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If you had one lens only?


wolf33d
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If you were doing a roadtrip somewhere with a Sony A7III planning to shoot of video of nature, people ... only one lens with you for a light kit, what would it be? 

For me: 28mm F2 because: 

- Zoom lens do not work. One would say a 24-70, but a f2.8 would be too heavy and a F4 not good for low light and DoF
- 35mm is not wide enough for nature stuff and gimbal use
- 24mm is too wide for people/portrait
- The iPhone has a 28mm lens. When you think about it, you cover everything with it from landscapes to portraits. 
- On the Sony, you can use crop mode and transform it into a 45mm, very convenient 
- For the jokers on some forums that say the 28mm is not sharp versus the Batis 25mm or other lenses, check a portrait a took with it wide open and tell me about sharpness: https://500px.com/photo/135582633/no-country-for-old-men-by-loup-fsr?ctx_page=1&from=user&user_id=860266

What about you?

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13 minutes ago, wolf33d said:

- Zoom lens do not work. One would say a 24-70, but a f2.8 would be too heavy and a F4 not good for low light and DoF

Don't use a full frame camera, then your lenses will be lighter and compact. 
 

13 minutes ago, wolf33d said:

only one lens with you for a light kit, what would it be? 

If it is size that is the limitation, rather than the number of lenses, then why not bring say two primes instead of one zoom? As the size/weight might be the same. 

Or four pancake lenses instead of two primes!

Although you'd struggle to find four worthwhile pancake lenses all for the same mount system? I suppose there is the Pentax 21 / 40 / 70mm lenses which would be a nice combo, if only you could say get next a 16mm pancake that would be a complete set!

Although personally I'd just prefer to have a lens like the Samsung 16-50mm f2-2.8 if I had to have only one lens. 

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I've always hated the term 'fast' when it comes down to sensitive lenses. Yes, f/1.2 theoretically would allow you to capture a frame properly exposed with a shorter exposure than with f/4. But especially for video people... you don't want to have your frames exposed shorter or longer. It's not the speed you want, it's just the bloody sensitivity and perhaps associated depth of field. So why not call 'em 'bright' or 'sensitive' rather then 'fast' already? ?

Mini-ranting aside, I do love me some f/0.95 action. I guess the Voigtländer 17mm hits a nice sweetspot on MFT, though I also love the lushious 25mm SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE. I have a weakness for bokehliciousness, so I'm rather into 35~50mm equiv than wider as well. Luckily the government still hasn't intervened and limit the no. of lenses we're allowed to have (and otherwise I'd expect a very large underground illegal scene), because I do love that Olympus PRO 7-14mm f/2.8 for landscapes or that Lumix 100-300mm for wildlife. All manual, all auto, modern or vintage, to zoom or not to zoom, bright or not so sensitive, stabilized or relying on IBIS... it's good to have the options. And that's how you end up like me and have like probably over 100 of 'em. It's like Pokémon. You can settle for Pikachu or be of the mindset 'Gotta catch 'em all!'. ?

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3 minutes ago, cantsin said:

A situation where you are traveling outdoors or in the so-called Third World where environments are often too dusty to safely change lenses.

OK......

28-135 would be the obvious choice for the Sony. If it's too heavy then ditch some of your other kit/clothes etc. If you job is getting the footage then you have to decide what's important and what's not.

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I think if you are looking to evaluate a single lens solution for travelogue stuff then one good option is to look at what people are producing using the two high end fixed lens (predominantly) stills cameras that are often used for that purpose.

The Leica Q is full frame and fixed 28mm and the Sony RX1R is full frame and fixed 35mm so provide a good comparison between two different focal lengths and how they actually translate in terms of travel photography/videography when you really do only have one lens.

Flickr for the Leica Q

https://www.flickr.com/groups/qleica/pool/

Flickr for the Sony RX1RII 

https://www.flickr.com/groups/sony-rx1r-ii/pool/

Its a tough call really because I can see the arguments for both.

