What You'd Take to the Desert Island

Real users, real dreams.

The article that provoked these reader comments is located here. I got so many responses, it took me awhile to catch up to them (you'll find them below). Due to the fact I can't dedicate too many hours to this, I've decided to do what Lost did and move the island so no one can find it. I won't be posting any new responses at this point.

It was fascinating to read the responses, and I hope you get that same sense. While at first there doesn't seem to be any clear pattern at first, I do think there are some subtle patterns here. Moreover, many of you appear to be juggling what you have with only a little fantasy about what you might have (I didn't put any restrictions on you). Moreover, there are some sub themes tangled into all the focal length and aperture mentions: durability, weatherproofness, size/weight, are just a few of the things that get mentioned more than a couple of times, for example. A lot of telephoto is headed to the island, too, more than I would have expected. Most of you apparently aren't planning to get too close to something ;~). The FX folk seemed to have struggled with their answer more than the DX folk. Read into that what you wish. Also, the rationalizations and explanations, though brief due to my 100-word limitation (not always met) are the real interesting part of this experiment.

But enough with my banter, let's see what lenses were desired by our participants:

Reader Responses

I have a D700 and I want to go light. To have 3 lenses, it would be:
1)       17-35mm for the wides.
2)       70-300vr for the teles.
3)       60mm macro for closeups and a shots requiring a normal perspective. (ej)

DX, 1 lens: 18-200 VR
DX, 2 lenses: 35/2.0D + 105/2.8 VR
DX, 3 lenses: add Sigma 10-20
FX, 1 lens: 50/1.4G
FX, 2 lenses: 50/1.4G + Sigma 150/2.8 macro
FX, 3 lenses: add 14-24/2.8 (tr)


12-24 plus either a 50/1.4 or the 18-70 depending on my mood. Probably the 50.


24/2.8 plus the 75-150E manual focus zoom lens. Any AF zoom that isn'ttoo big and is in the same range could replace the 75-150

The 20/2.8 or 35/2 might also work if for some reason I lost my 24. (ps)

My desert island choices would be:

DX one:
Nikkor 16-85mm VR

FX one:
Nikkor 28-105mm

DX three:
Sigma 10-20mm + Nikkor 55-200mm VR + Micro Nikkor 60mm

FX three:
Nikkor 18-35mm + Nikkor 70-300mm VR + Micro Nikkor 105mm VR

I don't think I would sweat under the weight of any of these ;-) (pk)

carry a D40.
1DX:  The new 35mm.  I carried a Nikon F with a just a 50mm f/2 for years.
3DX:  The new 35mm, Nikkor VR 70-200 f/2.8, Nikkor 10-24. (wf)

Nikkor 16-85mm VR, it is on my D90 because it is so flexible. So for the days I am running around in a rush up and down the Island, the 16-85mm VR is there to fire way.
The 120-400mm OS, so I can get the shot of the Seahawks with the Moon at sunset or sunrise. I love this lens for field work, and a Desert Island would be field work. I want to see the mermaid's eye's.
The Sigms 50mm f/2.8 Macro, because I like to shot Macro's. I also like shooting the at sunset, looking east, away from the setting sun. It is a warm little glass that set in the bottom of my bag, take up so little space. When the time slow down this lens comes out of the bottom of the bag and magic comes with it. The act of taking picture became a meditation. As I set in one spot for an hour or more, I am bless with not just picture but sounds, touch, and smells of a beautiful evening. (ms)

My lenses (2) don't exist yet.

1) 22-55 F/2 AF-S with Zeiss-like build and additional manual focusing ring
2) 90-135 F/2 macro 1:1 AF-S VRII, same as above, DC feature for soft focus
Camera? A D700 or F7 with digital back option and Zeiss Ikon size. So for lenses, wherever possible.

Alternatively, a 24-135 F/4 AND a (35 F/1.4 or 50 F/1.4 lens) AND a 100 F/2 macro lens

maybe I'm asking too much. (db)

late to the party, but perhaps I may still add my 5 ¢ / 100 words to the Desert Island Lenses questionnaire, strictly limiting myself to lenses I own or have owned and know well(except the Zeiss Makro Planar 100 mm, which I'd beg, borrow or steal, had I not already the Nikon 105 mm Micro-Nikkor and the 105 mm f/2.5 Ais, which are both great ) :

all-time ideal Desert Island camera/lens: Leica M6/MP, Summicron Asph 35 mm f/2.0

translate in Nikon terms as:
FM2/FM3A/F3 + Zeiss ZF Distagon 35mm f/2.0. Why? rugged bodies, perfect optics.

FX: Zeiss ZF Distagon 35mm f/2.0 + Zeiss ZF Makro Planar 100 mm f/2.8
+ Nikon 180 mm f/2.8 AF-D. Why? again, rugged perfection.
DX: Zeiss ZF Distagon 35mm f/2.0 + Nikon 60 mm f/2.8 AF-S Micro-Nikkor + Voigtlaender SL Apo Lanthar 180 mm f/4.0. The 60 mm AF-S Micro-Nikkor is ideal on DX, the Voigtlaender 180 mm is a compact gem.

And always, whether film or digital, FX or DX, the splendid midget Voigtlaender SL II Ultron 40 mm f/2.0. Don't forget the close-up lens, it's very handy.

Bean shows my wordcount already at twice the allowed quota, so I'd better stop here. As you can see from my choices, I'm a conventional old stick-in-the-mud FM2 + MF type. (cl)

On a D700
16 fisheye - can really create some dramatic shots.
17-35 - my favorite lens of all time.
80-200  - sharp and feels well balanced on the D700. (jm)

I will not be taking a zoom lens to a desert island. There is bound to be sand on this island and sand + zoom lenses don't mix. Here are the three lenses I would take (DX body)...

Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye. It will be boring at times and the fisheye is all fun.

Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-D. A solid lens to keep on the camera most of the time.

Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro AF. To photograph the finer details of the island and for a bit of reach.

I will also be taking a tripod.

My wife and I are currently on the atoll of Cocos (Keeling) in the Indian Ocean for 6 weeks. We shoot underwater, so the Tokina 10-17 fisheye has been essential. The 12-24 never seems wide enough by the time we have put a +3 dioptre on it to get decent corners underwater. Topside, we use the 12-24 and the 70-200 2.8 VR. We have other lenses, but we haven't felt any need to use them. (pa)

This was easy because I only own four lenses (broke BFA student); the three I would take would be:
24mm f/2.8 AI
50mm f/1.8 AF-D  
135mm f/3.5 AI'd (I also own a 200mm f/4 AIS, but for some reason I like the 135mm better)
If I only took one lens, it'd be the 50mm. If I could choose any 3 three lenses ever:
14-24mm (might as well)
Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 (for general use and taking pictures of the night sky after I build a tripod out of driftwood)
70-180mm Micro (to fit in with all the other guys on this island)
300mm f/2 (no harm in getting mucles to go with my tan)
Wait, how many lenses is that?   (ls)

