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Your Top 3 Lenses of All Time (with Pictures Please!)
Old 01-13-2018   #1
Jdsegra
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Your Top 3 Lenses of All Time (with Pictures Please!)

I stumbled across jsrocket's thread regarding your top 5 cameras... Cameras are nice, but it's all 'bout that glass.

What are your top 3 lenses? Preferably lenses you've actually owned, and bonus points for including a favorite pic from each.

I'll go first:

Leica 35 Summicron v IV
My first Leica lens. It's small, it's light, it's fast, and it's glued on my camera. Sure it's soft wide open, but 2.8 and up is killer.







Fuji 18-55 f2.8-4 OIS
This thing is a kit lens?! Seriously?! 28-80mm equ, can close focus, beautiful color, tack sharp. It's a little bigger than I'd prefer, and it's digital only, but it's tiny for what it is and smaller than a bag full of primes.







Fujion 23mm f2 from the x100
Not the best technical lens, but its got the good where it counts. Small, light, versatile, beautiful color, macro is clutch. I love my Leica 35 'cron, but I've got a lot of ground to cover before I catch up with the keepers from this gem.





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Old 01-13-2018   #2
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This will be an interesting thread and I look forward to its development!

I've never really gotten into lens testing, myself. I have used cameras of certain brands, simply adding lenses of the same brand in the desired focal lengths and being happy with the results. Even so, I find this kind of information of most interesting.

- Murray
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Old 01-13-2018   #3
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Regarding "all about glass"... My top image is the one I took with Canon 70-200 F4 L lens. It was one of the nominated in international contest with real jori (not FB votes). Received some prizes for it and picture was published. If I remember correct, I don't own rights to publish it anymore.
To match OP, here is the one with this lens:


With Leica I have no money even for half of the top of the top Leica lens.
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Old 01-13-2018   #4
Richard G
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Summicron 50mm version IV with bear claw tab. Compact, supreme ergonomics with the reversible vented hood and cap. My staple for decades. Sharp and straight, not too contrasty.










The tiny Elmarit ASPH 28. Very compact, very sharp, maybe too contrasty, but not here in the late afternoon in May in the northern hemisphere.













And the ZM C Sonnar 50. Such character. Much smaller and lighter than a Summilux.













I love the colours with Zeiss lenses.
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Old 01-13-2018   #5
mcfingon
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I'm agreeing with Richard on C Sonnar 50/1.5. Full of character like this old bike.

Sony A7S C Sonnar 50 at f1.5
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Old 01-13-2018   #6
mcfingon
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And my newest top three lens is the Elmar-M 24/3.8, in use at Dubrovnik old city.

Sony A7S Elmar-M 24/3.8 at f8
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Old 01-13-2018   #7
narsuitus
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Top 3 M-mount by Narsuitus, on Flickr

Leitz 21mm f/1.4 (left)
Leitz 90mm f/2 (center)
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 (right)
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Old 01-13-2018   #8
Brian Legge
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I've binged on a bunch of lenses and cameras over the last few years. In hindsight, the only lenses that really stood out to me were on all medium format cameras. There are lots of fantastic lenses out there but the results with these ones felt magical at times.

I'll probably have a separate post later with 35mm lenses once I think through those a bit more.


Planar 75mm 3.5 (on Rolleiflex 3.5F):








100mm Ektar 3.5 (Kodak Medalist II)





38mm 4.5 (Hasselblad SWC)




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Old 01-13-2018   #9
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Top 3 Nikon F-mount primes by Narsuitus, on Flickr

35mm f/1.4 Nikkor
85mm f/1.8 Nikkor (later replaced by 1.4 version)
180mm f/2.8 Nikkor
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Old 01-13-2018   #10
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Top 3 F-mount zooms by Narsuitus, on Flickr

My Top Three Nikon zoom lenses (also known as the Three Digital Kings, the Holy Trinity, or the Magic Three)

