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What do you value in a "walk around" lens?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by JohnRice, Aug 29, 2017.

  1. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I know a lot of you guys have specific "walk around" lenses. The fact is, in all these decades, I've never just walked around with a camera and taken pictures. I'm interested in trying some more generic, and maybe street photography, and I'm curious what you look for.

    For what I'm thinking, I'm pretty certain my priorities would be fast (large maximum aperture) and OS, for the most versatility shooting under less than ideal lighting conditions. As opposed to a wide zoom range.

    Discuss...
     
  2. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Yeah, you aren't a typical use case for walk arounders =) Most people want light and flexible, with cheap being a plus.
     
  3. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Well, another approach has me favoring the Nikon 18-140 VR, which is more along those lines. I could even dedicate the D7100 to that, since It's just sitting around. It's definitely smaller and lighter.

    It's really two different situations. The street photography has more of a specific purpose and special needs. The D500 also has benefits for street, with the better high ISO and the swing-out monitor.
     
  4. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer

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    I haven't done much of it in years, but my preference was a fairly wide zoom range with IS and a reasonable f/stop. I preferred a smaller and less expensive zoom to the faster constant aperture ones. My main lens now is Canon's 24-105 f/4.

    I also spent some time with a fast 50mm prime. My GAS wish list is a mirrorless camera with a pancake prime.
     
  5. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Light, Wide, and Fast, are things that are important for me, although I may trade off one for the other depending on the application. I don't shoot street per se, but for travel, be it theme park stuff or walking around "new to me" cities, all those things are important to me in varying proportions.

    I shoot a D7200, and the best glass I have is a Nikon 17-55 2.8 DX. Great for car shows and other applications where either I can get up close or have to get up close. And, it is fast. But, it weighs a ton....definitely not what I want in a walk-around lens. Hauling that thing around Disney World for day in July is a killer. I had it with me on a recent transatlantic cruise, and while I used it on the ship, I never took it with me on any of the port calls we did.

    What I did take with me on port calls was a Nikon 20mm 1.8 FX lens (works very well on a DX body with an effective field of view of 30mm), and a dirt cheap 18-55 DX VR (the second generation of the 18-55...not the newest). But looking at my Lightroom data, the majority of my shots were with the 18-55, and many at the wide end. While not fast, it is feather weight, very sharp, and has enough range for most anything I wanted to shoot. I only put on the 20mm a couple times, and found that I needed more reach for the shots I was going for, so I quickly put the 18-55 back on.

    As for the 20mm, I used that exclusively on my recent space flight to Pandora. :) I knew I was going to need good low light performance for evening shots, and I also knew that I would be limited in how far back I could get, so I needed something reasonably wide. It worked perfectly for that purpose. I also own and had with me a 35mm 1.8 DX, but that would not have been wide enough for many of my shots, so it stayed in the backpack. The 35 is fast, and is also very, very light but it would not have been wide enough for this purpose. Lastly, I own a 50mm 1.8 FX, but that is an equivalent field of view of 75mm on a DX camera...too long for almost everything I shoot.

    If I had to pick one, and use it for everything, it would come down to whether low light or extra range were the most important factors. In other words, horses for courses. What I would really like is a 17-55, 1.8, DX, that weighed 9 oz. As a walk around for what I shoot, that would be The Balls. :)
     
  6. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Well, I have an 18-35mm f/1.8, but it definitely does not weigh 9 oz and doesn't have VR. It's optically one of the finest DX lenses available anywhere, but not as much a general purpose lens. What has my interest the most are... (1) The Nikon 18-140mm VR, which has decent optics, an excellent zoom range but is still reasonably light and compact, has VR, and can be gotten for a decent price used. (2) Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4, half the zoom range, but better optics and better low light potential.

    I can get one of those 18-55mm for so little used, it might be worth it just to give it a spin.
     
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  7. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Pretty much what I did. After reading so many positive reports from various sources, I got an open box lens from Crutchfield....$200 or so. I wish I had know that there was a newer version....performance-wise, I have read that the differences were small to negligible, but I would have preferred the newer lens as it can be had for about the same money I spent.
     
  8. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Wow, that lens really is cheap. We'll see, because I found someone selling supposedly unused ones taken from a kit. Not much risk, since it's Amazon and they'll refund me if there's even the slightest problem.

    This has me thinking more about the lenses I have sitting around that I'll never use and can sell to finance some new goodies. Since I have the D500, I might sell my D7100 and get a D52/300 to replace it. I want the articulating monitor. The D5500 is supposed to be coming soon, which should drop the prices on those and bring new used stock on the market.
     
  9. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    I seem to struggle getting decent looking images uploaded to the site, but these were all shot with the 18-55.

    Pay no attention to the watermark....I am just a wanker with a camera and was screwing around with Lightroom. I forgot I had it turned on when I exported these, and was too lazy to re-export with it turned off. :)

    DSC_0821-2.jpg DSC_0872-2.jpg DSC_0991-2.jpg DSC_1055-2.jpg
     
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  10. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Thanks.
     
