i just thought i would start this thread to find out peoples lens preference,s, all hypertetical of course, so if you could only own one lens which one would you pick, please mention the brand, and state for what reasons you would choose that particular lens.
Overall, the 24-84 on my old film-fed Canon EOS RT. I've got a 35-135 and a 100-300 but the Wide-Angle give some great scenery shots, and being able to take a shot inside and often catches opposing walls... on a 24" Eizo monitor, it really does impress.
To paraphrase a response in one of the Flickr groups to this very question, in a hypothetical ideal world I'd like the:
Canon EF 10-1000 f/1.0 L DO IS USM GTi PDQ RTFM WTF
It's a beast of a lens that's suitable for every possible situation you can think of. It's lightweight because of the diffractive optics lens technology, is weather and vacuum sealed, and only weighs 227g! Remarkable stuff.
In the real world, however, I made do for a long time with a Sigma 28-300 f/3.5-63 Aspherical IF DL Hyperzoom (whatever all that means, and it's taken from the lens body, not made up this time!). The range is truly fantastic (especially on the crop sensor of the D30 and similar.
The downside is the variable, and not particularly large aperture, and somewhat slow autofocus. And the lack of IS is a pain, too.
On my 5D, however, there's some noticeable distortion at the 28mm end, and chromatic aberration if you peek close enough.
As a cheap-ish starter, all rounder, if-you-can-only-carry-one-lens jobbie, though, it's pretty cool.
I don't actually have this lens and I haven't tried it (so how on earth can I say this?), however I think if I were to have just one lens I'd want the Canon EF 24-70 L f/2.8. It's fast and it's got a really nice range.
This is actually a very difficult question to answer.
The lens I currently most enjoy using is my 70-300mm IS and 95% of the time it is used at the full 300mm however it isnt the most common lens that I used when walking about (originally it was the kit lens but as I have sold that now I guess it will have to become the 24-105L now)
Given that photography is supposed to be fun though more than practical. If I could have only one lens I guess it would be the Canon 400mm f/2.8L USM IS - now who has the £7k to give me?