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 AFS (wide-angle)
Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 AFS (standard mid-range zoom)
Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 AFS (telephoto)
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Old 01-13-2018   #11
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Top 3 mico 4/3 prime lenses by Narsuitus, on Flickr

14mm f/2.5 Panasonic lens
20mm f/1.7 Panasonic lens
45mm f/1.8 Olympus lens
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Old 01-13-2018   #12
narsuitus
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Top 3 Contax G Lenses by Narsuitus, on Flickr

Zeiss 90mm f/2.8 Sonnar
Zeiss 45mm f/2 Planar
Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Biogon
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Old 01-13-2018   #13
narsuitus
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Top 3 Fuji X-mount prime Lenses by Narsuitus, on Flickr

16mm f/1.4 Fujinon
23mm f/1.4 Fujinon
56mm f/1.2 Fujinon
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Old 01-13-2018   #14
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Top 3 Long Nikon Lenses by Narsuitus, on Flickr

Nikon 1000mm f/11 mirror (right)
Nikon 500mm f/4 IF-ED P (center)
Nikon 400mm f/5.6 IF-ED (left)
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Old 01-14-2018   #15
Merlijn53
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There are many good lenses, but there are 3 that gave me special feeling over the years:
The original 1950’s Voigtlander Ultron 2.0 50mm
The Rokkor 2.0 40mm for Minolta cle (and leica m of course)
And last but not least the Zeiss Sonnar 1.5 50mm for the Contax rangefinders, mentioned here before as the zm sonnar, which seems to be exactly the same lens.
Pictures are imho useless as a 1200x800 pixel jpeg from a scan can never show the real qualities of those lenses let alone give you the same feeling.
Regards,
Frank
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Old 01-14-2018   #16
Erik van Straten
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1. Summicron 50mm f/2 rigid (1956 - 1966).



2. Summilux 35mm f/1.4 steel rim (1960-1964).



3. Color-Skopar 50mm f/2.5.



Erik.
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Old 01-14-2018   #17
mcfingon
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I would have to nominate the highly-dependable Elmar-M 50/2.8 for my third choice.

Sony A7S Elmar-M 50/2.8 at f8 1/250 ISO 125
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Old 01-14-2018   #18
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Top 3 Landscape Film Lenses by Narsuitus, on Flickr

Fujinon 90mm f/5.6 lens on large format camera

65mm f/5.6 Fujinon lens on medium format camera

28mm f/2.8 Zeiss Biogon lens on small format camera
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Old 01-14-2018   #19
Deardorff38
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My 3 favourites would be a 35 summicron, 75mm Tessar on my Rolleiflex T, & the 8 1/2" golden Dagor on my 5x7. (I'm away from my home computer, so no photo access)
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Old 01-14-2018   #20
Peter Wijninga
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My most used -and favorite lens: the Zeiss Biogon ZM 2.8/28...



Out to Lunch, on Flickr. Place de Cornavin, Geneva, Switzerland. January 2017. Leica M-E - Zeiss Biogon 2.8/28.
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Old 01-14-2018   #21
Dogman
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Only 3? Can't do it. I've used too many different systems with many different lenses in each for the past 40+ years. How 'bout picking some favorites from each system?

Nikon--Manual focus 24mm f/2.8 and 180mm f/2.8 on F and F2 bodies. I used them more than any others, wearing out one sample of each. Not the sharpest Nikkors ever made but they were lenses with excellent character and function.

Canon--70-200mm f/2.8 and 400mm f/5.6. These Canon long lenses were spectacular. I would still use them except I no longer use long lenses enough to justify keeping them. Plus both are so heavy I could no longer handle them well due to my arthritis.

Leica--I don't know versions and variations from diddly but the Leica lenses I used the most on M4-P and M6 bodies were 50mm and 35mm Summicrons. They were jewels.

Fuji--My current system with so many great lenses I'm in heaven! Still I have to go with the 50 and 35 equivalents. Both the f/2 and f/1.4 models of the 35mm and 23mm are superb--I use the smaller f/2 models on XPro bodies, the f/1.4 models on XT bodies. To these I must add the 14mm f/2.8, certainly one of the finest lenses I've ever used although not one I use a lot.

