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Wednesday, 31 January 2018


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How many lenses? All of the best lenses, of course! If we’re dreaming, why not have ‘em all? A prime for every possible subject and scenario, and plenty of zooms for the times you can’t decide on just one focal length...

Since money, weight, and storage space matter (among many other things) from a practical standpoint, it seems logical that one should only have enough lenses to cover their specific needs or wants. This will vary from person to person because needs and wants vary so greatly from one photographer to the next.

For me personally? For work, I need three: “fast” ultra-wide, standard, and telephoto zooms. That covers everything I could possibly need to take a photo of, and keeps the lens changes to a miniimum. For family and personal photos, just one: a moderately-fast 35mm-ish prime, preferably a pancake design.

Just out of curiosity, do you own any cameras for those lenses and if not, why are you keeping them? Are they really good examples or is there another reason?

[Only a Rollei 6008AF, and I have two bodies...for the one lens(!). All the others, no camera currently. As to your final question, wish I knew! --Mike]

Once I decide what my main camera system is (let's not get into my psychological issues, eh?) I'll let you know.

OH, all right - for most of them I think 3 is maximum. For some, only 2.

Sure wonder what the pinhole guys have to say!? Other wise my 3 Takumars will do nicely......covering the range of wide, not so wide and a bit long.

Four primes

I consider myself fortunate that I only need one lens (a fast 50mm-e), so any more than three lenses in one mount (add a wide angle and short telephoto, or a single zoom that covers the same range) would be pointless. On the other hand, I own three digital cameras that have three different mounts, plus a Nikon FM3A, so....

I wish Fuji would make a 40mm equivalent F2. But I have four lenses for my X Pro 2 which is all I need 18mm, 23mm, 35mm, and 50mm all F2. I have an X100F and I recently purchased a Panasonic GX 8. For the GX 8 I have the 20mm F1.7 and the 30mm F1.7. I am not planning or do I need another lens for this camera.

How many lenses would you have if you could have all the lenses you want?

I currently own about ten lenses from Fuji. They are all different, and I can honestly say I WANT all of them.

How many lenses would you have to do 99% of your shooting?


How many lenses can you get by?


Ah, I didn’t actually answer the question, did I?
OK, one could work very nicely with just three lenses, sure. But I don’t really see the harm in also having a macro lens (like the nice Olympus 60mm) and a super-wide, and such, just for the occasional need. I am actually a minimalist, but I believe even moderation can be overdone!
... I love lenses. Despite using Micro 4/3 now, I have kept my Canon 6D and the fantastic Canon 85mm 1.2. Just looking into that huge eye is pleasure, and the narrow DoF is unequalled for any vaguely portable camera. Again, a specialised use of course.
(Of course that one does not come cheap, I acquired it when I was the most flush.)

Like Tacos..... 2 aren't enough, and 4 are too many. I seldom take my bag, but when I do, there are 3 lenses that cover pretty all of my needs. For my Sony camera emount, I have a Sony, Zeiss, and a Nikon with adapter, so all 3 are different manufacturers. To be clear, there are 3 other lenses that are more collectables, than "primes".

If i could have all the lenses I wanted? All of them!:) I could lend them to folks, just compare the ideas and design....I might only SHOOT with a few, but golly, I'm not going to turn down a chance to play with all the f.95-1.2 lenses, for instance!

In earnest, I'd be happy with 4-5 for most systems, but I'd be happiest having 7-8. I'm greedy and like options, even if used infrequently.

tl;dr 5

3 primes going from slightly wide to normal to tele
2 zooms ultra-wide and telephoto
maybe sneak in a macro...

You could also have a Goerz Dagor multifocal lens with three different focal lengths.

I think when it comes to lenses, my degree of ridiculousness gained sentience and developed a whole new level of ridiculous on top.

I have 5 large format lenses. 5! And if I count the ones that came with the Busch Pressman and the Mercury (Kickstarter), my ridiculousness' ridiculousness may begin to feel a bit sheepish.

I have duplicates of those interchangeable twin lenses that Mamiya TLRs use (not my fault, I got the lenses when I bought the cameras).

How many is just right you ask? All?

Three. Two primes and one zoom. The primes would be a moderate wide, and a short tele macro. I'm just not sure what I'd want in the zoom, more reach or greater range, e.g. really wide to decent reach tele.

I'll recuse myself, since I'm a bit of a nutcase when it comes to lenses. Always been fascinated by them. NOT counting a bunch of film camera lenses with M43 adapters, I know it well exceeds four.

I blame digital and the adaptability of M43. In the film era, I had one camera, one lens, twenty years, repeat once.

How many pairs of socks would you have if you could have all the socks you want?

We can dream ...

