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What do think is the best lens ever made?
  
 
pasblues
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


For whatever reason you want to state, in all your experience, what is the one lens you feel was the lens that you loved the most - do you still have it? Is it that *one* you wish you hadn't sold?

For me, my best lens ever may be the Minolta MC Rokkor 85mm f1.7. Of course, though, I'm taking price point into consideration, which doesn't really put that lens in the category with the thousands-of-dollar lenses that are likely to be much better. Yet...so much to consider...

What about you?

Edited on Oct 04, 2017 at 06:11 PM · View previous versions



Oct 03, 2017 at 08:43 PM
JohnJ
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


I suspect there are dozens of specialised scientific, industrial, military or special purpose lenses that we've never heard of that would put all our 'favourites' to shame, putting them in a corner in the foetal position, rocking back and forth, back and forth. The Nikon 'Printing-Nikkors' come to mind. They are 10-12E/4G of secret design, used for optical printing of cine film, typically 1:1 or close to that, for optimum reproduction.

So I guess it is a very limited gamut that the mere mortal has to choose from. And then it is subjective.

My favourite, today, is one of the least optically 'excellent' lenses, one with heaps of aberration and character, the Leica Summilux-R 1.4/80. In a technical sense it's probably a piece of crap but I love the images I get from it, all wide open of course, all glow-y and fuzzy, except in a few spots where it matters. I took this lens on a recent rip to shoot architecture and realised what a piece of shit this lens is outside its sweet spot, people (it flares, but this might be related to the glass sensor reflecting light back into the lens, it was never a problem on film).

On the other hand I also love the Leica APO-Summicron-R 2/180 which I find to be an optical marvel, but which also gives me the look I like, albeit it different to the Lux.

Then there's the Contax 2/135 with possibly the softest bokeh I've seen this side of a Panavision cine lens. Love it, and I hate it, so I sold it ages ago and then bought one back. It really is a stunning lens in its narrow speciality, people.

Then there's the Canon FL 1.2/58...

Then the Computar dL 1.9/55 enlarging lens...

Then...

Then...



Oct 03, 2017 at 09:24 PM
p.sage
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


The 60mm f/4 attached to my Fuji GA645i

Bitingly sharp, perfect bokeh, perfect focal length. Wouldn't change a thing.



Oct 03, 2017 at 11:06 PM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


My vote would go to the Leica M 35 Summilux double aspherical.

Or the 50mm .95 Nocitulx. I actually like the bokeh from that lens better than the bokeh form the 200 2L that I had.

Or maybe the Leica 75 1.4 Summilux.



Oct 03, 2017 at 11:26 PM
Two23
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


12 inch Petzval by CC Harrison with internal iris, made in 1859.

Runner up: 1920s Voigtlander Heliar 240mm.


Kent in SD



Oct 04, 2017 at 02:27 AM
notherenow
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


Gee, that is a hard choice.

Probably the Canon 24 3.5 L ii TS-E but I don't have it now.

Currently, the Canon 17 F4 L TS-E (kept it as I find it a lot more useful than the 24).

Others right up there for me include the Sony Zeiss FE 55 1.8.

I also really liked the FD L 50 1.2 and 85 FD L 1.2 and FD L 24 1.4 (sold the 50 and the 85 has an issue but still use the 24 more and more all the time).

I had a Minolta 85 1.7 MC and I didn't like it all that much (I would rate three other 85s I have had above it and especially the FE 85 1.8 which has to be about the biggest bargain going).

I did sell the Minolta for about five times what I paid for it though.

EDIT, that is not to say it was a bad lens, as it was probably better technically that two of the other 85s but it just didn't agree with me (and I hated how it worked with that lever to open it up again after stopping down).

Another absolute bargain would be the Canon 40 2.8 STM.



.



Edited on Oct 04, 2017 at 03:35 AM · View previous versions



Oct 04, 2017 at 03:04 AM
retrofocus
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


"Best" lens is a highly subjective term which can be categorized in a multitude of properties. I give it a shot from lenses I own:

Best bokeh: Canon 50/1.2 L closely followed by CV 35/1.2 II M-lens
Best sharpest lens: Leica 50/2 Summicron-M (version V)
Best walkaround lens: Leica 35/2 Summicron-M (version IV, 7-element lens)
Best quality/price ratio Alt lens: Leica 90/2.8 Tele-Elmarit (version I)
Best portrait lens: Canon 135/2 EF L (close runner for best bokeh, too)
Best mid tele range lens: Canon 70-200/4 L IS
Best architecture lens: Canon 24/3.5 L II TSE
Best macro lens: Sigma 105/2.8 EX DG

If it would come down to pick just one lens, I might decide for the Leica 35/2 Summicron-M 7-element lens which is my most often used lens.



