View Full Version : How many lenses have you used/handled?

03-09-2007, 12:17
I like to conduct this poll to get a feeling about our membership here, I know a lot of Photograhers that like to use different optics.
Please include all lenses in your answer: large format,medium format,digital,rangefinder,enlarger and SLR.
I have over 75 lenses and have handled over 150.


03-09-2007, 12:28

I have about 25 j8/sonnars...


03-09-2007, 12:41
I use all 8 of my Nikon-mount RF lenses: 21, 25, 28, 35, 50, 85, 105 and 135. If I tracked them all down, I probably own two dozen or more lenses, counting the SLR ones. I don't think I've handled more than 75 ... unless you count all the lenses I've briefly picked up at photo flea markets.

03-09-2007, 12:52
lets see...
I've owned at least 10 different lens mount types.
FD, Ai, AIS, AFD, LTM, M, M42, K, RZ, LF

Large numbers of FD, AIS, and AFD mount lenses - those probably account for 75% of the ones I've used. But a good handful of LTM, K, and Large format lenses.

I'm easily above 50, but probably below 75.

Carlos Cruz
03-09-2007, 13:38
I used to work as camera assistant and I handled lots of cinematography lenses, does it count?

03-09-2007, 13:48
Between 75 and 150. [maybe more]


03-09-2007, 13:49
No, cine lenses please, just still-photo items.

03-09-2007, 13:51
10 Canon EOS
1 Tamron for EOS
1 Nikkor E-series
1 Zeiss on Hasselblad
4 Leica M
2 Voigtlander LTM

03-09-2007, 14:05
I doubt I am up to 75?????

03-09-2007, 14:19
Not many. Few enough that I remember most of them:

A half-dozen OM-mount optics (variable quality; most of them gave me negatives that were hard to print, though their 35mm f/2 is a stunner)

A Zeiss 150mm portrait Sonnar on a guvmint-issue Hasselblad (wow)

A Nikkor Micro (50mm? 55mm?) on a repro-stand F, also military property (very, very sharp)

Mamiya 645: 55mm, 80mm, and 150mm Mamiya-Sekors (all three were freaking fantastic; a shot taken with the 150 won me a contest)

Voigtlander Prominent 50mm f/3.5 Color-Skopar (sharp!)

Zeiss Contax 50mm f/2 Sonnar (delicate hand)

Leitz 50mm Summicrae, collapsing and fifth version

Leitz 40mm Summicron (maybe my favorite piece of glass on earth right now)

Leitz 50mm Summilux, version 2 (zoom-whoosh bokeh)

Olympus Stylus with a 35mm f/3.5 (okay, it's on a point-and-shoot, but it was another contest winner for me. Not crazy-crisp, but it has irreproachable out-of-focus rendering.)

03-09-2007, 14:34
sry! I didnt read the questions correctly.:bang: I thought was just the ones you own count...:eek:!

03-09-2007, 15:26
1,385.7 at last count.

03-09-2007, 16:07
I own around 30 and have probably handled 2-3 times as many.


03-09-2007, 17:20
I've been photographing since about 1963, worked in a camera shop for a couple years, and I haven't been keeping count. I'm not saying the number is huge, just that I have no clue what that number might be. :)

Ronald M
03-09-2007, 18:21
I am sure I owned over 100 from Pentax screw, Leica screw, M, R, RB67, and
4x5. Probably still have 50.

03-12-2007, 00:00
Kiu, it depends what you mean by "handled"? If it includes the lenses "handled" in camera stores or other places but not purchased ...... well Tokyo is gearhead heaven and maybe I've handled 400 or 500 or more. Now if I could also include the lenses I've oggled in glass cabinets but did not touch, then the figure is ????? Heck there was easily more than a thousand lenses on display at the Matsuya Camera Show just a few weeks ago.
I hereby warn you! For the sake of your credit card, don't come to Tokyo ;)

03-12-2007, 03:23
Owned and regularly used around 30 - including all formats and fixed-lens cameras. Most of which I still own and use at least occasionally. I've probably handled 3 times as many in the sense of taking photos with them (not counting photos of tourists with their own cameras).


