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01-30-2012, 10:24 AM   #1
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How do you choose and manage your lens herd?

It seems like the norm in advanced photography to have a whole pile of lenses for every conceivable need or distance or lighting, I tend to be on the other end of the spectrum and try to set myself up with a very few (at this point 1) jack of all trades master of none lenses.

As a more basic general question when you walk out the door with a camera and no specific goal in mind, how do you decide what should be on the camera and what should be in the bag if you even bring a bag, and would you even have time to change lenses if the perfect shot suddenly crossed your path?

I have some basic good quality SMC-A Pentax lenses left over from my 35mm stuff (thus the choice of my new (used) Pentax K20D camera) and my current answer to everything and anything is my 1:3.5 35~105mm since it has that odd macro feature built in and its still reasonable wide angle or zoom, so from a flower to a tower I can usually catch anything I see. I'm not sure I've ever seen a newer auto focus lens for the digitals with this sort of versatility all in one and I wonder where to go next.

01-30-2012, 11:01 AM   #2
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"How do you choose and manage your lens herd?"

Some of my lenses were acquired with a specific need in mind (sports, wildlife, casual portraits, etc.) others simply on a whim. In terms of usage (beyond those specific purposes), whimsy rules.
01-30-2012, 11:02 AM   #3
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I see what you mean: by having one lens that can cover everything you feel that you will not miss any shot.
Now, to answer your question on choice of equipment when you have a lot of cameras and lenses: I decide on a focal length/camera based on my plan for the outing. Many a time I am at the metroparks looking for interesting subjects. Some days I go to look for just one bird - say, a red tail hawk - in that pursuit all I need is my Tamron 500 mirror or the FA 300. If weight is a concern the sigma 70-300 zoom. If I feel like I may miss out on some wide angle shots, I may slap on a prime on a film camera and take that in addition to the above. If I go to a museum or an orchid show I take some takumars to enjoy manual focus. If I am shooting family members I use the Limited primes. So, the situation dictates the choice.
01-30-2012, 11:16 AM   #4
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I think you will find that most peope will have certain lenses for certain situations. However, if i am not vacationing or anything the lens of choice on my camera for everyday use is the da 35mm. If i do take another lens just for kicks i am inclinced to take my 50. However for vacationing i usuall have the zoom mounted as it is the most convinent and i would swap depending on situation for the 35 or 50 etc. I really havent touched my zooms unless it is family outings. However, in my camera bag right now. I have the following 35 50 135 150. But usually if i am just walking out the door i grab the 50 and place it in my pocket and run with the 35 mounted. However, i think this may change once i get something in the 70 range.

01-30-2012, 11:24 AM   #5
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I'll go at this backwards. Managing is easy. A database with all the particulars recorded; lots of little drawers and shelves for storage; some favorites for various purposes; and my LOTD (lens of the day) strategy, where I semi-randomly choose a lens and use only it for a day or ten. Some LOTD glass ends up in regular rotation, some gets sold off, no problem.

Choosing is another matter. I have a five-step program for lens acquisitions:

1) Coverage. My Tamron 10-24, DA18-250, and Lil'Bigma 170-500 cover a wide range.
2) Speed. My 24-28-35-58-85mm f/2s, 50-55mm f/1.2-1.4s, and 135/2.5s handle that.
3) Specialties. Fisheyes, macros, long mirrors, enlarger zoom on focusing helicoid, etc.
4) Character. Many older slower lenses render images quite differently than new optics.
5) Mania. Whatever optical materials I can stuff in front of the camera -- fun fun fun!

Once through those stages, I put together specialized minikits. One is ultralight, with lenses weighing between 60-110g, the whole kit under 450g / 1lb -- 35/4.5, 50/2.8, 75/3.5, and 100/4.5 lenses. Others embody doubling focal lengths -- each adjacent lens has 1/2 the FOV of its neighbor. One such minikit has 21/3.8, 45/2.8, and 85/2 members; another is 24/2, 50/1.4, 100/2.8, 200/5.6.

These approaches work for me; YMMV. Others may want the Tamron triplets: 10-24, 17-70, 70-210. A minimalist might be happy with the DA18-250 and an FA50/1.4, the quick path to both coverage and speed. Others collect Limiteds, all of them. If I were building a professional kit, I'd likely take a pragmatic approach. But photography is no longer my job. I'm just a duffer who likes to accumulate interesting stuff. Lenses are nifty. Can't never have too many, eh?
01-30-2012, 11:25 AM   #6
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in general if it's not a vacation or an event where i need multiple lenses i will walk out with just one lens. in reality it doesn't matter which lens though my favourites would be my m 28 3.5 and Super tak 50 1.4 and my DA14 2.8. Tthe advantage to taking any of the others though is it forces me to think outside the box to get something good.
I have a nice zoom (24-70 2.8 sigma) but i don't use it as a walk around lens. too heavy and big so i need to pair it with a grip for balance and then it's getting heavier and bigger than i want to carry most days
01-30-2012, 11:29 AM   #7
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I almost always have my Tamron 18-250 mounted on the camera and a manual 50 in my pocket or bag. If I'm headed to hockey, the 18-250 joins the 50 in the bag (for no particular reason, I've never once switched at a game) and my DAL 55-300 is mounted on the camera. Recently the 55-300 has been temporarily replaced by a 70-200 f/2.8 rental but the idea is the same. Sports = sports lens mounted and everything else = everything else lens mounted with a 50 handy for when I'm feeling "artsy". :-)
01-30-2012, 11:36 AM   #8
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I bought myself the Sigma 10-20, Sigma 17-70, and the Tamron 70-200. With those three, I essentially have everything I need covered. I'm so partial towards the 70-200 that I would usually take it out with me if I don't have a plan for the day, but due to size constraints I take my 17-70 more often now.