Oct 04, 2017 at 03:04 AM
trogdon
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


I think from a technical perspective I think the Sony 135mm f1.8 is the best. I don't get to use it as much as I'd like due to the nature of the lens, but when it delivers, it's pretty spectacular


Oct 04, 2017 at 03:07 AM
freaklikeme
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


The ones in my eyes, of course.

If I could only have one camera lens, it would be my Summilux-M 35 Pre-A vII. if I could have two, it would be that and my APO-Elmarit-R 100/2.8.



Oct 04, 2017 at 03:29 AM
fsiagian
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


Nikon 200mm f2 chubby.


Oct 04, 2017 at 03:48 AM
 

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zhangyue
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


80lux R, 35lux preA, contax645 120 APO, 180S, 50 summilux M.

I'd happy to have 50lux R E60, 100mm AER, 280mmf4 R and new Nikon 105E.

There are a few I really like such as sigma 135 art and OTUS. There are many great modern lenses looks flawless but I consider that will be the normal state in the future, not really special anymore IMO.



Oct 04, 2017 at 05:11 AM
flash
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


Leica S120mm APO macro.

Gordon



Oct 04, 2017 at 05:35 AM
philber
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


My contender is the Zeiss Otus 28 f:1.4. For it to be named "best ever", a lens needs to have 3 attributes IMHO: speed, correction, and rendering. The Otus has all 3: very fast (for a WA), very well corrected (APO), and a rendering which is both free of bugaboos and has tons of character.
OTOH, it is not exactly small, light and cheap, but those parameters were not in the OP's question...



Oct 04, 2017 at 05:42 AM
Jorgen Udvang
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


Zeiss ZF 21mm f/2.8


Oct 04, 2017 at 07:03 AM
charles.K
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


Hard to pick just one

Leica M lenses: 50 Lux Asph, 35 FLE and Mandler 50 Nocti f/1.0 and 75 Lux
Nikon: 105E and 70-200E FL
Canon: 50L and 85L II
Sigma: 35 and 50 Art
Sony: FE 35/1.4 and GM 85/1.4



Oct 04, 2017 at 07:26 AM
freaklikeme
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


zhangyue wrote:
There are many great modern lenses looks flawless but I consider that will be the normal state in the future, not really special anymore IMO.


Agreed, and I'd say that's very evident when you look not just at high-end design, but also at what's happening with mid-tier zooms. Great coverage in relatively small packages from 16-70/4. Super-tele-zooms like the Nikon 200-500/5.6 VR and the Tamron 150-600 G2 that are shockingly good bang for the buck optically, and manage to be both light and reasonably durable. And all the great third-party primes. I don't think the enthusiast market has ever had it so good.



Oct 04, 2017 at 07:26 AM
philber
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


Aha, Charles, you have become an ABZ! (anyone but Zeiss)


Oct 04, 2017 at 07:41 AM
charles.K
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


philber wrote:
Aha, Charles, you have become an ABZ! (anyone but Zeiss)


I would also add the the Loxia 21




Oct 04, 2017 at 08:17 AM
telyt
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


My current favorites are

for wildlife: Leica 280mm f/4 APO for its mind-boggling image quality
for lightweight walking-in-the-wilds: the cheap, sharp, versatile 55mm f/3.5 Micro-Nikkor AI

both on the a7rII.

If forced to pick only one it would be the 280/4 APO, no question. Not only do I still have "it" I still have "them".



Oct 04, 2017 at 09:48 AM
ZoneV
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · What do think is the best lens ever made?


I have a Zeiss Jena Pinatar 145mm f/4.5 which was made for the MKF-6 multi spectral camera (such were used on the Sojus, Saljut and Mir spaceships / stations). It is corrected for 6 wavelngths.
Likely this is the best lens I have,
But due to the limitation that the last glass is the film plane with Réseau patterns it is not realy good useable.

From my point of use I think the Canon FD 300mm/2.8L is quite good. Relatively light but well build, very good corrected, especially color aberrations.

Away from best in thinking of MTF there are many other lenses. Rokkor 58mm/1.2 (quite good, non-onion-ring bokeh, good with extension tube), Meyer Trioplan 100mm f/2.8 (great for that kind ob bokeh, better than Nikkor 105mm f/2 DC), Canon SCC 55mm f/1.2 (bokeh is great to have defined background structures), Mitakon 50mm/0.95 (great for near background blur, smooth background bokeh)..



Oct 04, 2017 at 09:56 AM
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