03-12-2007, 03:41
Well I thought I was good, but I can't compete with the likes of Brian Sweeny and others after all. If I have handled a lot, it has been probably less than 150, and that would include camera stores and friends lenses. Maybe less than 100. Between an 8x10, some 4x5, medium format RF and 35mm SLR lenses (mostly screw mount) I maybe own 35 lenses, give or take 5 or 10.

As I sit here thinking of it, that sure is silly. I don't use 35 lenses on an occassional basis, much less often. But I like handling them and bragging about them. Some day, that 8x10 is going to get used. At least that is what I keep telling myself. It's a nice T-R triple focal length. And the 4x5 must be good for more than 120 backs.


03-12-2007, 04:49
The most peculiar situation arises that taking part in this poll is through the 'vote now' button.. But it'll take me some time to think of each and every lens I've used.. That button should be marked 'Vote whenever you've more or less decided'...

Still counting...

Jon Perry
03-12-2007, 04:52

I used to work in a camera shop.

You don't have a 1000+ option! :o

03-12-2007, 08:24
I love participating here, but please, what is the purpose of a "survey" like this one? The number of lenses one owns or uses or owned might be of some interest, but handled? I often shoot with a group of photographers, and have "handled" many different lenses, some of them even Canon (as long as I remember to disinfect after I touch them), in fact far more lenses than I currently or have ever owned. And I'll bet that if one works in a camera store one might have handled literally thousands of lenses. So what? I don't mean to start a war, but I don't see the point of this particular survey.

03-12-2007, 14:39
Unscintific polls such as this may not have a lot of meaning when you look at them individually, but look at a bunch of them such as: "are you that old", "How many unused camera...", "how many pictures...",and it gives one a pretty good idea of what this forum is about and to some extent, what interests the members most.

Although this poll is very new compared to some other polls, and the numbers may change, I thought the majority would vote under 25!!

I like to remind everone that at any time, there are twice the number of "guests" compared to "members" visiting the RFF.

Just to be clear, I realized that we have X-camera shop workers that may answere 500 or more and those are valid numbers, but when I mentioned "handled" I meant like when you borrow or rent for the purpose of using, not the stuff you play with in the camera store.
So Jon, Tokyo camera shopping doesn't count:p


03-13-2007, 05:05
This did make me think about all the lenses I've used over the years.

Used regularly but not owned (usually owned by my employer):
Canon FD: 35/2.8; 50/1.8; 135/2.8
Vivitar in FD mount: 75-205/3.8
Nikkor: 20/2.8; 24/2.8.

Owned by me (in rough chronological order -- many I no longer own):
Pentax: 50/1.7; 135/2.8
Canon FD: 28/2.8
Viivitar: Series One 35-85/2.8 (in Canon FD an Nikon F mounts); 19/3.8 in Nikon F-mount. Series One 70-210 (in Canon FD and Nikon F mounts)
Nikkors in F-mount: 35/2; 50/1.4; 50/2; 50/2.8 Macro; 85/2; 105/2.5; 135/2.8; 135/3.5; 180/2.8; 200/4; 300/4.5
Nikon Series E 28/2.8 (an underrated lens. I like it a lot)
Tokina for Nikon-F mount: 17/3.5; 24/2.8; 400/5.6

For Kiev II
28/6; 35/2.8 (two of these); 50/2 (two of these); 85/2; Sonnar 50/1.5

For Nikon RF:
Zeiss Biogon 21/4.5
CV 25/4
Nikkors: 28/3.5 (two lenses, black and chrome); 35/2.5; 35/1.8; 50/1.4; 50/1.4 Millenneum; 85/2 (two lenses, black and chrome); 105/2.5; 135/3.5.

I'm sure I missed some.

Kim Coxon
03-13-2007, 05:50
This is another of those threads that I refuse to answer on the grounds that I might incriminate myself, ;) (especially if the other half sees it. :eek: )


04-07-2007, 09:32
I currently have 23 lenses (not counting fixed lens things), but over the last 27 years I've handled many many more than that- I'm in the 100-150 category I would guess. Years of assisting various photogs brings up my count- both roll film and sheet film stuff- how many polaroids I've shot I couldn't begin to guess.

