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Friday, 22 January 2010

Comments

My favorite is the Nikon 105DC f/2. I don't use the DC feature and it's not super sharp at f/2, but I love how it renders people's skin in portraits - there's a creaminess I didn't see in the 85 1.4, 70-200VR, etc.

A lens I miss is the Pentax 50mm f1.7 SMC A lens. I love normal lenses, and this one produced wonderful images for me for about 10 years. Then, in a fit of buying new stuff, I sold it off with the K1000 that it was essentially welded to. It's the only lens I regret getting rid of.

I really loved my Canon 50L, but I did not like the Canon cameras as much and sold the lot. The 50L rendering was beautiful, a real story teller lens.

My current favorite on hand is the Zeiss C Sonnar 50/1.5 m-mount lens. I've used it on a Zeiss Ikon and on the Olympus E-P2. It has a unique way of rendering, and contrast and bokeh are beautiful. I use it almost exclusively in B&W.

In 35mm it was my 85mm f/1.8 Canon FD breach lock mount lens.

In 4x5 it is my 125mm f/5.6 Fujinon NW.

Mike, I have your lens list bookmarked already, and refer to it often when I'm considering a purchase: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/sm-august-04.shtml

Oh yeah. In Whole Plate, it is my 210mm f/5.6 Caltar II-N (Rodenstock APO-Sironar-N).

My favorite lens, even though I don't use it as much recently as I used to, is the Canon EF 35mm f/2. It's slightly noisy in focusing and very plastic, but its images are lovely. Its resolution is very high and its Bokeh is smooth and even; tends to make the out of focus areas look sharper than they really are. Two images shot with it can be found here

http://hermonjoyner.com/fig_c1.html

and here

http://hermonjoyner.com/edt_a2.html

Both were taken at Mardi Gras World in New Orleans, and were shot close to wide open.

"In Whole Plate, it is my 210mm f/5.6 Caltar II-N (Rodenstock APO-Sironar-N)"

Dave,
I know that lens. A real sleeper.

Mike

My favorite lens, which I use on the 5D, is not pretty, its auto-focus is not the fastest and way too loud, it doesn't have USM, so I have to switch to manual focus when I need it, and it's not glamorous at all.

However, it's cheap, it's small and light, its focal length is close to perfect, it's good enough optically, and it lets me shoot in the dark.

My favorite lens: The Canon EF 35/2.0.

Top 5 lens is a good idea. For me, one of my favorites has to be the Pentax 43mm F/1.9 Limited. Small and sweet.
Another on a crop APS-C (1.5x) camera is the Sigma 24mm F/2.8 (A) manual focus lens (with a big "IF YOU CAN FIND A GOOD COPY" disclaimer)

It's an easy choice, although I no longer own a copy and my work and taste these days has gravitated to wide angles:

The 105mm f2.5 'chrome front ring' Nikkor

105mm F2.5 Nikkor AIS and a 50mm f4 Distagon C. A couple of oldies that still work just fine, like their owner (I hope).
If I could add one more it would be the 80mm 2.8 Planar on the family Rollei but I am already two lenses over the limit.

I have never been able to best my Hasselblad 500C/M for wonderful handling and I have taken many of my favorite pictures with it. I only have one lens for it, the 80mm C T*, which has worked so well for me that I've never felt the need to get any others. I suppose that would make it my favorite lens!

Here's a series of pictures that I made with this camera and lens combination:

http://daltonrooney.com/photographs/sicily

I'm not using the Leicas as much now, but it always was the m 35/1.4 asph. Who knows if I ever get a full frame rangefinder, it will become my most used again.

At the moment it is the CV 40/2 on the 5DII, but it's not quite in the same league.

Dalton,
You're very lucky. If there were two things I could change about my life up till now, they would be: a) to have taken better care of my teeth more consistently, and b) to have used one camera and lens for my whole career as a photographer. Always envied those who do, or did.

Mike

Me, me, me!!! :)

My favourite lens(es): OM 50/1.2 and Olympus 35-100. I don't own either, unfortunately.

I love them for exactly the opposite reasons. The OM has a beautiful softish, dreamy rendering wide open, and while the bokeh can exhibit some not so favourable characteristics, it can also be purely magical.

For a photo, click on my name, the first and fourth photo in the index page gallery.

