

    If you need to go wider, you need external finders.
    Last edited by Vivek; 12th January 2013 at 09:47.

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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    Well, it sounds like you have not shot enough with what you have. Work with your lenses and see what you use and don't you. Choosing focal lengths in not a value distribution problem.

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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    Agree with others that you should stick with what you have . Using those 4 lenses ..I would either take the 28/50/90 expecting shoot a lot and have the ability to change lenses occasionally or just the 35 by itself . You have a nice set of lenses ... I would add a 21 when funds allow . Generally I try to limit myself to 3-4 lenses when I am working ..but I may pick those from a larger number .

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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    Don't drop the 35, and add the 24. If you see no use in the 28 (I think you will) or you don't use your 35 (you will) then sell them

    I have 21,24,28,35,50 and 75 I sold my 90 as I simply didn't use and I may sell my 21 for the same reasons. I have two 35's and three 50's and I use them

    Take your time

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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    Quote Originally Posted by IWC Doppel View Post
    Don't drop the 35, and add the 24. If you see no use in the 28 (I think you will) or you don't use your 35 (you will) then sell them

    Take your time
    Thanks all for your input, much appreciated!
    This probably is what I will end up doing.
    I think the 35 is great for general walk-about use. I cannot imagine letting it go.
    So, with the 90 - 50 - 35 lineup all but confirmed, it is the 28 that makes me wonder. It is an excellent lens (Elmarit ASPH), but a 24 would probably make more sense in my kit for some wide scenery shooting.
    I was thinking of trading my 28 for a 24, but I like the advice not to sell anything until being sure what stays and what goes.
    Frits

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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    If I were you I'd bring all lenses along and use them as I feel like at the moment. Then when I come back, I'd do a quick count to see how often each lens was used on the trip. Then I'd look at all the pictures I've taken and pick out the ones I like most, then see what lenses were used most in those favorite ones. That should give me a rough idea which lenses please me most and in what order.

    However, if you were to go on another trip and you did the same drill all over again, you might come up with different statistics. That's because your need might have changed due to different subject matter.

    It's not easy to decide which lens set is "best" just going by the focal lengths. Your usage need dictates your choice. Over time you will know which one(s) to take for which occasion.
    Phil

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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    I own allmost all focal length fro 21 to 135 for Leica M. For my taste in the wider range I like 28mm a lot. It has also the advantage that you dont need an external viewfinder and still can frame accurate.
    I tried to like 24mm but for me its either 28 or if I need wider I like 21mm.
    However my preferences have changed over the years. For some time I used 35mm a lot, lately I use 50 or 28.

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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    Use one lens for at least six months. Learn it. Master it. Then change to a different lens and repeat. Buying a focal length is not the same as learning and mastering it.

    I would start with a 50 or a 35. Good luck with your choice.
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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    Frits, thanks for opening up this thread, it's an interesting read to see all the opinions and suggestions. As I may eventually take the road of adding a 2nd lens to my 50mm. But as of now, I'm really liking the idea of not having to think of another FL option in my bag.
    Kindest,
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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    My lineup is very similar to yours Edward except I have two 35's, two 50's, no 18 (yet) and a 24/90 where your 25/85 goes.
    Well, great minds think alike

    Kidding aside, indeed this combination works very well for me as I seem to prefer working with these FL. However my 2 equally most used lenses are the 35 and 50, and I guess I'm not alone judging from a recent poll on RFF. They are on the camera 90% of the time, as a conservative estimate.
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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    I'd say the 28-50-90 spread, or 21-35-75 spread to be quite sufficient. Maybe throw in one lens from one set into the other (e.g. 21-28-50-90). Pretty much covers everything without crowding.

    Depends on how much you like to change lenses, really. If I have a zoom - I use it. If I'm shooting primes, I'm often too lazy to change lenses unless really necessary.

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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    I don't quite get these "spreads". A 35 can never be substituted with a 28+50, nor can a 28 be substituted with a 24+35.

    Simply choose your lens of the day and work with it. The only effective substitution to these lens "spreads" is a clever composition. It's all in the composition.
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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    This first thing to figure out if your dominant lens is 28, 35 or 50. Most people have a strong preference for one of those focal lengths (35mm probably the leading option). Then add lenses around that lens in focal length spacings / intervals that work for you.

    What works best for you depends on what you like to take pictures of, your framing / composition preferences, etc. And there is the catch-22 --- those things change over time. Sure the as the sign will shine tomorrow, about 2 months after selling a lens, you begin to wonder if maybe you should have kept it. If you have the financial budget to do so, keep 'em all!

    As a serial lens flipper, don't do as I do, do as I say

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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    Some say less is more and are quite happy.

    My lens line up includes a 24, 28, 35(3), 50(4), 75, 90(2), and 135. Four of the lens, 35, 50, 90, and 135 are LTM and manufactured in the 1950's. The 28 and one of the 50's are LTM Voigtlander lens. I enjoy using each of the lens and rotate them in use as the mood stikes. Like others I have bought and sold lens to experiment or in response to a bout of GAS.

    Certainly there are certainly others that I would like to work with, time and patience.

    . . . . . with that said, I would recommend that you keep what is capable within your budget. I found that when I have sold a lens it has worked out to be a inexpensive rental and on occasion a break-even or even profitable.

    Good luck with your decision.

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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post

    Depends on how much you like to change lenses, really. If I have a zoom - I use it. If I'm shooting primes, I'm often too lazy to change lenses unless really necessary.
    I think changing lenses frequently on a shoot isn't necessary. I often work with one lens only. I may bring everything with me, but once on the spot, I will decide which lens I want to use based on the subject matter and what I'm trying to achieve, and normally would stick with it all the way. If I know the spot well, I will take just one lens that i want to use and leave the rest at home.
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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    I think changing lenses frequently on a shoot isn't necessary. I often work with one lens only. I may bring everything with me, but once on the spot, I will decide which lens I want to use based on the subject matter and what I'm trying to achieve, and normally would stick with it all the way. If I know the spot well, I will take just one lens that i want to use and leave the rest at home.
    I only very very rarely regret not having a lens with me. I use one lens for the vast majority of all my shooting sessions ... often carry two, make the decision which to go with when I get to where or what it is I want to shoot, and never change for the remainder of the session.

    This is particularly true when I'm using ultra-wides. I find swapping between an ultrawide and a normal generally produces poor work with both ... I guess I can't change mental fields of view very quickly. When I work with ultra wide in particular, it's the ONLY lens I have with me and I quickly come to see in what it sees, and nothing else.

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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    I'm not suggesting that a 28+50 will substitute for a 35 if a 35 is what you need. John perhaps made the point clearer. Start with your main focal length; be it 35, 50 or whatever. Build out from there. Of course it depends on what and how you shoot. There's no rule about a spread as much as it is a collection of your favorite focal lengths, really. But if you have a limited budget, getting every focal length along the way isn't all that practical.

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    Re: Lens lineup: opinion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    But if you have a limited budget, getting every focal length along the way isn't all that practical.
    No but a good kit is feasible on a budget with selective and smart purchasing. For instance getting a ZM 50 Planar (or 35 Biogon-C if you're a 35 person), a Biogon or older Leica for your wide, and a older Leica, CV 75 Color Heliar, or ZM 85/4 for your telephoto. That would net you a very good kit for under $2500 new and less if you're patient.
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