I used to have many more lenses (28-105, 80-200, 100-300, 90mm macro, 35-70) but when I went through them I realized that almost all of them could just be replaced with the 70-200 and a sub-70 zoom lens. That's how I thinned my herd. I will eventually try to get a DA 55 1.4 and a 85 1.4 for specific portrait use, but my zooms are my go-to when I just want to go out and shoot.

01-30-2012, 11:52 AM   #9
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My kit is composed with the following in mind

For day to day shooting, I take FA31Ltd and DFA100WR.
If I go for wildlife, I take FA31Ltd and DA55-300.
If I go for architecture/city, kit lens and DFA100WR. This will change one day for a wide-angle zoom, FA31Ltd and DFA100WR.
If somebody asks me to take some photos of a children's play, I take the kit lens.

And when I go for a bit of fun, I pick two M42 lenses (e.g. Super Tak 55/1.8 and SMC Tak 85/1.8 or Vivitar 55/2.8 macro and SMC Tak 135/3.5) or my two M lenses (50/1.7 and 120/2.8).
01-30-2012, 11:52 AM   #10
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Ok, people are going to laugh at my endless ignorance. It seems my second lens in my 2 lens selection may also be a good one to use for general stuff and I didn't look at it until you all talked about using the 50mm ones. I always wrote it off as "the cheap one that came with the camera" which was an old Pentax 35mm Super Program that I inherited. Apparently this 50mm SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.4 Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database does not come with that camera and was stupid expensive when it was new. Silly me. Well now at least I have another nice lens to use. Thankfully it basically never got used by me plus it had a cheap clear filter screwed into it so its still like new. I like that its another all metal one like my bigger lens, the retro "Honeywell Pentax" lens cap is nifty too. Mine doesn't have the funky hood of the one in the pic though.
YAY I have 2 good lenses now. This seems to be like the cylinder index for gear-heads (number of total internal combustion cylinders in every engine you own added up) My lens index is 2!

EDIT: I keep hearing about "Pentax prime" this and " Pentax prime" that, which I was told is simply a fixed zoom or something rather than adjustable. Does this other lense qualify as a nifty 50mm Pentax prime lens then? Nevermind, just re-read the review on it, duh, one again that ignorance showing.

Last edited by PPPPPP42; 01-30-2012 at 12:00 PM.
01-30-2012, 11:58 AM   #11
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an a 50 1.4 is an excellent lens choice (and you get all the functionality of the FA 50 1.4 aside from Autofocus....something i'm sure most of us don't get)
On 35 I rarely shot with the 50, favouring instead a 21 or 28 and a longer lens (85 or 135)
01-30-2012, 12:13 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
EDIT: I keep hearing about "Pentax prime" this and " Pentax prime" that, which I was told is simply a fixed zoom or something rather than adjustable. Does this other lense qualify as a nifty 50mm Pentax prime lens then? Nevermind, just re-read the review on it, duh, one again that ignorance showing.
Prime means a single focal length. A 50mm F1.7 is a prime lens. A 50-200 lens is a zoom lens. That's basically it.

Yeah there's more differences between a prime and zoom, but that's the critical one.
01-30-2012, 12:25 PM   #13
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Have way too many lens.Have used Pentax for about 40 years and still got most the lens used over the years,both m42 and k mount.Thinking about getting rid of most,keeping my 28-105,100-300,manual focus 28 and 50 , f50and buying something from
?-70 in constant 2.8.Think these along with flash and extension tubes should cover all my needs.
Jake
01-30-2012, 02:01 PM   #14
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I have a group of lenses paired with bodies in Domke and LowePro camera bags. (Translation: OCD)
  1. Large Bag: K2DMD and KX; K28; K50; M100; K135; K200; Vivitar 285; hoods; filters
  2. Medium Bag: LX; K24; K35; K55; A35~105; duplicate hoods; duplicate filters
  3. Medium Bag: SV; Viv 35; ST55; Viv 135; Soligor 180; Incident and reflective light meters
  4. Small Bag: SF1n; F35~70
  5. Shelf: K; AT35; AT55; AT135
  6. Sling Bag: K10D; FA35; FA50; S-M-CT50; DA55~300; AF360FGZ
  7. Generic Large Bag: Whatever else I own at the time. Usually duplicates or near-duplicates of things I already have.
I usually just take whatever bag feels like the right bag to take that day and do whatever happens with whatever I have. That's usually the sling bag. Sometimes I arrange a trip specifically to use the camera or lenses in one of the bags.

Most of the time I spend more time rearranging the contents of the bags than I do actually taking one of the bags out.

Last edited by monochrome; 01-31-2012 at 07:23 AM.
01-30-2012, 02:05 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Most of the time I spend more time rearranging the contents of the bags than I do actually taking one of the bags out.
my Precious

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