And one more to round it up--the 18.3mm f/2.8 lens on the Ricoh GRII. I'm constantly amazed at the way this lens can render a subject.
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Old 01-14-2018   #22
Pete B
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Don't forget to post sample images taken with your nominated lens as per initial post
Pete
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Old 01-14-2018   #23
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Surprisingly easy question to answer, considering how much glass I've managed to accumulate over the years.

Leica 50mm f/2 M-mount rigid Summicron:

M3_50Cron_RolleiOrtho25_Scan-110701-0004 by Jean-Yves, on Flickr

Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 Nokton:

M3_40_Ortho25_EI50_Scan-110616-0003 by Jean-Yves, on Flickr

Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R:

XT1S1391 by Jean-Yves, on Flickr
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Old 01-14-2018   #24
JB-Dancer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlijn53 View Post
There are many good lenses, but there are 3 that gave me special feeling over the years:
The original 1950’s Voigtlander Ultron 2.0 50mm.
The Rokkor 2.0 40mm for Minolta cle (and leica m of course)
And last but not least the Zeiss Sonnar 1.5 50mm for the Contax rangefinders, mentioned here before as the zm sonnar, which seems to be exactly the same lens.
Pictures are imho useless as a 1200x800 pixel jpeg from a scan can never show the real qualities of those lenses let alone give you the same feeling.
Regards,
Frank
Frank, I also find the Voigtlander Ultron 50mm f2 is a superb lens.I use a Voigtlander Vito III (1955) which has this lens in a Synchro-Compur XM shutter.This lens is certainly something special even after 60-70 years.
Also, like you, I use the 40mm f2 M-Rokkor but mine is the earlier CL version with an adapter on my Pen E-P3 and get superb results.
I also use a Sonnar type lens which is a 5cm f2 Nikkor -H.C. rigid LTM lens on my Canon P and again it gives me very pleasing results.
It is nice to know that someone else also uses, or has used, and finds these older lenses give results with something of a special feeling.
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Canon P ~ Leica II (1932)~ 50/2 Nikkor H.C.
Voigtlander Vito III (1955)
Olympus E-P3 ~ 50/1.8 Cine-Nikkor.



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Old 01-14-2018   #25
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  • 7artisans 1.1/50
  • Leica Summicron-M 2.0/90
I wouldn't be able to reduce that list to three only.
Perhaps if I was allowed to list 3 per system (Nikon F, Leica M, Sony FE, Fuji X, Canon FD, etc.)

Well...I just start.

These are lists with objectively not the best lenses ever, but with lenses that are very special to me, either because of their amazing character or because of their price-performance-value or for some other reason. And I need 4 sometimes, there is no way I could leave out one of those. (Please, forgive me that I cannot show a photo taken with each of those lenses, or this posting would be annoyingly long.)

Nikon F:
  • Nikon Ai 1.4/35
  • Nikon S.C 1.2/55
  • Meyer Optik Primoplan 1.9/75 (new)
  • Nikon Ai 2.5/105

Leica M:
  • Voigtländer 5.6/10
  • 7artisans 1.1/50
  • Leica Summicron 2.0/50 (IV)
  • Leica Summicron 2.0/90

Sony FE:
  • Sony FE 2.0/28
  • Samyang 2.8/35
  • LensBaby Twist 2.5/60

Fuji X:
  • Fujinon 1.4/35
  • Fujnon 18-55
  • Zhongyi LensTurbo for Nikon lenses

Canon FD:
  • 2.8/24
  • SSC 1.4/50
  • 1.8/85
  • 2.5/135

M42:
  • Meyer Optik Primagon 4.5/35
  • Meyer Optik Primoplan 1.9/58 (old)
  • Jupiter-9 2.0/85

Nikon1:
  • 1Nikkor 10-30
  • Schneider-Kreuznach Xenoplan 1.7/17
  • Cosmicar/Pentax 1.4/25
  • Risespray 1.6/35

