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Author Topic: Choosing a lens/system  (Read 1088 times)

armand

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Choosing a lens/system
« on: November 09, 2017, 02:21:31 PM »

I'm reaching a point where it takes me a very long time trying to decide which system and what lenses should a I bring for a particular outing. I usually have no specific projects, more like walk and shoot whatever I find appealing.
I have m43, Fuji APS-C and Nikon (full frame and rarely used these days APS-C).

The problem is two fold, first system and then what lenses. I find less and less exciting to take many lenses and to keep changing them. Yesterday I left with 4 lenses but I ended up using the zoom 24-120 for most of the trip despite knowing I'll be losing some iq.

Does anybody else has these kind of "problems" and how do you get around?


One option would be to decrease the number of systems but I'm also gravitating a lot towards using just zooms for landscape. How can I justify the primes when most of the times I'll be using F5.6 or less (equiv 35mm).

David S

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2017, 03:18:32 PM »

The modern issue- which system to use followed by which lens. I now use Panasonic GX8 and Fuji systems and am having a great time. I am fullied retired so I have no need to worry about which will please publishers the most. Fun!

Dave S
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2017, 03:49:46 AM »

If you have no particular objective in mind, then any system with a relatively large sensor will do; say starting from m43 and up, any recent/modern camera system will fit your needs.

From there, you just need to decide what to keep from what you have; you clearly have too much stuff. Trim down to a couple of cameras, plus 2 or 3 lenses. That is what I did, because when I moved from DSLR to MILC, I wanted to simplify. Like you, I shoot mostly for myself, at my own leisure.

Modern zooms are perfectly fine for landscapes, and they provide a lot of flexibility. Complement a couple of zooms with a prime lens around 35mm or 50mm, and you are set.

Rob C

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2017, 04:35:27 AM »

My sympathy to the OP!

I have long felt much the same, ever since retiring, in fact, and the sense of freedom in carrying a camera with a single lens stuck to it is worth much more than the sense of dammit! shoulda brought whatever as well!

This, along with many years of equipment juggling/changing that have cost a small fortune, has led to a philosophical change which is: sell nothing and keep everything. You are better off making a daily choice from what already exists in your armoury than wishing you hadn't got rid of the thing you suddenly find you need. Kicking yourself in the ass is a difficult, demanding process.

What you are not using is not costing you anything extra. It cost you what it's going to cost you the day you shelled out for it. Don't think of it as a permanent piece of exchange value, a negotiable instrument: it's a photographic one. Unless you screw with it, it will probably remain as good in a hundred years as it is now, which can't be said for yourself. Which leads to the next point: stay with one system and don't be misled into buying stuff that has built-in obsolescence. That was one good thing about the Nikon F mount, at least until the advent of the G lenses. Sadly, my stinking old eyesight has forced me into af if I am off tripod and want to be sure, and I usually am off tripod.

But, all is not lost: with the 50mm G, used on an FF and a DX body, I get two focal lengths in one (more or less): a 50mm and a 75mm which actually makes quite a difference in reality.

Money not an issue, the only other thing out of the sytem that I'd buy would be a Leica M (digital) of some sort, just for the experience. I'm sure that it could never be my single system because I enjoy shallow DOF and for me, that means I need to get a good idea of what's what on a screen. No, live view is out of the question: I would require speed.

We all get fidgety feet: there's even an old jazz number proving the point. Resist temptation and, if you can afford it easily, consolidate down to a single system, preferrably a full-frame one for its potential... In all honesty, if it's just for fun, why would anyone need more than a single system? This may appear to fly in the face of my opening bit of personal equipment wisdom, but it doesn't: once you settle onto a system you are set for life.

Of couse, if you are an equipment junkie, then God help you: you are your own worst enemy.

Rob

KLaban

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2017, 04:47:35 AM »

Money not an issue, the only other thing out of the sytem that I'd buy would be a Leica M (digital) of some sort, just for the experience. I'm sure that it could never be my single system because I enjoy shallow DOF and for me, that means I need to get a good idea of what's what on a screen. No, live view is out of the question: I would require speed.