I've often thought that a set of Canon zooms, EF 11-24 f/4, EF 24-70 f/2.8, EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS would be pretty useful. But in reality an EF 24-105 f/4.0 would get more use (in my hands) than any two of the others.

For me theres's no set number.

Its a toolbox; simply a means to an end, not an end in itself.

The number and type of tools in the toolbox changes as needs of the job changes.

When I prep for shooting a race weekend, the toolbox gets bigger; when I go out for the day to do street photography, it gets smaller (specifically one, my X100F).

For travel/vacation/days out, it could be 1-4 lenses; it depends on the requirements for my plan (and I always have plan) for the day's shoot.

I recently bought into the Sony Alpha series. I bought 4 lenses. I also have a few adapters so I have access to my Nikon lenses and Olympus OM lenses as well, but most of those are effective duplicates when you only consider focal length. I'm generally satisfied with a 4 lens set.

I could be happy with 3 lenses:

a wide angle
a fast 50mm
a portrait lens

I prefer primes. If you want numbers: a 24mm, a 50mm and an 85mm or 100mm lens. Everything else is just gravy.


I'm boring, so, as many as it takes to get the job done. I typically have the three workhorse zooms plus one supertele of some kind. Any primes are a bonus. So in a way... it is four!

Two seems to be the current magic number for me (strictly a hobbyist): preferably two good zooms with minimal overlap in range. I had multiple bodies and multiple lenses until last summer. Sold everything except one Nikon DX body and a Fuji XT-1, and I have two lenses for each. Unless I need to go very small and light, the Nikon with two good zooms is my go to camera.

4! Canon 17-40, 24-105, 70-300 and 100 2.8 macro.

Analogous question could be--how many camera bodies is the right number. Anyway of course it depends,

generally 2 or 4 lenses.

-- Outdoor/street photography likely two lenses
-- Theatre photography lots (8?), but actually mounted on bodies four,** ranging from fisheye to either 200 mm prime or 100~300 mm zoom (FF equivalents).
** i.e., activities where one needs to be prepared (and must get the picture) for anything and everything: such as wide ranging subject matter, perspective, lighting, pacing, etc.

If you make your living with your camera you need a lot of lenses, especially if you are tasked with making all kinds of photos for all kinds of clients.

For my Panasonic cameras, on a day to day basis I do much of my work with a 15/30/75 trinity, supplemented with the 12-40 & 40-150 combo. Not much I can't do with these.

For more specialized jobs I have 4 more AF primes, 7 MF super fast primes for low light and video.

For my personal work I sometimes carry 2 lenses, a 15 f1.7 and a 30 f1.4, and when I work with one lens, its usually a 20 f1.7. If I only shot for myself, then these three would be all I'd need.

I know what I want to photograph, and my preference is to get close and make photos of people in public. Sometimes I ask, most times I don't. These 3 lenses keep me in conversational distance, just where I want to be, and they'd be the only three that I'd own if I only shot for myself.

Just the one fast 35mm equivalent.

Do you want the actual number of lenses I own, or the number my wife thinks I have?

I can't imagine wanting to lug round more than three, though two would be better.

Mike, I think the question should be: "How many focal lengths would you have if you could have all the focal lengths you want?" (Adjusted for format size, of course, so expressed in 35mm equivalents).

I currently have six 50mm lenses for my Barnack Leica - and they all produce different images.

Heh. I gotta go the other way on this. I think the answer is somewhere around 200. I know there is a zen-master one-lens aesthetic, but that's just not how I roll. ;)

Consider this: I don't actually know how many lenses I currently own. Sometimes family members ask me this question to see the expression on my face when my mental gears grind to a halt. More than 40, fewer than 100? Nothing good could possibly come from knowing the actual number.

Each lens I own has a particular signature, and I like playing with them all. But I have multiple platforms in multiple formats . . everything from 8x10 film cameras down to half-frame Olympus Pen (I inherited a little 16mm Minox B spy camera at one point. . .Never did take any pictures with it though).

The systems I have had the longest, I have acquired the most lenses for (e.g. Nikon, lots and lots of primes). I think this makes me "Master of None" as far as the tools in my kit goes. That's just fine.

The other reason that I give such a high number is that even though I have "enough" lenses, I am always interested to see what is just around the bend. `Sigma "Art"? Voightlander "Nockton"? Zeiss "Touit"? Meyer-Optik "Gorlitz Trioplan"? Nocturnix? Shoot, I'd try them all . . .

When I used Canon F-1 bodies, I had the right set of lenses: 24/1.4, 35/2, 50/1.2, 85/1.2, 135/2 and a 35-105/3.5 zoom.

