Let’s Share Some Photography

I am a big supporter of the “get to know your gear” opinion. I strongly believe that the more you use something, the better you learn to take full advantage of the strengths of that particular piece of equipment, and the better you learn to manage its shortcomings without even thinking about it. To a point where they just disappear, in fact, and make the statement that gear does not matter as truthful as it is. Gear does not matter (to an extent), but knowing it and liking it does. This, I think, it the crucial link between equipment and photography itself.

Classic 50mm (11)

Hardly a surprise to most of you, but my favorite, most cherished duo for professional work is a fast fifty on a 35mm sensor camera (my absolute favorite is still the RZ67), and it really makes no difference which fast fifty on which camera. I even wrote an article about it, and it was one of those articles I enjoyed writing the most in all my time working here at Photography Life with Nasim and the other brilliant members of our team.

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Why am I saying all this? After I wrote the “Fifty for Creativity” article, I promised myself to use the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D lens more. Much more. I promised myself I would almost force myself to switch from the fifty, push myself out of my comfort zone and just learn it. You see, I love that lens. I really, really do. I love that it’s soft in the corners (which it really is), I love its character, heft, size and feel. On top of that, I think it is one of the most beautiful autofocus lenses Nikon has ever made, perhaps even the most beautiful. It’s so well proportioned, so well balanced on my D700 (especially without the hood), that even if it were a poor lens, it’d be a thing of beauty and I’d want to own it for that reason alone. But it’s not a poor lens. It’s a bloody brilliant lens (and, as most such things, it has several irritating flaws that you just learn to accept).

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Having said that, going out of comfort zone is not an easy thing to do. After using the 85mm more and more of the time, I come back to that small, light, inconspicuous AF-S 50mm f/1.4G and it feels like… coming back home. It’s somehow right. As before there is this quiet voice in my head saying I would most likely prefer a 35mm equivalent even more, especially in conjunction with the 85mm lens – it’s one of the most popular, classic lens duos, after all – but until I buy into the Fujifilm system and get myself the XF 23mm f/1.4R, best I stay away from the temptation and gladly accept there is nothing better for me than a classic fifty.

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And so, before I can share my thoughts on the 85mm focal length (one thing I can tell for certain, it is astonishing for portraits, but, naturally, not nearly as versatile as a “shorter” lens), I thought I’d give the 50mm focal length some more deserved attention, only this time with less words accompanying the images. But more than that, I’d like to use this article as an opportunity to ask you to share some of your work as well, something I feel we don’t do nearly as often as we should.

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Let us know of your favorite lens and camera combination, one that just gets out of your way and lets you do your thing without distraction, one that feels best in hand, acts as an extension of your mind. Write us a few words about it, of how you’ve began learning it, of how you’ve started growing, of how it, perhaps, helped you shift focus from the technical part of photography towards the creative and forget if pixels ever mattered.

Showcasing your work is important, so link away, my friends, link away! This is the time when you should not be timid. :)

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A side note: for the curious among you, all of these were taken with the AF-S 50mm f/1.4G lens mounted on a Nikon D700 camera. All Images Copyright ©Romanas Naryškin, All Rights Reserved. Copying or reproduction is not permitted without written permission from the author.

  • Alan

    A great collection of photographs, and a similar sentiment to my own feelings on lenses. I use a 24mm, and an 85mm more and more, but using them is always a conscious choice. When I am out shooting I have to see a scene first and think “this would suit the 24mm”, the 50mm for me on the other hand is effortless, things just seem to naturally and flawlessly fit the viewfinder.

  • Stephen

    When I’m shooting with my D800 I love the 85mm 1.8G combo. So sharp. For night shooting when I want wide angle the 16-35 VR is outstanding.

    But honestly, I have fallen in love with film recently, and so I rarely if ever use my D800 any more.

    Mamiya 645 Pro with either a Sekor 80mm or 35mm N. It’s a whole different process. I just want to keep shooting.

  • Neill Sode

    I an a big favourite of the X-Pro1 (35mm) 50mm, and still prefer it, but since the going X100s I have found the (23) 35mm far more versatile for my every day shot. I don’t really don’t use any other focal length or cameras for about year now.

    The X100s is the most used, so it just works don’t have to think were the buttons and dials are.

    Here is a Album of mixed 50mm and 35mm

    • David M. Gyurko

      Nice portraits, my favorite is “Unacquainted #6″.

      • Neill Soden

        thanks you David

    • Mary Robinson

      Amazing portraits, Neill, the expressions are wonderful!

      • Neill Soden

        Thanks for looking Mary :)

  • John Richardson

    If aliens invaded my home (no, not Russians) and arc welded my 50mm to my D800 I would most likely pass them a beer or two.

