View Full Version : Most Versatile Focal Length

10-30-2004, 23:36
Which focal length of the 35mm RF do you consider to be the most versatile. In other word, the focal length that you could use for your daily photography needs.

Rich Silfver
10-31-2004, 00:02
I'm a sucker for regular 50mm

10-31-2004, 00:47
35 or 35-40 for me, let's take 38 :)

10-31-2004, 01:21
35, step forward and it is a standard lens, step back and it is wide.

Kin Lau
10-31-2004, 02:30
40mm because it's what I have on the Canonet GIII & 28 and that's my most versatile RF's right now. Most of my RF's have 50 or 45mm lenses. The only 35mm is on the Kiev.

10-31-2004, 03:27
I like 40mm best overall.

But HCB took approx 98% of his shots with a 50mm and his work wasn't too shabby :cool:


Stu :)
10-31-2004, 03:41
Or how about being sneaky and choosing a Tri-Elmar and covering all your focal lenghts (28, 35, 50mm) at once?

Stu :)

10-31-2004, 04:26
I voted 35mm but maybe you could add 75 and 90? There are one or two people here who like the longer lengths I think.

10-31-2004, 05:56
I tried but I am not allowed to edit the poll!

back alley
10-31-2004, 06:32


10-31-2004, 06:42
Thanks Joe. :)

10-31-2004, 06:49
I had to vote from my history; looking back the 35mm has been my most often used lens for the longest period of time. However, a few years ago I began using a 28mm fairly often and lately have used a 50mm more then ever before.


10-31-2004, 07:35
I mainly use my canonet and it's 40mm and I think that's a pretty darn good focal length most of the time.
On my SLR I use the 50mm most of the time but lately I've been addicted to my Panagor 90mm. I've also got other lenses I use depending on what I'm shooting, so I'd say my favorite is somewhere between 28mm and 400mm.
Does that answer your question? :)

10-31-2004, 08:02
50mm for me. If I back up far enough I can usually get most of what I want, and its long enough to use for a portrait lens if you're careful. It's also long enough to isolate details and be rid of distracting background elements that distract from the main idea/subject of the photo. Sometimes a 35 is perfect, but usually it's a 50 for me.

Rich Silfver
10-31-2004, 08:29
Originally posted by rover
35, step forward and it is a standard lens, step back and it is wide.

Nu huh - distance to subject does not alter the perspective of the lens. :)

10-31-2004, 08:37
Oh, you know what I mean. I am keying on the word versatile. You are correct that they perspective of the lens doesn't change, but the position of the photographer handling that lens/camera dictates what is in the frame. For favorite focal length I would have picked differently as I think that I see better in either 28mm or 50mm than I do in 35mm. With a 35 I either want to, you guessed it, step forward, or back.

10-31-2004, 09:11
not to be a wise-ass, but the perspective of an image is dictated by the camera-subject distance, not by the focal length :)

10-31-2004, 09:15
Uh huh i see you talk about the perspective of the LENS not the image... Sorry for being a wise-ass :rolleyes:

10-31-2004, 13:16
Rats. The poll doesn't indicate 135 film, so I voted for what was the closest to my favorite, the versatile 100mm f/2.8 Mamiya Universal...

10-31-2004, 16:15
I have realised that I could use only a 35mm lens for my current photography, namely street and documentary. Like what Rover said, all I need to do is to use my feet for proper framing of the subjects.

10-31-2004, 16:29
I have to admit that I still prefer the look of a normal lens - a 50 or 75-85 depending on format - and use that for the vast majority of my shooting. There is a look to that view that I find preferable.

The only exception would be for a portrait when I do enjoy a short tele for perspective.


10-31-2004, 17:10
Well, here is an interesting shot taken with a 35mm lens. I was leaning against the steam shovel more or less right under the arm. I was able to fit enough of the arm in the shot to give it the look of a wide angle lens, but when compared to what I remember from being there, it also appears to be slightly compressed, the distance from me to the bucket, more common with telephoto lenses.

10-31-2004, 20:55
Good shot, rover, has impact! The perspective looks "normal" to me; can't really get that with a longer lens.