But Rob, with an EVF (electronic viewfinder) you'd get exactly that.

;-)



« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 04:51:25 AM by KLaban »
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KLaban

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2017, 07:33:49 AM »

I'm reaching a point where it takes me a very long time trying to decide which system and what lenses should a I bring for a particular outing. I usually have no specific projects, more like walk and shoot whatever I find appealing.
I have m43, Fuji APS-C and Nikon (full frame and rarely used these days APS-C).

The problem is two fold, first system and then what lenses. I find less and less exciting to take many lenses and to keep changing them. Yesterday I left with 4 lenses but I ended up using the zoom 24-120 for most of the trip despite knowing I'll be losing some iq.

Does anybody else has these kind of "problems" and how do you get around?


One option would be to decrease the number of systems but I'm also gravitating a lot towards using just zooms for landscape. How can I justify the primes when most of the times I'll be using F5.6 or less (equiv 35mm).

My mantra is to keep everything as simple as possible. One system consisting of as little equipment as I can possibly get away with.

Works for me, but I admit it could be a case of simple things for a simple mind.
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Rob C

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2017, 02:42:49 PM »

But Rob, with an EVF (electronic viewfinder) you'd get exactly that.

;-)



Oh. I had imagined you had a traditional rangefinder viewing system, not one of those new Japanese things that resemble tiny tv screens with additional banks of info. I thought you'd have to go to LV and inspect the rear screen if you wanted to see stopped-down DOF. Also, I had the impression that focus peaking would only be available on the rear screen.

Maybe I need to hold one to get its value in perspective. But that wouldn't help me buy into any such system! Unfortunately, I have to add.

However, if the viewing system is actually similar to slr systems, why do people still stress the so-called rangefinder advantage of seeing the subject without the effect of the lens's focal length and aperture?  Does the evf switch off and let the camera revert to a traditional rf viewing system with guide frames for two or three focal lengths?

The more I read the less I know!

Great photo, by the way; shows the hoped for control extremely well.

Rob

rdonson

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2017, 06:26:00 PM »

Armand, for walkabouts I use my Fuji X-T2.  If I don't know what I'm going encounter and I was to travel light with only one lens then I take the 18-135.  For me this is a good meandering setup.  I find it ideal for my small town work.   

This afternoon I was looking to go somewhat light for some landscape work where I wanted sharp quality and took my 16-55 f/2.8 and 5-140 f/2.8 along with my tripod with the X-T2.  I wasn't looking to do a lot of walking or any hiking so this worked fine for me.  I ended up no more that 100 yards (meters) from my car.  I knew the location and what might be needed.  I did forget my polarizer though.   
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Regards,
Ron

Telecaster

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2017, 08:34:29 PM »

Rob, the M240 & all but one of its variants & the M10 let you focus and compose via the rear LCD or via a clip-on EVF. But the traditional optical/mechanical rangefinder bits are all still there. So you can skip the EVF, ignore the LCD’s live view capability and use the cameras the right way.  :)

-Dave-
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Rob C

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2017, 04:09:12 AM »

Rob, the M240 & all but one of its variants & the M10 let you focus and compose via the rear LCD or via a clip-on EVF. But the traditional optical/mechanical rangefinder bits are all still there. So you can skip the EVF, ignore the LCD’s live view capability and use the cameras the right way.  :)

-Dave-

Thanks, Dave.

Yes, now I get it: I have a memory of watching somedody's video of shooting with a digi M and there was a circular-looking thing up on the accessory shoe; I thought that was a frame finder! Maybe that was an EVF, instead. But the video may have been for one of the cheaper Leica models - not sure.

Now that I think about it, wasn't there something about the Leica one being interchangeable with a far cheaper Japanese camera branded one?

I've just searched for it, and it turns out to exist (the tubular one), and be a Visoflex EVF finder, far dfferent to the Visoflex sytem for the old film cameras. I see there's another version that resembles a scaled-down finder for the 6x6 Rollei.

Sadly, though it may do the trick perfectly - it makes it even more unaffordable for me. Too bad.

Thanks again.

