View Full Version : Only one lens Forever

20-Apr-2010, 00:38
So some folks here collect lens, but this is a question for the multi-lens owners/shooters here...

Which is your favorite, if you could have only one? We all know we should love all our kids the same, but ...?

And a little talk of what makes it special & maybe a pic or two would be great.

Thanks in Advance!

ret wisner
20-Apr-2010, 04:31
boyer emerald 180mm f6.8.

gentle contrast sharp and rare.lol

its in a barrel

20-Apr-2010, 04:38
14 inch f3 voigtlander......

Paul O
20-Apr-2010, 04:42
Schneider 110mmXL

Diane Maher
20-Apr-2010, 05:35
The problem with this question is that some of us have different favorite lenses for different formats. :eek: I have a lens that I love on whole plate, but have no idea whether it would cover 8x10 much less 5x12. My answer would actually be different depending on the format. :eek: :D :cool:

20-Apr-2010, 07:04
I'm with Paul - Schneider 110XL

Ed Richards
20-Apr-2010, 07:42
I could develop a taste for that 14 inch f3 voigtlander - beautiful work!

For me, on 4x5, the single lens would be a Nikon 120mm SW. I used it as my only lens for a while when my others were stolen, and there were only a few times when I just could not make the shot with it. Perfect perspective, unlimited movements, and not enough fall off to matter.

20-Apr-2010, 07:44
Fujinon-W 210, older version (lettering inside barrel).
Sharpest, contrastiest lens I've ever owned.

Jim Galli
20-Apr-2010, 07:50
I have kept one wife for 35 years! Don't ask me to do the same with lenses :D:D

Perhaps the Pinkham & Smith 15 inch Semi Achromatic Series I would get picked if someone had a gun to my head. Pics at my pages of course. Hope it never comes to that.

eric black
20-Apr-2010, 07:54
another for the 110 SS XL

Hugo Zhang
20-Apr-2010, 08:32
I am totally with Jim on this one. How can we stick to one lens FOREVER?

If I am forced, I will probably pick my Dallmeyer Portrait Anastigmat 12" f/3.5 lens. It's such a brilliant lens with incredible creamy bokeh.

20-Apr-2010, 08:55
In terms of its technical virtuosity & manageable size, no contest – my 110 XL.

Wait … let me think about this … I do love my 110 … it’s just that, well …

On second thought …

My shooting habits trump “overall lens specs,” so no contest – my 150 g claron.

Wait …


Michael Alpert
20-Apr-2010, 08:59
I cannot answer your question. I think the term that social scientists use is "sequential monogamy."

Eric James
20-Apr-2010, 09:08
The 110mm SS XL is a heck of a lens but I would choose my 150mm Apo-Sironar S based on its comparable performance, weight and size, and my frequency of use. I shoot 4X5s but if I ever graduate to 5X7 I wouldn't want something as wide as a 110 as my only lens.

20-Apr-2010, 09:21
It's a silly question, but...I could live with 6" Goerz Golden Dagor.
(Or, if I could fudge a little, my Dr. Staeble Polyplast with four interchangable front components. 105, 135, 165, 195, and 220mm -- one tiny Compound shutter does everything).

Jeffrey Sipress
20-Apr-2010, 09:28
Silly, indeed. My favorite lens is the one that is going the make the image I want at the time I'm making it.

Jim Galli
20-Apr-2010, 09:34
Hugo, is the Dallmeyer a triplet or a Tessar?

Hugo Zhang
20-Apr-2010, 10:15
Hugo, is the Dallmeyer a triplet or a Tessar?


I don't know, but it seemed to be a late sister of the Dallmeyer Anastigmat Portrait or Dallmeyer Soft Fucus Lens as described in Dallmeyer's 1931 catalogue.

I got the 10" f/4.5 lens last week and it is just as lovely and even covers my Kodak 2D 8x10 plate for still ife. :)

Sascha Welter
20-Apr-2010, 10:31
I have 3 lenses, but on the 180mm Tele-Xenar the shutter sticks. Leaves me with the 100mm ("normal" for 6x9) and the 65mm. I use the 100mm most of the time by a wide margin, so that's what I'd choose.

I'm not in the "obsessing on lenses" crowd, neither in the "I need lens XY or I can't make any more pictures" crowd or even in the "I like to own all kinds of lenses" crowd either, apparently.