10-31-2004, 22:04
I'll put in a word for the wides... Excellent for landscape, and when used with care superb for environmental portraits...

11-01-2004, 02:03
I like using those focal length wider than 28mm!:D

11-01-2004, 12:08
Although I've been shooting a lot with a 50mm lately, I'd have to say that the 35mm is the more versatile lens.


11-01-2004, 18:03
For thirty years I lived with Spotmatics and my two favorites were the f:3.5 28mm and the f:2.5 135 (both Takumars). Apparently I eschewed the normal lens because, perhaps, I thought it was so 'normal.'
Then, last September I bought this infernal Yashica Electro 35 GSN with its 45mm f:1.7 lovely lens and have rarely used another camera since. As the lens doesn't come off I'm learning to live within my means.

Initially I found myself taking more time with compositions. Now I'm pretending to be HCB and trying to grab that moment.

11-01-2004, 18:15
I forgot. Amend the above. I've been using a Yashica T4 Super since 1997. It's got a very good 35mm lens (Zeiss) and I tend to agree with Lars, Rover, and Peter that it's maybe the most versatile focal length. I have a tendency to underrate this camera because it's a P&S. Shame on me. It's got advantages: small; you can stick it in a pocket. Quick AF, solid build, and best of all, the little viewfinder on top of the camera that lets you play spy.

11-02-2004, 17:22
We have 59 votes so far and winner for the most versatile focal length in 35mm RF camera is 35mm, with 1/4 of the votes!

11-02-2004, 17:44
Originally posted by Peter
We have 59 votes so far and winner for the most versatile focal length in 35mm RF camera is 35mm, with 1/4 of the votes!
While watching the US election returns I can't help but play with the numbers. At the current time (as I write this) the leading votes are:

35mm 42%
40mm 20%
50mm 25%

Now the big question. The 40mm group is the swing vote. Are they in the 35mm camp or the 50mm camp?

If they go 35mm, then the combo 35/40 slightly-wide-angle vote is 62% -- a clear majority!

However, if they go to 50mm, then the 'normal' focal length vote of 40/50 is 45%, which beats 35mm :D

Aren't elections fun?? :cool:


11-02-2004, 21:34
I was surprised to be the first lover of the 75mm(or equal) lens. There were also thoughts abou the 28 / 35 mm lenses, but when I try to remember which lens is normally at the body ... :).
I like to pick out the details, for this I need the 75 / 90 mm lense.


Rich Silfver
11-02-2004, 21:52
Rudi, the 75+ fl's were added a bit into the poll

11-03-2004, 04:52
Rudi, it's unfortunate that the 75 and 90 focal lengths were added late. I had already voted and was unable to change my vote. I'm using a 75mm for almost 75% of my shooting these days ... You're not alone!


back alley
11-03-2004, 04:58
it seems i have the abilty to change the votes. i hope i'm not opening a small box of woe here but if you would like to change your vote, let me know.


11-03-2004, 05:04
Thanks for your generous offer Joe. I'm sure no one will abuse it.

Please switch my vote from 40mm to 75mm



back alley
11-03-2004, 05:32

11-03-2004, 06:50
Originally posted by Gene
Rudi, it's unfortunate that the 75 and 90 focal lengths were added late. I had already voted and was unable to change my vote. I'm using a 75mm for almost 75% of my shooting these days ... You're not alone!

Thanks Gene :)
ps. my avatar is shot with a 17mm and an slr :o

11-03-2004, 07:34
Why am I not surprised that a rangefinder group would choose the 35mm lens first? I went for the 50mm as in 35mm I just prefer the "look" and the abilities it has "in the middle."

jdos2 is correct that in other formats, the normal there is best too (imho). However, isn't that 50mm Mamiya nice?!

11-03-2004, 09:12
I generally shoot with two bodies, one with a 35, one with a 50. In rangefinders I find the 35 a perfect size, particularly for the .72 viewfinder magnification. That said, for SLR's I don't like the 35mm perspective at all. I like either wider or longer.

If I had to choose one (and I do!) I would choose the fifty. I think that the extra reach is helpful for someone like me...I am a little more stand-offish than some people and I would prefer a short tele to a slightly wide angle. It also helps that the 50mm lenses are generally the best performing, fastest and cheapest lenses in any system, if not often all three at once.