For by banishment to the desert island, I’ll take my 17-35 f2.8 so I can mount my polarizer and neutral grad’s. It would be great for sunsets and sunrises.  I’ll build me a tripod out of bamboo or some such. My 105 f2.8 Micro VR goes for macro work and flower close-ups. Last but not least, I’ll take the 70-200 f2.8 VR for all the things that make it great, especially if I can sneak a 1.4 TC-14E in my pocket when no one is looking.
My kit is for a D300 and all but the 17-35 has some dust sealing to help keep the sand out. If I could add one lens it would be the 24mm PC-E. It probably should be the 600mm so I could spot a passing boat. I like mountains better than islands, at least desert ones. (jr)

Because of circumstances – heat, sand, no juice and a long stay – I have to go with film and glass that accepts front prophylactic filters and have minimal moving parts. Sorry, 14-24, goodbye 13 5.6!
Ergo: Nikon FE with 18 3.5. If I can carry two bodies, also an 85 1.4. The 28 1.4 and 135 DC 2 were close runners up, but I don’t want to damage my equipment swapping lenses all the time. If can't have two bodies, just the 18 then. (jg)

14-24mm f/2.8 -- I'm never disappointed. On DX it makes a good people lens and on FX a good architectural lens; though sometimes I wish for the 24mm PC.

85mm f/1.4D -- Again, never disappointed. On DX it provides a decent short telephoto and with a close-up lens, it does decent in a pinch. On FX it's an outstanding portrait lens and general purpose short telephoto. Dreamy wide open to sharp stopped down.

DX, 35mm f/1.8G -- Great little lens for general purpose use. Small, light, sharp.

FX, 50mm f/1.4G -- Same as 35mm f/1.8G on DX.

The following answer is assuming that I had the time to grab a tripod, release cable and pano head before the boat sank…

One lens on the island (+ alpha)
I will being my trusted Zeiss ZF 100mm f2.0 together with a RRS spherical pano head on the D3x, I do 80% of my shooting with that combo even when I take a lot more gear with me. The Zeiss is the best piece of glass I own in terms of sharpness and bokeh and does macro as well. It is also reasonably easy to focus handheld, although live view is a better option when critical focus is required.

Three lenses on the island (the set up I shot with in Hawaii last week, speaking of islands)
I will add the 24 mm PCE and 300 mm f2.8 VR on top of the Zeiss 100mm (cheat a bit and add a 1.4 tele-converter).
- The 24 mm PC-E is great for handheld shooting or when DoF stacking/stiching is not easy to achieve, and I find it very useful in mixed nature/wildlife assignments where its shift capability helps with architecture shots. Manual focus is a bit of a challenge with this lens as soon as the light gets a little low though,
- The 300 f2.8 VR is obviously an amazing lens in terms of sharpness and bokeh, plus its AF/VR is pretty magic when shooting in difficult conditions for wildlife.

This 3 lenses combo is sure bulky and a bit heavy, but hiking with this set up and a very sturdy tripod has proven to be OK at low elevation/temp lower than 85 F. (bl)

Funny, I fly to the island of Rhodos next Thursday (on Wednsday I attend a Seminar with Joe Mc Nally in Vienna – a lot to contemplate afterwards on the island)
My island Kit will be the D3x and If I had to use just one lens I would take the 24 PC-e. Three lenses: 14-24 2,8 (17-35 would be an option if I like to use filters like the singh ray vari n duo and loose some weight lens wise) the 24 PC-e, the 85 PC-e.
I could do with these three lenses but honestly also the 70-300 VR will be in the bag and maybe my old 50 mm AIS 1,4 plus a SB 900 and a tripod. Contrary to the believe of all my friends I am not going to Rhodos for holiday, but for taking pictures which will go to stock agencies. But as I like greek food and wine I will also have a good time. (fh)

I own the 70-300mm VR and I like it but would like to try the 80-400mm VR before I get "Lost".
The only other lens I currently own is 28-105mm AF D. It is fine for mid-range although I would like a shallower depth of field. (mc)

I just found out that I am going to Iceland for 12 days in July (there was a cancelation on workshop I wanted to go on).

I currently have a D700 with the 24-70, 70-300 cv40 and cv58

I really like your 3 lens FX idea with the 14-24, 105 and 70-300 (although with no protection on the front element I do worry a bit about the 14-24 with wind, sand and salt water spray). (tb)

I currently use a Nikon D3 and my three lens selection is;

1. The 14-24 f2.8, this would also be my selection if I could only have one lens, simply put this lens consistently surprises me with the best images of the day.  This from a photographer with an admitted telephoto bias.

2. The 24-70 f2.8, useful focal length range, easy to use and produces nice images.

3. The 200mm f2, absolutely stellar performance, great bokeh and a bear to use.  It's heavy and makes an unwieldy package but that's part of the mystique.  Seems the harder I have to work the better images I get.

One final comment, I selected these three lenses not only for their fine optical performance but also because they currently comprise my full collection of lenses, and the equipment you have is always more useful than the stuff you wish you had. (rn)

My three lenses; 11-16 2.8 Tokina, 70-200 2.8 Nikon, 58mm 1.2 Noctilux for the nights, and a camera I push the ISO a bit on for some astrophotography. (dr)

I once thought I should go back to FX digital, but it ain´t gonna
happen, I´ll stick to DX and film.

DX (D200):
18-200 (who cares if it is only 85% sharp if the alternative is
missing the shot because you didn´t have time to swap or didn´t bring
the other lens?)
50mm/1.4D (yeah, I know it´s an fX lens)

Film (Nikon FM2n):
some 20mm FX lens sharper than my 20/3.5 which is rather soft and with
huge barrel distortion
- both incredibly sharp! (sf)

Nowadays my FX kit is a 14-24mm 2.8, a 105mm Micro 2.8 VR, and a AFS 50mm G 1.4 (when I want to travel light with only 1 lens).

So it seems pretty close to your election :-).

I'm still looking after a tele zoom (or maybe a prime), but I found the 70-300 VR too short for FX, and the 80-400 weak in several areas. (sv)

I shoot DX, so here goes.

Tokina 11-16. I like wide... Really wide... Must have it... This is what I put on when I’m just shooting mindlessly for fun.

Nikon 55mm f3.5. It won’t meter or AF on my camera (a D50) and I don’t care. Most of my favorite photos were taken with this lens chimping at the display, and I typically took dozens of photos to get one good one. Totally worth it.

Nikon 85mm f1.8 (because I can maybe afford it—I don’t have one yet) I would say the brilliant 50mm f1.8 I already own, but I think this length (about 127mm on DX) at f1.8 would make for some way cool stuff and much more fun.

I love my 18-200, but if I have those 3, I’m good... (ph)

FX: mostly agree; I'm just not much of a WA person, so I'd go with the 24-70 in place of your 14-24, but retain the 105 AFS VR Micro and 70-300 VR. That last lens is a gem - I ditched my 70-200 VR after FX because it was just too darn heavy.

DX: tough choice. 18-200VR if I'm feeling lazy, supplemented by the 105 macro. Or else 17-55/2.8, 105 AFS VR Micro, and perhaps a 500/4 VR for birding.