Glenn Thoreson
20-Apr-2010, 11:28
I have a bunch of old lenses. Most are pre WWII. I doubt I payed more than 25 bucks, on average, for any of them. Why would I want to favor any one of them? I don't know. Even the lowly Zeiss Novar is a very good lens if you stop the thing down enough. I like 'em all. :D

Neil Purling
20-Apr-2010, 11:31
On 4x5 for me it would be the 6" f5.8 Beck Biplanat which resides in a Copal #1 courtesy of SK Grimes. Wide-open it is still sharp in the centre, while the edges are soft, so probably usable for a portrait from the waist upwards. At F22 it is every bit as sharp as a modern lens right across the frame. The trade off is the image circle stopped down is still only 6" x 4". On a Crown Graphic that is adequate.

20-Apr-2010, 13:01
for me it would be a Protar VIIa.

Eric Woodbury
20-Apr-2010, 14:09
It comes down to the 110 or a 150 Apo-Sironar W, but since I could just use the 110mm and crop, the 110 it is. Big image circle, not terribly heavy, slightly wide for 4x5 and 5x7, a good all around optic.

evan clarke
20-Apr-2010, 16:00
My 110 SS xl....Evan Clarke

Peter York
20-Apr-2010, 16:42
A casket set. :p

If that is cheating, then a triple convertible.

20-Apr-2010, 20:56
I could live with a really wide-coverage 120.

But then I would need it to fit on cameras in the following formats: APS-C, 24x36, 6x4.5, 6x7, 6x12, 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10.

Rick "wanting everything from less than half of normal to four times normal" Denney

David Karp
20-Apr-2010, 21:13
If I had to have only one lens for all formats I use, it would be my 210mm f/5.6 Caltar II-N. That would work fine for 4x5, 5x7, and WP.

Frank Petronio
20-Apr-2010, 21:25
135 on 4x5; a 240 on 8x10; a 40 on 35mm.

Long lenses are boring because you isolate the subject and club people over the head with the obviousness of it. Wides are distorted and leave you guessing at what's important. A normal or slightly wide or long normal takes some of the fakery out of the equation, allowing you to address the subject as you see it rather than warping it through an extreme gimmick.

Brian Vuillemenot
20-Apr-2010, 21:29
150 Apo Sironar S, or possibly 210 Caltar II N (yes, a Caltar; both are sharper than my 110 SS XL!)

Kirk Gittings
20-Apr-2010, 21:34
120 Nikkor SW on 4x5.

Oren Grad
20-Apr-2010, 23:26
Something with focal length 7/8 of the format diagonal for whatever format I happen to be using.

Kirk Fry
20-Apr-2010, 23:35
My keepers tend to be shot with a 210mm, which currently is a Caltar N. KFry

21-Apr-2010, 03:48
A very easy answer, a 75mm Super Angulon because of its versatility, I could use it for 6x6 as well as 6x12, 6x17 and 5x4 as I do at present :D


Thierry Schreiner
21-Apr-2010, 06:12

150mm Apo-Sironar W on 5x7.

Best regards


21-Apr-2010, 09:54
135 APO Sironar-S. Beats my 110XL in resolution hands down. If I don't require the extra IC of the 110XL, then the 135 is the lens for me.

Alex Wei
21-Apr-2010, 10:00
12" dagor for my whole plate camera.

John Kasaian
21-Apr-2010, 15:17
12" Dagor. or
14" Commercial Ektar, or
19" Artar, or
10" WF Ektar, or
240mm G Claron, or...it really dosen't matter, they'll all do their part as long as I do my part! ;)

John NYC
22-Apr-2010, 16:55
135 on 4x5; a 240 on 8x10; a 40 on 35mm.

Funny, I am coming to the exact same conclusions. I use 240mm on 8x10. On 6x7, I use 80mm. On my D90, I often use my 28mm AI-S, which is like a 42mm lens in that context.

On 4x5, I have 90mm and 150mm and am always feeling like I should have something in the middle of those.

That slightly wide normal is definitely a sweet spot on any format. If only one lens forever, it would be in that range for whatever given format.

22-Apr-2010, 17:18
For 4x5 an easy choice my 125mm Fuji CMW.
For 8x10 my GD 14in. Kern Dagor.