" A loving and caring heart is the beginning of all knowledge " ~ Thomas Carlyle ~
I have both a 55mm and a 45mm lens, and I am glad of it.
Both are N series lenses and perform very well. The size and filter size of the 55mm makes it ideal for situations that require quick use (weddings?).
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I have the 35, 45, and 55. The 55 sits permanently on my 'street shooter' with WL finder, the 45 is my normal WA lens, and the 35 is used for special applications. Fact is, they're all pretty cheap lately, no reason you can't have all three if that's your desire.
If I had the spare cash I would have the PC lens in a heartbeat.
Right now in Spain they're holding the Running of the Bulls,
followed by the Soiling of the Pants,
and the Burying of the Idiots.
Recently, I just acquired the 35mm and couldn't be happier. At the moment I'm shooting my entire guitar/bass collection for publication, and have used majorily it or the 80mmN for closeups. Plan on taking it out for some exterior shots later at a park. Even just here around the house, now I can get just about the entire rooms w/out missing out on something.
Previously all I had for "wide" angle was the 55mm, and there is no comparison. So for now I've got the 35mm, 55mmN, 80mmN, and 150mm for portraits. Will be shopping around later this year to see what comes up. Biggest thing now is 77° filter for the 35mm!
If the lens doesn't read "ZEISS", then it just isn't.
As a good, basic wide-angle the 45mm is an excellent choice. However, a word of caution on which 45mm to buy.
The 45 N version is the best for overall sharpness and good contrast but the C version has come in for a lot of criticism (check the web for issues on its softness wide-open) and quite a few people swear by the original version of the lens which of course does not have the sophisticated multi-coatings introduced with the C series and continued with the recent A and N series lenses.
A few chums have bought the C and are really pleased with their results but they've usually been shooting outdoors in bright light with the aperture partly closed. Both the C and N versions have good reputations for handling tricky light conditions without risking flare.
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50/4 Zeiss Flektogon with P6>M645 adapter. Superb lens. Even the MTF junkies have no complaints.
I didn't get the 55N. So now I think I will go for a 45mm. I'll see that I get a 45N or 45S which have the new calculation compared to the C45. Let's see what I can get my hands on.
Originally Posted by ContaxRTSFundus
+1 for the 35mm 645 lens. According to an old chart I have, it's a 22mm equivalent for 35mm film. It takes standard filters, can focus to same distance as the 45mm and 55mm (.45 meters), and exhibits pretty good distortion characteristics at close distances as well. (This photo was taken with it at maybe .7 or .8 meters?? http://www.flickr.com/photos/alflauren/5287540590/ )
Bottom line is that as nice as the 45mm and 55mm are - I used to have the 45mm and loved the f/2.8 instead of f/3.5 - when I want a wide angle, I really want a wide angle.
The 45mm is an ideal WA, I have the C version and mine's superb, very sharp, remarkably flare free, I've used the N version as welland it's not noticeably better.
Personally I think the 35mm lens would be too wide much of the time, and I do like my wide angles but the difference is too great between a standard lens and the 35mm, and I find the same with the equivalents in other formats.
I recently picked up a 55 S from KEH. Before doing so I asked myself the same question. I browsed Flickr quite a bit for shots taken with the 35, 45 and 55.
It really depends on how you shoot, but from what I saw the 35 was too wide for me generally speaking (although it would be nice for some prairie landscapes I keep wanting to take). Also, while barrel distortion is minimal relative to other WA lenses for other systems, in the examples I was looking at it was a bit too obvious in the 35 and 45, so I went for the 55 (but I was specifically looking for it in the shots I found).
YMMV, of course.
i can't wait to take a picture of my thumb with this beautiful camera.
- phirehouse, after buying a camera in the classifieds