However, seeing as I shoot Leica most of the time these days, it'd be the Voigtlander 15/4.5 M mount, 35/1.4 Summilux-ASPH, and a 50/0.95 Noctilux-ASPH. Now that would seriously save my back. :) (tm)

My choice FX in One: Zeiss ZF 50mm/2.0 macro. Manual focus saves battery power (how are you going to recharge on a desert island?)

My choice FX Threesome: Voigtlander 20mm/3.5; Zeiss ZF 50mm/2.0 macro; Voigtlander SL 180mm/4.0. Same argument for manual focus as above. These are also generally more compact lenses and with sturdier build than zooms. (ce)

Choosing from the lenses I already have, my no-brainer is the new 10-24mm.  It's a sharp, fun lens and you can’t beat the extreme changes in perspective that just a small shift in position can make, plus you can get sooo close.  Next would have to be my 180mm f/2.8. It's super sharp, light weight and great on DX for subject isolation.  The last lens in the kit is a tough choice, but I'd have to choose the AF-S 60mm Micro.  A great little lens for close-up work and can double in a pinch as a longish normal lens. (jt)

Answer #1 (Ten years ago):
1.  105 f2.5:  My favorite lens and my favorite focal length.  Fast, small, easy to (manually) focus...a flawless lens to me.  Great for landscapes, closeups (with an extension tube, which I hope is allowed), and portraits of friendly cannibals.
2.  20 f2.8:  My other favorite old-time lens.  Love the wide-angle.
3.  I really liked my 180 f2.8 AF, but I'll go for a 300 f2.8 AF (which I never actually owned) instead. Islands should have lots of wildlife, and maybe the cannibals are not so friendly after all.  (Shooting cannibals on the hunt is probably a lot like shooting a football game...definitely 300 f2.8 territory.)
Answer #2 (Today):
After upgrading to a D700 (from a D200):
1.  70-200 f2.8 VR.  Incredibly useful focal range.  Perhaps Thom's choice (70-300) truly is better, but I really like f2.8 and I really dislike variable-aperature zooms (especially slow ones)...it would irk me forever to be stuck on an island with one.  Besides, Thom will drop that 70-300 someday and it will break.
2.  14-24 f2.8:  No arguments there.
3.  Since cannibal dinner parties are not my thing, I'll leave out the mid-range zoom.  Since I have a D700, I'll leave out the f1.4 prime.  The 24 PC-E is tempting, but there's lots of depth of field at 24mm anyway and perspective control on a bunch of curved palm trees doesn't seem essential.  I'll go for the 85 PC-E Micro:  I'd like to take pictures of butterflies & flowers without being square-on; also, tilting the focus plane will make a big difference on beachscapes.
If allowed, I'd take a Canon 500D closeup lens and a 1.4X teleconverter as accessories.

DX 1-lens kit:
Toss-up between 16-85 VR, 24 PC-E, and 85 PC-E Micro.
DX 3-lens kit:
10-24: Still waiting for your review, but seems near ideal for the wide shots.
24 PC-E: The tilt for all sorts of opportunities.
70-300 VR: For the polar bears and mermaids.
Big gap between 24 and 70, but portrait opportunites are likely to be rare. I'm also assuming a tropical desert island, so probably won't need super-fast glass much.
Will want a Cokin filter holder with at least a polarizer and a grad-ND. And a tripod, and lots of memory cards, and...
Other options: Lensbaby Composer for all sorts of fun stuff.
85 PC-E Micro: tils/shift and micro in one lens. (ka)

I consider being on budget (if not could have bribed you not to be exciled!!:-) :
Sigma 30mm HSM (own it and like it, it is a very fast lens for some low light situations)
Sigma 10-20 (hopefully the scenery is worth this lens!)
Nikon 70-300 VR (the extra 100mm compared to 55-200 makes this one in the list)
Nikon 50mm 1.8 (I am sure it will be in my pocket even if I do not ask for it!!!)
This covers the whole range. Oh, and I should be able to get close up photos with the above! (rc)

Here are the 3 lenses I'll take on FX (D3x) 600mm VR, 24mm PC-E, Zeiss ZF 100mm

There will be certainly tons of exotic birds, so I will need the reach of the 600mm. In my experience, rain forest are pretty dark, so I'll need a fast lens, and the 600mm VR is the fastest thing I can get at that focal length.

I'll take the 24mm PC-E for landscape. The shift function is a huge plus for this. I can crop a lot on the D3x, so I won't need a 28mm nor a 35mm. I can probably get away without the 50mm too.

The zeiss 100mm is simple fabulous. I'll use it for landscapes too (I like a short tele to compress the distances a bit) and for portraits of the local... or for some flower/macro work.

Here are the 3 lenses I'll take on DX (D2x)
500mm VR, 17-55mm, Zeiss ZF 100mm or 80-400mm VR

On DX, I will be tempted to replace the 600mm by a 500mm f/4 (much lighter) or a 400mm f/2.8, depending on the compromise portability/reach/need for a fast lens. I'm leaning toward the 500mm.

I'll take 17-55mm over the 24mm PC-E. The 24mm PC-E becomes a bit too long on DX for tilt/shift to have significant impact for my taste. The 17-55mm is really nice on the D2x.

My third lens would be either the zeiss 100mm or the 80-400mm VR. Depend if there is a lot to walk to explore and find the birds or not. If yes, I might be tired carrying the heavy long lens and might want do the exploring with the 80-400mm and come back with the big gun. If this is not a concern, I'll pick the Zeiss. (Note: in FX, 400mm is really too short in the rain forest where birds can hide on top of trees, this is why I did not consider this option)

Note: In DX, if I were to be limited to a 'small' camera body (D5000 or D90), I'll make different choices. I'd want small, light lenses. So I'll pick:
- 35mm f/1.8 for general pictures, evening shot, force-me-to-use-my-legs-to-frame landscapes. I'll take this over the obvious zoom 18-xx or 18-xxx because, once again, the rain forest is really dark...
- 500mm VR for birds
- zeiss 100mm for macro/people-I-might-encounter-on-the-desert-island

Of course, in all cases, I'm assuming that a good tripod is available... (ad)

My lenses for DX would be: 10.5mm, 85mm PC and the 18-70mm. The macro PC is unique like the fisheye and the zoom is the safety (maybe the 10-24mm if I had it).

Don't use FX so can't comment on that. Probably would still be the same kit since it's nice and light. (ym)

Shooting DX – (D200)  One lens, my 60mm af-s micro.  Great for those mermaid portraits ;) and also terrific for a range of scenery down to the macro work it is designed to do.  
Three lens kit, if I had to stick to what I have: 18-70 af-s DX.  Lighter and better at wide angles than my 17-55 and I wouldn’t cry if it got sand inside, the 60mm af-s mentioned before, and my 105 f/2.5 AIS.  I love this lens, and if I am stranded on a desert island I have plenty of time to manual focus.   (jk)

AF-S 18-105mm VR - The better kit lens Nikkor. Most of my shots are usually at this range. I love the fact that it can go from wide angle to telephoto with a simple twist. Turning is ALWAYS faster than swapping. It's like my old kit lens... except that it has a longer reach.
AF-S 70-300mm VR- In case I wanna take a good shot of that beautiful subject beyond the reach of 105mm.
AF-S 35mm 1.8G- For the Henri Cartier-Bresson wannabe in me. If there will come a time that I'd be only limited to using one lens, it'd probably be this one. (rb)

Keeping it simple and light is a must for me.
Never enjoyed the 3 lenses combos, I'd better carry a macro accessory instead of 1 additional lens.