EXA:
  • Meyer Lydith 3.5/30
  • Steinheil Auto-D-Quinaron 2.8/35
  • Pentacon 2.8/100

Altix:
  • Meyer Primagon 4.5/35
  • Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8/50
  • Meyer Telefogar 3.5/90

Pentax PK:
  • Pentax AF 28-90
  • Vivitar 1.0/28
  • Pentax-A 1.4/50

Olympus µ4/3:
  • Panasonic Lumix G-Vario 3.5-5.6/12-32 Asph.
  • Sigma EX 2.8/30 DN
  • Nikonos Nikkor 2.5/35

Braun Paxette:
  • ENNA München Braun-Lithagon SLK 3.5/35
  • ISCO Braun-Tele-Ultralit SLK 3.5/135

Canon EOS:
  • Sigma EX 17-36
  • Canon EF 24-85
  • Tamron 2.8/90 Macro

Minolta:
  • Rokkor 2.0/45
  • Rokkor PF 1.4/58

Leica M39:
  • Jupiter-12 2.8/35
  • Leitz Summitar 2.0/5cm
  • Voigtländer 2.5/75
  • Leitz Hektor 4.5/135

...

If I was forced... really down to three?

I guess it would be:
  • 7artisans 1.1/50
  • Leica Summicron-M 2.0/90
  • and probably the Fujinon 1.4/35 (although I do not shoot with my Fuij that often any more...)

But it really hurts to leave out at least 5 or 6 of the others...
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Old 01-14-2018   #26
Brian Legge
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I'm with you on the Vito III Ultron. It and the Olympus 35SP are the fixed lens 35mm glass that really stood out to me.
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Old 01-14-2018   #27
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Leica Summicron 35/2 V1:

Photographers Meet at Oahu Mountains by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr

Zeiss Sonar C 50/1.5 ZM:

Buque Escuela by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr


La bolera vacia by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr




Canon LTM 50/1.2:

M9-CanonLTM50mmf1.2-El Bar-1 by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr
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Old 01-14-2018   #28
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I have to give honorable mention to my old SMC K 50mm f/1.4.

The lens I bought with my Pentax ME Super and took everywhere until I stupidly switched systems to Contax. I had that excellent lens for about a decade until hype got the best of me.

Here's the list of 35mm format lenses I consider my top three:
Leica Dual Range Summicron 50mm f/2








Leica Super Angulon 21mm f/3.4




Nikon 3.5cm f/1.8 (Nikon mount)

I didn't have it longer than a year due to financial reasons but it was a fantastic lens.

For medium format, it really comes down to one lens that stands above pretty much everything I've owned.
Mamiya 50mm f/4 G for the M6




I really liked the Bronica S2a and ECTL. I had that system for quite a while and the 50mm f/3.5 Nikkor was great.




I have other sentimental lenses that I have really loved shooting. Sometimes I associate the lens with a period in my life, which certainly affects the selection of a great lens.
Like the Nikon 180mm f/2.8 ED
Taken in Baltimore the night that we (the USA) declared we were going to invade Iraq in 2003. Where it all began.


The funny thing is that these lenses are all favorites of mine but I've not really done many paid shoots with them.

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Old 01-14-2018   #29
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I've enjoyed the posts! Keep it going

One of the things I enjoyed about trying to narrow my favorite lenses down to just three is that I had to really think about what I valued in a lens and what it would take to be a "top three" lens for me..

There are plenty of spectacular lenses, but to make the cut, I need 35mm, good enough optics, and light weight.

I've also discovered that I need a Kodak Medalist....
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Old 01-14-2018   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdsegra View Post
I've also discovered that I need a Kodak Medalist....
Not quite lightweight.

I can boil it down to two lenses on two cameras though. The 50mm Mamiya f/4 on my Mamiya 6 and the DR Summicron on my Leica M4.

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Old 01-14-2018   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_F_NM View Post
Not quite lightweight.

True! But, but if there's a top 3, that means there's got to be a field....
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