Making do with just one lens

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Andrew
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#1
In September, once again the wife and I and our two best friends, are going to London for a week, to do the sights, see a show etc.

This will be the 4th year in succession and typically I normally take everything but the kitchen sink with me. Last year, I tried to slim it down a bit but still had my Olympus OMD EM1 MK II, 12-100 F4, Panasonic 8-16 F2.8-4, 100-300 II and my 25mm F1.2 Pro. Even though it's less than I would normally take, it was still quite a heavy burden.

This year, I'm contemplating taking just my Nikon Z6 body and the single 24-70 F4 zoom. It's not primarily a photo break, but that usually doesn't stop me. My thinking is that it will hopefully be quite liberating not having to think about changing lenses, and thus having a much smaller back pack with me.

Has anyone else thought they take far too much away with them and hardly use some it, and have ever just stuck to one standard zoom and not felt like they were too limited ?
 
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#2
My bare minimum city break kit is my Olympus OM-D E-M10ii with the 14-42mm EZ pancake for the day and the 17mm f1.8 for indoor or evening shots.
That all fits in a tiny bag that I carry everywhere.
I honestly miss a longer lens or a different prime so little I probably don't need them at all :)

I've recently bought the 12-40 f2.8 PRO lens and I'm in two minds if that is really all I need to take with me.
It's obviously a lot faster than the EZ but I'm still a bit undecided about it's heft.

I doubt you'd miss a bag full of lenses if you're travelling with friends and aren't planning on stopping for carefully planned shots.
 
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droj
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#3
Not having (or wanting) a zoom, and given that I'm not trying to do wildlife or some other speciality, I commonly take two primes when travelling, irrespective of whether it's for a day or a fortnight. These might be say a 35 and an 85, or a 24 and a 55. I rarely feel cheated.
 
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Stephen
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#4
In September, once again the wife and I and our two best friends, are going to London for a week, to do the sights, see a show etc.

This will be the 4th year in succession and typically I normally take everything but the kitchen sink with me. Last year, I tried to slim it down a bit but still had my Olympus OMD EM1 MK II, 12-100 F4, Panasonic 8-16 F2.8-4, 100-300 II and my 25mm F1.2 Pro. Even though it's less than I would normally take, it was still quite a heavy burden.

This year, I'm contemplating taking just my Nikon Z6 body and the single 24-70 F4 zoom. It's not primarily a photo break, but that usually doesn't stop me. My thinking is that it will hopefully be quite liberating not having to think about changing lenses, and thus having a much smaller back pack with me.

Has anyone else thought they take far too much away with them and hardly use some it, and have ever just stuck to one standard zoom and not felt like they were too limited ?
Oh yes. That 24-70 is a very versatile lens. In fact, I rarely travel with more than 2 lenses - it just takes time and much packing/repacking to make the final choice.
Incidentally, about 18 months ago I went to Australia and Hong Kong for a month with just the Fuji X100 and WCL and managed just fine.
 
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#5
It all depends on who you are, where you are and what you're doing. Just think: at one time many working photographers thought they were lucky if they had an SLR with a 50mm lens...

PhotographeratWiveliscombe.jpg

To be honest I won't go anywhere with less than 2 cameras if I think the picture taking will be important to me. Then again two compact zoom digital cameras can do a lot and drop into your pockets.
 
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Simon
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#8
Easy!

Was in London for 3 days this week and only took the 16-55 2.8 (XT3) as that's the only lens I have (aside from the 18-55 kit I will probably sell) so had little option. In honesty I would have like a wider lens at times (14mm on its way) but was fine over 95% of the time.

I was fed up of lugging glass around with old Nikon system, and on 2 holidays to Orlando (with one taking in South Carolina) I only took the X100T or F. On a recent trip to San Fran (and Vegas) I only took the X100F and the 35mm length was fine for most things. Really liberating to do that too! If you own a 35mm dare I suggest you just take that!
 

simon ess

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#9
One focal length, usually 75mm on Medium format, works for me most of the time. I could live with 24-70 permanently.
 
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Trevor
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#10
I’d take the Z and the 35mm only.

I keep reminding myself that I can’t get every picture..
 

Nod

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Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
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#11
Often use a single zoom. On FF it tends to be the 24-120 and on crop, an 18-135 (Nikon and Fuji respectively).
 
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Trevor
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#14
If I'm going light, I just take my f4 24-105 and tuck a nifty-fifty in a pocket for emergency low-light conditions.
 