Tammy 11-18 (guess any other alternative would fit) + AF Nikkor 35-70 3.3-4.5 + close-up 4T for macro.
I like the challenge of composing with ultra-wides.
The little standard zoom is handy for snapshooting and has decent macro capabilities.
AF 28 2.8 + AF 85 1.8 + extension tube
Easy-to-shoot lenses in a pinch, dreamy rendition in low light (no flash, sharpness is not my main concern then), oniric macros with 85 wide open.

They're unforgiving with boring compositions, but very rewarding when choosing the right moment.

For a one-lens solution, I like the lenses covering standard to short tele.
I've been happy with the AF Nikkor 35-105 non-D. Iis sharp enough for me and I like its push-pull action and its solid feel, what a pity its minimum focusing distance is so long. (jv)

I’m off to my favourite Scottish Island in two weeks and this is what I’ll take. I’m Currently shooting DX on D300 and my three lens bag, which I bet isn’t duplicated here is as follows.
Nikon 12-24mm for most landscapes and general stuff – it tends to live on the body. 105mm F4 MF  Micro Nikkor for close ups with sensible working distance and 200mm F4 AiS Nikkor for tele landscapes. All fits easily in TT Speed demon belt bag. Flawless image quality, well built, small size and reasonable weight. I don’t need AF for most of my landscapes or close ups. (mp)

I prefer to use the one and same lens to change them in every minute. Here you are my three lens for my Nikon D40 camera (it was easy to choose as I do not have more ;)

1. Nikkor AF-S 18-200 VR II

2. Tamron 10-24

3. Nikkor AF-S 50/1.4 G

On the island mission I would take my D300, 14-24 (unbeatable, and a bit like crack cocaine in that all you want is more), 50/1.4D (small and fast) and hopefully a 105 Micro which I am currently contemplating (for small and/or distant things). (jz)

If they were ones I owned, it would be the 16-85 VR, this would be my always ready lens, the 75-300 would be mounted on my tripod and in my pocket would be my 5T and 6T.

This makes up my "lets take a hike" bag. I can pretty much shoot anything with this set up. Of coarse I need a tripod for the 75-300, and using the 5t or 6t I get excellent macro shots at 300mm.

Now- if I could pick from Nikons website- I would take 12-24, 70-200 and 200-400! I would remove the glass form the 200-400 and use the barrel to collect moisture for drinking water- yeah right! (rp)

If we are limited to stuff we already own, my 24-85mm f3.5-4.5 G  on my F80 is all I need, and for the longest time the only lens and camera I shot with....  (much thanks on the great review on the lens. it got me interested and an open box special on e-bay for 200 bucks sealed the deal) Given the option for a second lens and I would go for the 105mm micro AFD (again I lucked out and found a local seller that was only asking 200 for it, but I'm still kicking myself for not taking his dads 180mm AFD off him too).   Rather then a 3rd lens I would throw in my D40. Extra reach and instant results have their advantages... especially with the macro.

With all that said, im sure I would be happy with my Nikkormat FTN, the 35mm vivitar that came with it, (both were free; best deal ever) and my 50 and 105mm.  Sure something wider would be nice, but I don't have anything wider that will work on the FTN and what you have will always get you better pictures then what you don't. Especially in paradise... provided there are no smoke monsters.
If we can include lenses we don't own and the new 10-24mm lives up to expectations I might be inclined to add it and swap the F80 for a D90, both in fantasy and real life. (ts)

DX single lens kit
If the island was populated with people I might be tempted to take the 16-85mm as a great lens for shooting in a crowded street, however if the island is deserted (as they are usually assumed to be) I think I'd plumb for the 10-24mm.
As this lens hasn't made it to New Zealand yet, I reserve the right to fight you for the 10.5mm if the 10-24mm isn't what we are all expecting it to be.
DX three lens kit
The 10-24mm for starters, a 70-200mm f2.8 would let me control depth of field (and shoot that pesky polar bear!), and a 50mm f1.4 for the really low light stuff.

FX single lens kit
14-24 no brainer!
FX three lens kit
Mirroring the DX three lens kit, a 14-24mm f2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8, cover the basics, but I don't want a 50mm on FX and the 85mm is already covered with the 70-200mm f2.8 so I would opt for a TC-14e to bring back the extra length, Or swap the third lens for a DX camera body to gain back the length. (two cameras can be useful in other ways too!) (rb)

For the island, I would choose these lenses as a DX user

If I was limited to what I personally own, it would be these:
Sigma 10-20                       Because I love the focal range and the possibilities that go with that range
Nikon AF-S DX 35mm    Just because it’s fast and therefore handy for AL but also for playing with DOF
Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR    Not only for the mermaid, but also for subjects like birds etc.
If I could choose freely from what’s available, I’d perhaps take the new Nikon 10-24 instead of the Sigma (given it really is the better package I expect it to be). I’d also take the Nikon AF-S 70-200 plus TC14 and TC20 instead of my 70-300.
The fast prime, though, is essential to me. I agree that the normal angle of view is nothing exciting per se, but still f1.8 gives you great creative potential (in some way as much as the ultra wide angles do, but of course in a completely different way).  Plus, the good ability of using available light make it important to me. (hb)

I'm not staying. So, my choices:
1. 2000mm f/11 Reflex. The 1 degree (FX) horizontal FoV ought to be OK for spotting distant ships.
2. Something bright and compact I can use to light the signal flares, if I do spot a ship close enough. Normal-ish focal length. Serves dual purpose as a dusk/dawn near-dark shooter.
3. The last is a toss-up between 180mm f/2.8 and 300mm f/4, for the fauna. For FX, the latter. (Hmm, nothing wide? Oh well, I suppose I'll just have to attempt a couple stitched panoramas.)

I'm not a serious photographer. Can you tell? ;-) (ko)


In 100 words or less, was the challenge, but I'll limit it to the lenses currently in my backpack as well. Since I'm only on DX, it's really hard for me to guess FX performance, so I'll stick to DX.

My one-lens solution would boringly enough be the 70-300. You didn't say, but there are probably squirrels on the island.

My three-lens solution would be quite boring as well: 14-24 and 70-200. The third lens would be a 1.7x TC for the 70-200. (ss)

My first two lenses would be a pair of high diffraction index, aspherical Hoya lenses. These are the lenses on my glasses - without them, I'd be tripping over the sand on the island. My third and last lens would be a magnifying glass so I can set stuff on fire - just in case I'm tired of raw fish. (cc)

How's the AI-s 360-1200mm f/11 sound? I'd also love to pop on any TC (although it's already slow, there's plenty of light, as you said!) and then I'd spend my days looking for a passing ship!! Contacting it is another matter.... I know there's a 2000mm Reflex lens, but I think I'd like the ability to zoom if I were to take photos of things on the island itself!

