If you could only buy 3 lenses . . .

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by NickD, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. NickD macrumors 6502a

    NickD

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #1
    Typical I know, but I've done a good amount of searching and can't find what I need really, so here's my question.

    I'll be purchasing a DSLR soon, and some lenses to go with it as well, and I need suggestions on the lenses, so if you could ONLY BUY 3 lenses for your camera, what would they be?

    NickD
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #2
    Hmm, Well I already have 4! But I suppose a decent pair of zooms to cover most of the ranges you want and a fast prime for low light work would cover it.

    I'd say (not that I own these)

    Canon EF 24-70 f2.8L USM
    Canon EF 70-200 f2.8 L IS USM
    Canon EF 50 f1.4 USM

    This would leave you with a significant hole at the very wide end on a crop camera, but would be perfect on a full frame body. I didn't consider the 50 f1.2 worth the massive price difference!
     
  3. Kamera RAWr macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Location:
    I'm where I need to be
    #3
    Well, seeing as I didn't see whether you plan on buying a Canon, Nikon, Pentax, etc... I'll just say from a Nikon perspective :)

    Nikon 12-24mm f/4 DX.. good for wide angle shots
    Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5 DX or 17-55mm f/2.8 DX (if you have the money)
    Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR DX or 70-200mm VR f/2.8 (also, if you have the mone)

    Hope that helps :D

    Edit: I am biased as I own a few of those ;)
     
  4. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a

    epicwelshman

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Location:
    Nassau, Bahamas
    #4
    i'd say that's about right. For specialized stuff you may need a macro lens or a fast prime, and fun can be had with lensbaby's and fisheye's, but as for general purpose lenses 3 like this would be fantastic.
     
  5. bearbo macrumors 68000

    bearbo

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #5
    I'd replace the latter two with one
    Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR

    and get a prime lens such as the 50mm f/1.8
     
  6. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #6
    For a cropped Canon:

    17-55 f/2.8 IS
    70-200 f/4 IS (a lot more portable than the f/2.8)
    100mm f/2.8 macro.

    Which is a lot more versitile than the three lenses I've purchased (so far):

    Tokina 19-35 f/3.5-4.5
    Canon 50mm f/1.8
    Sigma 24-70 f/2.8

    Although, the top three are also $2500 vrs $650 for the bottom three.
     
  7. terriyaki macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2005
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #7
    I went with a setup of 3 zoom lenses (a 17-40/4L as my UWA, a 24-105/4L IS as my walk around, and a 70-200/4L IS as my telephoto) to provide me the most versatility in terms of focal range. I guess the one quirk in my lineup is that I'm at f4 across the board so low light situations can be tricky if I don't want to use, or can't use, flash. A fast prime to compliment what I already have would be nice but since I usually shoot in well lit environments my 3 lenses currently suit me just fine. I do plan on getting a prime eventually, I'm just not 100% sure which focal length I should get.

    On another note, I personally think that lenses that start in the 24-28 range on the wide end really don't make for great standard zoom walk around lenses on crop cameras. If you do end up going with a crop camera get a lens that starts off at 16/17/18 on it's wide end and then build the rest of your kit around your standard zoom.
     
  8. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #8
    In Nikon Country, the 12-24, the 28-70 and the 70-200mm VR are considered the "Three Kings." The 17-55mm is also considered an excellent mid-range lens. I'd agree with the recommendations that Kamera RAWr has made. Yes, for anything more specialized you'd want the lenses made for those purposes: fisheye, macro, extra-fast prime, etc....

    When I bought my first DSLR (D70) I began the strategy which has stood me in good stead ever since, and that was buying the best lens that I could afford in a given range and also considering under which circumstances and for which purpose I would be using a particular lens. The excellent 18-70mm came as the kit lens with my D70, so my first additional purchase was the 70-200mm VR. A month or two later I bought the prime 50mm f/1.4, having a specific purpose for it in mind. Several months later I bought my first macro lens because I really loved shooting close-ups and macros with my Coolpix and was eager to get back into that now that I had a DSLR. It was only later that I purchased the 12-24mm lens, knowing that I'd be going on a brief vacation where the wide angle lens would be most useful. Other lenses found their way to my bag as the need/desire/budget arose....

    If today I were told that I could keep only three of my lenses, I would hold on to "the Beast" and the 70-200mm VR and then agonize over whether to keep the 12-24mm and then use extension tubes/diopter filters for doing macro work or to keep one of my macro lenses (probably the 105mm VR).... I would assess: how often do I shoot (or want to shoot) wide-angle views? How often do I shoot (or want to shoot) close-ups and macro? It is really important to determine what it is one likes to shoot and to make decisions around lenses based on that. If someone rarely shoots wide-angle, prefers telephoto all the time, is a birder/nature shooter or spends most of the time shooting sports, then maybe for him or her a 300mm or 400mm lens would be among the three that were to be purchased/kept. If someone really likes to get up close and personal with flowers and bugs, a macro lens would be a candidate for being in the "top three..."

    So for each photographer, the "just three lenses" could be a different mix, depending upon individual preferences and shooting styles. It's important to really assess what you're planning to do with a particular lens/lens focal range before making a purchase decision.
     