  11. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I mentioned it, but I did order a "used" 18-55. It was listed as the AF-S VRII model, and I hope that's what it really is, since with Amazon sellers, you can never be certain, considering how many versions (4?) there are of that lens now. The concept of the AF-P lenses kind of annoys me. I don't want to have to go into the menu to turn on/off the AF and VR. I'm seriously considering getting a used D5300 or D5200 for this little experiment. The D500 is absolutely awesome, but if I go out with ONLY it and the 18-35mm, that's almost $3K in my hand, where the 18-55 and D5300 could be more like $450 if I get a good deal on the D5300. If something happened to it, I wouldn't exactly be happy, but it wouldn't ruin my entire year. Plus, that combination probably weighs about the same as the 18-35mm all by itself.

    I want to be able to let a little air out of photography sometimes, so I can just go with it and enjoy it a little more, when I feel like it.
     
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  12. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Let me know when I can buy one as well, haha.

    Even though I've been using a D800 for a few years now, I actually still use my 17-55 f/2.8 DX on it as my walkaround lens. I mainly keep it in 1.2x crop (~24MP) which works from ~22mm up for that lens (though I need to keep lens hood off until ~24mm up to avoid vignetting) -- in fullframe, it vignettes until ~28mm IIRC... though I sometimes shoot it wider if I plan to crop to a wider aspect ratio (and have time to set up the shot to avoid vignetting for the planned crop).

    I haven't really done any street photography in a long while, but I used to use a 35 f/2 prime and occasionally switch to a 85 f/1.8 prime or a telezoom on my DX bodies for that. Mostly, I find it works better to stick w/ a focal length, aim for a certain look and just zoom w/ my feet. Even if I had a widezoom on, I tend to just stick w/ one or two focal lengths and zoom w/ my feet when I'm in street photography mode. But a small, fast prime generally works best as it's not so obtrusive... although the wide end of a not-so-hefty widezoom could also work.

    Maybe I should break out my 35 f/2 prime again as it might work better at 1.2x crop (or FF for that matter) than DX crop for street photography. But the D800 might still look rather obtrusive even w/ a small prime on it though... :P I kinda got used to just using my iPhone for a lot of such situations instead... though the IQ won't be as good of course... :P Too bad I can't really use those old (non-AFS) primes on the D5100 I still have (for something less obtrusive)...

    _Man_
     
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  13. 13 Sep 1, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
    Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    While I have used most of my lenses as "walk arounds" depending on where I was walking ;), they do break down into two different categories -- (1) zoom lenses with a smaller (i.e. greater than f/2.8) maximum aperture and image stabilization, and (2) ultra small, faster light weight pancake lenses.

    For the zooms, the slower aperture allows for lighter weight and sometimes a larger focal range, while the image stabilization partially compensates for the slower aperture -- e.g. I can take shots of static objects indoors without a tripod. The two pancake lenses I own -- a EF 40mm f/2.8 for my full frame Canon 5D3 and EF-M 22mm f/2 for my compact, crop body EOS M -- allow me to walk around with a very light weight, low profile camera. In the case of the EOS M + 22mm pancake, it actually fits in the pocket of cargo pants / shorts or a jacket. The pancakes are very affordable, too -- I paid a little over $100 for the 40mm f/2.8 as a refurb.

    I will switch off which lens I walk around with depending on where we are and what I want to shoot -- even at the same place. For example, we visit Mackinac Island once or twice a year. When we were there this spring, sometimes I walked around with the 5D3 + 24-105 f/4L lens, while other times I had the 5D3 + 70-200 f/4L combo to get some more intimate shots. I actually was stopped and asked about the 70-200 f/4L IS by someone who wanted to know what lens I was carrying -- it's white, but smaller than Canon's other white lenses.
     
  14. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I still don't have an 18-55, and might not have one for another three weeks. I'm hoping it'll be sooner than that and B&H gets my replacement sent out next week, instead of 10/15 like they said.

    So far, the lens I've really liked is the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, even though it weighs more than the camera. It's such an outstanding lens, optically, and the f/1.4 is really nice for isolating subjects. It's the second sharpest lens I have, next to the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, but that one weighs three times as much as the D5500. I really wish someone would make a 20mm DX lens that's reasonably fast. Even f/2.0 would make me happy. It seems that someone like Sigma would be successful with something like that. They have one (19mm, actually) for mirrorless, but not for DSLR. A nice, small 30mm equivalent lens with a large maximum aperture would be great.
     
  15. 15 Oct 3, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
    Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Are there not any pancake lenses available for Nikon cameras? I have a 40mm f/2.8 pancake for my full frame body and a 22mm f/2 for my mirrorless, and Canon also makes EF-S 24mm and 28mm pancakes for their crop bodies. They really work well when you want something light and compact, plus they are quite inexpensive.
     
  16. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Pancake lenses don't exist in the Nikon universe. They made a couple of them way back in the '80s.
     

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