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11-30-2009, 09:40 PM   #1
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Ideal film two-lens setup with primes?

I was searching through the forum and most stuff I found was around digital bodies (DA what? 12mm lenses? Sigma 10-22? What? )

For those of you who use film, what is your idea of a good two-lens (ideal) or three-lens (space permitting) setup?

On one trip I took:
  • SMC-M 40/2.8
  • SMC-K 135/2.5
  • SMC-M 24/2.8.
I found that the 40/2.8 didn't "feel right" -- a pancake lens is romantic but not usable IMHO. The 135/2.5 was a little too long for portraits, and the 24/2.8 ended up being wider than I wanted for some things.

On another trip I switched up to:
  • 28/2.8 ("normal")
  • 24/2.8 (wide)
  • 135/2.5 (tele)
  • 50/1.4 (low light)
Using the 28/2.8 as my normal was better than the 40/2.8 as it handled better with my large hands, but again too wide. 24/2.8 was a dream in tight spaces though.

Finally, my collection has grown:
  • 20/2.8 (on order)
  • 24/2.8
  • 28/2.0 (on order)
  • 35/2.0 (on order)
  • 50/1.4
  • 135/2.5
I also have a Tokina 80-200/4.0 zoom at my disposal but I prefer to use primes if I can. I haven't had a chance to use the 35/2.0 yet (just bought from the marketplace here, anxiously awaiting its arrival!), but I think it will be a happy medium between my original 28/2.8 and 40/2.8, plus be a stop faster. On the other hand, I have a 28/2.0 coming in -- which will give the same speed.. So many decisions!

Moving on; the biggest gap seems to be my short tele. What are opinions on a good short-tele to complement the 35/2.0? A 85/2.0? 90/2.5 (Tamron?)? 100/2.8? 135/2.5 is definitely too long for simple portraits IMHO, but it is nice to have in the bag if I had space. I'd like to stick to K-mount (otherwise I'd look at stuff like the Jupiter-9 which gets good reviews!), and A-compatible lenses would be preferred (One body is a SuperProgram, and having the full P option is nice), but not required.

BTW, why two lenses? I like to shoot with two bodies if I can, less less changing. Using primes over zooms I feel helps with composition, and makes zone focusing much easier..

Thanks for any input!
-10d

11-30-2009, 10:32 PM   #2
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Hi tendim,

I have two setups: one for my film, and one for digital. The awesome part is that they can be somewhat interchangeable.

My personal favorite for film is:
28mm F2.8 (or faster)
50mm F1.7 (or faster)
135mm F2.8 (or faster).

These three lens are perfect for me for everything I do on film. On top of that, they can be had for pretty cheap!

In fact, I could live with just a 50mm F1.7 on film and call it a day. LOL.
11-30-2009, 11:41 PM   #3
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I also have some overlap in my film and digital prime setups. For film, it's this:

FA 31/1.8
M 50/1.4 (or 1.7 -- I can't decide which I prefer)

For digital, I just add the DA 15/4 at the wide end. I know I'm missing a portrait lens in my film kit, but I just haven't decided which way to go on a grad student budget (the 31 was a very generous gift). I'm leaning toward one of the old Soviet-era 85's, but I'm not sure yet.
11-30-2009, 11:42 PM   #4
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Oh, and that Tamron 90/2.5 macro is a terrific lens. Pretty cheap, built like a tank, and sharp as hell.

11-30-2009, 11:50 PM   #5
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I would go for a 28/31/35mm and an 85mm if only taking 2 lenses.
11-30-2009, 11:52 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
Hi tendim,
I have two setups: one for my film, and one for digital. The awesome part is that they can be somewhat interchangeable.
My personal favorite for film is:
28mm F2.8 (or faster)
50mm F1.7 (or faster)
135mm F2.8 (or faster).
These three lens are perfect for me for everything I do on film. On top of that, they can be had for pretty cheap!
In fact, I could live with just a 50mm F1.7 on film and call it a day. LOL.
What he said...

Actually, what dugrant153 suggests is the classic 35mm film kit. If the photog had a few extra nickels, he would also throw in a 2x tele-converter. If he still felt rich, he would might also go for a 200/3.5 or a 24/2.8 depending on need.