  • Mary Robinson

    Wonderful images, my favorite lens is my Nikon 70-200, I have the 50mm f/1.4 but viewing the images here definitely makes me want to dig it out and use it more.

    This one of a storm over Wyoming, I thought the strong contrasts lent itself well to B&W


    • David M. Gyurko

      Fabulous scene, Mary.
      (Maybe the halo around the ridge could be removed?)

    • H. Horetzki


      I too love my Nikon 70-200 but your Wyoming photo is stunning, amazing, beautiful and your choice of B&W format is nothing short of genius. It is one of the most awe inspiring photos I have ever had the pleasure of viewing.

    • Prashant

      Wow Amazing

    • Phil Wells

      That’s the kind of think I aspire to, Mary. It is beautifully random and yet obvious natural. I have had a camera of some sort all my life but I am simply too left brained to be a true artist. You can see some attempts at weather pix here, https://www.flickr.com/photos/philipwells/sets, in “Landscapes and Weather” and in “Desert Southwest”

      • Mary Robinson

        Thank you everyone, appreciate the comments. Phil, I like your images, the landscapes, Desert and the Abstracts, as for being left brained, wouldn’t worry about it, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the more pictures you take the better you get at it. I have been told by a “Judge” that my images are too Artsy. I don’t take pictures for every one else, I take them for me and because I can’t help myself. And David, you are right, the web version is showing a halo, will have to dig up that image and redo it.

    • Marcel

      Great photo, it works really well as a bw.

    • Thomas Swift

      Mary, this is an absolutely stellar image. It made my day!

  • Marcel

    I enjoyed looking at all the photos so far.
    My favourite lens is the 24-120 f/4 ob a Nikon D7100 (and before on a D90). It works for me in most situations. It feels good holding it and just seems like a natural fit on my camera.

    A few of the pictures I took with this lens on the D90 and the D7100:


    • Mary Robinson

      Nice images, Marcel, you got me motivated to do some splash art.

      • Marcel

        Thanks Mary for looking at my photos. Good luck with the splash art, I did mine as part of a training evening with the Photo club and enjoyed it a lot. Will have to get myself a set up to do some more.

  • David M. Gyurko

    I love the color balance and tonality on my old faithful D200.
    My favorite lens is most probably my Nikon 85/1.8G, but the most used is a bubblesorted (hand-picked from many) Sigma 20/1.8. The FF equivalent ~30 mm FOV provides an immersive presence for the viewer.

    Sharing is good, great initiative.

    The following photograph was made in Budapest during a spring snowstorm:

    A pet pig walked by its owner reminded me of tale of the 3 little pigs – well, this one still had its brick house :) :

    A portrait of my niece…:

    … and a friend:

  • Diniz

    As a personal choice:
    1 lens – 50mm (and no bag)
    2 lens – 85+35mm (wish I had a 35…)
    3 lens – 85+50+28mm (my current set-up)

  • Enzo S

    I personally love my fast primes. Just recently got a 50mm for my a6000. I realize that it actually equates to 75mm but I find I love the range. I typically walk and shoot with my 19(29.5), 30 (45) and now my 50. Here is a collection of mixed primes. I rarely use a zoom. http://500px.com/scorziello

  • Clarence

    I love primes and I love zooms and all depends on my mood.

    I have all Nikkors:

    28mm f1.8
    58mm f1.4
    85mm f1.4
    16-35mm f4
    24-120mm f4
    70-200mm f4

    These are some photos of my recent trip to Seattle and Canada

    • Daniel Michael

      Stunning images Clarence!

      Really enjoyed each one, colourful and dramatic!


      • Clarence


        Thank you for the compliment!

      • Janine Bos

        These are absolutely stunning!

        I would love to take images as great as yours one day


    • Mary Robinson

      Very nice, Clarence, your images are beautiful.

  • Mike Banks

    First I say Kudos to all who have displayed your work. Certainly beautiful. Neill I think #9 was my favorite. I liked how you got the light to create form around this gentleman’s head. BTW there are four #6.

    I’ve been shooting since I’m 12 years old. I’m now 69. Back in the day, zooms were not prevalent and certainly a variety of prime lenses were what we had to use. I have an arsenal of over 40 lenses both primes and zooms not just from Nikon but also from third party manufactures who produced quality in certain focal lengths for the Nikon camera. As I get older and less mobile I certainly find myself moving toward zooms more than primes unless for particular reasons. There is something sometimes lost with zooms that a prime will capture better but when sitting in a public park photographing the people moving in and out the zoom allows me to sit and be mostly inconspicuous. I like to affix a long zoom to my monopod and use a right angle finder to view my subjects. This way I’m not looking directly at the subject. If I see someone or something that absolutely need to be shot a certain way I will approach, ask permission if the subject is a person or just switch to a prime and make my picture.