(I recently got the Eyes of Nikon book and I remember this ginormous lens from there).

More seriously I'd bring a wide zoom and a superzoom, for convenience. Say the new 10-24 and the good old 18-200, although I love the extra 70mm on Tamron's 18-270. Since there's a third lens in there, I'll toss in the zoom micro-nikkor. I guess it's clear this is for DX. (kk)

I'm a DX shooter (D2X, D300) and you've stuck me on the proverbial island....

In the "old" days I'd carry a 24, 35, and 105 in the field and always wished I had a 300 in the backpack. So with that in mind, these days that works out to be:
Wide: 14-24/2.8G: The range (on DX) suits my style perfectly, and the image quality is stunning; the best wide angle lens, zoom or prime, I've ever seen, without question.
Mid: 60/2.8G AFS Micro: My odd pick. Gorgeous rendering, excellent spatial and tonal "correctness" combined with excellent sharpness at close and moderate distances (even if only "very good" at distance) make it a favorite. Make no mistake - it's the subjective qualities of this lens that endear me to it - I could care less about how it performs on the hit TV show "pixel peeping test charts with the stars".
Long: 200/2 G AFS: Staggering image quality. Plus I can use the lens "cap" as a hat when it rains :) (nm)

The first lens I'd take would be the new Voigtlander 20mm f/3.5.  It's got punchy Velvia like colors and focuses closer than the Nikkor primes in it's range.  It's durable and well built enough to survive the rough environment, and if it doesn't, it's not that costly to replace.  Did I say it's light, easy to carry it with you 24/7 on or off the camera.  On a DX body, at f/8 or f/11 it's IQ rivals some of the best lenses out there.
My second lens would be the extremely rare Vivitar close focusing 135mm f/2.8.   This lens goes to 1/2 and focuses as close as 20 inches.  With a K1 ring it will focus even closer and achieve nearly a 1/1 magnification factor.  It also has the best bokeh I have ever seen.  I especially love how it blurs the background on a softly backlit subject.
No desert island photo safari would be complete without lots of stitched panoramic photos of sunrises and sunsets.  The 20mm is to wide and the 135mm to long for a pano lens.   My third lens would be the simple, and inexpensive Nikkor 50mm AIS f/1.8.  Mount it vertically and shoot a 5 - 7 shot grouping and you'll have a sharp  pano image with absolutely no distortion.  
What, all three of my lenses are manual primes!   I purposely would go for the manual primes because they are more reliable than zooms (no repair shops on the island).   I've had a couple of expensive AFS zooms that squeeked for a while - before they needed repair.  Also, the manuals cause one to be slower and more deliberate. That means less wear and tear on your camera body, less battery usage, and you won't fill up your limited supply of memory cards quite as fast. (dw)

My FX threesome:

1) The 14-24mm - the image quality is fabulous, almost unbeatable, and it's really wide. I'll hope to find a man Friday to help carry it.
2) The 24-70mm - I really like this lens. It doesn't do 'special effects' but it takes great 'normal' pictures. Nice colour and contrast.
3) The 70-200mm VR 2.8 for its shallow depth of field and bokeh. Great for portraits (of Friday, I presume).

For DX

1) The 12-24mm - or the 10-24, but I haven't seen that on yet.
2) The 17-55mm - same comments as for 2) above.
3) The 70-200mm - it's no macro, but on a DX camera you have just enough magnification for flower shots.

Pretty conventional choices, I guess, but I'm not one to abandon my 'normal' lens (That's all Cartier-Bresson used!) (rc)

How you get to the island determines the lenses:

(1) Swim: Canon G9

(2) Kayak: D40 18-55 VR, 55-200 VR

(3) Sail: D300 16-85 VR, 70-300 VR, Sigma 10-20

(4) Yacht: D300 17-55 f2.8, 70 - 200 f2.8 VR, Sigma 10-20

Last Tuesday's trip to Vinalhaven, ME was #3 less the 10-20. I was taking lighthouse pictures.

As I get older, #2 is more and more attractive. So is a D90 to replace the D300.


For me, the lenses would be:
1. 12-24 DX : ever since I got this one in 2003, it has been my favorite. I love using perspective to give a certain directional pull into scenes that are otherwise flat. Skies and horizons become much more interesting with this lens, something I suspect we'll have in abundance on a desert island.

2. 50 1.4D: the only lens I use in the 'normal' range (semi-portrait on my D200, tho). I'm not sure if there is such a thing, but this lens consistently produces 'warmer' pictures that really are best when taking pictures inside cafes. On the desert island, this will be my nighttime, bonfire lens.

3. 135 DC: was a tossup between this and the 70-200 VR, but I figured I'd use the time on the desert to finally master the DC ring and get a true feel for it. It's still hit and miss for me, mostly because the 70-200 is much handier.

Honorable mention:

10.5 DX: Just got it last month, and having fun with it, but 12-24 DX is a bit more predictable and more reliable for me. And really, I couldn't risk having two study lenses ;) (hy)

DX single:
tokina 12-24

DX kit:
tokina 12-24
nikkor 1.8/35
nikkor 70-300VR (mg)

1)     Nikon 12 – 24mm f4 (to be replaced by the 10 – 24mm Nikkor) allows me to get close and get it all in.  Replaced because it is soft at the 12mm end.
2)     Nikon 24 – 70mm f2.8 I took some shots with this lens at a lake two weeks ago.  If the subject range is narrow (i.e. if the lake is long and thin) this lens is perfect, optically flawless and exceptional in low light.
3)     Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 the best lens I have ever used.  Optically pure, exceptional in low light, beautiful bokeh. (jl)

My instinct tells me to go with the three lenses I carry 90% of the time: the 14-24, 24-70, and 70-200. I like a mid-range zoom because I shoot a lot of people. But on a desert island, I would have no use for it. Having spent time on real desert islands, I figure I would not have to carry my gear anywhere; they are small. Plus, I want some length for shooting passing ships. So, the 14-24, the 105 micro-Nikkor, and the 200-400 mm VR. (cc)

Three lens DX system for me would be 14mm, 17-35mm and 105mm Micro. Basically on a desert island I figure I would have plenty of time to walk up to anything I want to capture and therefore would not expect to need a long telephoto. The 105 on DX would do it for me and would also serve for portraits of that woman who can tolerate me.

The three lens FX system would be 17-35mm again, two 75-150mm E lenses. Two 75-150's because as before I don't think I would need anything longer and the redundancy would be good, in case one gets smothered in salt water or sand. (bs)

Desert Island or Desserted Island - always confused me - pictures of palm trees, ample coconut supply, reptilian creatures crawling about in the dense underbrush - hard to imagine as a Desert Island...

Limited myself to lenses I actually own...

For FX sensor with no fears about using DX crop...

Sigma 15 f/2.8 fisheye - wider than my beachfront camp, great close focus, sharp enough, interesting lines, close to my favorite 24mm focal length with DX crop
Series E 75-150 f/3.5 + PK-13 extension - mighty sharp, beautious OOF, fast enough, PK for macroish stuff.
Lensbaby 2.0 - light, fast, spontaneous, super-selective focus.