The 35-100 is much sharper and clearer than the OM. I've used almost as sharp or even sharper lenses, but this one combines the sharpness with a very nice bokeh wide open. Plus I like that it gives a bit colder colours than, say, Sigma lenses.

My site, People, middle row on the third, last page. All three of them were taken with the lens.

Mike I don't mind naming this one because there is only one in the world and I have it.

http://www.blipfoto.com/view.php?id=19934&month=3&year=2007

It has all the right DNA, the word Zeiss appears on the front. I have christened it the Weirdogon. When the aperture on my Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon got sticky I botched the repair and all the blades fell out. Just as an experiment I then reassembled the lens minus aperture, and with the rear element of the front group reversed. Aberrant behaviour in all senses of the word.

I'm very fond of the little Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm F/2.5 in Leica Screwmount. It's small, light, cheap, friendly looking and if the pictures suck I know it can only be me!
Here is a picture.

Pentax 100mm f2.8 M (used on my Pentax MX). Runnerup: Nikon 105mm f2.5 AIS

I was amazed by the quality of the photographs that I got from the Contax G2 45mm 2.0 lens. I have not felt that sense of true amazement with any other lens.

The readily available Canon EF 50mm f/1.4. It's fast, it's small, it's a good length for portraits on a crop-sensor camera.

http://narcissus.net/portraits/pages/etienne.html

My favorite lens to date is the Konica Hexanon 50mm f/2 in M-mount. Relatively inexpensive (when I bought it) and well made. It didn't tend to draw a lot of attention to itself, which I like. I sold off my M-mount stuff last year and it's the one thing I miss.

Simple yet odd.
Olympus Zuiko Digital 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye. No only is it rendering great but it's a challenge every time I mount it on my camera.

Carl Zeiss Distagon 28mm f/2.8 T*

Best wide angle lens I've ever used on a 35mm camera, hands down.

As heavy and bulky as it is, the Nikkor 45mm f/2.8 PC-E is the one lens I simply cannot do without.

I've owned and/or used more gear than I care to admit. The only lens I've ever regretted selling was the original Cooke Triple Convertible mounted in an Ilex shutter. The images made with it weren't any better. It was the communion/association of that particular lens with some of the photographic masters of our time (Ansel Adams, etc) that made it 'special'.

My favorite lens is definitely my m-rokkor 40mm f/2.0. I've recently switched to using a Minolta CLE and am continually blown away by this lens. Amazingly sharp, contrasty, compact and fast.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/klamathfalls/4193934987/sizes/o/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/klamathfalls/4030497217/sizes/o/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/klamathfalls/4194690094/sizes/o/

Hah! I thought I would be the only one talking about the Canon 35mm f2. Same reasons. Broken record: it's cheap, ugly, the hood slides around like a cheap toy, it makes noise, the autofocus button is sticky when your hands are cold, and even when they aren't.

That said, I haven't had it off my 5d in at least a year and I'm thinking about taping it on and selling my other lenses and buying something else. I can do whatever I need to do with this lens. I've learned a lot about photography from it. I never feel limited with this lens. If a picture is too wide angle to take, I can take two and either stitch them together, or better yet, put them side by side. If a picture is too far away it's either a) going to be a crappy picture or b) I'm too far away.

Such a creamy lens. I carried it hitchhiking for 2 months last summer and it was awesome. Yeah. I think I'm going to tape it on.

I have the 85mm 1.8, 100mm f4, 50mm 1.4 and 28mm 2.8. Never use them.

I have always used Pentax gear.
In film days, I loved my SMC Pentax M 35 F2, mounted on my LX.
Now I love the character,the sharpness, the contrast, the size and weight of my DA 40 Limited: a tiny wonderful lens

SMC Pentax-FA 645 FA 1:2.8 150mm (IF) is my current favourite. A fantastic portrait lens, just lovely at f/2.8 framing my daughter.

Although I recently bought a couple that look promising:

SMC Pentax-FA 645 1:3.5 35mm (AL) IF

and the

SMC Pentax-FA 645 1:4.5 33~55mm AL

It looks to be an interesting spring and summer.

My favorite lens is a Rodenstock 210mm Apo-Sironar-S. I use it as much as all the other lenses combined. A great lens for film or digital, 4X5 and also can cover 8X10.