The main compromise route I suppose is that the 28mm can kind of be a 35mm in terms of FOV but the 35mm can never do the same trick but there's more to the look than the FOV.

 

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5 hours ago, wolf33d said:

If you were doing a roadtrip somewhere with a Sony A7III planning to shoot of video of nature, people ... only one lens with you for a light kit, what would it be? 

For me: 28mm F2 because: 

- Zoom lens do not work. One would say a 24-70, but a f2.8 would be too heavy and a F4 not good for low light and DoF
- 35mm is not wide enough for nature stuff and gimbal use
- 24mm is too wide for people/portrait
- The iPhone has a 28mm lens. When you think about it, you cover everything with it from landscapes to portraits. 
- On the Sony, you can use crop mode and transform it into a 45mm, very convenient 
- For the jokers on some forums that say the 28mm is not sharp versus the Batis 25mm or other lenses, check a portrait a took with it wide open and tell me about sharpness: https://500px.com/photo/135582633/no-country-for-old-men-by-loup-fsr?ctx_page=1&from=user&user_id=860266

What about you?

Around the 50,000 images mark I did a bunch of analysis in LR using the metadata from the photos I'd shortlisted to understand more about what equipment / settings worked for me.

One of the insights I gained was that when in nature I tend to want a wider lens as it's nice to be able to show landscapes and also do more environmental portraits when people were in them, for example when I went to Vanuatu the 14mm (28mm equiv) lens almost didn't leave the camera.  However, when you're in a city where there is stuff everywhere and is very busy (in a visual sense) you're more likely to want to isolate things during the day with a longer or faster lens, and at night you often want to do wider landscape shots, or if you're shooting people at night a faster lens is nice.

I ended up with a setup that consisted of:

  • smartphone camera for wide and during the day (when there's lots of light so ISO performance isn't a problem) or for nocturnal city-scapes of the lights
  • nicer camera with a long zoom for cities during the day and a fast medium lens for people at night

In terms of what I would suggest for anyone else, if you're taking a smartphone with an acceptable camera then you could use that for wider shots where shallow DOF is less important and choose a fast mid-length prime for the people and isolation shots.

I'd question your statement about F4 not being fast enough for night shots - the A7III has better low light performance than any camera I have could even dream of!  Plus you mentioned a lighting kit..

I think it really depends on what you're shooting and the style you're going for - there are street photographers that use 24mm or even 20mm :)

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Ive mostly travelled with a 35mm equivalent lens for the last few years. But for the last week while I've been in Hong Kong I've been using a 24-85mm f3.5-4.5 and loving it. The combo is a lot bigger but it's not actually been all that bad, even in such an intensely dense city as Hong Kong. In fact I've been considering buying a 24-70mm f2.8 whilst I'm here

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With the A7iii there is too much DoF, and 4f isn't an issue because of the low light capabilities. In this modern era, 4f zooms are just fine (the "cheap" Canon CN lenses are 4.4t, 4f and are amazing tools together with a C camera).

My ideal lens is the NX 16-50S 2-2.8f. 24mm, I use all the time, even for small groups of people, couples, architecture, establishing shots, landscapes e.t.c

I used to use a lot of 28mm zoom lenses (or starting from 18mm in crop) and I was always missing those few valuable mm in the wide end.

If I could choose only one prime, then 35mm for sure.

Samsung NX system has 10mm fisheye/16mm/20mm/30mm/45mm pancakes (called by Samsung, in reality is a bit bigger). The fish eye/30 and 45 are unreal for the money. The 16/20mm are good but not spectacular.

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Well you can always use that 28 f2 AS a zoom for video and jpeg stills too with Clear Zoom.

I could NEVER go with just one lens unless it was just a very short trip/day trip and which lens would depend on WHERE I am going.

For the most part, the first lens in my bag (with A7s) is the Canon 17 f4 L TS-E, after that probably the 85 FE 1.8 or (and) 24 1.4 FD L and/or Sony Zeiss 55 1.8.