  9. Kamera RAWr macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Location:
    I'm where I need to be
    #9
    Thank you for bringing that one up! :D I had totally forgotten. Thats also a great lens choice. Good all around, multi purpose lens
     
  10. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #10
    I was expecting Clix Pix to say, "only three lenses? Nooooo!!!" :)

    Good point about extension tubes and diopter filters. With those in mind and teleconverters, that changes the three lens question significantly. In that case, I'd drop the 100mm macro and take a 50mm f/1.4, and get extension tubes and teleconverters to flesh out the set.
     
  11. colinmack macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    #11
    To get a better answer, you'll need to be more specific about budget (consumer vs pro lenses), shooting preferences, and crop vs full-frame...on the Canon side, here are some overall suggestions:

    Assuming higher budget and full-frame (5D):

    17-40 f4L (16-35 II if you prefer lower light)
    24-105 f4L IS
    70-200 f4L (f2.8 and/or IS if you need it, 100-400 if you need the reach)

    Assuming lower budget but still good quality (XTi):

    10-22 f/3.5-4.5
    17-40 f4L or 18-55 kit lens, depending on quality/budget (kit lens is a deal for the price and pretty sharp at f8 - I find the 17-55 overpriced, and the 17-85 OK at best)
    70-300 f/4-5.6 IS (or one of the 70-200 Ls if you want to trade range for slightly better build and optical quality)

    In both cases, spend the $100 and get the 50 1.8 as well - it's a no-brainer.

    Hope that helps...
     
  12. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #12
    Heh, I'd forgotten that one, too, the 18-200mm VR, which is ironic since I just used it this weekend on a short out-of-town trip! In my bag I took four lenses: 18-200mm VR, 12-24mm, 35mm f/2 and the 10.5mm fisheye. Most of the time I used the 18-200mm VR when we were outdoors, but I also used the 12-24mm for some scenic/architectural views. The 35mm f/2 came out of the bag for low-light situations and those requiring a wider angle of view than I could have gotten with my 50mm f/1.4. The fisheye? Well, it never left the bag.....
     
  13. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #13
    Oh, believe me, I THOUGHT that!!!! Reminded myself that this is only theoretical, not actual, and that no one was coming banging on my door and snatching away all but three of my lenses.... !! LOL!!!

    Extension tubes and diopter filters can really be great when shooting macro and the effects can be amazing.... If someone isn't ready to buy a dedicated macro lens one of these can work wonders. Taking that 18-200mm VR, for instance, and putting a Canon 500D diopter filter/lens on it, one can get some really neat results. Extension tubes are really cool and you can experiment with different results with the different diameters/sizes available.

    If someone already HAS a macro lens, sticking an extension tube on top of that can really be a fun experience!
     
  14. anonymous161 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2003
    Location:
    Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains
    #14
    I could get by with 2

    17-55mm f2.8 nikkor
    60mm macro

    but please don't make me
     
  15. Hmac macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
  16. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #16
    I own none of these currently, and have a decent pair of glass for now, but I do need a fast prime soon.

    Anyway, mine would be:

    • AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G
    • AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D
    • AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G

    The 18-200 would see the most use, naturally.
     
  17. PhatBoyG macrumors regular

    PhatBoyG

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
  18. djbahdow01 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Location:
    Northeast, CT
    #18
    Well as of right now I feel I have 2 of the three pieces of glass I really need.

    The top three i feel I need are the

    Nikon 28-70mm f2.8, Own the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 so close enough
    Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR (Own), or even the 80-200
    And the
    300mm f2.8 as I do a lot of sports.
     
  19. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
  20. Martin C macrumors 6502a

    Martin C

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    New York City
    #20
    I would be sure to buy...

    Nikkor 18-200mm AF-S VR
    Sigma 10-20mm
    Nikkor AF-S 200-400mm VR
     
  21. emorydunn macrumors 6502

    emorydunn

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Location:
    Austin Texas
    #21
    I don't have an exact recomendation on lenses, since the ones I have are a bit out-dated. But I would get:
    1) a good telephoto- like at leaste 100-300mm
    2) a medium range- like 28-105mm
    3) a wide-angle- the low, like 24-70mm

    thats what I would do if you had to get 3 lenses, and thats what I have with my DSLR.
     
  22. ThomasJefferson macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia
    #22
    Canon 17-40/4L or 17-55/2.8 (crop only)
    Canon 70=200/4L


    For me, a great tripod and ball head is worth more than a 3rd lens.
     
  23. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #23
    Light kit, consumer lenses:

    Tokina 12-24mm (or the Nikkor if you've got the cash)
    Nikkor 18-200mm
    Nikkor 80-400mm

    So that's, what, about $2500 US?
     
  24. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #24
    Uh... you really trying to sneak that $5000 lens in there? :D
     
  25. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #25
    Nikkor 400/2.8 AFS-II
    Sigma 10-20mm
    Nikkor TC-14E-II

    If the teleconverter doesn't count, then add the 35-70mm and the TC-17E-II.

    (Pretty much what I'm shooting with now, while I'm figuring out what's up with my 20-35mm)
     

Share This Page