What is your Favourite Prime lens?

It is great to see the variety of opinion on photographer’s favourite focal length. Most photographers own two or more lenses and change according to the shooting situation. I thought it would be interesting to run a poll asking if you had to select only one prime lens which would it be.
The top image of my favourite old film camera was captured with the X-Pro1 and 35mm lens (50mm equivalent) which would have to be my lens combination of choice for sharpness and bokeh.

Please note this values are for full frame equivalent to remove any confusion over cropped sensors. Therefore if you shoot 35mm on a cropped lens the equivalent full frame is 52mm so you would vote for 50mm.

Now, everyone instantly opts for 50mm as their default choice but I want to you really think about it, many own a 50mm and rave about the virtues but in reality use it for specialised shots and have another lens for their everyday photography.

I realise this isn’t scientifically precise but this is about focal length not depth of field or compression.

The Final Results

If you want to give a reason why you made your choice in the comments I am sure many other photographers would value the insight.

Remember this is for fun, there is no right or wrong answer, you simply pick the one focal length you would choose if you were only allowed a single prime lens.


  1. I voted 50mm. I use a crop sensor camera, and while I own a proper nifty fifty – and love it for the bokeh – I actually purchased a 35mm to get closer to the “standard” field of view. The 35mm also focuses much closer than the 50mm, so it’s the lens that’s virtually glued to the front of my camera. However, effectively being in the wide angle range means it does have its foibles!

  2. A lens around the 85mm length is great for shooting jazz because I can get large apertures and yet stand back far enough not to be crowding the musicians when doing sound checks etc. All three of my lenses (28mm, 50mm and 90mm equivalents) get roughly the same usage though.

  3. Favourite prime I have used is the Nikon 105mm f2.8 macro
    Favourite prime that I have l lusted over is either the Nikon 24mm f1.4 or the Nikon 85mm f1.4

  4. My favourite prime lens is a Sigma 84 f1.4. Beautiful creamy bokeh, a wonderfully weighted piece of glass and less than half the price of the Canon 1.2 equivalent. I love the Canon 35 1.4 too but it’s a focal length I don’t use much.

  5. My 100mm 2.8 Macro is used for portrait landscape and macro which makes it the most versatile lens in my kit

  6. I have a couple of primes and zooms, but the one I use the most is my 16-35. The one most used focal lenght is 18 mm.

  7. I voted for the 35mm. It’s the one I feel more comfortable with. Due to the lack of it in my current system I’m getting more and more used to the 50mm as my main choice, but miss the 35mm for the balance of wide and natural view.

  8. I voted for 24.

    I used to have the 35 on a D300. That makes 50. It’s stuck to my D300.

    Then I switched to X100. So it’s 35.

    Now with the WCL-X100. It’s 28. I think 24 will be even better. I love the slightly distorted lines.

  9. Carl Zeiss 50mm f1.4 is for me the ultimate goto lens fro my FF bodies.. On DX I usually work with 35mm f1.2 (eq =56mm) however I rarely use long tele lenses or specialty lenses..


  10. For now I have to choose the 50mm because that’s the only lens I got, LoL
    But i’m really curious to use the 35mm FL or wider

  11. I do love my 150mm lens on my Pentax 645NII camera which is a 6×4.5cm medium format camera; it is full frame of course, but translated into 35mm format, it would probably be something around 110mm or so

  12. I shoot on crop sensor Canon 40Ds and until recently my 50mm f1.8 was my fave prime, but I recently bought the 85mm f1.8 as I’m doing more with live bands and that’s what I’m picking up first if I want to use a prime these days. So it used to be an 80mm equivalent and now it’s 136mm

  13. I shoot with a 7D and I recently purchased a Sigma 60mm f/2 macro and it has quickly become my favorite lens despite being very slow to focus and being a little bit off (I think it back focuses a slight bit).

  14. For me it has to be my Minolta 50 mm – F/1.7, it’s bar far and away the nicest lens I’ve used, I use it for just about everything and anything but I especially like using it for portraits, I really like the broken too.

  15. To choose one it’s tough. I shoot with the 28, 50 & 85. Sometimes I’ll throw the 24 in the bag. I like them all because of the Super Integrated Coating on them.

  16. The 35mm has to be the best all rounder and the 23mm (35mm equivalent) on my X100s has become my favourite lens of all time. I’m starting to worry that my X-Pro1 and lenses have become redundant.

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David is a documentary and landscape photographer covering everything from dramatic long exposure landscape photography through to live music. David is a former Official Fujifilm X Photographer.

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