Since I became interested in photographing birds about ten years ago, I've tried many very long Canon telephoto lenses. My favorite is the 300mm f2.8 IS with a 2x extender attached. See http://www.outtakes.com/birds/spoonbill5.html for a shot I took from a kayak in Florida in 2004. The lens is incredibly sharp even with the extender on it.

For more normal uses, I really like the Olympus 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 lens. It's very light weight and compact and can be used wide open without any problem. Most lenses are best stopped down one or two stops, but the Olympus lenses really seem designed to be shot wide open, although they do improve when stopped down. Unfortunately I just sold all my Olympus gear. I can't afford to keep two systems, so I decided to keep the Canon stuff, despite the fact comparable Olympus lenses are lighter and less expensive without being lower quality. If I ever come into some disposable income again, I hope to again buy some Olympus gear.

Either my 28/2.8 AIS Nikkor (nice in every way, especially on an F3), or the 35/2 on my Konica Hexar. I also used to have the Pentax 50 mm 1.7 SMCA and sold it (duh), and haven't liked any of the 50 mm Nikkors as much. But I've only really been buying lenses for five years. There are a lot more out there I'd like to try.

I am a fool, and sold my Canon EF 85 1.8 when I switched to Nikon. While I love the Nikon bodies more, and love the Nikkor 85 1.4, i miss the canon lens something fierce.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rlandrigan/1609985886/

And while I know the Leica 50/2 is sharper, I'm a glutton for punishment and love the late-80's 90/2.8 on an M6 - sharp, good separation, and i lust think the built-in hood is nifty.That lens in one pocket, and the m6 in another, made for a great concert camera.

100/f2.8 Pentax k-mount. Small, light, and fast, what more do you want?

A beaten up Nikkor AI 50mm f/1.4 I got really cheap some months ago. I have little experience with lens, since I´m fresh meat on photography, but that´s definetly the best lens I´ve put my shaky hands on.
A picture with it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/besourolaranja/4116338828/in/set-72157622162511234/

Mike - I didn't mean to give the impression that I only have one camera! It's just that when I have a camera/lens combo that I like, I don't change it often.

One lens is usually enough for me, but I currently have two for my large format camera. That seems about right, I don't imagine I'll change that situation any time soon.

Your point about the teeth is well taken! I need to stop opening beer bottles with mine.

My favorite lens, hands down, is my Olympus 50mm 2.0 Macro.

It is my most outstanding image making tool. I feel very natural & at ease behind it.The intolerable zoom makes me sigh like the lens is an eccentric relative and not curse like it is a poor driver on icy roads. The bokeh is sweet. The sharpness pure. Its utility (macro, portraits, tight landscapes, low light) is only matched by its outstanding results. Fully weather sealed. Attractive flare when I want it. great hood for poor weather conditions. Not intimidating when pointed at people.

I do so love this lens.

Favourite lens -on a 5D - Canon 135/2.0L - it's the reason I bought into Canon EF, after having used and loved the 135/2.0 FD.

Much to my surprise, I realised recently that nearly 90% of my favourite fotos have been taken with this lens.

Second favourite - the 35/2.0 Canon EF - like others posting here, this is a lens you just fall for. I have the 35/1.4L, which is a better lens, but there's something special about the small, light, old fashioned 35/2.0. Mine has been taken by my daughter now, as her only lens on a Canon 30D (50mm equivalent), but I still miss it.

Smooth creamy bokeh on both of these lenses.

The Zeiss Planar 50/1.4 in Contax/Yashica mount because it renders the out of focus background so nicely, yet the in focus areas are crisp sharp and have beautiful contrast. Of medium format lenses, the 80/4 for Mamiya 7 due to its very useful angle of view and extremely good quality.

The Schneider Super-Symmar XL 110mm. On 5x7 it is the equivalent of a 24mm lens on 35mm. It was used for more than 50% of my large format images of the National Parks.

Happened to me, too. Bought a Minolta AF 75-300 mm 1:4.5-5.6 lens (original 1986 version, a.k.a. 'Big Beercan') off eBay in near-mint condition for EUR 90 a few years ago, wrote an ardent review in a German-language Minolta user forum, and saw the going price skyrocketing immediately afterwards. Was it me? Not sure but it seems so. A few months later a typical price for a clean copy was, and still is, EUR 200 or more.

