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Thursday, 25 January 2018


The Canon 24-70 is a fine lens and the obvious choice for the zoom, but for the prime I'd prefer the Canon 35 f/2 IS with image stabilization. I have one for when I shoot the Canon gear at work, but it always seems to be missing, as either my student or one of the video guys has grabbed it out of the locker. Sharp wide open, fast, small., and image stabilized -- also, surprisingly not expensive. Now if I could just get it long enough to shoot with it... :)

A bit different take. Sony A6500 with the Sony 16-70mm f4 Zeiss and the Zeiss Touit 12 mm. Nice and wide for scouring the street and a small to medium zoom for street too, and to focus on faces and places.

That is my preferred kit when traveling casually with family. For Nikon, I use the 24-120mm F4 and then either the 35mm 1.8 or the 50mm 1.4. I've now been operating in a similar fashion with the Sony A6500 with the Zeiss 16-70mm f4 coupled with the 28mm f2.

This two lens set up with one standard zoom and one fast prime has been my go-to set up for years.


If the reason for keeping the small lens is to take the package everywhere, an alternative to the two-lens kit is the two-camera kit: a larger camera and lens combo, plus a pocketable camera with a 1 inch to APS-C sensor.

I really like the Canon 24-105mm F4L-IS. Its recently been replaced with a mkII version, which I haven't tried, but the original that came with my 5DmkII is sharp, has IS, which I need, and goes out to 105mm. The IS more than makes up for the one stop speed loss vs. the 24-70 F2.8

Actually there is another solution to the 2-lens kit dilemma: two primes.

My preferred kit, in almost every film or digital format I ever shot with (from APS-c to 13x18 inches), has always been a 24 (or slightly shorter, let's say 20/21mm) + a 85/90mm equivalent.

This way you can carry just one lens (the 24, usually) when you're just carrying your camera with you, and take the other lens as well if you're photographing purposely.

Another solution would be a 3-lens kit, when you take with you the 24 (or 20mm) + the 85/90mm when you're serious, and a compact 35 or 50mm equivalent for everyday use.

The advantages in both cases would be a way smaller, lighter, faster, cheaper setup still retaining exceptional quality.

The Canon 40 just reminded me of a key aspect with this sort of setup, at least for me; the prime has to be sufficiently different from the 28mm equivalent lens in my smartphone!

How about a two-lens kit consisting of an RX10iii (or iv) and another body with whatever lens you fancy most when you leave home?

Why the 40mm 2.8 when you already have a 24-70 2.8? Wouldn’t it be better to use a faster prime?

It's interesting that a lot of Wide Zooms even from 3rd party manufacturers are high quality. and this 2 lens kit is perfect for landscape, walking around, and travel photography.

Going lighter doesn't meany giving up quality images these days.

My standard travel kit is 24-120 f/4VR and a 50mm f/1.8G on Nikon full frame. Works really well, but I wouldn't call the 24-120 perfect.

On APS-C before I had the 16-85 f/3.5-5.6VR, and that was closer to perfect. That lens with a 35mm f/1.8DX makes great, affordable option.

For years my main two lenses for travel were the Olympus 12-60 2.8-4 and the 50 f2 macro. The macro had a distinct look and could work for portraits, and the 12-60 was just a really good zoom. In fact, I haven’t found something just like that combo yet, but perhaps the Pabasonic 12-60 and their older Leica branded macro 45 would make a good pair.

Hi, Mike - I use a variation on your theme with my Canon EOS film cameras (7N and 1V) - the Canon 40/2.8 and 100/2.8 L IS - they cover anything I might wanna do when I'm out and about -

I concur with the recommendation of the 24-105mm f/4 IS lens. This is my go-to lens even though I have far too many primes (including the 40mm). When travelling, I also bring along the 17-40 f/4 L (no IS), to cover just about all the range I need.

My two-lens kit is Canon's 50mm f/1.4 prime and the 24mm-105 f/4 zoom. That started with my first FF camera, the Canon 5D, and I've kept it with the 5D MkII and now the 5DS R.

I used to shoot wide angle exclusively (35mm on Leica, 24mm on Olympus OM1, 50mm on Mamiya M6). Not sure why, but I have not had an urge (at least an irrestiable one) to get a wide angle prime lens for many years now. The wide end of the 24-105 seems to satisfy my needs in that regard (and I do use that end of the zoom).