 

 

DSC00514_DxO.jpg

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Probably the Voigt 17.5mm on MFT or Zeiss 28mm on FF. Obviously nice for medium/wide shots and can even be interesting for portraits.

As far as real world situations, yeah it mostly seems like an internet forum hypothetical, but I've been on fashion shoots in dodgy/urban areas where you want to be keeping an eye on your surroundings, so you don't want to be changing lenses a lot, or have a bag full of other expensive lenses ready to be ran off with.

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Just started with Fuji and have no GAS whatsoever for once about getting set up with lenses. Thanks to the lowly old first version of the 16-50mm kit lens f3.5-5.6 (eq. 24-75mm). On the Fuji lens comparison site it is similar to the top lenses with the advantage of being a zoom, OIS and faster focusing and probably much lighter. I use small old lenses for low light.

So maybe there is a Sony kit zoom which is sharp and quick. Then a little fast 28mm ish pancake for night. 

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Choose the brightest and the most beloved/precious prime lens you have from 21 to 35mm FF equivalent. Why? Because it will be your best and intimate creative friend during the trip... and friend in the most intimate and contemplative hours could be just one... There is some magical-personal feeling to be alone with one prime wandering during day and night, that doesn't provide zoom's working easiness and convenience. You may and will miss some shots, but you'll put more of your soul in them... and that is the most important: not to hunt for shots, but to look for your deepest expression.

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On 6/24/2018 at 2:41 AM, cantsin said:

A situation where you are traveling outdoors or in the so-called Third World where environments are often too dusty to safely change lenses.

I always carry a zoom like the 24-105 or 24-70. Travel is different for everyone, but I do extended trips to multiple destinations so my kit needs to be versatile.

I've been to 55 countries in the last couple of years, lots of incredibly dusty environments in Africa, SE Asia, India, South America and Central America, I rarely changed lenses in the field. But a single FL is pretty limiting, even with something like a a7r3 or a crop body as a backup. I carry 2 bodies, 2 primes and 3 zooms -- I decide what I'm going to need before I leave my room for the day and outfit each body accordingly.

Even in those situations I occasionally changed lenses, but I was smart about it - turn the camera off, body facing down and so on. I also carry a blower and sensor cleaning supplies because even if you're not changing lenses sometimes crud still gets through - especially if you're shooting native Sony lenses since they don't put any weather sealing gaskets on the rear of their lenses.

Chris

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Ok so thanks for the answers. I specifically did not give my scenario to see what people use in THEIR situations. Now let me give you the context of my first post: 

In the next few weeks, I will do multiple shootings in nature with day hikes (don't care about the weight here) and one 5-day trek in the Grand Teton and one similar Trek in the Dolomites in Italy. 

In Those 2 treks, I will do dozens of miles with thousands and thousands of ft of elevation gain at altitude above 10 000 ft. 
I want to be able to shoot timelapses at each sunrise and sunsets and film at the same time so I need 2 cameras. I have a D5500 with a 10-20 Nikon that weights literally nothing (much lighter than a Sony A6300 + sony 10-18mm) and gives the best dynamic range in the APSC words, in fact better than a Canon 5D4. So this part is already solved. Now for filming, I will mainly do action shots (climbing, trail running, hiking,...) while on the trek. I need the best image quality + lightest weight. I need to be able to get thin DoF and lowlight. I obviously need a fantastic AF for the actions shot (I had the GH5 before and it sucks AF) so the only camera I can think of is A7III. Already decided on that. 

DoF and lowlight excludes 24-70 F4 and and because I need a light setup to put on a small gimbal, 24-70mm 2.8 is heavy and cannot balance with the small Crane. 
Tamron 28-75 is a possibility but it seems first AF review in video sucks. 

Because I will do gimbal shots I need something wide. 

For all reasons above I tought the 28mm is the best solution. Also I shot a travel video with A7R II, gimbal. 28mm and 55mm in Cuba and used the 28mm 80% of the time because I could use the crop mode to have a 45mm equivalent. 