While I still hold this lens in high esteem, it is not my favourite lens. My most-loved lenses are the Minolta MC Rokkor-PG 58 mm 1:1.2 and the Minolta MC Tele Rokkor-PF 100 mm 1:2.5 (older six-element version). Actually I love most of those old Minolta Rokkor lenses from the '60s and '70s ... I'd pay almost any price for a serious digital SLR with SR bayonet mount (35-mm full-frame or APS-C format).

My most-loved lens for use on digital is the Minolta AF 100 mm 1:2. My most-used lens currently is the Sony SAL 70-400 mm G SSM---seems I'm mostly into telephoto lenses ...

Leica 90mm Summicron (1976). I've nearly certainly got example online, but no EXIF data made it into the scans :-).

Vivitar 28-90mm f/2.8-4 Series 1. Surpassed by at least one thing I have now, but I definitely have fond memories, so I'll list it. First wideangle-to-telephoto zoom I owned, and reasonably fast for the time. In fact I've owned at least two of them, one in Nikon AIS and one in Olympus mounts.

Nothing else really. Happy enough with various good lenses.

Was never happy with my Nikkor 105/2.5 AIS; owned that from 1981 until just few years ago when I finally gave up. Supposed to be wonderful, but I just never liked it much. It was too long, and slow, and nothing it did managed to overcome those for me. (I owned the 90mm summicron before it, and got the Olympus 85/2 after it).

I feel a little out of place here - my favorite lens is new, somewhat expensive, and kinda fancy. However I fell in love with it as soon as I saw the first pictures from it: the Canon 24mm f/1.4L II.

A couple of examples:

http://starkindler.us/gallery/BostonSnow-20091205/20091205_IMG_2316
http://starkindler.us/gallery/October-2009/20091027_IMG_1837

My favorite lens is the 40mm F/2.4 Summarit on my old Leica Minilux. It is not too short nor too long. Forty millimeter fits my style perfectly. Also, it is just fast enough to work in most situations. I wish Leica would make one as an interchangeable lens.

No contest for 1st place... Olympus OM Zuiko 90mm F2 macro. I was gutted when Olympus dropped the OM system and then after a decade of inertia launched a digital system which was not backwards-compatible (don't even mention the adapter!). On going digital I switched to Pentax because you can still use their K mount manual focus lenses. So my next favourites are SMC Pentax K 135mm f2.5, 200mm f2.5, 85mm f1.8. You'll notice, no zooms, no autofocus, and somehow I doubt there ever will be.

Of all the many lenses for many formats I've owned in a professional career of 40 years, my all-time favourite would be the Schneider 165mm f8 SuperAngulon for 8x10 and 4x5".
Of lenses I currently possess (for Nikon DSLRs only) I love the little 135mm f2.8 E. Small, lightweight, bitingly sharp even wide-open, good bokeh and beautifully constructed in spite of being part of the "budget" E-series.

When I shot film my favorite lens was the Leica Summicron-M 35/2 (4th version). Still haven't found a lens for my DSLRs that renders pictures quite like it.

Hermon and Mark's posts are very interesting to me. I have two favourite lenses that I use with my Canon 5D: the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and the Canon 85mm f/1.8. Both have beautifully soft bokeh. I have long been seeking a decent 35mm lens because my Canon 35/2 is very soft until stopped down to around f/5.6 and I find its bokeh to be harsh.

I had been planning to one day replace it with a Leica 35mm f/2, but having seen Hermon's photos perhaps I will send my 35/2 to Canon for adjustment.

40mm/f:2.0 Summicron for RF;
35mm/f:2.8 PC Nikor for SLR;
162mm/f:4.5 Raptar for 4x5;
105mm/f:3.7 Ektar for 6x9;
no choice yet for DSLR.

Sigma 15mm fisheye lens on aps-c sony camera (a100 and KM7D previously)

Set of pictures with this combo:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/21017948@N06/sets/72157604587344651/


Nikon 50 f/1.4 (the Af-D version) used on an APS-C camera as a portrait lens.

Sample

I can't claim to have tried a vast number of lens, or have a long experience but everytime I use it I like the results.