I'm leaving next week for Sao Miguel (Azores) with my wife. It's not deserted, but a more modern paradise island. Just a holiday with hiking as one goal.

I'm planning to take my D70s with (all Nikkors):
20/2.8 AF-D (with a polarizer and ND grads)
50/1.4 AF-D
180/2.8 AF-D
That will hopefully take care of the scenery and I'll probably add the 55/3.5 AIS Micro for flowers and other close-ups. I'm still negotiating with myself if I should add the remarkable 105/2.5 AIS (or replace the 180mm and/or 55mm micro with it (plus a Kenko 25mm tube). Any advice on this would be very welcome.

But my desert island three lens kit (DX) would be (from the lenses I have):

Nikon 12-24 DX
50/1.4 AF-D
70-180 Micro-Nikkor

And I'd carefully avoid being left to the island with fewer than three lenses. (th)

On DX just one lens I would take the 18-200VR and additionally the Canon 5D CloseUp Lens. Just getting everything from wide angle to tele including Macro possibilities. And the 18-200VR is a realy fast focusing lens.

The three lens choice for DX would include the Tokina 12-24 due to ist variable angle and incredible sharpness, the 105VR Macro which I am not sure if I wouldn`t change it to my Sigma 180mm Macro (it is so sharp and warm, it also draws less battery than the Nikon 105VR) and at least the 70-300VR. This choice will give me everything you need except some wildlife scenery.

On FX with my D700 my single lens choice would be the 70-300VR including the Canon 5D CloseUp lense, because I tend to be more a tele shooter. I like the compressed appearance of tele pictures. And in combination with the CloseUp lens it gives you enough occasional Macro possibilities.

My three lens choice for FX would include the 2.8/20mm due to ist light weight and good optical performance, the Sigma 180mm Macro for all those low light or macro picture situations and again the 70-300mm VR.

I change my decision sometimes due to what I expect to shoot. Sometimes I change between the two macro lenses, sometimes I exchange the 70-300 with the Sigma 50-500 due to its longer range. Or I go with the 70-300VR, the Sigma 50-500 and the Sigma 180mm Macro.

And yes I own a 24-70mm. But it would be too tall and has to much wight for hiking with it anytime.

I prefer to use it for special things like shootings in urban situations, events or sometimes nature as my fourth lense to carry.

If you would just allow me one lense and camera for all situations it would be my D700 and the 70-300VR (including the Canon 5D CloseUp lense and a modified TC14E - yes it works). (hk)

The D700 FX kit
14-24 : It's an optical gem. If there's one wide lens I want in the wilderness, this would be it.
24-70 : Biggest value in wide enough for many landscape on the wide end, and acceptable enough as a travel portrait lens for beautiful human creatures on the long end ;~), all within a twist on the zoom ring. Works for close up in a pinch too.
70-300VR: Light, relatively small, super useful range, goes to 300mm on FX, good edge-to-edge sharpness, fast focus on birds and anything that moves - all for $480 and 1.5 pounds - what better bargain from Nikon can you ask for? (pl)

My desert kit for DX:

Tokina 11-16/2.8 for landscapes. Lots of flexibility and quality!
Nikkor 55-200 VR for telephoto. That 55mm focal lenght is much appreciated compared to those lenses starting with 70mm
and onwards, which is find often already too long-ish (on DX). The perfect telezoom DX range for me.
Nikkor 35/2 for the occasional aboroginal village. Street and bonfire parties photography.

Size and weight issues are always important to me; even if you could carry more, it's nicer to carry less ;).


I'd have to pick from what I have for my F100 and D90: 20mm f/2.8D, 50mm f/1.4G, 70-180micro, 70-300VR, 135mm f/2-DC, 18-200VR. I'm going to insist that a tripod and SB800 go along with the two bodies; and the powerbook with at least LR. And the ND, Pol, et. al. filters and step rings. And some way to develop & scan the Ektar 100 (is there a COSTCO in a cave on the island?).

1DX: What is usually in my Urban Disguise 20: The 18-200VR. It's not perfect but it's what I walk around with and if I get something I want to print at 12x18 or larger I can correct most anything in photoshop. What else is going to get me wide(ish) sunsets/moonrise on the beach and a frame fill of a bird of paradise? I'm not good enough to get the bird with 85mm.

3DX: 18-200VR,70-180micro and 70-300VR. I wish I had bought a 10-24 instead of the 18-200 for this trio.

1FX: 70-180micro

3FX: 20mm f/2.8D, 70-180micro & 70-300VR

Of course if I were doing Island portraits (maybe the SI models will land there one year!) the 50mm and 135mm are musts, of course on either FX or DX.

This lens is on my D700 most of the time. Love the close focusing while filling the frame with my subject. This lens has changed the way I shoot.

50mm 1.4:
When I'm just walking about and shooting in various lighting, I tend to rely on this lens. I can shoot people and street scenes in various lighting while keeping my ISO low. With a reversal ring I can delve into macro's.

70-300 VR:
General purpose zoom, on the island I can use it to spot boats off in the distance.

If we're can't have any accessories I'd substitute a lens for an SB-900 (dh)

As a newcomer to digital photography from South Africa, here are my picks for "three good affordable lenses for the D40/60/5000". My choices are not based on covering all possible focal lengths but on trying to optimise for the types of subjects that I shoot.

1. For wildlife: the AF-S 70-300mm VR. Better build quality than the 55-200, and 200mm is just not long enough for typical African wildlife (I'm presuming it will be an African desert island for me!). This is really the only affordable AF-S VR lens in this focal range (I don't think Sigma has yet perfected their OS yet).

2. For people: the AF-S 50mm f/1.4G. It's a good focal length for everything from full-length portraits to chasing the baby around the house, has the depth of field control to allow subject isolation, and will be fantastic for moonlit island pics. Of course there won't be many people to take portraits of, but I'm hoping you'll let me bring my "desert island person" as well...

3. For landscapes: the AF-S 12-24mm. Why not the new 10-24? Simply because once the 10-24 starts shipping there will be a flood of cheap 12-24s on the second-hand market to help me meet the "affordability" criterion. I don't (yet) own this lens but your review notes that it is super sharp at the long end, which is a real plus since I am going without any lenses in the 24-50mm range. (ar)

14-24 f2.8
24-70 f2.8
70-200 f2.8
I use these three lenses the most (and occasionally the TC-14E II on the 70-200.)  Since I do a lot of indoor and night time low light work, the 2.8 is valuable.  (I know, not really an issue on a desert island...)  Though I do have other lenses (50 f1.4, 85 f1.8,  105 macro, 300 f2.8, and a few others...) these 3 seem to do the job 90% of the time. (kw)

1 lens: 17-55mm (not very exciting, I know)
2 lenses: 10-24mm (not tested, but sounds promising) and 85mm PC micro (a lovely feel in the pictures, nice portraits wide open, works well hand held too with aperture priority and some fiddling with exposure
3 lenses: 10-24mm, 85mm PC micro, 70-200mm (mw)

10.5 + 50/1.4 + 180/2.8 (light)
10.5 + 50/1.4 + AF-S 80-200/2.8 (heavier)

Sigma 15-30/3.5-4.5 + 85/1.4 + 300/4 (light)
Sigma 15-30/3.5-4.5 + 85/1.4 + 300/2.8 (heavy)

Regardless of kit, I would add extension tubes and a TC-17E. The Sigma is cheap, light and surprisingly good. The 300/2.8 is overkill, but I love it.