06-02-2007, 00:26
This is interesting: I laways considered 50mm as a common wisdom of focal length versatility and when finely was able to own and shoot Leica acquiring my one-lens set - there was no brainer to go with 50mm one. However now, I tend to lean to sway my belief towards 35mm one. Shoooting a lot indoors and general scenis I often encounter situations where 50mm is a bit too narrow to encompass the scene, while 28mm would probably be a bit excessively wide (not sure though...). I would I start now my Leica addiction (and provided enough $$ available) I would go 35mm lens as the main tool...(but perhaps still would like to have 50mm handy)....

06-02-2007, 00:39
I mostly shoot with 50mm, or 42mm when I'm using an Olympus 35 RC or SP. Both of these feel very natural to me. Can't get on with 35mm at all, have done some experiments with 21mm and quite like it as an occasional length, although I suspect 28mm would be more useful. But for versatility it's 50mm for me.

Edit: blimey, this is an old thread!


Andrew Sowerby
06-02-2007, 02:27
After a few years of using 35mm lenses almost exclusively, I'm shocked by how much my "percentage" went up when I switched to a 50mm.

06-02-2007, 05:01
A write in vote - 45mm for small format and 80mm for medium format.

Focal length
Indicates the magnification and angle of view of a lens. The human eye sees things roughly the same as a 45mm focal length of a lens for a 35mm camera. Anything shorter is classed as a wide-angle, while longer focal lengths are telephoto.


Never used this focal length or thought it was available or would be inclined to purchase it for my SLR before using some 45mm fixed-focal length rangefinders - specifically the Yashica Lynx 14 and the GSN. I really like this focal length and find it quite natural. I agree with the posted description, above. It's a subtle but noticeable distinction from a standard 50, and it's why I'm not very compelled to purchase an interchangeable lens camera; why I like my Yashicas so much. 70% of the time a standard lens would be on it anyway. Second place would be a 35. Third place - in terms of usage, would be a portrait lens opting for the 85mm range since they're more compact than the 135's.

Film camera bodies are so cheap now I've considered dedicating bodies to my favorite lenses. My M42 SLR is dedicated to the Jupiter 9 for the most part, making it a "fixed-lens by choice" portrait camera.

06-02-2007, 05:10
Indeed an old thread! A new slant: the most versatile focal length would be a 35mm - with two bodies - an M4 and M8!

06-02-2007, 05:51
Bump for the thread !

35 or 35-40 for me, let's take 38 :)

No question, anything between 38 and 42 works :)

06-02-2007, 07:01
I voted for 50mm. Altough I also like my skopar 21 and orion 15 (my latest purchase) I feel much more comfortable with my Nokton 50 ... but I must admit that I never tried to shhot with a 35mm lens...

06-02-2007, 08:25
35, step forward and it is a standard lens, step back and it is wide.

I don't use 35mm because I don't have it( 40mm Rokkor is good point of view, too) ... rover gave us very nice definition, I have to say one more thing : when I saw bokeh test on 35mm f2 lenses + zero distorton I can only agree with Zeiss conclusion :

The Powerful All-Rounder

P.S. Next to that, I like 28mm :D

06-02-2007, 08:26
35mm focal length for 35mm rangefinder

90mm focal length for 6x7cm rangefinder

06-02-2007, 08:32
75 lets me get real close without getting to close.

06-02-2007, 08:52
It is funny, when I look in the camera the point of view I like the best is that of a 35mm lens (I am speaking of the 24x36mm format) but all the best pictures I got were taken with the 50mm, that's why my vote goes with the 50mm.


06-02-2007, 10:34
Must agree with William the pumpkin driver. The 35 (in 135) comes close, but loses out in portrait work.

06-02-2007, 10:49

06-02-2007, 13:35
I'm a sucker for regular 50mm

Me 2, Me 3, Me 4 ... as my daughters woulds say.


06-02-2007, 17:37
My most versatile lens is the so called "normal" lens, wether it is either 35; 40; 44; 45 or 50 mm, or even as long as 58mm. As Im getting used to a fixed lens camera since I bought a Yashica Electro35, I felt compelled to get the most out of the lens I have in the camera Im using.
This forced me to think (and learn) a lot about composition and to explore the limits of the lens, which is a side beneficial effect of having just one lens to play with.