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#15
I prefer 70-200 2.8 on FF as a single lens only setup.

You miss a lot of close shots obviously but its very sweet at midrange....
 
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Andy
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#16
Spent 2 weeks last year travelling round New York and New England with a D810 and 24-85. Also took a compact for using in the evenings when I didn’t fancy carting the SLR out to restaurants (and also because the video is better on it). No regrets about taking just the one lens, and with hindsight, I could have left the compact at home and used my phone more.
 

Asha

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#17
I went to Ireland for 9 days and only took a single camera with 28mm (ff) with me, I'm happy using just one focal length - didn't feel limited, it's liberating.
I only took the X100F and the 35mm length was fine for most things. Really liberating to do that too!
It is VERY LIBERATING to take just one body and one lens, something I have done regularly and continue to do so.
Zooms I found to much like having a bag full of primes ...trying to decide which focal length suited the scene so I sold my one zoom lens!


Just think: at one time many working photographers thought they were lucky if they had an SLR with a 50mm lens...
and they managed by moving their legs ( ie walking closer or further waway fom the subject).
Fair enough that isn't always ideal but nor is faffing around changing lenses, carrying loads of kit or having the (debateable) lesser quality of zoom lens glass rather than primes.
 
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Lee
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#18
Just pick a lens and stick with it! Don't look for, think about or regret shots that you could've taken.

I've done many FF50mm Baleric family holidays in the past when I was with Canon.

I now do many days out in the country, woodland, at the coast and even photographed Bath at just 40mm FF. I'm on holiday now on the Jurassic Coast and my most used lens is...... 40mm :)
 
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#19
I usually limit myself to one short zoom for trips like this, and sometimes holidays. I don't usually feel like I've missed out. I must admit for holidays I've taken a long zoom I've rarely used it. For city breaks it's just the one lens, I can't restrict myself to a prime though.
 
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steunited

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#20
Was just in London last week and took 17-40 f/4, 24-105 f/4 and 50 1.8 STM and were all I needed but kinda wished I had took the 1DX instead of the 5Dmk1
 
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Toni
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#21
While it's quite enjoyable to cope with a single prime for a limited time, I'd definitely want a zoom of some kind for that, likely either 24-105 or a mid-wide like a 16-35 equivalent.

My travel kit last year with Nikon gear was 28-105, 12-24, 50 f1.8 and 135 f2.8, and I would be quite happy hiking all day with that in a shoulder bag. All would be used, though obviously the 28-105 would be on the camera most of the time, followed by the 12-24. This year I only have 2 native mount Sony lenses to choose from - 24-105 and 35 f2.8 pancake - but I'll also pack the adapted Nikon mount 12-24 again for inside work.
 
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#22
Personally I had the range of primes and lugged them around (always seemed crisper) with the nikon. But weighty.
Changed systems, still got three lens (possibly soon to be five) but the native lens is a lot smaller and lighter. Kept two nikon lens as one is creative (lensbaby) and hte other a decent macro... although the leica is a little less forgiving and I need more light, still interesting to use. The native 28mm is a pleasure to use although I want to go wider on some shots and closer on the others... hence considering hte 15mm nad hte 50mm to balance it out.
Back to your question, pick a lens, usually near the 35mm or your favorite zoom and stick with it. As has been posted above dont look for the shot you cant take, however consider what other shots you can take. Might push the limits using one lens... :)
 

West Camera

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frank west
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#23
I am happy with my Olympus PM2 and the 14-42 kit lens. It all fits nicely in a coat pocket. But, the truth is, and it is true for everyone, it depends on what you shoot that determines your kit. If you are the sort that wants to shoot from macros to the moon and not be disappointed then you've got to take it all. You narrow your kit down to what you intend to shoot. Simple as that.
 
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Ian
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#24
I normally take my G80 and 12-60mm and pack a 25mm prime just incase, the prime very rarely comes out I just tend to crank up the ISO.
I leave a macro lens and fisheye at home unless I know I have something planned which I will need them for.
 
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David
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#25
Just 24/1.4 GM for me on FF. When travelling context is important, so wider, and prime because it’s a hell of a lot lighter and smaller than the zoom.
 
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Andy
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#26
A couple of years back I just started taking a single body with 35mm (FF) and never looked back, it was definitely liberating and don't think I took any fewer photographs, just looked for different ones instead.

Truth be told I've actually scaled my entire collection of gear back to D750, 35mm 1.4 and 50mm 1.8 (as it was worth so little it didn't seem worth selling) and so far I'm fine with that :D I do have other cameras but they all fit into the 35-38mm FF range and it just seems perfect for me!
 
