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Sunday, 23 May 2010


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One varifocal technique not covered is a quick grab 'n stitch of adjacent frames of coverage. http://bit.ly/9ypuu6 was taken from the sidewalk with a G11 on a monopod at full wide (35mm equivalent). Once the right half was taken, a quick pivot to grab the left before the RV drove off - roughly converting the full width of the shot to a 20mm lens (although the height remained at an effective 35mm). The rabbi on the sign and the middle RV door overlapped in both shots.

Two lens strategy? It depends -- but I am of the opinion that two lenses is ideal for most of my work.

A couple of combinations I commonly use:

- 20/1.7 + 14-45 with GF1: For a ski trip. The 14-45 was used for most of the day and the 20/1.7 around the village.

- 15/3.5 Voightlander + 50/2 'cron with M6: for street photography


- 35/2 'cron with M6 only

- 20/1.7 with GF1 and 35/2 'cron with M6: for my round the world trip which might be the last time I see my grandparents alive. Having both digital and film gives me the choice I need for a long trip like this and their relative strengths and weaknesses tend to cancel each other out (especially when film or batteries run out).


"Each morning I'd buy the same thing: large coffee with all the additives, and three "long johns," which are oblong donutoid pastries with white icing on top."


please, control your levels of sugar (glucose) in blood, and cholesterol !!!!!

Eat some fruit instead.

Nikon D100 and a 35/2 the last few years--their 24/2.8 is somehow disappointing in digital, so I'm basically a one lens guy now. A Summicron 35 and 50 for many years before that, though I did give a Summicron 35 + Voigtlander 75/2.5 pairing an earnest try--ultimately it was too restrictive.

I started with a D300 + 50mm f/1.8 lens, but found it too restrictive. Then I bought the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, and it was heavenly. For almost a year, I photographed with the D300 + Sigma lens exclusively, until I wanted to dabble with wedding photography and bought the 17-55mm f2.8 zoom lens, and then subsequently the 16-85mm lens for my trip to Inca Trail when I did not want to carry more stuff than I needed to.

To me, the Sigma 30mm lens is my ideal focal length on my D300 even though the zoom lenses are useful in their specific ways. I have not tried the Nikon 35mm f1.8 lens yet, but am tempted to trade in the Sigma for the Nikkor.

I seem to fall into your prime-in-zoom nested combo recommendation without realising it. Perhaps, as most would say, the style dictates the tool.

Ah, I didn't disclosed my own two-lens kit : 10-22 and 55-250 on a 300D/Rebel, both essentially for landscapes. If I have to take only one, it's the 10-22.
Indoors or for people (read : family snapshots), I rather use my third lens in the two-lens kit : the 50/1.8.
Rather weight-oriented choices, as my first comment could let think. The slow apertures of the telezoom is no real-world problem thanks to IS (and cooperative subjects)...

In Littlepicture format (Kleinbild = 135) I don't use two-lens kits, but either 28/50/90 (Leica M) or 21/60/70-300 (Nikon D3, although I sometimes use the 210/60 as a two-lens kit, with the 70-300 being more for zoo shots and such), but in MF I have two two-lens kits: the Contax 645 with 35/120 Macro, and the Hasselblad 2000FC/M with 50/110. In LF I use my Linhof Master Technika with 90/210. I guess for most of my serious photography, I tend towards a fairly wide lens, and a short tele, possibly with macro capability.

I suppose there is no not much chance that Joel Becker will read this, but I had to say that it sound like he must get his hands on a Pentax FA35/2. It is the lens I use the most. Light, sharp, quick focusing...

Incidentally, I'm sometimes out with a two-lens kit consisting of the above-mentioned FA35/2 and an FA77/1.8. Although to be honest I more often that not throw the DA21/3.2 in the bag as well, given its diminutive size.

On film it was:
50/1.7, then 50/1.4, then 35/1.8 as I found them secondhand over a few years.

The first two and the last one are Tamron Adaptall 2, the rest Minolta MF. I didn't use the 80-210 very often, though it's a good lens. Generally I carried the 24, 35-70 and 135. Sometimes I took the 17 if I thought I would use it, and a 50 or 35 for the speed. It was a bit too big a gap between the 35-70 and the 135.

With the Pentax K20D with it's 1.5 crop factor I use:
12-24/4 Pentax
16-50/2.8 Pentax
28-105/2.8-4 Sigma
24/2.5 Tamron (the same one as above, on a different mount)
80-210/3.8-4 Tamron (I have two of them)

I generally carry the first three, or just the camera and the 16-50 which does for nearly everything as David Blankenhorn finds with his 24-70 on full frame. Nice to see your fine motorcycle rally photos stay well away from the usual cliches, David, by the way. (I've ridden to many a rally) I've just started going out with the camera and the 24. I can't get more compact with the K20D without spending an arm and a leg, but it's a good lens.

