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Old Jun 17, 2011, 1:02 PM   #1
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Default Favourite lens for your DSLR/SLR ? Why ?

What are your favourite lenses that you use on your DSLR/SLR ?

Also as I ran out of room on the title...what would you get ....lens wise...if got into a different system...or stayed within your system ?

Why do you find a particular lens set so useful ?

In my case my favored lenses are :

  • Pentax 12-24 mm F 4. I use this lens for one of my passions...photographing vintage cars, hot rods, motorcycles. The lens' high quality, great color rendition and ability to keep distortion in check at wide settings, make this lens a keeper for me.
  • Pentax 55-300mm- Lightweight, yet very capable. I have it on one of my DSLR's almost constantly, especially in the winter months while going down winter trails....looking for wildlife and birds to photograph. I find it appears to be as sharp at 300mm as it is as lower settings 200mm, etc.
  • Pentax 50 Macro F 2.8 - vintage cars again, especially in that golden hour in the evening. beautiful bokeh and laser sharp.
  • Pentax 35-105 F 3.5 Macro- a relic from the film era. I still have one and occasionally use on my K series digitals. Wonderful lens, built like a tank.

Obviously I'm a Pentax user, but if I were to switch systems (say Canon) there are some lenses that I would gravitate towards.

  • Canon 17-40 mm L, F 4- I've seen the results of this lens and I'm very impressed, particularly when it's attached to a full frame to take advantage of that 17 mm setting.
  • Tokina 11-16 mm F 2.8- a fast, well built lens with excellent optics.

What lenses would I get ...staying within the Pentax system, or after market with a Pentax lens mount :

  • Pentax primes.
  • For wide angle lenses ...vintage car shots...the 21 mm Pentax.
  • Long distance prime. Would have to be the Pentax DA 300mm F 4 telephoto lens.
  • The Sigma 8-16mm super wide angle zoom has a lot of appeal.
  • Sigma 150-500mm lens...another Sigma with lot's of appeal to me.
An old favourite which is obsolete (Leica screw mount) but which I like very much:

  • Leica 50mm F 3.5 collapsible Elmar- I know it's an old Leitz screw mount for a rangefinder...not a SLR/DSLR...but I've used mine on my '52 Leica 11f...since 1982. All I can say is whoever designed this old lens knew a thing or two about optics and design. Great for portraits and general all around use.
  • Leica 90 mm ...Leica bayonet mount.....used with a Leica M4 Rangefinder. Admirable lens.

Two medium format lenses from the film era that I have and or have rented /used a lot.
  • Mamiya TLR 80mm F 2.8 Normal and 180 MM F 4 Telephoto...both medium format and I've had for a couple of decades. Sharp, sharp and sharp.
  • Pentax 6 X 7 medium format....90 mm F 2.8 Leaf Shutter....wow. I rented this lens a few times.

Those are my favourite lenses...and why they are so favoured.

Your turn. Any make , all models.


Last edited by lesmore49; Jun 17, 2011 at 5:01 PM.
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Old Jun 17, 2011, 1:12 PM   #2
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ef 28 1.8 and the ef 85 1.8 currently. Love the dof control I have, and the 85 make for a nice medium tele on aps-c.
Super Frequent Flyer, no joke. Ex Patriot and loving it.
Canon Eos 60D, T1i/500D, Eos1, Eos 630, Olympus EPL-1, and a part time Pentax K-X shooter.
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Old Jun 17, 2011, 1:51 PM   #3
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  • Tokina ATX AF 340 100-300mm f/4.0
    It works well for shooting the aircraft that fly over my neighborhood near Andrews AFB,

    it works well for shooting soaring raptors,

    and it works well for shooting outdoor equestrian events.

    Those are three of the things I enjoy shooting the most.

  • Nikon AF 85mm f/1.8 D
    It works well for shooting indoor equestrian events.

    That's a fourth.
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
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Old Jun 17, 2011, 2:36 PM   #4
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I have to say I really enjoy the canon 24-105L. It really is a great walk-around lens on my 1dIII.

After that, the 85mm 1.8 I think. Fantastically sharp and quick to focus.
I used to be more happy with my 70-200 2.8L but I've just come to realize it isn't as sharp as it needs to be. Sad that Canon hasn't upgraded the non-IS version as the IS vII is quite on the expensive side.
If I could own 2 lenses they would be:
70-200 2.8 VII
400mm 2.8 IS vII

Although it will be interesting to see how Canon's new 200-400L with built-in TC works out. Not that I could afford that lens either
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Old Jun 17, 2011, 2:39 PM   #5
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Glad the question is "favorite lenses" instead of "most used lenses". My most used lens is a real work-horse of a lens but it's not one of my favorite lenses.

My most used lens is the Pentax DA*50-135 - I went seamlessly from shooting with a very favorite F70-210 on a film camera (which died just before I bought a digital camera) to shooting a dSLR with the 50-135, the field of view is pretty much the same. Add in the weather sealing and it's a go-anywhere, do-anything sort of lens.

