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Ideal lens lineup




i know there's no ideal lens lineup and that it all depends on what photography you are in. Anyway, i'm planning to enlarge my Zuiko lens collection and am asking which lenses would be the best for a complete range. I'm mainly interested in B/W street and documentary photography.

Thank you.


Dear V....
Many experienced users, will say that the 35mm would be a necessary lens.

Others will say no hard and fast rules.

I would suggest you use what you have now and shoot as much as possible and observe the majority of situations in which you need a certain focal length. That shld be your answer.

If you wish to adopt the safe route, then 35mm won't hurt you since you are missing that focal length. Try to buy the fastest lens U can afford.

Have U considered using a rangefinder camera for such shooting ? Its less intimidating to your subjects.



Active Member
My most used lenses are:
50mm/2 Macro
For street shots I some times use 24mm. For big animals I always use 200mm and 300mm. I do have 37-70mm and 75-150mm zooms, but I prefer to use prime lenses.



Suggesting a Leica M-System???

I don't do only documentary photography, so a SLR works well, for me. And, as you know, the OM cameras are not so big and intimidating, confronting them with an EOS-1 with BP...



Well-Known Member
It is one of the great photography myths that one needs to use any particular type of camera to do either documentary or street work. Eugene Richards, perhaps THE living American documentary photographer, uses an OM3 - just so he can use the 21 f2 - and a beatup Canon F1. And neither of them are quiet, although the Oly is small.

What is important is the behavior of the photographer, not the camera. I've been using an E1 with zoom for street work and documentary work, and have no more problem with it than I did with my Leica Ms. If a photographer knows how to make him or herself part of the background, how not to stickout like the proverbial sore thumb, it's possible to shoot with a big DSLR, a small DSLR, or anything else.

B. D.


Active Member
“… i'm planning to enlarge my Zuiko lens collection.â€

Why are you enlarging your Zuiko lens collection?

Are you doing it because you are a collector or in your shooting, do you find the need for a focal length you do not have?

Based on the lenses you have and the type of shooting you are doing, your current lenses should meet your needs. You may even have more lenses than you need. For ex&le, why do you have a 75-150 f4 and a Vivitar 75-200 f4.5? Do you really need them both?

On the other hand, if I were in your position, I would give serious consideration to a 90mm f2.5 macro lens. This would help me take better close-ups and portraits for my “B/W street and documentary photography.“

If you are a collector, it doesn’t really matter. Get the best Zuiko lenses you can find for the lowest price.


Active Member
Just got round to reading this topic, so this is a bit late, but for what it's worth, if I could only keep three lenses they would be -
21mm/f2.0, 35mm/f2.0 and 85mm/f2.0.
Unless you have a specific requirement for long lenses (for sports etc.) in my opinion these three lenses can handle just about everything else.


I'm playing catch up here and no doubt its late.
I like the listing above from Andy.
I find myself using my 85mm alot more then my 50's and 100. I like it's speed most of all. I'ld add the 180mm/f2.8 with the teleconvertor (I use it more then any other long lens and zoom that I've got).
Something to think about is go 'fast', if you can...Even if it means saving for abit - do it. You'll find that the faster lens are alot more versatile. Right now, I am saving for the 'super-fast' teles for my shooting desires.
Good luck on your endeavors.
I agree with the extra utility of fast lenses. I'd point out, however, that speed is not so essential in every lens you own. I have both Contax and OM systems right now, with four to six lenses each. Most folks would probably want a f2.8 80-200 zoom in their bag. These large, pricey lenses are the photojournalist's friend, offering immediate versatility. But in more casual/slow-paced work, I can easily get by with my f4 zoom in that range. My Tokina RMC cost $50, not $500 like a used OEM 2.8 version. That's augmented with a 135mm f2.8, a lens that's fallen so far out of fashion that they're practically free. (Tonight I auctioned a clean Yashica 135 2.8 for a whopping $29, and made a profit. I got it for free as a throw-in when I bought a few old Takumars in a pawn shop. My other YUS 135, which I'm keeping, was $8 at the thrift store.) So I find that I often need a fast telephoto or a zoom, just not always at the same moment. They don't need to be the same lens. If I need the extra stop for my child's sports and theater performances, I can crop from the 135mm's image. If I was shooting slides of travel or landscape subjects and needed to crop in the camera, f4 usually is fine. I do have a Tokina ATX 80-200 2.8 that I use on rare occasions, but that's a bargain too. I got it for $60 because it's infested with fungus. I'm careful about pointing it it at light sources, and it does a fine job, too


Well-Known Member
I agree that the biggest factor is whether you want the lenses for your photography needs or as a collector. If you're a collector, look for the best-quality lenses at the lowest prices you can find.

If it is for your photography needs, one general rule is not to add a lens unless you find yourself with a need for it. Right now your colledion covers almost all of the focal lenght range normally needed for general photography. If you use the telephotos a lot, you may want to replace the zooms with Zuiko primes.

Also, regarding speed-- one big advantage to Zuiko is that most of the lenses take 49mm filters. Going to the faster ones sometimes means larger filters.

Good luck!


> Posted by Mark M. Ditter (Ditto1958) on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - 8:57 pm:

Also, regarding speed-- one big advantage to Zuiko is that most of the lenses take 49mm filters. Going to the faster ones sometimes means larger filters. ------------------------

I thought that the Zuiko lenses took 58mm filters.


Well-Known Member
You may be right, Herb, but my point is that you can get wide, normal and telephoto lenses all in the same filter size. I don't think that's so true with other manufacturers.
Correction in order, Herb-- I have a handful of Zuikos right here, and 49mm is the filter size of all. That's true of my 28 f2, the 50 macro, f1.8 and f1.4, the 100 f2.8, the 135 f3.5 and my 75-150 zoom. I can't yet afford any of the few Zuikos that take larger filters. Mostly they're rare, fast telephotos. The small filter size is an advantage. Check and you'll find a substantial discount from the 55mms that my Contax/Zeiss lenses need.


I hope this will help out abit more for filters:
The MC 18/F3.5, MC 180/F2.8 ,300/F4.5, and 400/6.3 are 72mm. The 21/F2, 24/F2, 35/F2, MC 35-70/F3.6, 35-105/F3.5, 85-250/F5, 135/F2.8, and 200/F4 a 55mm. The 600 and 1000mm were 100mm. And all the others were the 49mm. I can't comment on the three 'super fast teles, because I don't have that data in front of me. Nor the macro's above the 50/F3.5. Sorry about that.
Ed -


Well-Known Member
90mm f2 Macro is 55mm filter as well, as is the 50mm f2 macro - I used to have those and wonder now why I ever sold them! The 65-200 is 55mm also.

- marc