I guess that if I had a full frame SLR, I'd like the 85 f/1.4, but I can't afford either so it's a bit moot :)

Please don't list your lenses Mike, I already an having trouble getting a couple books! :-)

My favorites are my Pentax SMC M 24mm f2.8 that I sold when I switched to Nikon and the 85mm 1.8H that I had permanently on a FE (love that camera) and now it's a Canon 85mm 1.8 that's just fantastic.

No surprises here...

For normal work I love the Canon 35/1.4 and the Canon 85/1.2 both are difficult to use, but are well worth the extra effort. I probably make 90% of my images with the 35 and the rest with the 85. They can be a bit frustrating. One can never assume an image is sharp and I suppose they'd be unusable if not for auto-focus.

I love both Canon's and Nikon's 400/2.8 with the IS/VR, and Nikon's 1.6 teleconverter is unbelievable good.

Leica's 35mm Summicron is probably the gold standard for me, but it doesn't get any use these days, at least not until I pick-up an M9!

I wouldn't compare the Summicron to the Canon 35/1.4. They're two different tools and aren't interchangeable as such. For street shooting there's no better combination than the Summicron and an M6...err M9, but I'm not sure you'd want to rely on it if you were trying to work in color inside (or color in low light) for that matter.

I also use to like Nikon's 55 micro... you could do some fun stuff with Tri-X at f32.

I guess with all of these, it depends on if you're still shooting film or not.

I have several favorites related to different kinds of cameras, but the lens I treasure most is is the Xenotar 150 f2.8, which I use for shooting daguerreotypes. It's sharp wide open with beautiful out-of-focus areas (pretty important if you use that sort of lens wide open). I'm pretty sure me mentioning it here will not affect the price.

On the other end of the scale, the Nikon 50 f2 has been very kind to me.

The Pentax FA31 f/1.8 mm is my favorite lens. While it's a little heavy, and not quite wide enough of a focal length on Pentax digital cameras for my taste, it renders portraits of people beautifully.

The main reason it's my favorite lens, however, is that the qualities that I love about the images it produces inspire me to look at things in a new way when I'm planning my photos ahead of time. That a lens would stimulate my imagination, rather than just be a slave to my artistic whimsy, is one of the nicest things I think I could say about a piece of equipment.

~ Stephen

Contax T* 50mm f/1.7, which I don't own any longer. It was superb on the Yashica FX-3, sold too. (sigh)
One photo here
Here another one
Last one

For a long long time it was a toss-up between the last pre-AI version of the Nikkor 35/2 and the 24/2.8. Those lenses rarely left my F2 and El. I suppose I'll get those lenses AI'd one of these days when I can afford a digital body that takes full advantage of them, but now, the one lens I would replace in a heartbeat if it were ever lost or damaged is the Nikkor 14-24/2.8. I am completely and utterly enamored of that lens. Though I probably shoot twice as many pictures with the Nikkor 24-70/2.8, and while it's technically a great lens, I don't have any emotional attachment to it. It's just a tool.

For me, it's very difficult to separate the length of the lens from its other characteristics. Although I've owned a really decent selection of lenses that performed very admirably, over the years I've only really become attached to the wides. Though it's heavy, bulky, and oftentimes very difficult to shoot without exaggerating or calling attention to its field of view, the 14-24 is magnificent on a full frame sensor – if I were limited to keeping only one lens, that would be the one.

...and it's got good bokeh too.

Why don't you go buy the lense(s) you want replaced first and then post your article. Maybe buy a couple extra and then sell them into the rally!!!

Mamiya Macro A 1:4 120mm adapted to Nikon mount on D700. f4-32

Why? Slows me down, makes me look closer, opens up new expressions and discoveries while creating sharp images with great bokeh. And makes me appreciate the work of earlier photographers, working without the super fast autofocus lenses of today.

Sample here:
http://uncorkedimaging.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/bass-string-abstracts/

My all time favorite lens was the 50mm f4.0 for the Mamiya 6 (both since sold, sorry to say). It simply fit the way I "saw" the world. Here's one of my favorite shots from it.

http://williamstickney.smugmug.com/Fine-Art-Photography/Black-and-White/10536625_9tBZF#737543769_PaPgC

It depends on which camera!! On my E-3, the 35-100/2 is just the nicest lens. If it's half the size, I'd use it all the time.

Every time I see the negs from the Mamiya 43, I fall in love again.

But really, nothing can ever compare to the 35 ASPH 'lux. It's a s perfect as it gets.