Rob

KLaban

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2017, 05:53:02 AM »

Oh. I had imagined you had a traditional rangefinder viewing system, not one of those new Japanese things that resemble tiny tv screens with additional banks of info. I thought you'd have to go to LV and inspect the rear screen if you wanted to see stopped-down DOF. Also, I had the impression that focus peaking would only be available on the rear screen.

Maybe I need to hold one to get its value in perspective. But that wouldn't help me buy into any such system! Unfortunately, I have to add.

However, if the viewing system is actually similar to slr systems, why do people still stress the so-called rangefinder advantage of seeing the subject without the effect of the lens's focal length and aperture?  Does the evf switch off and let the camera revert to a traditional rf viewing system with guide frames for two or three focal lengths?

The more I read the less I know!

Great photo, by the way; shows the hoped for control extremely well.

Rob

Rob, the M240 & all but one of its variants & the M10 let you focus and compose via the rear LCD or via a clip-on EVF. But the traditional optical/mechanical rangefinder bits are all still there. So you can skip the EVF, ignore the LCD’s live view capability and use the cameras the right way.  :)

-Dave-

Thanks, Dave.

Yes, now I get it: I have a memory of watching somedody's video of shooting with a digi M and there was a circular-looking thing up on the accessory shoe; I thought that was a frame finder! Maybe that was an EVF, instead. But the video may have been for one of the cheaper Leica models - not sure.

Now that I think about it, wasn't there something about the Leica one being interchangeable with a far cheaper Japanese camera branded one?

I've just searched for it, and it turns out to exist (the tubular one), and be a Visoflex EVF finder, far dfferent to the Visoflex sytem for the old film cameras. I see there's another version that resembles a scaled-down finder for the 6x6 Rollei.

Sadly, though it may do the trick perfectly - it makes it even more unaffordable for me. Too bad.

Thanks again.

Rob

Hi Rob, a little more detail. All Leica M series (film and digital) are rangefinder cameras. Dave is right, using the rangefinder is the right way. :) It's the way I love using the cameras and it's the way I use them most of the time.

The accessory EVF2 for the M240 is an Olympus design, although it's available as a rebadged Leica for twice the price: needless to say I bought the Olympus version used at around £100. The EVF gives you the option to use and see most functions that are available on the LCD screen. So, the modern digital Leica M has essentially the choice of three 'viewfinders', the optical viewfinder with rangefinder, the LCD and an accessory EVF. Live view also allows - with cheap adaptors - the use of a plethora of non-coupled legacy lenses such as your Nikon lenses. One of my favourite lenses for use with the M240 is the Nikkor 55mm Macro AIS, simply superb. The addition of live view was crucial; it allows the building of an adaptable system around the Leica rangefinder cameras. Additional to the option of using third party lenses, live view allows for accurate framing of wide and telephoto lenses not covered by the pairs of guide frames. It gives the user the ability to see DOF, accurate framing of any lens, as well as exposure (not just exposure information), with the options of focus peaking and magnification. Even the screen used as viewfinder can be a lifesaver, for instance when the camera is mounted way above head height on a tripod. BTW, I don't see the rangefinder advantage as seeing the subject without the effect of the lens's focal length and aperture but as the ability to see outside of the frame, great for fast changing situations.

As you know I used medium format film and digital systems professionally for many years. When I 'retired' the mere thought of lugging around a MF system in often very difficult conditions filled me with horror. I was looking for a simplistic - I admit I am a technophobe - lightweight and compact system, full frame with remarkable lenses. I was seduced by a Leica M9-P which as it turned out was a godsend and the perfect introduction to the rangefinder way.

Unfortunately I've never had a proper job; all my income has been earned as an artist and photographer. I'm simply not in the position of being able to own, maintain and insure multiple systems in combination with my beloved rangefinder system and neither would I want to. I've bought most of what I have pre-owned from orthodontists, surgeons, astrophysicists and the like ;)
« Last Edit: November 11, 2017, 06:43:45 AM by KLaban »
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BrownBear

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2017, 07:34:15 AM »

I faced a similar problem upon retiring from pro shooting. More gear than sense compounded by a deep ennui with the loss of directed shooting.  Not only what in the hell to pack, but also what in the hell to shoot. Packing lots of gear only compounded my listless wandering.

