14th July 2022

Before you leave home, decide on what you will photograph and only bring the lenses suited to that. I think it’s okay to have a large lens kit, but if your camera bag can be used for weight training, don’t let FOMO paralyse you.

Maybe it's age, but I've reduced my lens "kit" to just a few lenses but I want to add more lenses. I don't like swapping out lenses when I'm out and about. Part of the reason is that carrying too many lenses, especially zoom lenses and small aperture fixed focal length lenses, adds weight to the camera bag. I usually decide what I want to do before I leave the house. I got a smaller camera bag to force myself not to carry more than two lenses.

I recently used this YouTube video to advise another photographer who was a having challenge deciding on which of his many lenses to bring to an event. I have had that challenge in the past when gear-based FOMO takes over, and I suffered from the tyranny of choice.

I have a Minolta XD-11 35mm film camera and three Minolta lenses; the MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7, the MD Rokkor-X 45mmF2 and MD Rokkor-X 28mmF2.8 . The XD-11 body weighs 560g. The MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7, MD Rokkor-X 45mmF2 and MD Rokkor-X 28mmF2.8 lenses weigh 165g, 125g and 265g, respectively. The three-lens film kit weighs about just over 1 kilogram. The Rokkor-X 45mm and Rokkor-X 50mm are pretty close in focal length, so often, I will choose one to put in the camera bag along with the Rokkor-X 28mm. However, unless I know I will be making wide-angle photographs, I’ll usually choose to bring the Rokkor-X 45mm only.

This 35m film lens kit is all I need to capture the images I want with the Minolta XD-11. The 35mm film kit is my hobby within a hobby.

When it comes to my Fuji X-T3 lens kit, I am taking a different perspective.

Actually, all amateurs needed to do (with primes) was a.) figure out the main normal that was most comfortable for them; b.) figure out if they wanted to augment that with a wide angle, and, if so, which one; and c.) ditto with a short tele. The last step, d.), was to decide if a longer tele was wanted or not. ~ Mike Johnston at The Online Photographer

The X-T3 body weighs 539g, slightly lighter than the Minolta XD-11 body. I have two Fujinon lenses; the Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 R WR (41mm-e1) and XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR (24.5-84mm-e) lenses for the X-T3. The XF16-55mm is my choice for landscapes and cityscapes (short end), portraits (long end), and everything in between (groups, events). But it's a heavy lens. The XF-16-55mm weighs 655g; 116g heavier than the camera body. I don’t fancy carrying nearly 1.2 kilograms around while on holiday or when out for street photography.

The XF27mm is compact and weighs just 84g, I usually leave it attached to the X-T3 body, almost like a body cap. To me, it’s the perfect "photographer about town" camera and just 1mm shy of being a "perfect normal" lens for the X-T3’s APS-C sensor. Using the original definition of the photographic term, the Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 R WR is my prime lens.

I rarely use the middle of the range on the XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR. Most photographs taken with that lens are either at the wide end (landscapes) or the long end (portraits). I think I may be better off splitting the weight and range of that lens into two lighter lenses; the XF16mmF2.8 R WR (24mm-e) for landscapes and the XF56mmF1.2 R (85mm-e) lens for portraits. The XF16mmF2.8 R WR weighs just 155g, and the XF56mmF1.2 R weighs 405g. The only other lens I want is the XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR for bird/wildlife photography. That lens weighs 1605g, and with the X-T3 camera body, this minimalist wildlife kit would weigh over 2 kilograms. It’s heavy but changing it out in the field is not something I would need to do.

The 16mm, 27mm, and 56mm focal lengths would cover the field of views I use most, covering landscapes, portraits and everyday photography. For the rest, I can zoom with my feet or crop.

Choose your lens kit based on the kinds of photographs you like to make. Before you leave home, decide on what you will photograph and only bring the lenses suited to that. I think it’s okay to have a large lens kit, but if your camera bag can be used for weight training, don’t let gear-based FOMO paralyse you.

  1. The "-e" indicates the full-frame equivalent focal length. I am borrowing this trick from The Online Photographer website. 

Author: Khürt Williams

I work in application security architecture and I live in Montgomery Township, New Jersey with my wife Bhavna. Passionate about photography, you’ll find me writing about cybersecurity, tropical aquariums, terrariums, hiking, craft breweries, and capturing birds on camera. My prose is like a caffeinated squirrel—fast, unpredictable, and occasionally insightful.

6 thoughts on “14th July 2022”

  1. Great post, Khürt ? All my travelling is done by bike, so weight is a premium. My go to lenses are my 18-300mm zoom (my heaviest), perfect for stopping & snapping wildlife across the canal, my standard 18-55mm (really light & works great with my lensball (he's heavy). I'll occasionally take my macro lens with me, but my 18-55mm does quite well at close-ups.

    1. Hi Jez, I’m always excited to hear from other Fujifilm camera enthusiasts.

      I do most of my landscape photography during the New Jersey Spring. It rains a lot. When I bought into the Fuji system, I decided on fixed aperture lenses with aperture rings and weather resistance. The XF18-55mmF2.8-4.0 R LM OIS is much lighter than the XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR, but the lack of weather resistance on the XF18-55mmF2.8-4.0 R LM OIS was a deal breaker for me. I think if I were travelling by bike, I would have made the same choices you did.

      Unfortunately, Fujifilm haven't made any fixed aperture zooms for wildlife. The only options are the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR and XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR. The XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR (306mm-e) is the only fixed lens option, but it doesn’t have the reach I need for photographing warbler, and it's way too heavy; over 2 kilos! I would be excited if Fuji made an XF150-600mmF4 R LM OIS WR lens.

      I added you website to my RSS feed reader.

      1. Hi, Kurt ? I didn't mean to mislead you, I should have said that I use Canon equipment. That being said, I'm always interested to see what others are using out there ? I think trying to find a catchall lens is one of the most difficult choices we face ?

  2. It's a nice article. Certainly the topic discussed here resonates with my current approach. I am a Fuji user, and after the 18-55 mm lens that came with my XT2 I bought a the 55-200 mm tele, to get better at composition by ruling out unnecessary elements from the image. I really wanted to try a prime lens and I bought in 2020 a used 35mm F1.4 lens. According to my Lightroom catalog, 85% of the pictures taken on a 1 year span after purchasing it were taken with that 35mm lens. I remember always feeling that I was too close to the subject I wanted to shoot with that lens, and having to take a few steps back. But slowly it changed and I got myself used to that focal length and being able to almost predict the framing before putting the camera to my eye. Nevertheless, I often found that the 35mm lens was too tight, and I tried the 23mm f2. It's a great lens, but after being used to shoot with the 35 mm I often find myself "lost" in the frame, as it is a rather large for my taste. Maybe the 27mm would be the go to option, and I've decided to rent it to test it out. My point is that reducing your kit is a nice thing to do, especially in today's world where soberty is the only way to tackle the alarming decrease of resources, but it takes time, tries and errors to find the right lens for you, and it also takes time to get used to a lens. Despite all the YouTube reviews I binge watched, in the end it took me 1 year to feel the 35mm lens, and it has been a nice photographic journey to do so.

    1. Hi Moz, the choice of lenses is personal and based on what the photographer needs to make the photographs they want. You settled on two zooms (standard zoom, short telephoto) and one prime (35mm) kit. 18-55mm and 55-200mm cover most of the range for most amateur photographers, and the 35mm is your "standard normal". I had considered the XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, but after some thought, I realised I wanted a wildlife lens for bird photography.

      I added your website to my RSS feed reader. It seems we have an affinity for trains and cats. 😁

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