Recently I went hiking with D200 + 10,5 + 50/1.4 + 300/4 and loved the kit.
Approximative use ratio: 50/1.4 - 50%, 10.5 - 30%, 300/4 - 20%

I want extreme wide angle, I want low light, I want reasonable close-up, I want reach. (ma)

DX (D300):

14mm f/2.8 Sigma - Wide enough, and sharp at most apertures. Landscapes.
35 f/2 Nikon - Fast, great bokeh, great contrast. People that might arrive on the island.
60mm Nikon f/2.8 Micro - Shoot small things and sharp, sharp, sharp

One lens Choice:
14mm f/2.8 Sigma

Zooms are cheating. (cs)

I have a D300 and I live in uncertain times.
I believe some day my unreasonable quest for megapixels will force me to switch to FX. So my choice of lenses have been always FX. People like me who have to justify the cost of every photo related purchase to their spouses want to buy once and buy right. Somehow lenses appear more stable over time in this regard.
So what I carry is:
-         14 24mm (absolutely love this lens- it gives me pain to carry this dumble, but still I feel it’s worth it. On the DX I lose some of the ultra wide, but I am still happy with top notch 14mm range than a suspicious 10 or 11mm. At least I will be sure it’s me who spoiled the shot and not the lens.)

-         70-300mm ( I never had the money to buy 70-200 f 2.8 and truly I don’t regret)

-         Tamron 90mm macro (I accepted your advice and found this to be an excellent lens. No complaints about the optical quality)

-         50mm 1.4 AFD (If it’s an indoor function). It’s such an excellent portrait lens and so small that I would cheat and accidently sneak it in the three lens combo.

I like your choices, but would swap the 105mm micro for the new 60mm micro. Yes, you lose working distance, so you need to stalk your prey better (but what else is there to do on the island anyway?) but I find the new 60mm to focus faster, and better to handhold, due to its smaller size. It is also sharper... The VR on the 105mm did not help much for macro work anyway. Then I would swap the 70-300mm VR for the Sigma 150-500mm OS. I find it a real bargain considering the FX coverage, OS, focus motor, and 500mm reach. I concur with the 14-24mm. Another thing to keep in mind is that any of the lenses could probably be used to light a fire using the sun.. (fl)

Toki 10-17 for fun and wide angle,

Nikkor 16-85 for quality,

Nikkor 70-300 VR for coconut shots. (ws)

D3/FX and banished to an island.  My suggestions are based on what I have and am currently comfortable with;
1) 70-200;  The 70-200 is a fast focusing lens with a great range for fairly close activities.  I always find myself using this when I am on day trips with the family at theme parks, and walkabouts.  Since children never stand still and are always a few too many feet from you, fast focusing and wide apertures and a good range make a difference
2) 35 1.4 AIS;  The 35 f/1.4 AIS renders in a very distinct attractive fashion as well as being small.  I find it's great when I am out by myself or with just one family member and want to relax and capture the moment in a way that "looks" different then my other lenses would do it.  It is also good for those dark island caves that don't allow flash:)
3) 17-35 AFS f/2.8; Has a great range at the wide end and can be used for landscapes, large group shots and close quarters.  I find myself using it when I am trying to give someone the experience of being where I was and being part of the action where the resulting shot was taken.
And If I can throw a couple other things in my bag;
TC 1.4
77mm Canon close up lens filter. (jf)

perpetually evaluating my own kit for travel, here’s the latest edition, devoid of the big heavy pro zooms:

16-85 DX

60G micro

70-300 VR

If I had to pick one and only one, it would be the 16-85, for the reasons you mention, and I actually do use the normal range.  On my last trip I took four lenses, the above plus the 35 DX.  The 35 got much less use than I thought it would, much less of a smaller/lighter package compared to the 16-85 than the 35/2 is compared to the 17-55. (ar)

While I read through your "Desert Island" article, I found myself struggling to agree with you, and at the end I realized why. I don't shoot like Thom! [Thom: my point exactly]

This just shows how pointless a lot of the fun-to-read discussion in DPReview are, because even though many people are discussing the same lens/body, they are looking at it from different points of view. Anyway, I digress.

I am a DX shooter, so I'll stick to what I know to avoid embarrassment..

--- DX One lens: 70-300 VR.
I am one of those shooters who you don't see at the party, or at the event. I like to go undetected, to get the most natural looking photos I can. So I tend to shoot everything from a distance, from group shots to head shots.

When I go into the wilderness, I end up with 90% of my shots at the long end of whatever lens I carry with me. I just like details, regardless of the subject, but from a distance.

So, for my way of shooting, the amazing performance and reach flexibility of the 70-300 VR is unsurpassed.

--- DX 3 lenses: 70-300 VR + 10-24 + Beer
[Thom: I hope you realize that too much beer makes these lens choices no better than others ;~]

This one is easy. The 70-300 VR comes into the kit for the exact same reasons as above. I can look at a subject, and I know how to make it look good with the 70-300, and there's enough range into it to create different views.

The 10-24 (assuming it is good, I haven't tested it yet) would be used as a learning tool. I know how to shoot tele, that's what I do, but I would really like to explore the wide side of photography, especially the VERY wide, and I haven't done it yet. So this 2nd lens would be the fun learning tool, something new to explore, which is a great motivation to get out there and shoot.

Third lens? None. I believe I would have loads of fun with the 2 lenses above, and you do have to sit back and relax every 500 shots. So I would just stack the rest of the gear bag with beer!! (rv)

Well, I WAS just on a desert island - the tiny Isla Marisol off of Belize.  Mostly known for scuba diving, but some nice photos resulted also.  This is what I brought with my D700:

Zeiss 25 f/2.8 - really, on FX 25mm is about the widest I can compose with.
Zeiss 100 f/2 - macros, sunsets, Island Dog "Ninja" portraits.
Sigma 50 f/1.4 - stars, moonlit beaches.

Notice any particlar brand missing? (kj)

all DX and what I currently have

1) 12-24, I love the sweeping vistas of ocean, sand, beach, trees and depth that one can do with this lens. Seems like the perfect place to use this lens (even more than mountains).  If I had a 10-24 and it was as good optically, I would take the 10-24 instead.

2) 70-180 for all the reasons you mention, plus I seem to carry this lens everywhere I go because of the incredible versatility, especially the macro capabilties

3) 16-85. I have not weaned myself off the 24-70 range, i would feel lost (pun intended) without it. (pb)

Since my days of shooting film, except for my now-blissfully-in-the-past DX years, my 3 lens kit has been the 17-35
f/2.8 (replacing the 24 mm f/2), a 50 f/1.4 (never really cared for Nikon's previous 50s. The Zeiss was reason enough to keep my FM3a during the DX years. But because the D700's focus screen is so poor for focusing, I've switched to the AF-S 50) and the 85 f/1.4. For me, 17-35 remains a far more useful range than 14-24 (I had the 14 f/2.8 once. I sold it; too wide for me). Although, I would consider replacing the 17-35 with the 24 PC-E. In a 4 lens kit, the 24 PC-E definitely makes the cut. (lk)

I'm in as close to a "desert island" situation as you're likely to get. 

