On our recent trip to Washington DC, I took my new D7100 (of course) and two lenses: Nikon 85mm f/1.8 and Nikon 28mm f/1.8. I have enjoyed both lenses, and decided to carry these two rather than take the Tamron 18-270 that I took on our Europe trip in 2011. There are a couple of reasons I made that decision: the primes are much better optically than the super-zoom; and during a recent portrait session the Tamron decided to not focus at all (it sounded like a gear was slipping). I’ve played with the Tamron since, and it seems to be working, but I trust it less now. While I procrastinate on sending it in for warranty repair, the two primes got to travel.
One thing I noticed during our trip is that I didn’t see any other DSLR camera-owner changing lenses. And DSLRs were thick among the tourists. It occurred to me why that is: changing lenses in the middle of a crowded museum is a pain in the butt. I know. Duh. So although I liked having the improved quality of the primes, I definitely felt the inconvenience of changing lenses. In fact, on day two of our trip, I decided to leave the 85mm in the hotel room so that I could travel light: camera and lens on a black-rapid strap. No camera bag. Nothing extra.
On day three, we went to the zoo, and I knew I’d want the extra reach of the 85mm to have any hope of getting a decent picture of an animal. On day four, I carried both lenses again, but used the 28mm almost exclusively.
Out side of the zoo trip, where the longer reach was definitely needed, I found that I really liked the wider perspective of the 28mm. For the story of our trip, and the photos I wanted to capture, context was important. And the 85mm, although great for portraits and details, doesn’t do much for context.