Quote Originally Posted by jjphoto View Post
so when shooting film you can't really pick and choose your lenses like you can with digital where you can mix and match eg Contax 50, Leica R 80, Canon 70-200 zoom, Zenit 16mm etc.
That's only partly true I think. Unlike the days they were still manufactured, most SLR bodies are now perceived as little more than a light box to hang a lens on, with prices to match. Although I own a variety of focal length lenses, 90% of shooting is taken care of by a wide and a standard, and as I said in the original post, 50mm has come to dominate. It's normal for me to dedicate two camera manufacturer's bodies to different lengths, for example a 24mm Canon FD and a 50mm Nikon. It also depends on what the subject is and how much value I attach to a lens financially, or personally. If I know a camera is in for what most people consider abuse (lying on a beach, being dropped or banged on solid objects, balanced on a rock, etc) a Nikkormat and a pre-AI lens is what I'd typically grab. If I need point and shoot characteristics, one of the A-series Canons, probably an AV-1 is what I'd use.

I agree with what you say about 50mm lenses being more equal IQ wise than most other focal lengths. I usually test mine on a DSLR body at 100% magnification which picks out any discrepancies, especially in the corners, but at a couple of stops down there's little to separate most. Interestingly, I find shooting on movie to be a great way of defining the character of a lens, as the moving image resolves the look of a lens in a way stills rarely do. It's also a good way of seeing whether any lens defects translate into aberrations in use, as flare can be seen increasing, or not, with each subsequent frame.