    I’m not sure I could pick one single favorite lens. I love them all and it just depends what I’m doing on a particular day or assignment. Daily mounted to my carry camera which is usually the D7100 is the Nikon 24-120 f:4 or the Nikon 28-300 f:3.5-5.6 and sometimes both. For me primes are very specific tools and zooms offer a wider variety of situational usefulness.

  • Daniel Michael

    Nice article and lovely images, Romanas!

    I started out with a nifty 50 on a cropped just to learn the basics (85mm equiv.), but I felt it was to restrictive especially indoors, so I upgraded to a 35mm (50mm equiv.) and really that lens stayed on the camera all the time. When I upgraded to a full frame, the 35mm just felt too wide and so I ended up buying a decent 50mm. All this kind of happened in a subconscious way. 50mm on a full frame “feels right”. Buy moving to 85mm I’d be back at square one, which is fine but only for specific shots.

    I do like what you say about learning your gear more. I’ve found it actually a better way to improve your photography then buying a new piece of gear. I’ve had my Fuji for about 4 months and it still feels like I have to think about it more than using a Nikon, which after years feels like an extension of your arm. Doesn’t stop it being fun though.


    • Tom Wardrup

      Great shots. Were these taken with your Fuji or a full frame Nikon?

      • Tom Wardrup

        Sorry, meant for J. Victor

        • John Victor

          Thanks, Tom. All in the Rt 66 gallery were with the Fuji and the 18-55.

  • John Victor

    I started down the Nikon Path in graduate school (about 50 years ago, but who is counting). In recent times my neck and back started to complain about the weight, and I became frustrated by the lubricant on sensor issues with my D7000, and the dust on sensor issues with my D600. So, I purchased a Fuji X-E2 with the kit 18-50mm lens. I used just that, handheld, on a recent photo tour of Rt. 66 in California. I found it liberating, my neck was happy, I was happy with the IQ, and, well, it was fun besides. Kinda felt like I felt a half-century ago with that first Nikon F2 with a 50mm f2. If you do look at the gallery, the “Slideshow” button should give you a nice full screen view. http://jvnimages.smugmug.com/Route-66/

    • Mary Robinson

      Those are great, John, my first camera was a Fuji, always liked them.

      • John Victor

        Thanks, Mary, for looking at the Rt. 66 gallery. I really liked your dramatic storm panorama rendering. It’s one of those “I wish I had taken that” photos.

    • Ari Makela

      Great images.

  • Bojan Sokolovic

    Great job Romanas
    and hi Nasim, love your site.

    I only use my 2 primes for shooting weddings and couples

    Nikon 50 mm f1.8g
    Nikon 35 mm f2.0 afd

    my photos are here

  • Ralph Scolamiero

    I don’t have a favorite lens. I like them all and just enjoy taking pictures. I am attaching a link to a shot I took at a civil war battlefield reenactment using my Nikon 55-200.

    Ps. I love your site and all of the useful information. Keep up the great work.


  • Simon Hingston

    Some great images there. As you will see I’m trying to put thoughts of the next bit of gear away and concentrate on making great images too. Don’t really have a favourite lens at the moment but hoping that might change as I learn the capabilities of my ‘new’ Bronica.

    In the meantime I rather like the first image here:


    • http://romanuipatinkafotografuoti.lt Romanas Naryškin

      Hey, Simon. A Bronica! An SQ, by any chance?

      • Simon Hingston

        Hi Romanas,

        Couldn’t quite stretch that far so got an ETRS with metered prism, speed grip and 50, 75 & 200 lenses. Only had a couple of rolls through so far (more Velvia in the post this morning :)) and need to find a better lab until I collect enough to process and print myself. Oh and a rucksack to carry it to the sort of places I like to take pictures!


    • Mike Banks

      Simon great picture. Love the natural colors and composition.

      • Simon Hingston

        Thanks Mike, much appreciated

  • Clou

    I personnally love primes… I always have either my 85mm or my 35mm on me but if I had to pick one… let’s say the 35mm: it’s a good lens for landscape and I also love the connexion it creates with the subject when you want to take a portrait…

    here are some examples of pictures I took: (don’t know if you’ll see much, I have a free account so it’s pretty limited on that thing!):

    I’ve started my own website as well, to have fun and gather all the pictures I’ve taken so far… unfortunately not all of them are DLSR taken…
    let me know what you think (… all comments are welcomed

    And BTW: for all the pictures shown in this article from all of you: WOUAH IMRPESSIVE !!!!!!!!!!!!! (and also you gave me lots of great ideas thanks )



  • Sylvester

    My Fav is D800E + 24-70 (I never liked this lens while I was reading reviews; When I started using it , I loved it).