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#27
Going out with the Pen F and 17mm f1.8 is easier on the shoulder, stops me fretting about which lens to use, and gets some (I think) great shots.
 
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Kyle
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#28
I've had no trouble going out with just a 55mm lens on my D810. Same story with using medium format, usually take the RZ67 out with just the 65mm lens or the 645 out with 55mm.
 
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#29
For me all I need is a ff 35mm. I mostly use my Fuji 23mm 1.4 on the x-t1, but to be honest, I'm looking to down-spec it to the 2.0 because it is even smaller (and faster).

I agree with those that say rather go wide - my second lens that I'd text next is a 12mm 2.0 Samyang (18mm ff). This is incredibly versatile. All my zooms in the past finally stayed home more than they should (esp. 70-200). Sad but true
 
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#30
There was a time long ago when I earned a respectable living with 2 very second hand Yashicamats. Any subject that didn’t fit into a 75mm lens was a non-subject. Then I began to earn my living in quite a different way so I was free to rediscover 35mm film and multiple lenses. It’s like the lady said: “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor; rich is better”.

If you really are a person that wants to use 1 prime lens all the time then go for it but don’t be surprised if other people take your praise of such minimalism with a large sack of salt.

:tumbleweed:
 

Asha

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Asha
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#31
Any subject that didn’t fit into a 75mm lens was a non-subject.
Sometimes though when a subject doesn't quite "fit" into a given focal length ( FoV) it can actually make for a more interesting result as one has to search out a different (cropped) perspective.

That too can actually be quite liberating in so far as it forces the photographer away from his/ her usual "style".

This is only relevant of course if the tog doesn't / hasn't convinced him/herself that the photograph can't be done / won't work.
 

simon ess

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#32
don’t be surprised if other people take your praise of such minimalism with a large sack of salt.
That depends on which you consider to be the richer experience, I would have thought.
 
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#33
That too can actually be quite liberating in so far as it forces the photographer away from his/ her usual "style".
I think you’re talking about ‘art’ whereas I’m talking about the difference between those who are trying to sound terribly clever and those who have been around the block often enough to know the answers change every time you pass a corner. The point of my little story was that you can do very well with a single focal length but you can do much better with a choice of several.
 
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#35
With respect, what on earth are you talking about?
There’s no polite answer I can give to that question so I’ll just ignore it.
 

simon ess

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#36
You seem to be suggesting that people who say they like to use one prime are just pompous bulls***ters, or something like that.

Is that about right?
 
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Raymond
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#37
I do it to challenge myself as well as travelling light. There is no better way to learn a lens by being boxed in and it is the only tool that you have. I have always used holidays and travelling as an opportunity to do this. In my head i have let go of must getting that shot and instead planned for what can I do in this instance. This works well in translating it in actual jobs where i have to come up with something in the moment, sometimes I can't or don't have time to change lenses. I have to shoot with what I got at the time.

I have done this with 16-35, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm and even a 45 TSE, 7-14 days away with 1 lens, no flash and 99% no tripod.

I don't do it so I come away with the best photo I can take, I do it so I can learn and practice, the reward is in the long term.

And at work I carry everything, I have all the focal lengths covered so I know what each focal length looks like in my head before I take the shot. I would say to myself “this looks better in 50mm instead of 35mm".
 
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Asha

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Asha
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#38
I think you’re talking about ‘art’
Not at all!

I’m talking about the difference between those who are trying to sound terribly clever and those who have been around the block often enough to know the answers change every time you pass a corner
If you're suggesting that I'm clever, i have news…...I'm a dimwit with nothing more than secondary education, however i know how to take a good photograph, I know how to meter to get the result that I wish, and above all i know how to put myself anywhere on this planet with one camera and one lens and return home with some damned good results even of subjects that "didn't fit"!!

As for being around the block, sounds to me that you're caught up in the same circular tour around that same block ….Expand a bit, use your mind and spirit to obtain a photograph from a lens setup that "doesn't fit" in to your FoV

The point of my little story was that you can do very well with a single focal length but you can do much better with a choice of several.
Better with more kit .......I beg to differ.
All the gear and no idea comes to mind!
 
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Asha

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Asha
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#39
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#40
Well seeing as the initial response was directed to me, perhaps you would like to post the not so polite answer.!!!
Well you've made my point for me. Perhaps it's best to accept that our views are so different that there's no point in boring everyone else with them.
 
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