Then my vote will go to the normal... it is 40 mm (the closest average from 35 to 50 mm).


06-03-2007, 00:14
i haven't gotten a new lens in ages, being a 28/50mm guy since the beginning. someone describe what the 35mm does best, rather than being the "second best lens for everything". i'm thinking about getting the 35mm summilux asph. not sure about the flare suppression, but i'd like the extra stop and smoother fingerprint over the 35mm summicron asph. one lens and one body does have its appeal.

06-03-2007, 01:58
I like 35 and 50, but my favorite is 40, which also is a good compromise between 35 and 50. The problem I have is that there seem to be almost no 40 LTM lenses. There's the Rollei 40mm/2.8 Sonnar HFT, but it's around $500 new and there seem to be no used ones anywhere. Someday I may have to give in and get the Rollei.


06-04-2007, 12:15
My favorite street photographer was Garry Winogrand. He used 28mm almost exclusively. I was drawn to his work before I learned that little lens tid-bit, so I guess I just lean toward wide as the more pleasing format to my eye.


06-08-2007, 02:23
Looking at the distribution curve, I think it should peak at 40mm. The reason it doesn't is probably because manufacturers chose to put the most effort into developing fine 35mm and 50mm focal lengths. There just isn't a lot of glass to choose from in 40mm. The usual arguments against 40mm are that it is too long for landscapes and too wide for portraits (or something equally as relative). That's like the pessimist's view of the half-empty/full glass. I guess I'm an optimist. 40mm is an excellent compromise between 35 and 50mm, and serves quite well in that capacity.


06-27-2007, 11:15
I really like the 40mm length best in general, but IMHO, it is no substitute for a 28/35 and 50. If I'm carrying one lens away from home, It's a 40, but perhaps only because I don't have anything wider for my rangefinders right now. The drawback of a 50 is you have to back up so far to get a building facade that you can't identify your friends in pictures, while the drawback of a 35 is you have to get so close to your subject for a portrait-type shot that it's kind of annoying to strangers :) A 40 solves both these issues acceptably, while not giving up too much in FOV or distance to subject.

06-27-2007, 11:30
If I had only only lens, it would have to be a 35mm focal length. Very clean, undistorted images. Simple lens design (eg. Tessar), compact and light.

Having said that, I prefer focal lengths of 28mm and shorter. This is driving me bonkers with my dslr.

So, I voted 35mm

06-29-2007, 04:54
I suppose a 35 but right now I have an CV 40mm f1.4 sc and I almost never take it off the body. That single coating provides a little more contrast in sunny Florida.

06-29-2007, 05:04
A 50 does nearly everything for me. I'll use a 35 for a bit more width when travelling, my 35 is also lighter than either of my 50's.
Anything wider than 35 = boring wide open spaces in my hands so I tend to avoid them.

06-29-2007, 05:05
i found myself using 75mm more often than the 35mm, mainly because I can get a tight frame, while the context is important, personally I think cropped subject leaves open imaginations.

06-29-2007, 10:33
35mm is probably the most versatile but I favor 50mm myself for probably 80% of my work.

06-29-2007, 11:33
When I use 50, I love 50, when I use 35, I love 35. I used to use 28 and I loved 28. If I had to pick 1, I would pick 35, but I would hate to make that choice.

Stephanie Brim
06-29-2007, 11:34
50. But that's because it's what I started out with and I'm most comfortable with it.

06-29-2007, 13:05
some who voted 35mm (like me) would have gone 50mm back then when nobody knew what crop factor is..

06-29-2007, 14:05
No question in order of preference currently. But this has a lot to with Roland's suggestion that I obtain the ZM 28/2.8. I love my ZM 28 almost as much as my 50/1.4; but the nod does go to my 50/1.4 for versatility. I should add that soon I hope to try out the CV 40/1.4, which should be a sweet FL to use for me, being a 50 FL fan who likes the 35 FL but only has a CV 35/1.2 currently. I love my CV 35/1.2 but it is not as portable as the 40/1.4 looks to be.

