Monday, 24 May 2010

Choosing a lens kit

I've been enjoying Mike Johnston's posts on lens kits (part 1 and part 2). It's thinking I've been through many times. I thought I'd share my kit development.

It all started with the basic kit zoom as he describes. My first SLR was purchased in 1996 just after graduation. I bought the basic Canon kit -a lot of camera for relatively little money at the time (now you can get 10x the camera for the same actual money as then). Multi-purpose zoom (35-80, I think). Got the job done, until i got into wildlife photography. So I went long - a 70-300mm being the cheapest way into long reach. With limited means, that proved a nice combination. I did get a wide angle converter for the shorter lens but it's seen precious little action. I just don't see the world in wide angle and these days it's easy enough to stitch panoramas if I want that sort of thing.

However, much like Mike, I think 2 lenses generally suffices but that'll be two different for each scenario. I have many two lens kits:
The walk-around kit (actually a choice between 2 - I carry only the one)
The indoor kit
The rangefinder kit
the LF kit
The sports kit
The travel kit
The landscape kit
The cycling kit
The wildlife kit

You get the picture. I have a trunk full of cameras and lenses. But I mainly carry 2 lenses at a time, sometimes 3, although mostly one of those three is neglected. The selection I have also include a number of primes, some good, some frustrating (e.g. my 50mm f/1.8 is frustrating: all electronic, all plastic, difficult to focus but it was cheap).

So a pair for any given situation and enough choice the cover the lot.

If I was forced into just 2? Tricky. Excluding the wildlife (where the 500mm is invaluable), I reckon my 17-55 and maybe an 85 or 135 would do the job (although I own neither of those primes). Or my 70-200 of the current stock. Force me to go prime? then I'd stick with the rangefinder and the 40mm and 75mm. As nice combo for a wide range of situations.

I o see the attraction of micro four-thirds, however. Small cameras and small lenses for the longer reach I like. If a decent camera comes along, I'd snap it up with a couple of lenses to cover most of my going about, travelling applications.

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