Now that I’m using a Leica M digital, I’ve gone through a cycle of boom and bust. Since the earliest lenses that will fit the camera were produced in the 1930s, and by a couple of dozen manufacturers, there’s quite a variety to play with and enjoy. At my peak (or nadir, depending on viewpoint), I had 36 lenses, 19 of them in 50mm. Now I’m down to 13 lenses, only 4 of them in 50mm. The ones I’d consider necessary? A 24mm or 25mm; a 28mm; a moderately fast 35mm or 40mm; a fast 50mm, a small 50mm and a fun 50mm (Sonnar); and a 75/85/90mm portrait lens.

Some of us don't do one thing. When I went to Iraq, I took three f/2.8 zooms for my Nikon D3. They were terribly heavy but I needed them, and I didn't have to worry much about high-quality reproduction because any shots that were reproduced would be either on video screens or low-res newsprint.

But I'm also a photo enthusiast, and in that role don't use the three zooms at all. (Nor do I now use the Nikon system much.) However, I bought three f/2.8 G Panasonic zooms just in case I do news work again.

A an enthusiast, I could get away with two or three, I think -- fast 28, a fast 55/60, and a fast 105.

Was quite content with 3 manual focus prime lenses for about 40 years: the not very good 24mm f/2.8, the fabulous 55mm f/3.5, and the amazing 105mm f/2.5 Nikkors.

But sometimes you want more, like a fisheye, or a wide angle like a 21mm Zeiss, or very wide angle ~14mm, or a telephoto such as 180mm ... or a longer telephoto such as 300mm. And sometimes want autofocus, and rarely a zoom lens.

Then you need to multiply by 3 because you want one set of small lightweight lenses that are easy to carry, one set of fast lenses for low light or bokeh, and one set of optically superb apochromatic lenses without regard for weight or cost, such as the best of Leica or Zeiss.

But as you get older, the right number for carrying around is just the one on the camera that will do just fine for today's purpose, leaving the rest at home for another day.

Disliking zooms, though I want to try the newest generation at the high end, I'd say:

Five on m4/3.
Wide (28mm e)
Normal (50 e)
Portrait (90 - 110 e)
Long (135 ~ 150 e)
Normal zoom

Three on anything else I'd use (Canon FD or LTM rangefinder, Nikon F, etc)

I've never found 40 to be all that interesting. Either too wide or not wide enough - even 35 often feels that way which is why I like a nice 28 & 50 & 90 combo.

I’ll go with 10.
4 is the basic set-up - 3 fast primes to focus on one end of the focal range, and a convenience zoom for the other (as a just in case).
If I’m shooting big landscapes, then I want 3 UW to normal primes, plus a Tele-zoom (say 70-200-ish).
If I’m going for more intimate landscape/nature shots, then a wide zoom plus 3 short Tele-primes.
That’s 8. The other two are ‘exotics’, a tilt-shift and a prime over 300mm.
How many do I have - way more than this:) Still trying to find the time to go through all the old Nikkor AI/S lenses I’ve bought online and whittle down to the core kit.
At a min, I’d go with 5; one of the set of 4 plus the tilt shift. I think...

One, the one on your camera.


One-to-three: a fast 50 prime, a 24-105/4, and something like a 400. I’d rarely use the latter two (increasing in rarity) but I’d like to know they’re there. If my smart-brain had more nous than my buyer’s-brain I may not have bought so many superfluous cameras and lenses and possibly even have been able to afford that last one.

How many lenses would you have if you could have all the lenses you want?
"All of them" sounds about right.
How many lenses would you have if you could have all the lenses you need?
One would do, it's just that I can't seem to find it. The sony/zeiss 55mm 1.8 seems to be what I mostly use when I want a lens without an overbearing personality.
How many lenses do you have now?
I went and started counting them and stopped when I got to around 80.

The problem with buying lenses is the same as buying anything else. The more well defined your ideal lens is the less likely you are going to find a real world example of it. For example, close your eyes and imagine a pair of shoes and a suit. A pair of shoes and a suit so ordinary that if you robbed a crowded bank, witnesses would only be able to describe them as "dark'. Now that you have a mental image of the most boring average ordinary "I have nothing to say and I am here to say it" suit in the world, try and buy it. You will discover that it is hideously expensive and you will have to get it made to order.

The Cintar* lens on the Argus C3 , is pretty close to that. Not too fast, slightly undercorrected spherical aberration, but it turns out the Argus C3 brick has a curved film plane to go with the pronounced curvature of field of the Cintar lens so it's not too useful as a boring lens on a digital camera.