  • Johny Wong

    Hi Roman,

    My first dslr lens is nikon 16-85 (24-120 equivalent). I love this lens because it goes from wide angle to moderate telephoto. After using it for a few years, I decide to challenge myself to take photos using only a prime lens. I try 35mm (52mm equivalent) a few times, but I don’t like its FOV. When fuji announces its 23mm (35mm equivalent), I decide to give it a try. At first, i find it quite restrictive because 23mm isn’t wide enough or tele enough. So, I ask myself what makes 23mm unique ? I find out that 23mm has simillar FOV as my eyes.
    So, using 23mm is WYSIWYG.

    Here my photo example:

  • Robert

    My favorite lens is the Canon EF 85/1.8. It has great optical performance and fantastic bokeh all in a small, light and cheap package. It was already my favorite on the Canon 30D with APS-C sensor, though it is a bit long there. Now on the Canon 5DIII it is really the perfect focal length, if I had to choose one lens, the 85 would trump my 35, 50 or 135 with ease.

    Here two photos, the first from the 30D, the second from the 5DIII:


    Cheers, Robert

    • Dave Bunting

      I LOVE the EF 85/1.8. I have it and the 1.2 L, and while I love the 3d effect the 1.2 gives me, as well as the creamy bokeh, it’s AF is painfully slow and it’s just so darned heavy. The 1.8, on the other hand, has lightning fast AF, pleasing bokeh, and next to NO chromatic abberation, which the 1.2 has. Not that that can’t be corrected in post, but it’s sure preferable not to. Surprising considering you could get 6-7 copies of the 1.8 for the price of one of the 1.2s. 85mm is definitely my focal length of choice for just walking around (35mm is a close 2nd), and the 1.8 is unobtrusive, light, capable, and quite honestly, underpriced in my opinion. Great piece of glass; more pros should have one, and not worry about it not having the Red Ring Of Professionalism :)

  • Martha

    Hi, what a nice iniciative and what great work I’ve seen from every of you, keep shooting!

    I’m a passionate about photography and attempting to become a professional, meaning leaving of it with newborn photography.

    My favorite lens
    Nikkor 50mm 1.4G (totally in love whit it) and which I use with babies.

    Facebook fanpage

    Popurri on flickr

  • Michael Sokolov

    My fav couple of lens at this moment are Sigmas 18-35mm/1.8 and 50-150/2.8 OS. Here are some recent macro with them and Nikon D7100, partly done with macrorings and teleconverter from Kenko, some with Ledzilla light / few old photos at flickr with these lens too:

  • REP96st

    I love the 50mm, but I love the 40mm more. When I first got into M43, I started out with the 20mm pancake, which I fell in love with. Even though I upgraded to the P/L25mm, I always went back to the 20mm.
    Even with full frame, I pounced on the 40mm pancake from Canon.

    Now, I am the proud owner of a Fuji XE2 and surprisingly, the 35mm is my target, while I quietly take looks at the 27mm.


  • Rafael Rodriguez-Vargas

    A very joyful article and even better images. It is funny since where I come from a lot of people despise the 50mm field of view and sometimes make fun of me (not in a bad way, it is all in good fun between colleagues). I am one of the few that loves the 50mm equiv, maybe it is because the first lens that I had was one of those and I find it easier to use, compose and enjoy (I guess it feesl natural, like you said).

    Now onto the comments!

    Awesome display of photos by everyone! I am following a some of you now :-)

    As far as me goes, since I switched completely to m43 in 2011, I have been tied between 35mm and 50mm equivalents. Yes, I have a 28 and a 90 also, but those two are the ones I use the most wth the 50mm being my favorite. I have a trip to Puerto Rico in a week to visit my family and I plan to force myself to use the 35mm (even though I know I will use the 50 in the long run LOL).

    My photos are nothing comercial, I just do it for the love of it (at the risk of my wife giving me the eye when she sees the costs involved, lol). You can see some of my stuff in:


  • Nick

    My favorite combination lately is my D800 with the 60mm 2.8 Micro. I treat it like a long 50 that can get really close on occasion. Using it has really helped me stick to carrying one lens and while it doesn’t let me do everything, it’s flexible enough so that I don’t feel like I’m going to miss every single shot I want to make if I don’t carry my whole bag all the time. It’s not so much that it gets out of my way, but more that it gets me out of my way.


  • Carol

    I often tell folks that if I could only have 1 lens it would be the Nikkor 70-200. I know it is a bit big to just walk or hike with but I do mostly action/sports things and I just love the lens for everything.

  • sangesh

    hobbiest photographer
    have some travel photo with blog


  • Ari Makela

    My favourite lens is Nikon AI 24mm f/2.8 which I bought second hand for about 100 USD. I use with my Nikon D90 so it’s really a 36mm for me.

    This my favourite picture I’ve shot with it: http://twilightexposure.blogspot.fi/2013/10/bird-competition-39-cadana-goose-branta.html