06-29-2007, 14:11
50mm for me. If I back up far enough I can usually get most of what I want, and its long enough to use for a portrait lens if you're careful. It's also long enough to isolate details and be rid of distracting background elements that distract from the main idea/subject of the photo. Sometimes a 35 is perfect, but usually it's a 50 for me.

good point. I shot with 50mm lens for 20 years until I discovered the Leica M and its 35mm Summicron III in 1991.

The last year I've re-discovered the 50 and now have 50mm Lux pre-asph and 50 Elmar M. They are simply fabulous but I still use the 35 alot.

06-29-2007, 14:38
My most-used rangefinder lenses are 21mm through 90mm. It's interesting that when I take the geometric average of 21mm and 90mm, I get 37.5mm. That's halfway in-between 35mm and 40mm; arguably making either of those a valid choice as the best general walkaround lens. I have long felt that 35mm is the best single focal length (I don't own a 40 to compare it with). Others have said 40mm is best. So I thought it interesting that the geometric center point fell halfway in between those choices.

06-29-2007, 15:57
Even though I have always preferred the perspective of the 50mm, in terms of "most versatile focal length", objectively I'd probably say 35mm and that's what I voted for.....

07-04-2007, 17:16
Without a shadow of a doubt, 40mm is the Goldielocks of focal lengths.

07-11-2007, 04:59
Master of none(?) but 50 is the one for me.

I've been using a 55mm f1.6 Fujinon (hazy at 1.6, divine at f2) on a an old Fujica screw mount slr and that just feels natural. T'is how the world looks but maybe I'm a tad miopic.

Been without an rf for 18 months but I'm about to rectify that, likely as not with a ZI and a 50.

07-13-2007, 02:07
I currently have 28, 35, 50 and a 40 fixed-lens rangefinder. In terms of "more versatile", 28 is certainly too wide for me as a general purpose lens and 50 is often too long, while 35mm frames quite the same as my own eyes. But my best shots are taken with the 50.

Said that, obviously there are great shooters around which mainly use a 28, or a 50, etc...

07-13-2007, 02:17
35 by a long shot!

07-13-2007, 03:29
Would be interesting to analyse correlations between preferred focal lenghts and subjects/styles the respective groups focus on.
Or is it as simmple as 35 for city boys and girls and 50 for country girls and boys?

07-13-2007, 04:43
It is easier for me to shoot with 35, but I somehow prefer 50. Wonder if my most versatile could really be a 40 :)

07-22-2007, 12:19
I like my 35 lux a lot for striaght forward shooting. My other favourite lens is my 75 lux, but it's the 35 that goes out most.


08-29-2007, 08:29
I voted 40mm, but could have gone with 35mm

mike goldberg
08-31-2007, 20:15
35 is the most versatile, yet in RFF with FSU cameras, I have 'rediscovered' the 50.

09-01-2007, 01:03
I generally use 40mm unless I actually need wider or longer.

09-01-2007, 01:17
35mm is the most versatile focal length

09-01-2007, 14:12
15mm . . . you can shoot anything and crop down later on. ;-)

09-02-2007, 08:01
I've also voted for 35mm. Actually, I also like 50mm.
The thing is that I like to shoot on film with 35 and 50 and with my crop DSLR with a 24 and a 35mm prime (which finally serve 38 and 56mm resp.)

09-05-2007, 02:16
I turned from wide (28) to standard (50) in the past years. When I began shooting with a M6, 28mm was my most used focal length, especially when used outdoors. Later, a 35mm lens became my standard. Then, the 40mm Nokton was released and mine didn't leave the camera much for more than a year. Then I rediscovered my 50 Summicron (collapsible), as I found after all I had to crop too much from most of my 40mm shots. Since I use a R-D1, the 35mm (aka 52mm field of view) lenses get most usage again. Actually, the Color Skopar 35/2.5 (P-I) fits my needs best in terms of focal length and compactness (which let me accept the relative slowness of f2.5 better).

There is no perfect standard lens, especially when you rarely leave the house with more than one, but I find with the 50mm field of view I have the highest "no cropping needed" rate. As for other focal lengths, my legs are my zoom.