*Portuguese for fastening a belt apparently

Sony FE system:

35 1.4
85 1.4

Back when I shot more film my basic kit was a 24, 50 and 105 with a 20 and 300 somewhere in reserve but rarely in use.
Now I have an 18-70 and a 70-210 and if I added an 11-16 I believe I would be perfectly content.
At times in my life I have been quite happy with a fixed 80mm Planar and a good pair of shoes.
At this point in my life I would be OK with fewer lenses and more free time.

Three fast primes, wide/mid/tele.

Three zooms, wide/mid/tele.

Two macros, 90 and 135.

Two tilt-shift, 45 and 90.

All Canon glass.

Um, let's see, that makes 10. Wow.

Oh, yeah, I'm missing one macro (135) and both tilt-shifts.

How many is just right? I'm not the person to ask. I have no idea how many lenses I currently own. I can't seem to let go of lenses (camera bodies either) once I have them. Right now, I have unused bodies and lenses from six different camera systems in 35mm, medium format and digital formats. That's in addition to my frequent users--Fuji X (multiple bodies and lenses), a Ricoh GRII, a Lumix LX5 and an Olympus OMD E-M1 with three lenses. Last year, I did force myself to sell off all my Canon L-series lenses since they still had decent resale value, unlike my other older lenses.

But if I'm forced to answer, my choice for how many is just right for me is five lenses. Two wide angles--one "normal" wide, another in the extra wide range. One standard-for-format lens. One wide to short telephoto zoom (the proverbial kit lens). One long telephoto or tele-zoom (300mm-400mm equivalent). Toss in a 1.4X extender for the long zoom/tele and that's it. Wait. Counting the extender as a lens, is that six? Okay then, six lenses.

Of course, I normally use only 2-3 lenses in the wide to normal range but it's nice to have options.

For the M4, 35 and 90 'Crons. For the D2x, 12-24, 24-120 (in spite of ByThom) 55-300. But I couldn't live without the 85 1.4 and the 105 macro; for the last year, the 60 macro has been on the most. So, i guess, it varies.

I have more then a dozen lenses but never take more then four with me when I go out. 3 for the subject I wish to photopraph, and for safety....always have a 40 mm with me. For me I cannot travel without that lens

One more than I have at any given moment.

36 in 6 mounts, half a dozen mount adapters. Plus 3 Mitutoyo microscope objectives, with 4 adapters. Shiny.

One, with 4 or 5 focal lengths in it.

This repeats what many others have said here, but...

I like to play with lenses, so I have lots. Probably over twenty for my Minolta manual-focus system (hey, they're old and inexpensive... most of them), and not quite as many for my Minolta autofocus / Sony digital system (most of them acquired on the cheap, too). And the cost-no-object list of what I'd get for each system (but never will, because cost is an object) is as long as the list of things I already have. Or longer.

But if I actually had all of those, what would I use? Probably the same five-ish I carry already around all the time, which approximate the "standard photojournalist's bagful" but are a little shorter and longer on the ends. The rest of them would wait patiently, going for a jaunt only when I needed to shake myself up by saying, "How would this look if I used X where I'd normally use Y?"

I have a ridiculous number of lenses for the Leica M-system, all of them primes, with multiples of 35mm and 50mm. I've also got a collection of four m4/3 lenses (12-17-25-45) and an old Nikkor 105/2.5 that I use on the Olympus E-M5II.

Ever since I took one of Peter Turnley's workshops, the only lenses I use regularly on my M9-P are the Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35/1.4 and the Zeiss C Biogon 35/2.8; one is for daylight, and one is for night and indoors. My old workhorse, the Zeiss C Sonnar has sat fallow ever since Cuba.

On the m4/3, I have the Oly 17/18 on a Pen-F and the Summilux 26 on the OM-D. Except when a squirrel does something cute in the park and then out comes the Nikkor.

28mm lens, a strong and healthy pair of legs and an opinion.

3 Nikon lenses for a D750. Two primes (28mm 1.8 and 58mm 1.4) and one standard zoom (24-85mm VR). Full disclosure: There's a 105mm f/2.5 Ai in the bag, it's a totem, a good luck charm from the past.

I have owned and sold the 24mm/35mm/50mm/85mm 1.8G primes. They are all wonderful lenses, but the two primes I kept are most pleasant for me to "see" with is all. I don't know what is wrong with my brain, but I don't do well having a large quantity of lenses. I get too stuck on which lenses to use rather than just going out and enjoying myself. I'm a semi-retired happy snapper, three lenses is good, and typically I go out with two plus maybe the totem.

Footnote: Also own a Nikon D5300 with 3 zooms. Lightweight travel bag (10-20, 18-55, 70-300 AF-P VR lenses). Entire bag only weighs 6 pounds. Pretty cool. Don't use it much though to be honest. 3 lenses still seems the right number.