My wife and I are traveling around the Pacific Rim for 5 months right now.  It is incredibly hot, we're hiking in jungles along the way, and we must travel as light as possible.  It's really an anything and everything trip; I've stayed in treehouses, traveled through a nature reserve via zip lines, hiked glaciers, ridden around cities on the backs of motorcycles, seen more ruins and temples than I can count.  Here's what I'm carrying:

16-85: wide enough,  focuses close enough (with a 500D close-up lens in a pinch)
30 1.4: For depth of field control, night time/indoor photography (would be the new 35mm now for the weight savings)
10.5 fisheye: wide, fun, fast

The 16-85 could be my only lens.  But as strange as it seems, standard travel photography can get boring after 3 months of non-stop shooting.  Both the 30mm and 10.5 make me work on composition and creativity in different ways.  They shake things up, make all of my photos better, and keep photography fun.  There's a tripod in the bag, too. (dl)

My long lens choice is the 70-180 zoom-micro, I’m seldom without it since I love macro. My wide choice is a Tokina 10-17 fisheye zoom, I like the exaggerated perspective and it’s fun using this lens. I would opt for the 16-85 VR for mid-range since I like to shoot long and multi-exposures while zooming in this range…again it’s pure fun.
The 70-180 zoom-micro would be my long lens choice, driven by macro capability. I love the 14-24 for the wide end, its awesome. I need a mid range zoom here too, the 24-85 f/3.5-4.5 would serve my creative zooming needs without the heft of the 24-70.

If I had a D3X I’d choose the three PCE lenses, 24,45 and 85, to get everything I could from that sensor. (bs)

Single DX = 18-200 VR. Testing showed my sample better overall than my 16-85 (returned), which had a poor color cast. Since I'm no fisheye fan, for the DX kit, the 12-24 (10-24 an unknown yet), 17-55, and 80-400 VR would do nicely.

Single FX = 17-35. Love it! FX kit = 17-35 again, 60 Micro, and 80-400 VR again. Yes, I like the extremes too, but how about self portraits? 60 Micro fits two uses!

Finally, what about power? Would be hard pressed to run PS CS4 without any. The Brunton Solaris you've mentioned before would be invaluable! (rc)

The Fuji S5 goes for sure.  The easiest lens to take would be the 16m-85mm VR.  Probably the one always on the camera.  VR works and the lens is sharp.  Then we have the Sigma 10mm-20mm.  I can do the scenics featuring sunrise and sunset themes, some macro and almost PCE images.  The 70mm-200mm f2.8 is one of my workhorse lenses for outdoor photography.  It is f2.8 and it is sharp.
From the dark corners of the camera bag, that TC1.7 E which will work with 70mm-200mm,  an extension tube, a couple of macro filters to substitute for the true macro lens. 
There is is 100 words. It was harder to limit it to 100 words than selecting the lenses.  These are all lenses I own and know unlike PC-E lenses which I could not expalin the why. (ab)

It sounds like a documentary project to me, so I’d be thinking that it’s not about having an artistic POV, so much as having flexibility.  It’s the 18-200 VR for me.  I poo-pooed it until I saw what a more senior and accomplished cultural photographer friend, and former Leica shooter, was pulling off with it. Plus, it’s gotten me more actual publications than any other lens.  

For a three-lens kit, I’d take the 10.5 DX, 17-55 DX and 300 f:4.  There’s no UPS for sending a lens to Nikon, so I’d want to upgrade the ruggedness a bit.   (jp)

Nikon D70, 18-70 kit lens, 70-300 non-VR tele, and either a 50 f/1.4 for low light or a 60 f/2.8 macro for close work.  Why?  Because they're paid for and they work for everything from Colorado landscapes to felony crime scenes. (bm)

#1: Nikon 105mm VR Micro
Why? It's dead sexy! The image quality is near flawless on my sample, and it suits my style.

#1a: Nikon 50-150mm f/2.8 VR DX
Why? Because it also would suit my style for intimate landscapes. It doesn't exist you say... Hmmm... I guess that's right, I wonder why??? Oh yeah, it's because Nikon is sitting on their arse designing a bunch of fricken 18-xxx mm consumer lenses!!! (li)

I`d be shooting FX – and as I`d love to take PC lenses, I can`t afford them, so I will be brining a 20mm f2.8, Tamron 90mm Macro and Tamron 28-300vc. The 20mm is wide, light and fun, Macro is a certainty – especially with an unknown length of time. The 28-300 is pretty darned versatile.

Though honestly, without power – I`d rather have a Polaroid Landcam and some Sx-70 with me ;-) (jw)

1.     Nikkor AF 50 f/1.8
2.     Nikkor AF 50 f/1.8
3.     Nikkor AF 50 f/1.8
Reason: it’s easy going lenses, light weight, compact. For landscape it would do fine by stitching. Portrait: close perfect. Close up: reverse can do. Firing party at night: fine with f/1.8. and most of all the lenses is so familiar to me after so many years. One more thing: maybe I like 50s things J. (nc)

When I go on holiday what I take is (dx) Sigma 10-20, Tamron 17-50 and the Nikon 70-300VR (if I am birding I pack the 80-400).

I like the perspective the Sigma gives you and the Nikon is ideal for Dragonflies and Butterflies as well as for landscapes, it's a nice combination of price, performance and weight. For birds I'd prefer the 80-400 but I reckon its too cumbersome for this and so I'll stick with the 70-300 and use my time on the island to build up my fieldcraft.

If I was stuck on a desert island The Tamron would have to go, for what I use it for  I would have much less use for it on an island.

So third lens? Sigma 150 f2.8 macro. I suspect there'll be a lot of insects. (I have to be honet I'd like to sneak the 35 f1.8 in if I could). (pd)

I am a happy amateur DX user, so I would of course bring my D300 and the D80 backup body. As for lenses: I would bring my 18-70mm and the 70-300mm VR. This is only 2 lenses you said? Yes...I dont need more than this and to prove it I am actually going to a desert island in the last week of May. (pa)


24mmPC-E (used to make my nut with view cameras and still miss the control.  I’m nostalgic for my 90 on my 4x5s but not so much as to start loading holders) I was trying not to duplicate your choices but what the hey.  2nd choice Voit 20mm (my new walk around for fun lens and it works with a EX-tube)

60mm macro (covers the middle range well enough and gets close, its an island the Sally Lightfoots will not fear me I’ll get by with a 60)

200mmf/2 VR (sweet for the critters and the “Others” who turn out to be Polynesian dancers. (kh)




bythom.com | Nikon | Gadgets | Writing | imho | Travel | Privacy statement | contact Thom at thom_hogan@msn.com

All material on www.bythom.com is Copyright 2009 Thom Hogan. All rights reserved.
Unauthorized use of writing or photos published on this site is illegal, not to mention a bit of an ethical lapse. Please respect my rights.