Of all of them perhaps the best lens I've shot is the current 50/2 Summicron I use almost daily. Most exotic would be the 15/3.5 AiS Nikkor- what a front element!

04-07-2007, 10:35
LF = 2
MF = 8
Digital = 10
Rangefinder = 12
Enlarger = 3
SLR = 30

= 65, that I have owned at one point or another.... I work at a camera shop, so there's no telling how many I've actually used/held...

David Goldfarb
04-16-2007, 10:38
I currently own about 50-60 for various formats--mostly large format (depending on whether you count fixed lens cameras, convertible lenses as more than one, is a doubler a lens?, etc.). They do pile up, don't they? I suppose I've used at various points around 100-150.

04-17-2007, 15:37
The 15mm f3.5 Nikkor is one of the most impressive lenses out there.
It's price actually has dropped some in the last couple of years, I got mine under $800.

Come on people keep voting.


Gabriel M.A.
05-09-2007, 20:29
Is this like that question which gets the follow-up question: "what do you mean 'all the way'"? I think they had that deposition back in 1998 courtesy of dizzying oodles of taxpayer dollars.

Anyway...I've "handled" at least 200. Easy. Owned at one point or another? About 30 or 40. Easy. Hands down, tied, blindfolded, chocolate sy...

06-22-2007, 07:45
I had:
35/3.5 Summaron, but sold it.

I have:
28/2.8 Rokkor-M
50/2 Summicron DR
90/2.8 Elmarit

(SLR, all Canon)
I had:
18-55 kit, but then got carried away with a screwdriver.

I have:
17-40 f/4L

That makes 8 I own, 10 I owned.

I had:
35/3.5 Summaron

I have:
28/2.8 Minolta Rokkor-M
35/2.8 Summaron
50/2 Summicron DR
90/2.8 Elmarit

I had:
(all Canon)
50/1.8 II

I have:
(all Nikon)

I had:
127/4.7 Kodak Ektar

Few enough to remember them all. :p

Stephanie Brim
06-22-2007, 12:41
At the moment I own four lenses (three of which mount on the Kiev) and have probably touched four or so more. I feel nowhere near as gear-headed anymore.

06-22-2007, 14:11
I've owned 30-40. Currently own 16-17.


06-23-2007, 02:58
Slr FD: 7 EF: 3 (all original Canon)

RF: 5 (all russian Lens!)


Roger Hicks
11-15-2013, 03:06
"Handle" is a somewhat vague term. Do you count the ones you look at in shops? On friends' cameras? In well over 40 years, I reckon I may well have actually used (= taken pictures with) at least 500 lenses, never mind handled them. Even a dozen lenses a year for 45 years is over 500 lenses. For my original Zeiss road test I used 6 lenses -- http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/zeiss.html -- and I've tried four more since, including two that I still have, 18mm and the 50 C-Sonnar.

As for handling, at a single photokina I might handle (= not shoot with) 40-50 different lenses, and I've been to something like 15 photokinas. Then there are other trade shows and camera fairs. In other words, time plays a large part in it: you just handle more lenses in 40 years than you do in 4. Another factor is how you earn your living!



11-15-2013, 03:37
Another factor is how you earn your living!

Amen to that! I once jobbed in the back office of a pro shop. In that time, I probably handled a five digit number of lenses, just by virtue of unboxing and price tagging all incoming shipments and registering every item in each rental kit before it went out and after it returned...

11-15-2013, 04:07
I voted 75-100 lenses, but this is most likely an undetcount since I had in my lens comparisons 25-40 lenses each time, plus my own lenses that may be 50 RF lenses, plus who knows how many SLR lenses I have used.

11-15-2013, 04:48
I own three lenses. I use three fixed lens cameras too.

11-15-2013, 05:08
Owned and used: something around 40, all told, counting those lenses fixed to various cameras that I've owned and used over the last 55+ years.

Handled: probably several thousand. I managed camera stores for nearly a quarter of a century and between the new and used items that I sold and the customer's equipment i handled and serviced the total number of different lenses would have to be many thousand.