My most valued lens is a foggy old Miida 135/2,8. Bought it for a dollar, not including shipping, which was about 40 dollars. Heh. It was a gamble. I was lucky. Optically it's a fine lens, sharp enough for most purposes, and the very-low contrast makes for enjoyable post-processing experiments. For instance, most of the photos at the following link are taken with this lens -- http://djup.svevn.org/b/v/ffugler/ .

I'll second Sam's vote for the Pentax FA 43 F1.9 Ltd. I've also got the 77 and the 31 (some poor fool was selling them on Craigslist just days before the price went up), but (on APS-C) the 43 has just enough extra reach to make me feel like my attention is on the subject, combined with a lovely image quality. And you can take off the lens hood and have nearly a pancake.

Here's one:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tom_frog/3109656928/sizes/l/

My favorite lens is the Nikon 35mm f1.8 DX lens. Examples of pictures taken with it can be seen at www.flickr.com/darrellmarquette in a set named Nikon D40/70 / 2010.

My favorite is just a good ol' Zeiss 50/1.7. I don't have any e-pix with that, so here's one with my second-favorite: a Nikon Series E 75-150. http://www.flickr.com/photos/30580063@N02/3047289928/in/set-72157609588678610/

No problem with driving up the prices on either of those: a) I own both, and b), they are both plentiful.

I don't think anything's gonna beat that magnifying lens (that was a real treat)! But I've been quite happy with my Nikkor 20mm for decades. It gives me the perspective I usually seek, allowing me to connect surrounding details with subject matter that aids in establishing both content and context. And as much as I do love it, I've been unsuccessfully trying to ween myself off it for fear of tunnel vision.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/19140817@N02/3883877534/sizes/o/

Marcell,
You see *very* well with that fisheye, I'll give you that. Not easy at all IMO.

Mike

My current favorite is my Nikon 105/2.5 Ai-s. Past favorites were Pentax's 31/1.8 Limited & Canon's 35/1.4 L. Best lens I ever used was the Ektar on a Medalist II.

The Leica M 24 Elmarit-asph. I used it a lot on the M8 (which it produced a 32mm-eff focal length), but not as much on the M9 which doesn't have rangefinder frames for it. Here's an example
http://www.pbase.com/skirkp/image/89537795

scott

Hi -

Vivitar Series 1 90-180 Flat Field in OM mount. Did an enormous amount of work with it, then one day was offered more than I had paid for it and I let it go. Sigh.

Now? 50 f2 Digital Zuiko, and the 12-60 Digital Zuiko zoom, both on E30. For panoramas: E510 with Leica 180 f3.4 APO...

It's taken me a while, but I'm growing quite fond of the Pentax FA 31mm f/1.8 Ltd. You'd think that an expensive lens (by Pentax standards) would be appreciated and loved immediately, and some people have, but she and I just didn't click immediately.

Here is a sample taken over the Christmas holidays, featuring my cute nephew. Click for larger size.

Zuiko 21/2 is pretty much glued to my 5D MkII these days. On my Pentax, FA31/1.8 Limited. For MF, I have to say, Hartblei 45/3.5 Super Rotator. My Noritar 80/2 might surpass it, but I haven't used it much yet.

Olympus Zuiko 100 F2.8, late-model silvernose. Classic bokeh, but near 3D imagery. Exceptionally sharp with an extremely faint overlay of gaussian blur.

This lens, as well as the Zuiko 35 F2.8 are the reasons why I still shoot film.

I'm happy to see all the love for the canon 35 f/2! It's a strong second favorite for me.

My favorite is the recently released Zeiss ZE 50mm f/1.4. The way it draws is exactly what I love in a lens, sharp foreground dissolving gracefully into a more "active" bokeh than the same lens from Canon.

A few recent examples:
http://www.noise-to-signal.com/2010/01/suspended.html
http://www.noise-to-signal.com/2009/12/chain.html
http://www.noise-to-signal.com/2009/12/cherry.html

When I was using 35mm only (up to 19 years ago), my main lens was the Olympus Zuiko 90mm f/2 Macro, followed by the 50mm f/2 Zuiko Macro and a 180mm f/2.5 Tamron LD IF. I still have them and no, I'm not selling.
Since I moved into large format in 1991, the 300mm Docter Apo-Germinar and the 150mm Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S are the ones I will certainly keep. The 120mm Schneider Super-Symmar HM is in the same category, although it does not really fit in my lineup that well, so I mostly use the 110mm XL. The 110XL is a great lens with huge coverage and I really like the focal length, but the 120HM is just that tad sharper wide open (no difference at f/22)and has a more pleasing overall rendition to me.
In medium format all the lenses for my Mamiya 7 are great and super sharp, but the 65mm and the 150mm would be the two I would keep.

