What's your favorite focal length and why?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by SquarePeg, Jul 28, 2017.

  1. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You made some great points, Derrell. The 180 f2.8 made wonderful images. The issue was always carrying it. Another great Nikkor telephoto was the 105 f2.5. Only five elements. Incredible images (and much easier to carry than the 180). I think it was the most popular of all the Nikkor telephotos.


     
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  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Yeah...I LOVED the 105mm f/2.5 Ai-S Nikkor...bought it when the Ai-S model was first introduced, in the early 1980's; it was my very first ever brand-new Nikkor lens! STILL have it! A wonderful imager, and a fast and easy focuser...one of the lenses Nikon made its fame on was the "one-oh-five two-point-five". It was a super-popular lens among Nikon shooters in the 1970's and 1980's, and easy to carry.

    The newer AF and AF-D vrsions of the 180mm ED f/2.8 have an ever-so-slightly skinnier barrel than the older manual focus versions; I have both sitting on my desk, right now! The manual focus lens has a pretty much straight barrel, while the AF lens has a slight taper to it, and feels a little lighter, but for practical purposes, both are about the same size, yet the AF-D version "carries easier", or so it seems to me.

    BOTH lenses were/are really good prime lenses, easy to use, sharp, contrasty, and good focusers.
     
  3. The Barbarian

    The Barbarian No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As a kid, I first started taking pictures with a brownie. It had a lens that was too wide for my taste; everything looked smaller than I wanted. When I got a decent camera, I preferred longer lenses, and over the decades, I've slowly moved to wider and wider lenses for most things.

    I always thought the progression was "tele first, and move to wide later." Guess I'm wrong.
     
  4. photoflyer

    photoflyer TPF Noob!

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    I understand where you are coming from. I find myself gravitating to the 70-200 2.8. However it really depends on the mission. I am a pilot and while out flying I have the 24-105 f4 on. Only it (in my bag) can capture the breadth of a scene like this. Not a particularly good photo (a little busy at the time) but the ability to also capture landscapes is partly why I also stepped up to a full frame camera.

    This was shot at 24mm.

    flyscape.jpeg
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Here's a shot from the 180mm f/2.8 AF-D Nikkor lens. Color-toning in Lightroom. The sunglasses _were_ that odd red lens color! The 180mm defocuses the background pretty well, and is very sharp, and compresses the rending of the human face to a pretty fair degree when compared with the way shorter lenses render the face. D61_0981_converted_180mm AF-D.JPG [

    180mm f/2.8 AF-D Nikkor lens, shot at f/4 at 1/1000, Nikon D610
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
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  6. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    On full fame digital, 85mm f1.4 for portraits and 50mm for general purpose. On medium format film, 105 f2.4 for portraits and 90mm f2.8 for general purpose. :) Most of my work is done by these lenses except for really wide angel shots. I typically use my 24-70 at 24mm for that. I rarely shoot wider than that even though I have a Tokina 16-28mm. The distortion especially with people in them is just too much for me.
     
  7. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It is a superior lens to be sure. I sold mine along with all my Nikon gear. If I still had it, I would likely adapt it to the Fujis. Nice image.
     
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  8. orf

    orf No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    35mm. I like the look.
     
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  9. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    All depends on what and where you shoot.

    On 35mm film, I used to shoot with a 24mm, and sometimes it was not wide enough. When you back is literally up against the wall, so you cannot back up any more, you need a wider lens.

    My favorite lens is a general purpose (GP) zoom that goes from wide to short/mid tele.

    I currently have a 35-105 on the 35mm film camera. I used to use the 43-86. The 35-105 has a wider range on both ends that make it more flexible than the 43-86.

    On a DX body, I shoot a 18-140. It is a great GP lens. Not pro quality, but good enough for me. And I've been surprised at how often I use the full range of the zoom, when shooting sports. The 18mm end works great when in football when the guys are running down the sideline, 6 feet from me. Similarly for basketball and volleyball. For me the only negative is that it is a variable aperture lens and slow, so shooting indoors can be a challenge.

    On a FX body, a 24-120 f/4 would be a roughly similar lens to the 18-140 on the DX body, not quite as wide in range, but plenty adequate.

    My current favorite is a 500mm mirror lens, because I just got it. So I am using it more than I otherwise would.
     
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  10. petrochemist

    petrochemist No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I suspect I tend to shoot more telephotos the UWA, even ignoring the bias thrown in from airshows & motorsports (both lots of shots at LONG lengths).
    The fisheye & UWA lenses are IMO more difficult to compose for but I still enjoy giving them a go on occasion.

    My camera bags generally have lenses covering from 180° to ~400mm equiv. Longer & wider options are available to me but require me to carry something extra so don't make regular outings.

    Ignoring the skew from airshows etc, it's likely my most shot focal length would be around 90mm equiv. If I have the kit lens fitted I often seem to want just a little more, yet with the telephoto fitted I often want just a bit wider, and with both systems 90 equiv would be close to this switch over. With my DSLR I've picked up a 28-80 from film days (giving me 42-160 equiv) to try & reduce the need for lens swapping, but I can't say I've gelled with it as yet.
     
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  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I've been reaching for Nikon's old and cheap 28-80mm f/3.5~5.6 AF-D for indoor, flash-lit portrait sessions more and more over the past year, both on APS-C and FX format d-slr cameras. I shoot it mostly at f/7.1 or at f/8 with studio flash, and it has been a really,really handy,small,useful lens. So...perhaps the focal length range, and the compact size will begin to grow on you?
     
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  12. nerwin

    nerwin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I don't have a favorite focal length perse since my feelings on this subject changes. My favorite can be 20mm for one week, 50mm the next, 200mm next. It's never permanent.

    But if I had to choose and I know it's probably cliche but I'd choose 50mm (full frame or 50mm equivalent) because honestly it's just a standard focal length and it's my safe place when I run into a creative block, I can pop my 50 on and shoot and because I've been shooting that focal length for many years I've become to enjoy it but I try not to over do it because 50mm is widely overused.
     

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