Mostly but not entirely garnered from the comments:
• Two lenses extremely far apart in focal length, like a 21mm and a 180mm, or even a 21–35mm and a 400mm. (Not sure what formats were implied in those cases.)
• Two lenses, but on two separate cameras from two different systems. (One reader suggested a DSLR with one lens augmented by a fixed-megazoom digital point-and-shoot. This is somewhat similar to an article Carl wrote for Photo Techniques in about 1998 or so detailing how he used a digicam to "scout" locations for 8x10 work.)
• The exact same lens but on two different formats, resulting in different angles of view. (The example given was two Zeiss 50mm ƒ/1.5's, one on a Leica M9 and the other on an Olympus E-P1.)
• Two primes fairly close to each other—the example given was a 35mm and a 50mm. (Oh, gee, you know who you are.)
• Two lenses of the same focal length but different speeds.
• Owning lots and lots of lenses at home, but only choosing two at a time to take out or travel with.
• A lens with a teleconverter. A variation on this theme: "convertible" view camera lenses, where different combinations of the two lens cells (front, back, or both) result in different focal lengths.
• Two similar lenses, one kept in good shape for everyday shooting and a beater copy for taking into hazardous situations like muddy swamps or seashores with blowing sand and salt spray.
Does that cover the waterfront and then some, or what? Lastly, I have to give smile points to a reader named Adrian, who said that the perfect two-lens kit is... a TLR!
Illustration from zeisscamera.com
MikeHonorable Mention: One of the greatest books of photo reportage in history, David Douglas Duncan's War Without Heroes, was shot entirely with two custom-made Leica M3Ds he wore crossed "bandolier-style" across his chest, one with a Leitz 50mm Summilux-M, and the other with a Nikkor 28mm ƒ/2.8.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.