Twenty in the dry cabinet, two in my camera bag.

To figure out how many lenses would be perfect, you have to consider all the different kinds of things you shoot.

If I were only a street or vacation photographer, I'd be happy with just a 24mm and a fast 85mm (on my Nikon DSLR). But then, sometimes to mix things up I swap out the 85 for a 50 (the Sigma Art) or my beloved 70-200. It's important to shake up my habits. (We're up to four lenses.)

But then I love shooting cityscapes with the Nikon 24mm tilt-shift. It makes a huge difference. (But slow.)

And for studio and garden work, you can't beat a good 90mm macro. (Now we're up to six.)

But some subjects really respond to extra wide, and I'd never want to give up my Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8. (Though it's heavy.)

And whenever I want to avoid lens-swapping (gay pride march or other events with lots of movement and action), I always rely on the 24-70 f.2.8. (That's eight.)

I use all eight of those lenses, at least several times a year and some of them almost daily. I wouldn't want to do without any of them.

On the other hand, I don't crave any other lenses.

That's my answer: Eight.

(None of that explains how I somehow ended up with four (!) 50mm lenses over the years.)

Three, and I already own them: a 240 for 4x5, a 150 for 6x6, and a 50 mm for APS-C. The lack of a good 75 mm f2 is the main reason I can't be bothered with full-frame. A lottery win might tempt me to overload my kit with a 90 mm for 44x33 medium format digital.

I'd have at least a dozen lenses, but that's because of subjects. Family photos need a single fast moderate wide-to-moderate-tele zoom. Birds and other wildlife need long telephotos - 2000mm wouldn't be excessive in some situations. Macro is its own sphere, and depending on just small the subject is, your needs will vary. I could manage with two or three macro lenses (if you include microscope objectives). BTW, for a very cool look at extreme macro, check out the video at http://microsculpture.net.

I have three lenses for the Leica S (007): two primes and a zoom. Almost exactly as Mike would advise me.
24mm/ 3.5, 30-90/ 3.5-5.6 zoom, 120mm/ 2.5. Which is equivalent to 19, 24-72, and 96.
The 120mm/ 2.5 prime works for portrait and is a macro. If I went with Mike’s two lens limit, I would leave off the 120mm, and for waking around I often do leave it.

The 35mm S that shot the TOP print offer back a few years was loaned to a filmmaker, as the zoom now covers that range. I am currently borrowing a Leica 180mm S for a special project from Joe Donovan who did the printing for the TOP print offer.

If Leica ever offers the initially promised 350mm S, I will be sorely tempted.

when I bought my 5D 10 years ago I needed 4 lenses for a project. I wanted a small camera so I purchased 24mm f2.8, 35 f2, 50 f1.4, and 100 f2.

That project is long complete and I find I pretty much only use the 50mm and the 24mm. Once in a blue moon I use the 100mm, but almost never the 35mm as I find it not wide enough, but too wide :)

For my medium format "system", I use the 2 camera/2 lens system: Fuji GW690 with the 90mm (40mm equiv) and the 65mm (28mm equiv). I need the two cameras as the lenses do not unmount from the cameras!

I wanted to buy a Sony A7RII/III to replace the 5D, but... there are not small cheap primes available for that camera, only big expensive fast lenses for the little body. SAD

OK, Let's turn this around to you Mike. How many lenses do you have?
Evem better, how many does Kirk Tuck have?

[I count 22 in the house, but most of them I don't have cameras for. Several are on antique cameras. Only 4 for my Fuji, and two are duplicates. One is not a camera lens--it's a huge, ancient Zeiss process lens I use as a paperweight. I can't speak for Kirk! --Mike]

As John said in the featured comments, it depends how many hats you wear. If you do event photograpy, street photography, sports and architecture.... I guess you're gonna need quite a few. Even if you only use the one system camera. Unless you're a hardened pro who has nailed the task in hand, depends what hat you put on when you leave the house....

My current Fuji kit comprises 5 primes and 2 zooms. Usage varies

I have 6. Two zooms (18-135 and 55-200mm Fuji) that I've used for documentary work. I have a 12mm Rokinon for night skies, a 27 for walk around, the 80mm macro (my wife is an avid gardener), and an old Pentax 50 that I've had for 38 years and still love. Now that I no longer am taking paying gigs I'd just keep the primes and the 18-135 zoom.

