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Thread: If I could only have 5 lenses

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    If I could only have 5 lenses

    I just saw a link to a video about "only having 5..." which made me think, if I could only have 5 lenses, in order, what would they be (all based on FF sensor:

    1. 24-70 f/2.8. This is my all around, always on my camera lens. I can and do use it for landscape, travel, and portrait photography. Every year I have looked, this lens accounts for 30-50% of my images kept.
    2. 500 f/4. So much fun. The quality, the bokeh, the detail. I love shooting with this lens. It also opens up types of photography that would be difficult otherwise.
    3. 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 (or 100-500L). BIF, landscape (yes...love shooting landscapes with a telephoto), wildlife, and travel photography...great lens. I am happy shooting with this lens...I love shooting with the 500, hence the placement on the list.
    4. 50 f/1.4. I almost went 85 f/1.4 or 70-200 f/2.8. But I love the 50 mm focal length. I just shot a couple of family/sr portrait sessions and mostly used my 50. Great results, great bokeh. Close to what the human eye sees. Love it.
    5. 16-35 f/4. This final spot was tough. But, when you need wide for a landscape....you need wide. I still shoot the EF 16-35 f/4 IS. Great lens. Beautifully sharp. It is usually with me when I travel, although I only use it occasionally. This almost ended up as an honorable mention, but when you need wider than 24 mm for something with movement like a waterfall.....


    Honorable mentions:
    • 100 mm macro. Love that lens, use it for portraits and macro. I just do not shoot enough macro to keep it on the list.
    • 85 mm f/1.4. I picked one up a few years ago and use it a lot for portraits and even indoor photography. Amazing lens. But, recently, I've preferred the 50 1.4, even for portraits. This is probably one of my top 5 used lenses.
    • 70-200 f/2.8. It is funny, in some instances, if I was to have a two lens kit, I might include this lens. It is a great focal length, very versatile. The EF version takes adapters if you want more reach. But, as I added the 85 f/1.4 and 50 f/1.4 to my kit, I have used this lens less. I mostly use it at indoor family events now. Still amazing. I did use it for Sr. portraits I took in October. But, in the end, I even preferred the results from the two primes.


    Thankfully, I am not limited to 5 lenses ;-)

  2. #2
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    Great list! Here goes with mine.

    The EF 24-70m f2.8 ii adapted to the R5 is so versatile, it takes the top spot.

    For me, the EF 16-35 f4 comes next.

    I am completely with you on the EF 50mm 1.4 as well. I realize there are 50mm lenses that are sharper. That is great for a model with flawless skin and professional makeup. For real people like family and friends, a slightly softer look is better.

    With the IBIS of the R5, and plenty of pixels at 1.6X crop, I have fun with my venerable EF 400mm f5.6. Your shots with the 500mm f4 are beauties, but I would need to bulk up the arms to get much use of the 500.

    For 5th place I would choose my EF 70-200 f4 mark ii. (Well, the RF version sounds even better, but not yet worth the cost of upgrade.). For a time I also owned the f2.8 mark ii version. Lovely lens, but I was always deciding the f4 would be “good enough “ and so much easier to fit in a bag.

    Would love to hear choices of other forum members.

  3. #3
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    1. 600mm f/4
    2. 70-200mm f/2.8
    3. 24-70mm f/2.8
    4. 180 mm f/3.5 macro
    5. 100-500mm RF

    (Do teleconverters count? I would include them too!)

  4. #4
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    What is interesting about this topic is that most of those on this forum would have to "cut back" their collection to get to 5.
    I will modify the premise a bit.

    1, If I could "only" have one lens it would be either the 500mm f/4 or the 600mm f/4. It is a toss up and I am not sure which would win. (and an iPhone for everything else)
    2, If I could "only" have two lens the second would be the 35mm f/1.4.(and an iPhone for everything else)
    3, If I could "only" have three lenses the third would be 180mm f/3.5. (and an iPhone for everything else)
    4, If I could have more, in order the RF 24x70, RF 70x200 and the RF 100x500. (and an iPhone for phone calls and texts)

    How about bodies?
    1, If I could "only" have one body it would be the R3. (and I really should sell all the others)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    Could I morph this discussion into what lens I'd like to see next? For me that would be a 400 f/2.8 with built-in 1.4 TC. I'm quite envious of Nikon for that. I'm pointedly ignoring the price tag on this --- it's up there in the stratosphere I know. But wow, in terms of performance and versatility, that is a sweet piece of glass.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Huyer View Post
    For me that would be a 400 f/2.8 with built-in 1.4 TC. I'm quite envious of Nikon for that.
    Yep...those have caught my eye as well. A 400 f/2.8 and 600 f/4 both with built-in 1.4 TC. Of course, for $15k and $15.5k. Some of Nikon's other glass, like the 500 f/5.6 PF or the 120-300 f/2.8 have also had my attention.

    Some good glass.

    I'd be tempted by a Canon 400 f/2.8 with built in TC, but I would probably lean toward the 200-400 f/4 TC replacement if it is a 200-500 f/4 TC. Or a 120-300 f/2.8 with built in TC???

    Just don't know if I'd pay the price Canon will sell it for.....

  7. #7
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    The RF version of the 180mm f/3.5, for the hand full of us that would buy it.

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