I also realized I hate changing lens while traveling or hiking. 

In the best scenario, I would have a 24-70 GM 2.8 attached permanently to 1 body for filming any subject without the gimbal. and one body with a 24mm or similar for gimbal shots. + a 70-200 for wildlife. I won't bring 3 cameras and 4 lenses. 

Another solution is to take the 28mm F/2 and to get the A7III with the 200$ kit shit lens 28-70mm to use at 70mm for occasional distance mountain shots. I imagine the lens to be super light. What do you think?

Here is the cuba video I shot with mostly the 28mm (and the picture illustration below was done with 28mm and cropped in post): 

 

 

On 6/24/2018 at 3:24 AM, Shirozina said:

What real world situation would create this?

See my post above

23 hours ago, eoslover said:

there's an option for wider shot 24mm f2.8 by Samyang

it's quite incredible it only weighs 93 grams with autofocus for A7III

AF is shit compared to the 28mm Sony, in video

 

3 hours ago, Trek of Joy said:

I always carry a zoom like the 24-105 or 24-70. Travel is different for everyone, but I do extended trips to multiple destinations so my kit needs to be versatile.

I've been to 55 countries in the last couple of years, lots of incredibly dusty environments in Africa, SE Asia, India, South America and Central America, I rarely changed lenses in the field. But a single FL is pretty limiting, even with something like a a7r3 or a crop body as a backup. I carry 2 bodies, 2 primes and 3 zooms -- I decide what I'm going to need before I leave my room for the day and outfit each body accordingly.

Even in those situations I occasionally changed lenses, but I was smart about it - turn the camera off, body facing down and so on. I also carry a blower and sensor cleaning supplies because even if you're not changing lenses sometimes crud still gets through - especially if you're shooting native Sony lenses since they don't put any weather sealing gaskets on the rear of their lenses.

Chris

Lol. 2 bodies, 2 primes and 3 zooms. Pretty ideal for sure. Try following me in the above described trek with 30+lbs of food water and gear + a tripod + all your bodies and lenses. 
For day hikes or travel I would do the same (well 5 lenses is still too much for me but...) and in fact I am 27 and traveled to over 35 countries and lived on 4 continents so I know about it. 
This scenario is completely different though. 

On 6/24/2018 at 3:24 AM, Shirozina said:

What real world situation would create this?

See my post above

23 hours ago, eoslover said:

there's an option for wider shot 24mm f2.8 by Samyang

it's quite incredible it only weighs 93 grams with autofocus for A7III

AF is shit compared to the 28mm Sony, in video

 

3 hours ago, Trek of Joy said:

I always carry a zoom like the 24-105 or 24-70. Travel is different for everyone, but I do extended trips to multiple destinations so my kit needs to be versatile.

I've been to 55 countries in the last couple of years, lots of incredibly dusty environments in Africa, SE Asia, India, South America and Central America, I rarely changed lenses in the field. But a single FL is pretty limiting, even with something like a a7r3 or a crop body as a backup. I carry 2 bodies, 2 primes and 3 zooms -- I decide what I'm going to need before I leave my room for the day and outfit each body accordingly.

Even in those situations I occasionally changed lenses, but I was smart about it - turn the camera off, body facing down and so on. I also carry a blower and sensor cleaning supplies because even if you're not changing lenses sometimes crud still gets through - especially if you're shooting native Sony lenses since they don't put any weather sealing gaskets on the rear of their lenses.

Chris

Lol. 2 bodies, 2 primes and 3 zooms. Pretty ideal for sure. Try following me in the above described trek with 30+lbs of food water and gear + a tripod + all your bodies and lenses. 
For day hikes or travel I would do the same (well 5 lenses is still too much for me but...) and in fact I am 27 and traveled to over 35 countries and lived on 4 continents so I know about it. 
This scenario is completely different though. 

 

The thing I will miss the most (since at least I can use the 10-20mm for day pictures in the mountain) is the long range range. Something for the occasional wildlife and far mountains and waterfalls. 

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