Leica M7 - 2 primes
Sony A7RII - 3 primes
Oly OMD EM-1II - 3 zooms, + 1 300mm prime

I own 4 Canon Bodies 2 FF & 2 Crop and about a dozen lenses.
As Stephen Scarf says above it's a toolbox
Some lenses were acquired for Jobs and I do many different things.
I don't own any super telephotos, my longest is 300. The 17, 24 & 90 T/S are specialty lenses as is the 135 SF.
I probably use 4 -5 most regularly 35/1.4 ,16-35 /2.8III 24-70/2.8II, and 85/1.2 and 135 f/2
When I shot Hasselblad it was 50,80,150 and a superwide (38 Biogon)
When I went to China (Pre Digital) 1 Nikon F3 & 2 f/2.8 Zooms covering 24-200 in total
When I shot View cameras -4x5 & 8x10 it was wide angle, wide field normal and Long for each .

Interesting question. 5 I guess is the answer

tilt shift (I've never owned one, but if the game is as many as you want, I'd like one please)

50mm Prime - or its equivalent as the all purpose lens

16-35mm zoom - or similar for landscapes

100-400 zoom - walking around lens for birds

800mm monster zoom - why not? You're paying for this right?

Oh, I don't know. When I can get one cheap I don't worry too much about if I'll use it. Just for carry around, probably 3, wide, less wide, narrow. For my Oly Pen F film camera that works out in practice to 4 lenses, 20, 25, 38, 100


N=The number of lenses you currently have.

Only counting my newest camera, an EOS M3, I have 4 lenses that cover 1:1.2 macro to 200mm. I will not attempt to count my entire inventory that covers 4x5, 645, 35mm film cameras as well as a few digital cameras.

There are two answers: First answer: 15! Uh oh, that sounds like I have a problem, doesn't it. But, actually, I am counting lenses for vintage cameras and it includes six different cameras in four different mounts.
Second answer: Six. This is a "do-everything" and "never carry them all at once" kit for my E-M1. The six are three zooms (super-wide, normal, and telephoto) and three primes (the classic kit: 14mm, 25mm, 50mm). I mix-and-match these depending on what I expect to find wherever I'm going.

I have about forty. I would like couple more. But I have a few I don’t really care about.

@ StanleyK - I have the same wish. I’ve considered an adapted manual focus 28/2 (Cron, CV, Zuiko, other-you-name-it) as a solution. I’ve used an OM Zuiko 28/2.8 with success, but an extra stop or so would be nice.


Wide zoom, telephoto zoom, all around zoom, fast normal prime, macro prime, TS lens, super telephoto

Currently I have three primes and three [slightly overlapping] zooms for my Nikon FX camera. Most of the time I'll grab one prime and one zoom and find a way to make them work.

And most of the time that works.

Sensible wide for scenic
Street standard
Standard portrait
Usefull tele for sport etc
All fast enough, but none crazy fast
12/17/45/200 Olympus for example (I have 3, waiting for 4th)

All of them, I think.

Going back to the 1970s I had a 6-lens kit for a Pentax Spotmatic (including one zoom) and a three-lens kit for the M3.

Currently, for Micro Four Thirds, I have the Laowa 7.5/2 rectilinear, the Rokinon 7.5mm fisheye, Panasonic 14/2.4, Voightlander 17.5/0.95, Panasonic 20/1.7, Oly 14-42 kit, Oly 12-40/2.8 Pro, Panasonic 25/1.4, Oly 45/1.8, Oly 40-150 kit lens, Oly 40-150/2.8 PRO. Oh, and the Oly 60/2.8 macro. An even dozen.

I've still got the Nikon 24/2 AIS, 135/2 AF DC, 85/1.8 AF, Sigma 12-24, and Pelang 8mm full-circle fisheye -- five lenses left in the cabinet after selling off "my Nikon kit" (I don't have a body any more).

And the old Spiratone 500/8 mirror lens is still floating around; I dunno which mount it has on it right now (it's T-mount), so I don't know which system I should count it in :-) .

So I think I can safely say that my ideas of "enough lenses" are larger than yours. My kit passed the point where I could just casually take all of it with me early in college.

Waiting for someone to say that all you need is the Olympus body-cap lens. (Knee-deep in the knotted weeds of prime lens reviews, I was sorely tempted.)

It's an old joke, but the correct answer is n-1, where n is the number that prompts your wife to divorce you.

Works equally well for bikes, surfboards, and any other expensive hobbies.

I have been settling towards four prime lenses as my ideal kit size with a range that covers 24-85mm-e.

I took a leap a few years back in abandoning my expanding Canon system with six lenses (all zooms but for the plastic fantastic 50/1.8) and moving to Fuji solely with three primes (23/1.4, 35/1.4, 56/1.2). This decision was brought about via the years-long revelation that I had all along produced my best work with a prime lens in hand (*as my wallet gently clears its throat in the background*) via periods with the above-mentioned darling of a lens, a succession of semi-trusty Holgas, and a cherry Yashica 124G.