My favorite lenses are all prime lenses - the FA 77 f1.8, the Vivitar Series One 105 macro, DA*200 and DA*300. The two DA* lenses get used often than the FA 77, having the weather sealing makes them more useful for my outdoor pictures. I recently bought the FA 31 f1.8 and the more I use it, the more I appreciate it.

The only zoom I'd add into the favorite category is a fisheye, a specialty lens and doesn't get used very often. But it's often great fun.
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Old Jun 17, 2011, 3:33 PM   #6
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My favourite lens and the one on the camera most of the time is the NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR. It's a bit wider than normal at the wide wide end which coupled with the VR makes it a good walk-around tourist lens. For macro work I rely on the SIGMA 105mm f/2.8 Macro which is sharp as a new razor blade. I have three other zoom lenses that cover from 8mm to 500mm as well as a SIGMA 30mm f/1.4 for available light work.

My wish list would include a DX type tilt and shift lens as I've always been intrigued with view camera movements. Nikon doesn't make one yet, besides I probably couldn't afford one if they did!

To date Nikon has met my creative needs so I haven't looked at other brands.
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Old Jun 17, 2011, 4:43 PM   #7
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Mine is my Minolta 70-210 f4 beercan. I add my 2x TC 'and it is super good ! My second is my Sigma 17-70 f2.8/4.5 macro. And I doubt that I'd change brands because what I have does what I need.
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Old Jun 17, 2011, 6:19 PM   #8
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My current favorite is the Canon EF 17-40 f/4 L, I do shoot full frame.

But that changes, for a while I was using a 70-200 L a lot, and for a long time a 24-70 2.8L was almost glued to one body Taste changes over time.

I had a horrible nostalgia period when all I wanted to shoot with was a 50mm prime.(yes the fabulous 1.8)

For macro I love my Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro lens.

The big next lens question pops up
I think my next lenses if I ever start hunting for one again will be from the Canon TS-E (tilt/shift) series, most likely starting with a TS-E 24, or (TS-E 17 or TS-E 45, or TS-E 90)

Changing brands is not easy when you have over 16K$ invested in one manufacturers mount type, so not likely to happen.
Never say never though

Imaging is all about light and your ability to sculpt it.
Equipment is just a secondary nuisance.

Last edited by PeterP; Jun 17, 2011 at 6:23 PM.
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Old Jun 17, 2011, 6:34 PM   #9
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For now,

Favorite---SAL 70-400G SSM!! There's just nothing better.

Most used---SAL 18-250. Most practical.

Most fun---Rokinon 8mm fisheye (rockfish).
Canon S95
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Old Jun 17, 2011, 7:45 PM   #10
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Default Tamron 28-75 f/2.8

My new best friend is the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 for my D5000. I've only had the lens for about a month, but in that time I have gone on a two-week vacation to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the southern US east coast, and used it extensively in a variety of contexts. The thing that most appeals to me is that it sees what I see -- it is a standard focal length zoom, so I don't have to contend with the lens' nonstandard perspective, it is bright enough to use most anywhere, it is sharp as a tack, it has true-to-life color, and it doesn't suffer from any LoCA that I have been able to see. For the kind of dull-normal photographer that I am, the best surprise is no surprise. It's hard enough for me to see what I want to shoot, without having to factor in that the lens doesn't see what I do. Here's a few shots from my vacation to illustrate what I mean.

This is a shot from the Blue Ridge Parkway up around its northern end:

This is the usual view of Montecello -- which is its back yard.

This is my wife contending with a Maryland crab in Annapolis.

These last two are of Linville Falls. The first is with my 55-200 VR Nikon lens, and the second is with the Tammy. The Nikon looks like its wearing sunglasses, while the Tammy is what the actual view looked like. I didn't process these any more than necessary -- the different choice of shutter and the respective skews of color were what came out of the camera.

Prior to getting the Tammy, my favorite lens has been the Nikon 35 f/1.8. I am still very fond of that lens. The one thing that I find irritating in the Tammy is that it has a lot of barrel distortion at the wide end (Photozone puts it at 1.5% at 28mm, and that seems about right to me). That's enough barrel distortion that I often want to remove it, but it is easy to remove -- it is simple barrel distortion and comes right out. Other than that, I really like this lens. A pleasing aspect to it is it's good at close-up shooting. You can focus up to about a foot away (from the focal plane, not the front of the lens), which is as close as I normally care to get when I'm just walking around. All-in-all, I find this a wonderful workhorse lens.

I am in the process of getting what I call the poor man's holy trinity --I already have the Tokina 12-24 f/4 and the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, and will be getting the Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR as soon as my budget recovers. Other than that, I have the wonderful Nikon 35 f/1.8 and the Tamron 90 f/2.8 portrait macro. When I get the new tele, I will be trading in my Nikon 55-200 f/4-5.6 VR, which is a very good lens for the money, but just doesn't fit in with my system as well as the 70-300 will -- or so I hope.

Last edited by tclune; Jun 18, 2011 at 6:33 AM. Reason: typo
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