What is your favorite focal length to make images?

If you are shooting art for yourself you really only need one lens.  Not an all purpose lens but a lens you can believe in.  A lens that, when you look through it, makes everything look more exciting and more real.  A lens that matches the vision in your heart. - Kirk Tuck.

And how I agree. For years I just used one focal length - the normal lens. For 35mm format it was a 50mm. It all started with the amazing Carl Zeiss 50mm /1.7 T* for my contax 139 camera. For medium and large format the normal lens was the only lens I used. From the amazing Carl Zeiss 80mm T* for Hasselblad to 150mm for my large format. And it still continues. Today my favorite lens for landscape work is Carl Zeiss Loxia 50mm.

Loxia 50mm. Snowdonia National Park, Wales. Click to view larger.

Loxia 50mm. Two image stitched panorama. Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales. Click to view larger.

However most of my free time is spent with my family and when possible doing street, travel or environmental portraits of my family. Essentially to bring back memories from the trip. Give a sense of where we have been. And for that purpose nothing beats a good 35mm lens in my opinion.

EOS 500D + Olympus Zuiko 24mm MC (35mm equivalent APS-C format). Ancestry village. Click to view larger.

Fuji X100s with its 35mm equivalent Fujinon lens. The closest and cheapest way to get a Leica like camera.

Fuji X100s with its 35mm equivalent Fujinon lens. The closest and cheapest way to get a Leica like camera.

Sony A7ii + Leica Summicron 35mm IV wide open. Click to view larger.

Sony A7ii + Leica Summicron 35mm IV wide open. Click to view larger.

Baker Street 221B. Sony A7ii + Leica Summicron 35mm IV wide open. Click to view larger.

Sony A7ii + Leica Summicron 35mm IV wide open. Click to view larger. 22nd attempt of a remotely shot selfie.

Does your gear matter?

This is the question often asked on many forums. I do not believe in absolutes so the answer is it depends. If you want to drive on a race track then you need a better handling car. In desert or off-road a good 4x4. Similarly for photography if you are hiking or climbing even an iPhone does a great job. You do not necessarily want to carry a high end digital SLR with an arsenal of lenses on a multi-pitch climb.

Having said that the new generation of cameras have made it possible to use old but good lenses. The following images are made using these cheap but good lenses.

   Canon FD35-105/3.5 which I bought for less than £120 on eBay is a fantastic lens.

 

Canon FD35-105/3.5 which I bought for less than £120 on eBay is a fantastic lens.

Sony A7 + Canon FD 35-105/3.5

Sony A7 + Canon FD 35-105/3.5

Sony A7 + Canon FD 20-35L. This is a special zoom and rightly called L. Very sharp and contrasty, fantastic for wide vistas.

Sony A7 + Canon FD 20-35L. This is a special zoom and rightly called L. Very sharp and contrasty, fantastic for wide vistas.

Canon 500D + Zuiko 35mm SHIFT, stitched. This has been my favorite lens for some years now. It served well however with acquiring TS-E lenses for Sony A7 it is not getting as much used. 

Canon 500D + Zuiko 35mm SHIFT, stitched. This has been my favorite lens for some years now. It served well however with acquiring TS-E lenses for Sony A7 it is not getting as much used. 

Canon 5D + Zuiko 35mm SHIFT, shifted up. This has been my favorite lens for some years now. It served well however with acquiring TS-E lenses for Sony A7 it is not getting as much used. This is the only lens which can be shifted on both axis simultaneously. Very very useful for landscape and architecture photography.

Canon 5D + Zuiko 35mm SHIFT, shifted up. This has been my favorite lens for some years now. It served well however with acquiring TS-E lenses for Sony A7 it is not getting as much used. This is the only lens which can be shifted on both axis simultaneously. Very very useful for landscape and architecture photography.

Canon 5D + Zuiko 35mm SHIFT, three image stitch pano. This has been my favorite lens for some years now. It served well however with acquiring TS-E lenses for Sony A7 it is not getting as much used. This is the only lens which can be shifted on both axis simultaneously. Very very useful for landscape and architecture photography.  For this image, I shifted the lens up to avoid key-stone effect and then shifted both sides to create the pano.

Canon 5D + Zuiko 35mm SHIFT, three image stitch pano. This has been my favorite lens for some years now. It served well however with acquiring TS-E lenses for Sony A7 it is not getting as much used. This is the only lens which can be shifted on both axis simultaneously. Very very useful for landscape and architecture photography.

For this image, I shifted the lens up to avoid key-stone effect and then shifted both sides to create the pano.

Canon 5D + Zuiko 35mm SHIFT, three image stitch pano. This has been my favorite lens for some years now. It served well however with acquiring TS-E lenses for Sony A7 it is not getting as much used. This is the only lens which can be shifted on both axis simultaneously. Very very useful for landscape and architecture photography.

Canon 5D + Zuiko 35mm SHIFT, three image stitch pano. This has been my favorite lens for some years now. It served well however with acquiring TS-E lenses for Sony A7 it is not getting as much used. This is the only lens which can be shifted on both axis simultaneously. Very very useful for landscape and architecture photography.

Canon 5D + Zuiko 35mm SHIFT, three image stitch pano. This has been my favorite lens for some years now. It served well however with acquiring TS-E lenses for Sony A7 it is not getting as much used. This is the only lens which can be shifted on both axis simultaneously. Very very useful for landscape and architecture photography.

Canon 5D + Zuiko 35mm SHIFT, three image stitch pano. This has been my favorite lens for some years now. It served well however with acquiring TS-E lenses for Sony A7 it is not getting as much used. This is the only lens which can be shifted on both axis simultaneously. Very very useful for landscape and architecture photography.

Canon 5D + Zuiko 24mm/2.8 MC. This is currently the bang for the buck 24mm you can have for EOS or Sony A series digital SLRs. Very sharp.

Canon 5D + Zuiko 24mm/2.8 MC. This is currently the bang for the buck 24mm you can have for EOS or Sony A series digital SLRs. Very sharp.

Canon EOS 5D + Zuiko 35mm SHIFT, three image stitch

Canon EOS 5D + Zuiko 35mm SHIFT, three image stitch

Canon EOS 5D + Zuiko 35mm SHIFT

Canon EOS 5D + Zuiko 35mm SHIFT