[Ed. Note, Saturday evening: I'm traveling this weekend and am way behind on moderating comments. Apologies for the delay. —Ed.]
I'm often surprised that photographers these days seem to think that macro lenses can only be used for closeups. That's far from the case; macro lenses can be used as all-purpose lenses easily. John Loengard, the former LIFE magazine photographer and picture editor, used a Nikkor Micro lens for portraits (I don't know exactly which one, but I believe one of the 55mms). Leica even stated at one time that the best normal lens for the R (film SLR) system was the 60mm Macro-Elmarit-R. It had very high resolution for its day and was a very consistent lens at the normal evaluation distance of 50•ƒ or about 10 feet, with negligible performance variation up and down the aperture range and from corner to corner. And some portrait photographers prefer macro lenses because it means they never bump up against a close-focusing limit.
The Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar T* 100mm ƒ/2 ZF.2 Lens for Nikon, one of the absolute best lenses you can buy.
A very hard choice
So, a question: if you owned one moderate wide-angle lens, and you were going to buy one medium-telephoto lens as your second lens, which would you choose or advise someone else to get: a fast portrait lens, or a slower but closer-focusing macro lens? Assuming you could only get one. And, for you, what would be the main considerations in making a choice? Would it depend on the actual lenses available in your system, would cost be most important, or maximum aperture, or usage considerations for the particular kind of work you do most, or...?
The Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm ƒ/1.8 or the Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm ƒ/2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S.? (I chose the latter in Micro 4/3, after trying both)
If you've already had to make this hard choice, which way did you go?
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