If you hang around camera forums long enough, you’ll see a question like this: “If money was no object, which five lenses would you get?” (Often, the question is in the context of a specific brand, such as Canon, Nikon, Sony/Minolta, etc.)
Here’s why the question doesn’t make any sense:
If money is no object (sometimes phrased: “If your budget was unlimited…”), then you wouldn’t be limited to five lenses. If I had unlimited cash (or so much money that it might as well be unlimited), I’d buy every camera and every lens sold by the major camera/lens manufacturers. I’d have a room in my house dedicated to camera gear, where the temperature and humidity would be controlled to store them perfectly. Each day, I’d walk out with a different camera and a different lens. Just for the fun of it.
I hate questions that don’t make any sense.
Sometimes, you can take such a question and move the words around a bit in an attempt to figure out what the questioner really meant. Not this one.
If the question meant “Which are the five best lenses?”, that doesn’t make sense either, because the word “best” has to be qualified somehow. For some people, “best” means least expensive. For other people, “best” refers to the quality of image rendition.
Possibly the only way to reword this question sensibly and keep the “5 lenses” part is:
“If you decided to limit your kit to five lenses, and you could choose any five lenses available today, which five would they be, and why?”
The “why” at the end is necessary in order for the answers to make sense. If I’m a wedding photographer and you’re an architectural photographer, our five lenses are going to be very different.
(Note: After writing this entry, I realized I’d posted a similar entry a few months ago.)