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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> One camera - one lens
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03/05/2014 02:19:52 AM · #1
Henri Cartier-Bresson shot with various lenses when on assignment. BUT when he shot for himself, he always stuck to one lens on his Leica - his faithful 50mm. He was so used to it that it became what he called his “extension of his eye”. For street photography, which was his expertise, I can totally see his point.

I absolutely love my RX1r - fixed 35mm prime - on a full frame sensor. I do however wish they would come with a similar camera with a fixed 50mm. And that would be all I need.

So if you could have just one prime lens - what would it be?

A link for those interested:
Shooting like Henri Cartier-Bresson
03/05/2014 02:35:49 AM · #2
Fujinon 22mm on a cropped APS-C sensor. (35mm equivalent)

It makes my other toys stay home most of the time now.

Happily, Fuji just announced the tele adapter, which should be around 50mm equivalent, and promises to be excellent quality (if the wide converter is any indicator). I'm just not sure I want to spend any more on adapters - frankly, the 35mm equivalent makes me very happy.
03/05/2014 02:57:04 AM · #3
Oh, by the way - that RX1R is a sexy, sexy machine.
03/05/2014 03:42:27 AM · #4
Fuji XF 35 mm f/1.4 (eq 50mm) been using the one lens for many months now.

often wish I had not bothered buying interchangeable lens camera as I will not be getting any other lenses.
03/05/2014 11:36:46 AM · #5
Originally posted by Tiny:

Fuji XF 35 mm f/1.4 (eq 50mm) been using the one lens for many months now.

often wish I had not bothered buying interchangeable lens camera as I will not be getting any other lenses.

That's a great lens too. Used one with my last Fuji.
03/05/2014 11:48:52 AM · #6
I really like a 35mm or a 28mm myself so it would probably be my Zeiss 35mm f2. I'd be happy to live at that focal length, a 50mm is just a tad too long.
03/05/2014 11:49:15 AM · #7
I love a lot of different photographic genres so it's impossible to have just one lens. But if I had to pick my favorite lens among the ones I own, no doubt I'd chose 105 f/2 Defocus.
03/05/2014 12:47:48 PM · #8
Tough to shoot only one focal length. But the lens that gets me some of my most striking images is my Nikon 10.5mm fisheye

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Message edited by author 2014-03-05 12:48:25.
03/05/2014 01:09:11 PM · #9
for the last few years I have been using primes almost exclusively (the Pentax DA limiteds are phenomenal). If I had to pick one it would be the 21 mm (31.5 mm in full frame), which is a great all around length that is useable for travel, street and landscape. Though I would surely miss my 15 outdoors and my 135 on the street, as well my 40 and 70 for the odd shot with actual people I know in it.
03/05/2014 02:33:23 PM · #10
Either...

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 on my D800 (great images, but large and heavy for everyday use)

or....

RX100 zoomed to 28mm all the time (nearly great images, in a pocketable package that can go anywhere)

Interestingly, the thing I like about the Sigma that I don't get from the RX100 is the flaws. The RX100 images are sharp and perfect across the frame every time. The Sigma at f/1.4 has a ton of vignetting and a very characteristic look that is missing from a lot of modern lenses.
03/05/2014 04:55:27 PM · #11
5d2 - 135L

the 135L attracts unicorns so its worth it for that alone.

03/05/2014 07:57:54 PM · #12
What?!?! Nifty 50, dude! Its standard kit. :)
03/06/2014 03:37:17 AM · #13
My Fuji x100 with it's fixed 23mm (35mm equivalent)lens is all I use these days, and my body thanks me for no longer having to carry around a ton of gear.

03/06/2014 03:37:17 AM · #14
Weird - double post !


Message edited by author 2014-03-06 03:37:49.
03/06/2014 04:07:00 AM · #15
Leica style shooting suggests a 3 lens kit, mine is a row of Summicrons 35/50/90.

Of I was limited to only 1 on my M240 it would have to be the 50.
03/06/2014 04:30:00 AM · #16
iPhone 4S with f2.4 35mm equiv. lens.

You probably think I'm being flippant, but I'm not. It suits my needs as a street and opportunist photographer perfectly. I own about 20 cameras (mostly analogue, admittedly), but now there's only one of them that I use at all, and that's a compact with a faster lens and very tight spot metering – its only advantages over the iPhone camera.

I additionally like the fact that I can do all the editing I want, and any sharing I want (including with my own iMac), using the same device. I think it's the most important camera in the history of photography.