11-15-2013, 06:45
Oh my... probably at least a couple of hundred on a couple of dozen camera systems over forty years. I really would have to sit down and try to recall. I've worked with issued camera systems, and bought and sold many over the years.

11-15-2013, 07:01
Can't even estimate. I've been doing photography since I was 8yo, and that's a long time ago. :-\


Frank Petronio
11-15-2013, 08:17
I couldn't recall if it was 249 or 251, I'd check the hashmarks I made on my leg but the scar tissue grew together.

11-15-2013, 08:20
I've handled a few to five thousand lenses at least.
The number of lenses I've owned is a finite number that is pretty dang high.

Pentax M42 30?
Pentax K 8
Contax SLR 4
Nikon F about 35
Canon EOS 6
Konica AR 2
Fujica M42 5
Leica M 9
Leica S 18-20
Mamiya 3
Bronica S 5
Fuji G690 3
Large format 8

I'm sure I missed a few.

Phil Forrest

11-15-2013, 08:48
From my tally, 19 different interchangeable lenses for 3 different systems that have seen 10 different camera bodies. Also 8 different fixed lens cameras. Jeez thats a lot of stuff..

11-15-2013, 11:48
Does fondling in camera stores count? ;)

Currently own and use six SLR lenses, plus the usual bunch of fixed-lens cameras (at present, seven that work reliably, plus one digital P&S I hardly ever use any more). And I borrowed a rather nice Rokinon 35/1.4 not long ago.

UPDATE - oh, I forgot - two Instamatics, one horrid plastic mail-order P&S (or PoS, your choice), and two SLR lenses for the old Pentax MZ-50.

Plus the usual suite of iPod and phone cameras, I suppose.

11-15-2013, 21:17
This is a scary question in some ways. I answered 300-400. The reason in part is that was always a gear head, provided I could pay for it. I'm still a very active shooter at 70, but I've been a collector of things, not always valuable, and I've always used multiple lenses simultaneously.

I probably own 100 of the relatively simple Kodak and other folding cameras, all have difference lenses and shutters. I own a variety of bellows, self-contained etc. cameras on the higher end of 100 years of so back. My earliest large camera is 1903 and I have some that go back to 1880. I like wooden cameras. I have brass lenses that go back to the 1850s. It's embarrassing.

I collect old plate cameras (I try to use all of the cameras at least once, sometimes more) in sizes from 4.5x6 to 6x9 to 9x12, Recomar, Bergheil, Maximar, etc. IN all about 25, each with different lenses and shutters. At least 35 view and press camera lenses in shutter.

Two View Cameras (in use, sort of) with probably a dozen lenses. Kodak Retinas, all the lenses available depending on body ID, plus I own the reflex version.

In digital, my primary worker are Canons, crop or not, but I have lenses from 8 mm (2, one russian, one not) reach out as far as 500, including three 70-300s, 55x210, My favorite digital in some instance is an MP-9p which allows me to use all the vitange and modern lenses abailable. Soviet screw mounts, various bayonet mounts, there are probably at least a dozen different versions of the Summicron in screw and bayonet.

I worked as a pro for 10 years in there 60s and after giving up Leica RF over cost and beating, was fully kitted in Nikon RF and then in Nikon F. I used 4x5 Graphics, i.e. speeds, crowns and graflex, with assorted lenses in focal lengths multiple brands. , e.g. 90, 127 135, 200, baby berthas and big berthas (near the end of the era).

It's time I did an inventory, but first I have to get back in my cameras.

11-15-2013, 23:38
I would say I rarely handle lenses I don't own, so the number is limited and countable. But, oops, many years ago I worked part-time in a camera shop, where I handled a bunch. Further, the owner encouraged me to take used gear out for a spin around the block, so to speak, for familiarization in aid of selling the stuff. That messes up any counting. :)

11-18-2013, 22:25
Lots and just a guess at 400-500. I used to test lenses for a shop and anything that came through that we could mate up to a Nikon I'd be the final test before they sold them. MF and LF lenses as well.
Myself right now I own:

6 LF
11 SF.