For me the solution was very simple and the results were quick. I left the whole SLR setup at home and set off with a then-new RX100V. Its quality viewfinder resolved my hatred of stretched-arm photography while image quality is startlingly good. The 35-70mm equivalent lens seemed confining at first, but I quickly developed an "eye" for its range when looking for shots. I don't miss longer lenses in the least for wandering and shooting, though I must admit I'd be quick to buy a RX100VI if it had a 20-70mm equivalent lens.

Bottom line, my solution was to leave all the bulky, heavy, befuddling SLR gear at home and get back to a simpler approach to photography. It dramatically improved my output, while also improving performance with SLRs and lens arrays on occasions when those were actually needed. My photo muse was restored with less investment than a single quality SLR lens.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 10:08:39 AM by BrownBear »
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2017, 10:15:09 AM »

If I may further my opinion, I see two systems today that are +/- affordable (compared to the coveted Leica M), and combine all the modern technology with the "photographic haptic" of the "past". There are:

1. Sony Alpha 7 and 9 cameras, with Zeiss Loxia lenses. Who needs more that what Zeiss, in their wisdom, decided to produce? 21, 35, 50, and 85mm lens line, all providing the same look and sharing a common filter size (52mm).

2. Fujifilm X Pro camera, with 23 f2, 35 f2, and 50 f2 lenses (so called Fujicrons:) The XPro lacks the sensor based image stabilization of the Sonys, but counterattacks with the wonderful hybrid VF.

KLaban

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2017, 10:31:48 AM »

If I may further my opinion, I see two systems today that are +/- affordable (compared to the coveted Leica M), and combine all the modern technology with the "photographic haptic" of the "past". There are:

1. Sony Alpha 7 and 9 cameras, with Zeiss Loxia lenses. Who needs more that what Zeiss, in their wisdom, decided to produce? 21, 35, 50, and 85mm lens line, all providing the same look and sharing a common filter size (52mm).

2. Fujifilm X Pro camera, with 23 f2, 35 f2, and 50 f2 lenses (so called Fujicrons:) The XPro lacks the sensor based image stabilization of the Sonys, but counterattacks with the wonderful hybrid VF.

Very different beasts and of course not rangefinders.

Whenever I pick up a Sony 7 series or Fujifilm X series all I want to do is put it down again. Certainly no "photographic haptics of the past" there for this tog. There again whenever I pick up a Canon or Nikon DSLR all I want to do is put it down again.

I liked using the Hasselblad H series but there was no love. In truth the only system I've ever used and loved other than the Leica M system was the Hasselblad V series, but that was then and used with that 12 shot stuff.
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Telecaster

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2017, 12:35:19 PM »

I like the upper-left-corner EVF with the Fuji X-Pros & X-Es. Same with my Panasonic GX8. Both systems have 40mm equiv. lenses too a la the Leitz/Minolta CL(E). In the Sony camp the Loxias give you a really nice manual focusing option, with auto-magnification when you turn the focus ring if you want it. Neither system is gonna give you the full-on Leica M thing, but unless that thing is your thing you won’t miss it.  :)

-Dave-
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Rob C

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2017, 04:27:17 AM »

Very different beasts and of course not rangefinders.

Whenever I pick up a Sony 7 series or Fujifilm X series all I want to do is put it down again. Certainly no "photographic haptics of the past" there for this tog. There again whenever I pick up a Canon or Nikon DSLR all I want to do is put it down again.

I liked using the Hasselblad H series but there was no love. In truth the only system I've ever used and loved other than the Leica M system was the Hasselblad V series, but that was then and used with that 12 shot stuff.


Me 2!

But yes, even when I was just a year or two past my prime, those became less than easy to carry around for any length of time. Hell, so did my big Gitzo, for that matter. Like so much else it lies unused - a testament to human frailty. But one day, one day...

;-)

Rob


Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2017, 05:08:59 AM »

Very different beasts and of course not rangefinders.