09-05-2007, 04:35
For RF, I think I'd go with the 35mm. But a case can be made for saying that the best focal length is whichever one you happen to have on your camera at the moment.

09-05-2007, 11:56
I've been thinking about this long and hard...my go to lens for walking around is a 28mm but I don't think it's my most versitile.
35 might be it, but I just think 50 takes the cake.
Next week I will change my mind.

09-09-2007, 14:56
When I cut back my Leica M gear ( yes I now regret that ) when I got into 6x12 and 6x6 MF, The 35 1.4 ASPH was all I kept. I covered 2 weddings with that.

But for the last 2 years when I've carried a 21,35 and 50, the 35 hardly gets any use.

I voted for the 35, but using it alone was a great influence on the type of photos I saw.

09-09-2007, 17:15
Wow... surprised by the answers here. 50mm is the most versatile focal length. You might prefer to use other focal lengths but 50 is the most versatile.

09-11-2007, 03:57
50mm for me: it's often too short, rarely too wide, but on balance, is about right as an effective compromise; and the fact that most 50mm lenses have lower f stops than comparable 35mm etc, gives an added advantage.

09-17-2007, 07:36
For my 35mm RF photography, it'd have to be 50mm because I use LTMs and the 50s are by far the easiest solution with the old Barnacks.

For 35mm photography in general (SLRs included), I far prefer the 24mm to any other fl that I've ever used. I shoot wide and the 24 is as wide as one can go without significant barrel distortion. It is THE environmental portrait lens of choice for me. If Nikon ever makes a 16/2.8 prime, I will probably dedicate a DSLR (DX) body to one.

09-17-2007, 12:24
I originally voted for a 40mm lens way back when because most of my cameras had a "normal-ish" lens between 35-50mm and it seemed the best compromise vote. The camera I've been using the most lately is my Fuji Natura S Black with a 24mm lens.

What I have found, though, is that while I'm able to get quite a few good shots with the 24mm length because it's wide, I miss an equal number of shots because it's too wide, if that makes any sense. The Olympus 35 RC I purchased a year or so ago is finally just about ready to hit the streets, so I'll be playing with that camera for a while and we'll see if I really am more enamored with the wide lens or with the normal lens.

09-17-2007, 13:28
After years of only using my 50, i spent a few with my 35. But since roughly 2 years, my 21 gets the most use by far, so it`s 21 for me.

Richard Black
09-26-2007, 03:42
I prefer the 28mm on most of my cameras and other than the 50s it is the only other focal length I own 3 of. It is perfect for my "view".

Parkes Owen
10-05-2007, 05:13
I voted for 40mm, probably because it`s a good compromise between the most used focal lengths of 35 and 50, and close to my xpans 45 mm lens and also my bronicas 75mm lens(40ish in 35mm format) which I am quite comfortable with, but also have a ZF 50mm on my FM2n that is quickly becoming my favourite, maybe I should sell all and get a ZM Ikon/50mm before it`s too late!:bang:

10-05-2007, 22:56
I completely second what FrankS said

steve kessel
10-05-2007, 23:30
I'm a relative newcomer to this game. I went for a 50mm for it's similarity to eye vision and on the 1:1 viewfinder of the Bessa R3m, I get what I've seen, perspective and scale wise. Since the R3M also has 40mm frame lines, I got a 40mm lens as well, just to feel what a bit wider is like. So I'm experimenting with two lenses that offer fairly similar views and like being in that zone.

10-18-2007, 07:13
when i began photography the only lens I had was a 50mm 1.8
i rapidly found that most of my shots were bad because i did not thought
about my placement and the distance between the subject
but some shot came out superbly, it was environemental portraits were
you shoot a person at a distance of two meter with an intersting background
at this setting it is pretty easy to get a good blurred background or not depending
on the available light
when I got a 40mm (minilux) i found myself more than before trying to approach closer
to my subjects and then capturing a more living expression and interacting with my subjects
the more i shortened the focal lengt of my taking lens, the more i am inclined to
capturing extra ordinary expressions on people face thus discussing with the person
i am taking pictures of
so for me the 35mm is king (a fast lens evidently!)
...one day that chrome 1st generation summilux will be mine...