I bought the Sigma because It was £45 secondhand. Man, a UV filter for the pentax lenses is that much! I tend to use it on the longer lengths and a medium apertures. It's a lens designed for film, and isn't quite as good as the Pentax lenses. I have some focussing problems with the Tamron zoom, but it's a MF lens on an AF camera.

One thing not specifically mentioned in the entire commentary was cost, or at least the availability or lack of money.
A form of currency makes all of our lives
in photography possible.

And am realizing all of these new models mentioned of cameras, of lenses mean nothing to me. Over the years have bought
and sold most of the Nikon DSLR cameras, any number of small point and shoots and
have discarded virtually everything done with digital other than the shots from
the small cheap P&S's. And in doing all the horse trading have probably
squandered easily C$20,000, all for
naught. And wish now Pentax was still there, making reliable basic film cameras.

I can not re-invent my long lost photographic flame, yet using a cheap in cost camera, the joy returns.

One lens only, which can
maybe be two with an additional
adapter. Maybe that's what picture taking is, a spur of the moment decision?

Laden with photographic hardware be it a camera and two lenses
or ten cameras and one hundred lenses, wandering about to achieve a photograph simply doesn't do it for me.

Oh and I buy at a real camera store, however these days, like so many other
worldly items, I start on the internet, and go from there. Isn't that where you started; looking for replacement wheels, Mike?

If I am working, I use three zooms with my 5DII: the 70-200 f4 IS L, the 24-105L, and the 16-35L. Primes don't give me the flexibility I want for interiors and on-site product shoots.

If I am carrying two lenses for the 5DII as a travel kit, I use the 24-105L for most things, and the 35L at night, for obvious reasons. I used to use the 30D + 17-55 f2.8 IS for everything, no primes or other lenses. That lens was all I needed for my day-to-day photography.

On the Leica M9, I'm experimenting with the ZM 25/2.8 and either the CV 35/1.4 or the 50/2 Summicron as a carry combo. I love wide angle shooting, and also the potential for soft, out of focus areas from wider apertures. This combination is working very well for me at the moment, but I find I prefer either 25/35/75 or 25/35/50.

I think a focal length choice is very influenced by how much you like any given lens, and what you have in your collection. I usually don't shoot in 50mm but I absolutely love the Summicron, so I'm shooting with it a lot.

I've got four lenses for my Pentax k20d: the 18-55 kit lens, which I've used at times mostly because it's the widest thing I have, the 40mm/f2.8 pancake, which probably gets the most use, a Sigma 28mm/1.8, which I've taken some excellent shots with, and the same Tamron 80-210 lens that Roger Bradbury mentioned above. That one only comes out on trips where I expect to see wildlife. Usually I just go out with the 40 or the 28.

But this past winter I got a GF1 with the 20mm/1.7 lens and I've barely touched the Pentax since. I'm not prepared to sell it, though at this point maybe I should be.

The Zeiss Sonnar ZM 50mm has a little problem: focus shift!

My first and only SLR is the Olympus E-410, which I bought with the twin zoom kit lenses (14-42 & 40-150).

I've since bought the 25mm pancake and the 50mm f2 macro and have been won over to the prime point of view. The pancake in particular gives me the freedom of being able to carry the camera with minimal baggage and fuss and is my general purpose, day to day choice. The 50mm delivers superb IQ and I'm using it more often now that I'm getting used to the 100mm efl look & feel.

The result of moving to the primes is that I now use the two kits lenses effectively as a 14mm prime and a 150mm prime - in the sense that I only need them for one focal length each. Typically, I use them for landscapes, and I use the 25/50 for more general purpose photography.

And to veer off-topic for a moment, I find having a cheap manual (wireless) flash to hand trumps any concerns about carrying the perfect lens combo. The quick and simple manipulation of the lighting of a scene vastly outstips the benefits I'll see from investing big money into buying higher quality, faster glass. But that's a highly subjective point of view.

Interestingly enough, after messing around with different configurations, I finally sold most of my lenses and settled down on a two-lens setup which gives me the focal lengths I really need in a relatively portable and light package (since I will mostly use it for mountaineering images, this is tremendously important): the new Nikon 16-35 f/4 is the workhorse, and the Nikon 70-300 VR gives the extra length when I need it.

Before going digital I would most often walk out of the door with one prime, either a 1.2 50mm or a 3.5 macro 50mm. Sometimes a wider prime.

Nowadays I usually walk out the door with the 40mm pancake lens on a pentax K20. If I bring a small bag then it will have the same plus the 77mm 1.8 lens or a 125mm 2.5 macro. If not these then the 12-24mm zoom. Almost never more than 2 lenses. On summer holidays: the zoom lens, the pancake and the 77mm. I own a 28mm pancake as well but it is a manual focus lens - nothing wrong with that... but if it were autofocus and of the same brilliant imaging quality as the 40mm pancake then I would probably walk around with just it (or both).

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