Another vote for the Canon EF 35 f2. At this point I think its welded to my camera. It has to be among the best values in a lens. Second choice from film days is the Zeiss 45 for the Contax G series - a terrific every day lens.

"And as much as I do love it, I've been unsuccessfully trying to ween myself off it for fear of tunnel vision."

Stan,
Don't. I know your work, and you're very good with that lens.

Mike

"having seen Hermon's photos perhaps I will send my 35/2 to Canon for adjustment"

Gerry,
If I can offer a suggestion, don't. Just put it in the closet and go buy another one.

Mike

Amazing. I was just at the dollar store, and I noticed that magnifying glasses were now $2.
Beautiful photos Jonas.

Still can't decide between panasonic leica 25mm f1.4 and oly zd 50mm macro. Both are excellent at what they do, both are very versatile on 4/3 format, and out of about 50k of my photos, those two took over half. :D

40mm Summicron on my Leica CL - THE lens for all time for me.

When shooting Pentax 67 - the 55-100mm zoom.

When shooting 4x5 - 90mm Schneider Super Angulon XL.

I know, that's three wildly diverging approaches for each format, but each format wants a different approach, I think. Hey, they ARE all wide angles. ;-)

Olympus ZD 11-22/2.8-3.5. Favourite lens of all time on any system. The perfect focal length range for walkaround / travel photography IMHO: it's like having a 22 mm equiv super-wide prime and a 44 mm equiv normal lens that you can switch between at any time.

Very well-controlled distortion, sharp and contrasty at any focal length and aperture, rugged, water-resistant, reasonably fast for a WA zoom, and not too big/heavy.

I don't think there is a better WA zoom for travel / walkaround use available from any manufacturer. Certainly, the Nikon 14-24/2.8 is a killer lens, but it's twice the size and weight. And none of the 12-24-ish APS-C WA zooms have the speed nor the corner performance and distortion control of the 11-22.

It is, IMHO, a lens that has no current equal or substitute.

The one that's always on my camera? Tokina 12-24. It just sees what I see: no bokeh; everything is in focus. I keep buying bodies to put it on.

But now I'm gonna have to try a Canon 35. I see BnH has jumped up the price since today's TOP post.


Looks like both of my favorites have already been listed: Zeiss T* Distagon 28/2.8 and Planar 50/1.4. Kept me shooting Contax for a good long time.

Voigtlander 28mm Ultron f2 for my LeicaM2.

All but the 3rd and 7th in this series were taken with it.
http://hookstrapped.viewbook.com/wonderland

My favorite lens is the Sigma 30mm F1.4 on my 1.6 crop camera...

It's my favorite because of a few reasons
*) Whenever I take it off my camera, it finds its way back on
*) It takes my favorite photos (possibly because it's always on my camera)

http://www.dbwalker.com/blog/?p=564

My next favorite would be my 100mm F2.8
*) It takes pictures I enjoy a lot, almost as much as my 30mm

http://www.dbwalker.com/blog/?p=593

Sure, there are a myriad of technical reasons why these are my favorite lenses, but it's the photos I see thru them that makes them my favorites.

My favorite lens would have to be the Bronica GS-1 110mm f/4 macro lens. I have other Bronica lenses and other cameras, but over many years I kept going back to that camera and that lens. The focal length just worked for me (slightly long normal). It doesn't focus down to 1:1 or even 1:2 like most macro lenses but focuses close enough for me and by doing so handles like a normal lens not a macro lens with a huge focus throw for closeup and tiny throw for distance. It has a good balance between sharp and smooth with nice bokeh. I was very happy with just the one lens on the camera and not carrying anything else.

I haven't used it much lately since I've switched to mostly digital, but would love to find a lens I liked as well for my Sony A900.