03/06/2014 08:00:10 AM · #17
Originally posted by TrollMan:

Henri Cartier-Bresson shot with various lenses when on assignment. BUT when he shot for himself, he always stuck to one lens on his Leica - his faithful 50mm. He was so used to it that it became what he called his “extension of his eye”. For street photography, which was his expertise, I can totally see his point.


50mm to 55mm, or the equivalent on your body, is considered a standard lens. It's supposed to match the viewing angle that a human eye can comfortably see. If you want natural looking perspective, directly from the camera, this is the way to go. I can see why Cartier-Bresson was comfortable with this setup.
03/06/2014 08:05:42 AM · #18
Originally posted by insteps:

Originally posted by TrollMan:

Henri Cartier-Bresson shot with various lenses when on assignment. BUT when he shot for himself, he always stuck to one lens on his Leica - his faithful 50mm. He was so used to it that it became what he called his “extension of his eye”. For street photography, which was his expertise, I can totally see his point.


50mm to 55mm, or the equivalent on your body, is considered a standard lens. It's supposed to match the viewing angle that a human eye can comfortably see. If you want natural looking perspective, directly from the camera, this is the way to go. I can see why Cartier-Bresson was comfortable with this setup.


I've never quite believed that. I'm sure my eyes have a comfortably wider view than 50mm. Perhaps i'm a mutant.
03/06/2014 08:14:06 AM · #19
Originally posted by rooum:

Originally posted by insteps:

Originally posted by TrollMan:

Henri Cartier-Bresson shot with various lenses when on assignment. BUT when he shot for himself, he always stuck to one lens on his Leica - his faithful 50mm. He was so used to it that it became what he called his “extension of his eye”. For street photography, which was his expertise, I can totally see his point.


50mm to 55mm, or the equivalent on your body, is considered a standard lens. It's supposed to match the viewing angle that a human eye can comfortably see. If you want natural looking perspective, directly from the camera, this is the way to go. I can see why Cartier-Bresson was comfortable with this setup.


I've never quite believed that. I'm sure my eyes have a comfortably wider view than 50mm. Perhaps i'm a mutant.


You've just evolved as a photographer.
03/06/2014 08:16:16 AM · #20
Originally posted by insteps:


You've just evolved as a photographer.


Or my eyes are too far apart.
03/06/2014 08:37:37 AM · #21
Originally posted by rooum:

I've never quite believed that. I'm sure my eyes have a comfortably wider view than 50mm. Perhaps i'm a mutant.


Yes, I'd say mutant. Oh, wait! I forgot the Welsh part. The Welsh are different. Could be an excess of leeks which is well known to thrust the eyes apart. Much the same as Guinness forces the eyes of the Irish closer together (85mm is 'normal' for the Irish. 105 or even 135mm in cases of extreme Guinness abuse).
03/06/2014 08:47:28 AM · #22
hmmm... since I've stopped drinking Guinness I do see more. Maybe I'll try some leeks.
03/06/2014 08:50:11 AM · #23
Originally posted by ubique:

iPhone 4S with f2.4 35mm equiv. lens.

You probably think I'm being flippant, but I'm not. It suits my needs as a street and opportunist photographer perfectly.

This is the camera that has helped me change as a photographer. I am just starting to bust out the 30d again recently because I have people requesting specific studio shots (the tooth fairy is returning with a possible ad campaign for a company in the Midwest), but the iPhone 4S is my primary camera. I catch moments of my family's life and have at least enough of an understanding of how to use it to capture more than just boring snapshots. I can get "artistic" snapshots. I fall into my old DPC ribbon chasing mentality when i use the 30d. The iPhone has allowed me to chase life and its limitations have been remarkably freeing.
03/06/2014 08:59:45 AM · #24
Originally posted by ubique:


Yes, I'd say mutant. Oh, wait! I forgot the Welsh part. The Welsh are different. Could be an excess of leeks which is well known to thrust the eyes apart. Much the same as Guinness forces the eyes of the Irish closer together (85mm is 'normal' for the Irish. 105 or even 135mm in cases of extreme Guinness abuse).


You may have a point there - my grandad's eyes were so far apart they were practically above his ears. Mind you, i am Irish on my father's side so surely that should balance out into some sort of optical normality? My parents were a sight to behold together though. They used to have to place mirrors all around the house just so they could see each other comfortably.
03/06/2014 09:00:59 AM · #25
MY field of vision is much wider than 50mm also. It's part of being deaf from a very young age: we become VERY peripherally-oriented.
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