I had the same trouble on the wide-angle side.
So, I got 24, then 20, then 35. Now, I use all three, depending on what I shoot, and never missed the 28.
The obvious advantage to using prime lenses are weight and speed (compared to zooms) and therefore i recommend that you consider those factors when making your choice. If the lens is not significantly smaller or faster than what you have now, it is not worth the bother. All that being said, I say go for the 24 - f/2.8 or faster. 35 and 28 are much too close to the 50 for my taste. And everyone has to have a fast fifty, right?
I think I'm going to get 24mm first, then if/when I feel the need, add 35mm.
One last Q... looking at some of the reviews on Internet, some of them talks about focus shift when stopping down. Some of them also talks about barrel distortion. But... thinking these lens have existed since long before Internet was so popular, and everyone reviewing everything, and I haven't heard anyone actually complain outside of these reviews, these aren't really issues one needs to worry about, is it? (and please keep in mind, I will be using these lens on film and digital bodies)
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
The Sonnar design exhibits focus shift but if you are using a 24mm lens stopped down to at least f8 I wouldn't worry about it. If you are going for the wide-open look then you don't have to worry about it anyway. I wouldn't sweat it.
24 and 50, Nikkors in my case. I also have 20, 28 and 35, but rarely use them although I really love the perspective of a 35. For some reason 28 does not suit me, but it is really hard to say why. The 20 is more extreme and I use it only for special applications.
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I have 17, 24, 28, 35, 50, and 55 millimeter lenses in the range you are talking about. While 35mm is one of my favorite focal lengths, and mine (pre-AI Nikkor f/2) has seen a great deal of use, it has mostly been when using only one body, not as a companion to another body/lens. My most commonly used pair of lenses outdoors in decent light are the 50mm f/1.4 (Canon FD S.S.C. or pre-AI Nikkor) and the 28mm f/2 (Canon FDn). These two (plus my pre-AI Nikkor 135mm) are my "go-to" lenses when shooting 35mm film. In foul light, I favor the 55mm f/1.2 over the f/1.4, just for its extra 1/2 stop. It also makes for some very beautiful out of focus areas.
My least used lens is the 17mm. It came in a lot with a bunch of other FD stuff. I had wanted it for a long time, and it was in near-perfect shape (at least it was when I got it). However, I just find super wides (which I consider to start at 24mm) to be useful in very few of the situations in which I shoot. They are hard to compose with, prone to flare, hard to filter, and can easily tend to make shots too "busy" for what I like. I also don't find this particular lens to be all that mind blowing in terms of technical image qualities.
I picked up my 24mm f/2.8 (pre-AI Nikkor) just because it was super cheap ($40), super mint, and every now and then my 28mm is not quite wide enough. It is too wide, reduces magnification too much, and distorts too much for general use in what I shoot. I view it and anything wider as special purpose lenses. I find it strange that 24mm, as opposed to 28mm, seems to have become the default wide angle in "The Zoom Age." However, it has its occasional uses, and it is such a small and light lens that it is easy enough to keep in the hard case on a trip without sacrificing anything, so I figured what the hey.
For longer lenses, I generally jump straight from 50/55 to 135, though I do like 85s and 100/105s.
Last edited by 2F/2F; 05-27-2010 at 05:08 PM. Click to view previous post history.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
A 24mm is hard to beat; I've used one as a prime lens for more than 15 years now. Less popular is a lens going down to 17mm (or less) — this will require careful choice and composition given the extreme depth and ultra wide view.
Adding a 35mm or even a 50mm lens to your kit will set you up for a long time.
"Focus shift when stopping down"!? Never heard of it. Distortion can be common ultra-wide to normal zooms, less so in primes and almost undetectable in highly corrected (APO/ASPH) optics. I can remember using some early OM Zuiko and Tamron lenses in the early 1980s that had patently terrible distortion (pincushion, barrel, chromatic... just about every one of the Five Aberrations of Seidel!).
.::Gary Rowan Higgins
One beautiful image is worth
a thousand hours of therapy.
"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government
to save the environment."
i really like the combination of a 24mm and a 50mm.
Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both yes and no.
I use 35mm and 85mm (I have all the rest too)
Not just you. That's exactly how I'd describe it myself. The 24 and 50 are 2/3 of my standard kit. I have a 28 and a 35 too, but the 24 sees the most use. It's wide enough to be dramatic, and not so wide that it's hard to use. I usually kick in a fast 85 or 105 mm lens if I need a little extra reach. Anything longer than that is petty useless for hand held photography under anything less than perfect conditions, and doesn't get much use.
Originally Posted by jpberger