10-18-2007, 07:18
After using a 50mm in my dslr i thought I was in a need of buying a 35mm for my rangefinder since is a more versatile focal length (as voted), but after some shooting im back looking for a 50mm again, sometimes i miss that length, is better to have both :D.

Jason Sprenger
10-18-2007, 10:19
For versatility, I have to go with a 50mm. I wind up carrying a 35-50-85/90 setup with a 50mm usually on the camera.

The 50mm excels at photographing people in environments and taking photos of things, which compromises most of my RF photography. The 35mm works best for photographing places or groups indoors. These are the two RF lenses I use most often.

The 85/90 is excellent for people portraits, but the image in the RF viewfinder is so small, I'm not anxious to go to it for other compositions. This focal length works really well with an SLR, however.

Digital Dude
10-24-2007, 08:36
I love the 35 although my first Leica lens is the 28-cron' @1.33 = 37x

10-24-2007, 13:50
I have to say 35mm. Its best for street shooting - wide enough for good DOF / zone focusing but not so wide as to cause too many foreground problems. It is also common enough not to be too over priced. It is also good for landscape and at a pinch can even be used for shooting people although not perhaps ideal for close-ups. My 35s are to be found on my camera as standard lens more often than any other, even though others may be put on for specific shots.

11-21-2007, 04:37
I know that if I am taking just one lens it almost always seems to be a 50. But many times I stick a 35 in my pocket just in case.

11-23-2007, 04:14
As my Fed3 - Kiev 4 - ZI Contaflex are equipped with the "standard" 50mm lenses, I am "forced" to use this lens: but this make me rediscover the power of this focal lenght.

11-23-2007, 05:30
50mm and your two feet. Capa said that if the picture wasn't good enough, the photographer wasn't close enough. I personally like my compositions as tight as I can get them.

11-23-2007, 12:27
I believe that the 50mm is number 1.
Becose you can do everything with it, and take every kind of picture with it.

12-27-2007, 01:17
I'd have to go with the good old 50.
I've got one for nearly every camera I own, including the SLR's. (boo hiss)
My fixed lens RF's are all 50's as well, the ones that use 35mm film anyway.

I have to admit that my next favorite isn't even on the list, 15mm.
A very challenging length, to be sure, but very nice when done well.

01-01-2008, 08:40
50mm for me! rediscovered only on a rangefinder.. it seems too cropped on an slr but somehow is perfect on a rangefinder.. gets just the right amount of subject and environmental context and looks pleasing to the eye.. its also hard to screw up a 50mm lens

Gray Fox
01-01-2008, 09:58
I finally got the 35-70 zoom for my G2, but found most of my shots were at the wide end. So for now, the much lighter 35 is back on the camera and I'll shoot with it for a while to see if I think I need something else. My least used lens is the 90, but I may put it on for a while and see if I can relate to that length for something other than portraits. What I need is another G2 body, but the prices have gone way too high for good ones.

02-16-2008, 19:41
The 50.

Certainly a 35 f2/2.8 is the most singularly-versatile RF lens as it combines minimal distortion, lots of DOF and speedy seat-of-the-pants focusing in a small, shallow piece of glass. However, I'm a sucker for the painter-like image of a 50 both near and far. Really a close call and I've occasionally wandered back to a 35 as my sole lens but the sweet 50, particularly in a collapsible, reels me back in whenever I stray.

Different strokes for different folks. just like the poll sez.

03-08-2008, 07:38
The 35 got my vote. Wide enough for most situations, but not so wide (like 28 and wider) that it limits style with the obviousness of the perspective change. Course, it's completely subjective - one could shoot a good lansdscape with a fisheye or a long telephoto too - just picking the tool to get what you want...

03-24-2008, 19:50
The three most versatile focal lengths are (in order of importance)...

The 50,

the 50,

& the 50.

03-31-2008, 21:03
for me it's was either a 50 because it was perfect for the M3 finder and 35 because it was perfect for the M2 but lately i've been doing a lot of 40. I don't know but it seems to be like a go between when I'm not sure what I want. I think for me when I'm shooting to get a dramatic change in perspective i like to double or halve focal length. So that boils down to 3 main lengths, wider than wide, normalish, and a little close upish. For me that's 21, 40, and 85 respectively.