So, the past three years have been about feeling out what those restrictions mean within the range of situations I tend to find myself. And, the one real ache through all of that has been "a touch wider" on occasion. Hence the siren call of the Fuji 16/1.4 that dominates my dreams.

To me, this setup makes eminent sense, in that I have been able to differentiate for myself what these discrete focal lengths 'mean'; which tool is best for which job; how that focal length affects the photo; and how that focal length affects how I approach a scene. I may have 'covered the range' in my previous setup, and even had this idealised range covered in a single lens, but the effects and meaning of that focal length on the photo and myself were completely lost on me outside of: 'Okay, all the things fit in the frame. Great.'

And, on top of that, I love having the option of limiting my options differently on any given day simply based on what I don't bring with me. It's typically been a great way to shake off the cobwebs, knock me out of a rut, or make that push off for another lap of the pool in the opposite direction.

Across various systems I’ve been happiest with three primes - 24mm, 50mm, and something between 85 and 105. I lost my way with digital and went with zooms. My back and shoulder were never happy. I’ve recently acquired a Fuji X-T1 and plan to go back to a 3 prime kit

With four lenses, I could cover my present reach of 12-300mm on the FF K-1. So they would suffice, but I'd miss the alternatives, including two macros and a few lightweight zooms and primes. So I'll say eight or ten, but I'll never have all of them out in the field at once.

My five current lenses have been in use for a few years now. M4/3 20mm, 45mm, 14-45mm, 45-200mm and 100-300mm. The only change I would make would be to upgrade the zooms to 12-35mm, 35-100mm, and 100-400mm if I won the lottery.

I carry them all, plus two bodies, in a reasonable size backpack, which weighs 10.8 pounds all up -including various filters, chargers and spare batteries.

I’ve got 6 for the Fuji X system; 5 primes and the 18-55 “kit” lens. I don’t want anymore but most are specialty lenses. I would say 95% of my photos are made with the 35 mm f/1.4 and the kit lens. I’ve got 5 more for my Nikon FF setup; 3 primes and 2 zooms but 95% of my photos are made with the 35 mm f/1.8 and the 85 mm f/1.8. Some might argue that I could get rid of 7 and just keep the 4 I primarily photograph with but they’ve been accumulated over years and I do use the infrequently used lenses and would miss them if I did not have them. I never carry the whole lot anywhere. Rarely take more than 1 or 2. Overall, I’m pretty content with the gear I have and don’t see any purchases in the foreseeable future barring theft or accident.

Five ... 50mm lenses, then maybe four 35s, and only one or two of the other focal lengths, because let's face it 21mm lenses don't really differ too much in character. And I wish I was joking.

What I walk around with? Three - 14, 25, and 45mm. But of course I have more (like zoom, macro, and so on).
What I walk around with just when walking instead of driving? Just one of the above. Or with the macro - time to get another macro in a "standard" length, like 25 or 30mm...

I wish you didn't ask. For my E-M1, I have four primes: 17mm, 25mm, 45mm, and 75mm f/1.8. I have the 12-40mm f/2.8 and two other zooms that I share with my son, the 40-150 f/4-5.6 and 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7. I could see replacing the 12-40mm with the 12-100mm some day. Mostly, I use the 25mm, 45mm, and 75mm.

Then there is the Pentax MX and 5 lenses (used to be my dad's but became mine when he went digital), and a Canon F-1 and FTb with 8 lenses (the F-1 was my dad's and so were some of the lenses). Of course, that does not count the OM-1 and its 50mm f/1.4.

Oh yeah, then we have the large format lenses. I started out with a few. Except for my very first lens, they are all used. There are twenty-one of them! I have a combo for 4x5 architecture, a combo for shorter focal length situations, where things will be a little tighter and another one for situations where longer lenses will be more useful. Then there are the lenses I purchased that work particularly well for Whole Plate, even though many of my 4x5 lenses cover that size. Of course, those also work well for 5x7, as do most of the 4x5 lenses. I could not help myself.

I look for good buys and got some great deals. Focal lengths range from 75mm to 450mm. Mostly Fujinons (often available at lower prices than the other brands), but also Caltars, Rodenstocks, Nikkors, and a Schneider. There are a couple of Wollensaks and a nice 215mm convertible Ilex. I have Caltars made by three different companies.

My most used lenses for 4x5: 210mm Fujinon L, 125mm Fujinon NW, and 450mm Fujinon C, in that order.

Forty-two lenses! I'm sorry I counted. Lots of glass in my house.

It's tempting to go double digits but it makes me sad to have a lot of good photo gear around that's not being used.