I have two favorite lenses, my Canon 200 mm f1.8 which I got back in 1992 when I made the move from Nikon to Canon. I thought about the 300 mm f2.8, but with a 1.4x and 2x it just as well as a 280mm f2.5 mm and a 400 mm f3.5. I use it for almost every other assignment.
My other favorite lens is a circa 1975 Carl Ziess 110mm f 2.0 Planar for my circa 1980 2000 FC Hasselblad.

Amazing bokeh on both hunks of glass.

I can't add a favorite lens at this point in my career. I can however say, that Paris Dialogue by Jonas Yip is pure visual poetry.

My favorite when I'm shooting people is the Canon 35/1.4, wide open. However, I just went and looked through my portfolio, and the 70-200/2.8 seems to have been used for a plurality of the shots, if not a clear majority. So is that my favorite? Or is it just the lens I use the most? Hmmm, have to think about that.

Most people chose full-frame primes which were my favorites for a while. I would currently choose Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS, an APS-C standard zoom for its versatility and it covers my favorite focal lengths.

Although I have to admit I'm warming up to the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 micro 4/3rds lens.

Leica Summilux-M ASPH 1.4/35

Hey, that's me up there.

Another side to the story: along with my el-cheapo FM2n with the homemade lens I was carrying my very expensive Epson RD-1 with an even more expensive Leica 35mm lux ASPH.... for family snapshots.

(thanks to all for the compliments, btw)

- jonas

My favorite lenses are the ones in my eyes. I try to take care of them as well as my teeth, although cataracts might be inevitable. Unfortunately, these lenses are limited by the capacity of my brain to see better photographs.

Jonas Yip's photographs put the lens/brain equation in perspective for me.

"I have long been seeking a decent 35mm lens because my Canon 35/2 is very soft until stopped down to around f/5.6 and I find its bokeh to be harsh."

Yes, I would send it for adjustment. While this lens is cheaply made, it is very sharp at f2 in the centre and very sharp all over by f4, with a particularly beautiful bokeh. I use the cv 40/2, which is also a great lens and the only area it is better than the canon, apart from size and build, is that it is sharper at the edges at f2.

I regularly swap between them preferring the 35 for its autofocus, and the 40 for its size and better build, and find them both excellent. I don't care about the edges at f2 (and I wonder who does).

My favorite lens to date has been my Pentax K24/2.8 which began its service in my possession as a lens with which to photograph the North Shore of Lake Superior. I have to say a simple little JCPenney 135/2.8 I bought with my K1000 kit in 1987 sure does its best to be my favorite though.

Perhaps this is moot because I gave myself a new AF20/2.8D Nikkor for Christmas for use on my D40x and it may be the best lens I own. We'll see.

Film: Yashica ML 50/1.9 on my FR 1. Digital:Pentax M 135 on my K10.

Mike, wasn't it you that drove up
the price of the V4 Summicron 35? I 'settled' for a V3 because the newer lens was priced out of my reach.

My favorite lens is probably the Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH, whose rendering is just lovely, without giving up sharpness, even wide open. I tend to use a 35mm more often, since I use an M8, but I long for the day when I have enough for an M9 so I can use the 50 again more often. I unfortunately don't have a shot from this lens handy, given some apparent EXIF problems I am having.

A close second would be the somewhat older Leica 80mm Summilux-R 80mm f/1.4. I used this lens on a Canon 5D, and sold both because I didn't like the Canon, but I loved that lens. Wonderful wide open, razor sharp stopped down. Here is a shot from it:

http://throughthelensdarkly.com/trips/travels/200610egypt/_MG_7633.jpg

Another newer favorite is the Hasselblad (Zeiss) 110mm f/2, which I picked up for use with an adapter on a Contax 645, but liked so much that I then bought an old 2000FC/M to use in 6x6. Here are two shots from it, I believe, although I have no EXIF to be sure with the first one; the second one is certain:

http://throughthelensdarkly.com/forums/20090628-C645-e54-00048.jpg

http://throughthelensdarkly.com/forums/h2000-110-tx400-00001-2.jpg

Finally, my Contax 645 (Zeiss) 120mm f/4 APO-Makro-Planar is also stunning, and my current project is done with this and the Contax 645 (Zeiss) 35mm f/3.5 Distagon. Here is a shot from this project:

http://throughthelensdarkly.com/forums/c645-120-a25-00037.jpg

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