Jan Van Laethem
04-01-2008, 08:39
With my SLRs, I tend to use almost exclusively 24mm and 50mm lenses. Somehow I've never been able to fully adjust to the 35mm focal length. But now that I got into RF, my main lens is a 35mm, so I voted for that focal length.

It may have something to do with one's favourite subjects, as lately I tend to do more street shooting than ever before. But the 35mm must be the most versatile lens in my opinion: wide enough to include surroundings (wider lenses may get tricky to use well) and at the same time great for detail shots.

06-29-2008, 23:33
The 50 is too tight. When I spot a shot and put that camera to my face, 80% of the time I have to take steps back. It really gets to me when I'm already up against a wall. I'm not afraid to move in. I'm personally torn between 28 and 35, but I voted for 35 because it doesn't exhibit wide angle distortion.

09-16-2008, 07:18
The three most versatile focal lengths are (in order of importance)...

The 50,

the 50,

& the 50.

yeah and fourth is 50mm :)

09-17-2008, 00:27
For me, there's more to versatility than just focal length. The size and speed of the lens is also important. My favourite focal length is 28, but all 28s are either too big or too slow to be versatile for me. My most versatile lens is the 35/1.4 nokton.

However, there isn't a versatile 50 for me. 50 is a tele, and it looks that way; things get compressed. 43 is accepted as the true normal perspective, and I don't understand how 50 has become accepted as normal. It is as far on the tele side of 43 as 35 is on the wide side.

09-17-2008, 07:41
I neither understand why some people see 35mm as normal. When I took shoots, composition become too loose. So IT is really no surprise that I see some people shots at 35mm fov much worse than they do with 50mm even if they were unconscious about it. At other words, it is much harder make good pictures with tight composition with 35mm lenses. So 35mm rather remind me of 28mm. Wide angle lenses btw. of course it is one subjective opinion of me which doesnt mean anything. We have different FL thats what is important.

Versatile 50mm is probably the new 50mm Summarit. I dont like that I have to extend the Elmar every time :P Plus it is easier design 50mm lenses then you get much better corrections. IT is cheap too :)

09-17-2008, 10:46
I went out with a 90mm attached yesterday. Not too versatile.

09-18-2008, 17:36
The secret to 35mm is distance to subject. "If your picture isn't good enough, you're not close enough." With proper distance to the subject, a 35 can pretty much look like a 28, 35 or 50. Which is why I like 40. :D

10-08-2008, 00:54
I think there is a general misunderstanding on the famous Capa sentence "If you picture is not god enough, you are not close enough". He wasn't referring to distance to the subject, but distance to the action. It was aimed to war correspondants that would not go in the frontline under enemy fire and take pictures of the field after the battle. Capa would go with the first soldiers, that is why many of his pictures are so impressive, "good enough," as he said. Whatever focal he would have used could have made great pictures.

kevin m
12-15-2008, 15:00
He wasn't referring to distance to the subject, but distance to the action.

You mean like photoshop "action(s)?" That would make sense, because the only way to know if your picture is any good is to blow it up to 100% and check every pixel. :p

12-25-2008, 03:08
I use mainly a 50 even on my dlsr got a 50 prime but i like the 40 best.

12-25-2008, 06:33
50mm: best versatility for different dof/oof. You can use it forming telephoto looking pictures or pictures like a wide feeling with different compositions and steps.

12-25-2008, 14:09
There is no ideal focal length, the same way that there is no ideal camera, lens, film etc... Photography is all about intelligent compromise.

As long as a photographer knows exactly what his doing, equipment such as lenses turn into simple tools, like screwdriver heads. The moment equipment start dictating what you photograph, you need to stop and reevaluate your orientation. The reason is quite simple. the only motivating factor and reward comes in pictures, not feeling cameras and pressing shutter, or focusing. So, if you don't like your photos and they're secondary to your equipment interest then you would live a perpetually dissatisfied life in regards to your photography hobby. And soon you'll have a collection and you'll spend more time selling and buying gear than actually making photos.