Whenever I pick up a Sony 7 series or Fujifilm X series all I want to do is put it down again. Certainly no "photographic haptics of the past" there for this tog. There again whenever I pick up a Canon or Nikon DSLR all I want to do is put it down again.

I liked using the Hasselblad H series but there was no love. In truth the only system I've ever used and loved other than the Leica M system was the Hasselblad V series, but that was then and used with that 12 shot stuff.

As I said, those options were in alternative to those who can not afford the Leica M system. You can even use what is arguably the best of Leica M: the lenses.

KLaban

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2017, 10:02:28 AM »

As I said, those options were in alternative to those who can not afford the Leica M system. You can even use what is arguably the best of Leica M: the lenses.

Forgive me, I was just offering a set of very personal points of view and preferences. I'm sure the Sony and Fuji cameras suit many very well. Yes, the lenses are the best of Leica*, some perhaps the best of all, but not all work at all well on third party bodies. 

But hey, I wouldn't recommend anyone pay any attention to anyone whose all time favourite imaging device is a 6B pencil (apologies to all those nationalities who don't use the correct pencil graphite grading scale).

*Not forgetting of course the best if not only available rangefinder digital bodies.

« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 11:14:28 AM by KLaban »
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armand

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2017, 09:42:34 PM »

Well, I will never get a Leica so that's that.

If I know the light will be tricky or I need heavy processing or great tracking I will take the Nikon as it has the best sensor.
My best lenses are on Fuji though, probably the Nikon get's away with the current lenses as the sensor density is not as high.

For hiking I used the Olympus E-M5ii with either the 12-40 +/- 35-100 or the 12-100. It's a good quality weather resistant combo. The sensor is lacking though in tougher conditions compared to the others.
If I know the weather is not going to be bad I am taking the Fuji which has good to great options on wide to short telephoto. They lack much WR unless I gain weight. If I need longer telephoto they add significant weight. I'm not thrilled re x-trans even after 6 years of dealing with it.

If I would be in an variable situations, in the cities, etc and be alone (as in nobody rushing me) I'm likely carrying the Fuji with 3-5 lenses.


I'm looking for a combo to rule it all and need other lenses only for niche scenarios. The new D850 looks good because the APS-C crop has good quality so it's more versatile. The issue is the zoom to use it with. The 24-120 F4 that I have is not that great, particularly the corners. The 24-70 F2.8E is a little limited in range and the combo becomes too heavy.
I'm looking for reviews of the Sony A7iii with the 24-105 F4 or for the Fuji to release a good quality 16-70/85 WR lens, as good or better than the Nikon 16-80 F2.4-4 for DX.

Rob C

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Re: Choosing a lens/system
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2017, 11:56:35 AM »

Well, I will never get a Leica so that's that.

If I know the light will be tricky or I need heavy processing or great tracking I will take the Nikon as it has the best sensor.
My best lenses are on Fuji though, probably the Nikon get's away with the current lenses as the sensor density is not as high.

For hiking I used the Olympus E-M5ii with either the 12-40 +/- 35-100 or the 12-100. It's a good quality weather resistant combo. The sensor is lacking though in tougher conditions compared to the others.
If I know the weather is not going to be bad I am taking the Fuji which has good to great options on wide to short telephoto. They lack much WR unless I gain weight. If I need longer telephoto they add significant weight. I'm not thrilled re x-trans even after 6 years of dealing with it.

If I would be in an variable situations, in the cities, etc and be alone (as in nobody rushing me) I'm likely carrying the Fuji with 3-5 lenses.


I'm looking for a combo to rule it all and need other lenses only for niche scenarios. The new D850 looks good because the APS-C crop has good quality so it's more versatile. The issue is the zoom to use it with. The 24-120 F4 that I have is not that great, particularly the corners. The 24-70 F2.8E is a little limited in range and the combo becomes too heavy.
I'm looking for reviews of the Sony A7iii with the 24-105 F4 or for the Fuji to release a good quality 16-70/85 WR lens, as good or better than the Nikon 16-80 F2.4-4 for DX.

It's probably a silly question, but do you know the bythom Nikon reviews site? He's pretty clued in about the entire Nikon range.

Rob
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