By and large, the 50 (as you stated) gets used a lot as a daily carry around lens and the 24-105 comes out when I've got specific locales in mind. But now and then, those roles get reversed. Don't want to be too consistent...

My normal walk around lens is the 24-105 f4 Mk 1, and previously I've also taken a 40mm f2.8 along as well - lots lighter and bit faster. But having recently bought a 16-35 f4, I think if I was to take that out on a walk-around sort of shoot, then I might supplement it with the 50mm f1.8 STM. The 16-35 is strongly biased towards a wide-angle field of view, of course, so in this case I'd like something that was a bit longer, and the 40mm is too close to the focal length of the zoom to really meet that requirement. Nor do I think I need anything much faster than f4 for the extreme wide-angle zoom - it has IS for long exposures, and at those focal lengths I won't be going for bokeh-style shots.

So that's my suggestion for a two-lens kit: super wide-angle zoom + fast fifty.

I liked the 24-105mm f/4 IS very much back in my pre-m43 days. Took it to Argentina, Antarctica, Chile, NZ and the Oz outback with a 5D mk I. The 24-105 was the most used lens. The others were 70-300 DO zoom, 50mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8 (optically the best).
That combo never failed me, kayaking, cycling, mountain tops, but it would be way too heavy for me to lug far from a car now.

Two lens kit for what?

People: 35/1.4 and 100/2.8

Landscapes: 17-40 and 70-200/4

One lens: 24-105 (everything) or 35/1.4 (people)

So, not always two lenses, not always a zoom.

My two lens kit for my 6D is the lovely Canon 40mm STM and a Zeiss 50mm Planar. The Zeiss for when I'm feeling zesty and want to manual focus. The Canon for when it's pouring and I have to hold an umbrella in my focusing hand.

I, too, have adopted this approach. For "serious" work, I use a D750 with 24-120mm f/4G lens and am usually in the field with one of my tripods, grad ND set, etc. For "walkabouts," I use a second D750 plus 50 mm f/1.4 lens. The D750 is reasonably light weight on account of its monocoque construction with carbon fiber. The normal prime weighs about a third of the zoom's weight (250 g vs 750 g). I injured the lumbar region of may back two years ago. This light-weight walkabout set with a single prime is great -- I can carry it around my neck all day long and not feel a strain on the back. Such is not the case with the heavier zoom.

Not sure if someone mentioned this already, but I’ll go out with the Olympus 12-40/2.8 on my gx8 and a Fuji x100s. Saves changing lenses and the Fuji is not a heavy addition by any means.

I might be going to Prague this spring, and I have been debating with myself about the perfect 2 lens kit. I have the canon 24-105f4 ver. 1, and have been thinking about "upgrading" to the Tamron 24-70f2.8 ver. 1, but I think I have sharp copy (not very bad when compared to my macro glass) and I really like the range it provides.

As a second lens a fast 50mm is my weapon of choice, upon your recommendation (I'll admit it was a tiny endorsement on your part ) I got the 50mm f2.5 macro, it is sharp, but only one stop faster than the 24-105, my reasoning for getting it was that it might let me get nice pictures of the small items exhibited in the museums. But, that would mean I would have to leave the 50 f1.2 at home. Maybe the macro 50, the classic 35f2 and the zoom will be my 2 lens (wink, wink) kit.

When I was shooting full frame my two lens kit was the Nikkor 24-120 AF and a Nikkor 60mm Macro lens. Now that I am shooting m43 the kit consists of a Panasonic 14-42 and the Panasonic 20mm f1.7.

@Wayne: the 24mm STM has a very similar same field of view on a Canon APS-C camera and the 40mm on FF, and is physically the same size and weight as the 40mm (I've got both). So you could sample the delights of the combo in both FF and crop sensor!

The 2 lens kit for my Canon 6D consists in an old 100mm/f2 and the 35mm/f2 IS - that sometimes will be substituted with the 40mm/f2.8 STM pancake.

However, in 2018 the Panasonic G9 will be knocking at the door to fulfill the Canon mirrorless and EVF gap...

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