The collector in has been slowly assembling a typical high value kit circa 1970. I have a mint Mamiya/Sekor 1000 DTL with 55/1.8, Vivitar 135/2.8, Vivitar 2x converter, and Vivitar 200/3.5. I am still looking for a matching Vivitar 28/2.8 and am using my somewhat newer Tamron 28/2.5 in the interim.

Now if zooms are your thing, there are a number of 28-80 zooms out there that might be paired with a 70-210. That, my friend, would be the typical 1980s kit.

Steve
12-01-2009, 04:04 AM   #7
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My SLR kit usually consists of one Pentax film body with 35mm lens mounted and a 100mm lens in the bag.
I eliminated the 50mm lens years ago. I never used it so there was no point carrying it.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 12-01-2009 at 04:16 AM.
12-01-2009, 05:17 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
My SLR kit usually consists of one Pentax film body with 35mm lens mounted and a 100mm lens in the bag.
I eliminated the 50mm lens years ago. I never used it so there was no point carrying it.

Chris
Chris, how do you find the 100mm as your short-tele? Do you ever find situations where it is too long? I'm leaning that way as losing the 35mm at the end (vs my 135mm) might cure the challenges I'm having. (Again, until I try it I won't know, but I need to buy a new lens first!).

12-01-2009, 05:26 AM   #9
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My "ideal" setup should ideally be dictated by just what the heck it is I plan on doing with it....but I find I enjoy more just grabbing a couple of lenses and then having to adjust what I shoot to what I happened to bring.

But Chris has a good point and if I carry along both a 35 and a 55, either one or the other tends to remain in my pocket. Same for a 28 and a 35. But there is enough difference between a 28 and a 55 that both get used. Sometimes it is fun just to mount a 35 and go with a single lens. Just because we have cameras with interchangeable lenses doesn't mean we're obligated to change lenses.
12-01-2009, 05:28 AM   #10
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When shooting film, i used to take a 50mm 1.4 with me for portraits (i like how this 'too wide for portraits' lens adds depth to pictures, and i don't feel the need to make skins look 'better' or to flatten perspective), and a 24mm 2.5 for street work. The 24 was sometimes too wide, but i just did with what i had. And out in nature, it proved to be very valuable. I suppose i would maybe prefer a 28 for a more general use though.
12-01-2009, 08:14 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
My "ideal" setup should ideally be dictated by just what the heck it is I plan on doing with it....but I find I enjoy more just grabbing a couple of lenses and then having to adjust what I shoot to what I happened to bring.
Sorry, intent of my thread was related to travel photography and what to bring. In that case I have to limit what I'm brining. Otherwise, yes, just grab whatever on the shelf fits my current mood.

QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
Just because we have cameras with interchangeable lenses doesn't mean we're obligated to change lenses.
True, however I've missed more than one shot because of required lens changing, i.e., subject too far or subject matter too wide for current lens.
12-01-2009, 08:39 AM   #12
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I only shoot film and travel a lot, so here is my input:

Regular Travel three lens kit and one camera body:

28mm
50-55mm
135mm


Light two lens kit and one camera body:

35mm
105 or 120mm


Large Travel Kit with two bodies, B&W and Colour film:

17mm fisheye or 18mm
28mm
50-55mm
85mm
150 or 200mm
Macro lens (50 or 100mm)


Phil.
12-01-2009, 09:57 AM   #13
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my three lens film kit

K24 Fa43 Fa77
12-01-2009, 11:11 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
My SLR kit usually consists of one Pentax film body with 35mm lens mounted and a 100mm lens in the bag.
I eliminated the 50mm lens years ago. I never used it so there was no point carrying it.

Chris
Glad you mentioned the 35mm. On a whim I went out a few days ago with my FA 35/2 shooting some B&W with the Ricoh XR7. I have not processed the film yet, but the whole experience was very positive. I have used a 28mm for years and sometimes the FOV is way too much. The 35, on the other hand, gives the wide view in a much more subtle way. Very nice overall.

Steve
12-01-2009, 12:09 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by tendim Quote
True, however I've missed more than one shot because of required lens changing, i.e., subject too far or subject matter too wide for current lens.
I've "missed" countless shots that way myself.

I used to immediately grab something to brace myself, but found it unnecessary as despite my firm convictions to the contrary the world kept right on turning. Still going, last I checked.
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