Whatever the number, my set would be heavy on normals and wides (as it is now). For each of those ranges, I like to have a fast one and a compact, light one (if I can't get both in the same lens). And also a fast portrait lens. And, for just in case, a macro and a tele-zoom to round things out; and probably a wide-to-portrait zoom too.

That makes 4-8, I think, depending on how well lenses play multiple roles. Character matters too, though, which may increase the number. But I'd shoot 80 percent of the time with normal and wide primes, probably.

I already have 8, so I guess 16. Some of them will be back up focal lengths. And some exotics for fun. (400 abd 300 f2.8 and the 200mm f2)
But realistically I think I will buy 3 more lenses.

I have two: a 35 and a 75.
I'd add another two at most: a 28 and a 50.

The 35 would still get the lion's share of use.

I started counting whilst in bed last night, but fell asleep before O, for Olympus, and I hadn't quite finished N for Nikkor.

Well, there is a big difference between owning lenses, and bringing lenses. I sure have way too much lenses, yet I use nearly all of them - at different times.

Often I could do 90% of what I like to do with a two lens kit for 35mm/full frame (35/90 or 35/105), other days just a 50mm (or equivalent) will do. And sometimes, a convenience zoom does the job just fine (but I don't much like zooms really).
And then some days, you want wider, longer as well, so the worst days, I'm outdoors with around 6 lenses.

So, How many lenses would you have if you could have all the lenses you want? .... probably around 10 or 12, for a given system.

If prime, 3, maybe 4. The "maybe 4" would be a good 400 or 500mm (or longer) for waterfowl/wildlife. Then a nice 28mm, a required 50mm, and perhaps something between 90-100mm. Anything extra would be icing.

Oh, and under no circumstances a fisheye. Everything they say about them is true.

There are two formulas which can be applied here: The correct number is either n+1 where n= the current number of lenses you own, or s-1 where s=the number of lenses owned that would result in separation from your partner ...

Less than I did now I've sold off all the Nikons. Still too many though.

But, I only take two or three with me when I go out.

Either two zooms from three, wide + normal/normal + tele, or three primes 24mm-e 35mm-e and 120mm-e.

Hmmmm, let's see. I have a 28mm f2.8, two 50mm f1.8, 18-135mm 3.5-5.6, 24-105 f4, and a 70-200mm f2.8 non-IS, all from Canon. But I use the 24-105 for just about EVERYTHING. If the 24-105 was 2.8, I'd probably just sell the rest — except for the nifty 50. Best bang-for-the-buck.

For assignment work, I carry as many lenses as possible from 17 to 200mm. Mind you, the 17mm is often a "Wow!" lens with clients as well as the very flattering 135mm f:2 with the lovely bokeh. These are my most used, by far.

For personal work, a pair of 35 & 50 Summicrons on a Leica is plenty.

3 or 4 primes for everyday use and 3 or 4 'specialist' lenses (I have those now for the first time in my life, because with M4/3 it was affordable).
(nb: focal length x2 is 35mm focal length in M4/3)

3 or 4 primes: wide, standard and a short tele, with as fourth option either a moderate wide angle for reportage or a slightly longer tele for landscape (at present 12mm, 25mm and 45 mm, I have no fourth lens yet)

Specialist lenses:
180 frame filling fisheye (now 7.5mm),
long telezoom (now 75-300) for wildlife/landscape,
and 'super-zoom'(from wide to moderate tele (for outdoor activities like sports or in my case kite fests)
Perhaps a long macro (I don't have the macro yet, not sure I would use it enough to justify).

Back in the 1980s I shot with the Olympus OM system and spent a lot of time traveling overseas. OM cameras and lenses were small and I could carry a few prime lenses with me -- I recall that only one or two OM zooms were available back then and the quality was not great and the prices were high. So I probably had 6 lenses to go with the camera, all primes from 135mm down to 21mm..

These days, I am shooting Canon digital and I have more lenses than back in the day -- zooms and primes -- and probably have about 15 (holy crap!), The longest is a 70-200mm zoom (with a couple of tele-extenders) and the widest is a 5.8 mm Lensbaby fisheye.

I am also shooting film again with a Leica and have a half dozen primes to go with that from 50mm down to 15mm.

The question Mike asks is how many lenses would you have if you could have all the lenses you want. But I think the question should not ask about want but about use. I have Canon lenses that I rarely use (after the first few times, anyway) but I do try to "rotate" the lenses for the Leica.

I have 5, but since I put the 24-105mm on my camera, I haven't taken it off. So, it's only one for me.


Walkabout lens (58mm f/1.4)
Portrait lens (105mm f/1.4)
Medium zoom (for indoor events)(24-70 f/2.8)
Macro lens

I own more, such as a wide angle prime and zoom and a second macro lens – but, really, I live off of those four lenses above.

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