My question is, what is your favorite lens, so that's what I asked. Search results provided several specific answers that I wasn't interested in, best for portrait, best for landscape, best for video, and the like. Then this page; images by lens, Nikon.
Immediately I'm struck with a certain style. Mostly indoors but not entirely, mostly dark with one or two sources of light, mostly children. The same children, and the same dogs. A woman is documenting her children and her home and all of her photographs are fantastic.
It turns out the lens is fixed focus and it is wide angle, so a bit of a fish-eye bulge in the lens. It has a deep depth of field, that means most everything is in focus unless the f-stop is wide open and the subject is close.
I have a wide angle and it takes incredibly sharp photographs and it can take very close shots. Just yesterday I was using my favorite lens, a macro, also fixed, that has a knack for making inanimate objects like food appear sexy. But close shots and wide open it has a very shallow depth of field. Yesterday I wanted all the latkes in focus and that's not so easy to do with this lens so I switched to large wide angle and even close up it gets everything on the board in focus, even to within a few inches. I actually smeared sour cream on the lens by getting too close. I forgot how much it sticks out. while just a few inches back the lens will sweep in the entire room, the refrigerator on one side, the counter on the other, the front door and myself holding the camera. It's a very tricky lens to use close up.
On this page I can go down the columns of photographs and pick out the ones this woman took using her 24mm 1.4 wide angle lens. And her style made me fall in love with the lens. Her eye is excellent. Now I want one. Just because of her photographs. Each photo is incredibly sharp and with outstanding color. The surrounding architecture is very nice. Finally I found one with two dogs and a dirty floor. I was beginning to think she vacuumed and dusted every day because the photos of her children and her home are too perfect.
Here is the lens.
Now, you can say that's too much for a lens but here's the thing, you don't have to buy them brand new. There are always people getting out of the business. People who find they don't use them. People who'd rather have the cash than the lens. People who received them as gifts. Looking at Amazon's list of used ones the least expensive have tiny cosmetic blemishes. Those lenses are nearly half the cost of new. While other barely used lenses are like brand new. For some reason hardly used at all, for a few hundred dollars over half the cost of new. So you can find deals if you're not so fussy about always having brand new.